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Life is ours

Chapter Text

As expected, the meeting was boring: the patriarchs talked about their concerns after the war; informed each other about how damaged their families still were; how many men remained and how many new ones joined… And his favourite part: how the new families joined them feeling drawn in by Kiryu’s actions. He just hoped that it didn’t mean ‘sending people to be tortured.’

Majima sighed, feeling a little left out. He couldn’t avoid admiring Kiryu after all he had learned from him, but he couldn’t ignore what he had done. And he would never do it. Even if he knew he was reading too much into it, it felt like a little treason.

“Maybe some of you already knew,” Kiryu began, startling Majima, who got lost in his thoughts. “But I intend to go ahead with the oath,” he finally announced in the middle of the silence.

Majima still didn’t like the idea. It was stupid and too pacifistic for his taste —the world didn’t welcome people with those ideals— but he wouldn’t express his honest opinion in front of the other patriarchs. The last thing his chairman needed now was him joining the howling of the other patriarchs who complained about the idea. Even if he could use the opportunity to give Kiryu a taste of his own medicine and leave him without the support he wanted, Majima wouldn’t start a cold war between them. First at all, he didn’t care what could happen to the Tojo and, secondly, he needed to play his cards intelligently. His family was already in the spotlight. This way, he could keep protecting them and, if something went south, he would clean his hands and walk away; he had all the power, men and money. The Tojo needed them but they didn’t need the clan.

So whatever, Kiryu could do his stupid oath and Majima would look on from afar.

If Kiryu wanted to put himself in a difficult situation, Majima wouldn’t stop him. And neither Kashiwagi or Daigo seemed interested in doing so. He was the boss after all, he was always right.

“After all they did, are we now offering them a hand?” He heard someone saying.

“They’re in their weaker moment now; we should take them down,” another proposed in a calm way.

“Sengoku almost destroyed my whole family. It’s taking me a while to find new people; I don’t think it’s a bad idea. Especially knowing he is still out there,” said someone in the back with interest.

“This is the leader we have!?” Suddenly the room went silent. Kanda stood up, trying to look menacing, but everyone just felt disgusted with his presence. “But what else could we have expected after him forgivin’ his little dog. He doesn’t have the balls it takes to rule the Tojo!”

People started clamouring again.

And Majima felt pissed.

“Said the new patriarch of a family with the highest ratio of traitors.” Majima offered with a shit eating grin. 

Kanda didn’t take that well. Surely he didn’t appreciate being reminded of their little collaboration with the Omi while the Tojo suffered the consequences, although they wouldn’t escape that easily. Since Kiryu would give Kanda a second opportunity —just as he did with him— Majima could enjoy making some remarks just to piss him off. It didn’t seem like much knowing they had to bear with his ugly face and his stench.

“You shouldn’t be the one saying that either, Majima-san,” Hamazaki interjected, looking smug.

Majima shot him a death glare. “Well, I guess our bosses can talk about that in hell,” he shrugged, already tired of this conversation.

“I wasn’t talking about him,” Hamazaki added with a knowing look.

What the fuck did he know?

Majima felt tempted to stab him right now. Was he referring to…? No, that couldn’t, how could he know that? But then, who was he talking about?

“If our boss can’t take proper care of the men who are playin’ him, how can he manage the Tojo?” Kanda continued and Majima started to feel sick with all that talking, thinking he should be the one being punished. 

Imagining his men in that hole, suffering because of him, because he was a bad protector. Because he had failed them. 

He just wanted to scream. 

To stab Kanda. 

To flee from here. 

“I propose we—,” But Kanda got interrupted.

“That’s enough!” Kiryu roared. “Majima-san didn’t have to be punished for anything here. And he has done more for this clan than you have. So learn to show some respect.” Majima glanced at him in awe. What the fuck was that? Why did he act like that? He already had enough trying to ignore his own thoughts to add more into the mix; he didn’t want to think about Kiryu as a good man, someone who cared about him. But the way Kiryu was staring at Kanda made him feel things. 

If looks could kill…

Still, he wouldn’t trust him. Not after what he did; he had learned the lesson. Even if Nishida’s voice came to mind reminding him that ‘nothing made sense’, he wouldn’t. He needed to protect himself and his family, and it seemed too obvious he couldn’t focus with Kiryu around. 

He isn’t the man you think he is, he echoed in his tumultuous brain.

“Who cares about Majima-san here? We’re talking about the Omi,” Hamazaki insisted. “Are you really going to make an oath with them after all they caused? They’re weak now, we have to take advantage of it.”

“We are not. That wouldn’t be a fair fight. There is no honour in beating your enemy when they’re already on the ground,” Kiryu explained.

But people started to complain again.

“So, we’re waiting for them to be in full form so they can try to destroy us again?” Hamazaki crossed his arms, really calm.

“There is no need for that. For how things are now, the Omi Alliance owes us one. A big one. It’ll be better to take that advantage. And more intelligent,” Kashiwagi noted, making some people nod in agreement.

At least, the old man had a point. Was that Kiryu’s plan all along? Still, he didn’t feel sure about that. The Yakuza world wasn’t that honourable thing anymore; if they showed any kind of weakness, it could be the end for them.

“You don’t have anything to say?” Hamazaki talked to him directly.

Frowning, Majima shrugged without saying anything. What could he say? He didn’t want to start another fight about not obeying him in front of the others. Mostly because he wouldn't get away with it anymore; he knew what could happen if he did.

“Are you telling me you are ok with this plan?” Hamazaki wondered, looking surprised.

Majima made a face, feeling shaken between what he really thought and what he had to do. For his family and for himself. “Yes,” he answered, curtly, not giving any reason.

Some people gasped in confusion. Others started to talk in a rush.

Majima could feel Kiryu’s stare on his back.

“Oh, did he buy you a new bone to bite?” Hamazaki offered a condescending toothy smile.

And Majima wanted to punch that expression off his face.

“Or maybe you are afraid to join your rogue men?” Hamazaki added with a smirk.

At that moment, Majima tensed, clenching his fist so much that he was hurting himself. Was he being obvious? The thought alone about people being able to see through him made him anxious. Maybe he was slipping and that wouldn’t end up being pretty.

“Do ya think ya could do it better?” Majima ignored the question, taunting him. “As someone said before, Sengoku’s family is still out there. They already kicked some asses here and I didn’t see ya doin’ anythin’ to prevent it.”

Hamazaki frowned, still not giving up. “And your new dog doesn’t have anything to say?” He ignored Majima and went directly to Daigo.

“I’ll support anything Kiryu-san says,” he answered with solemnity. 

And Majima couldn’t avoid cringing. Surely Kiryu felt proud of his new acolyte, looking at him with a pleased expression, and that stung. Not because he had a favourite and it wasn’t him, but because people were noticing it too. 

That couldn’t end well.

“Tch, what a shame.” At least Hamazaki finally shut up. 

Maybe they could leave—

“Well, I won’t follow yer command!” Kanda shouted, looking ravenous.

Not yet, apparently.

“Are you really defying the chairman?” Kashiwagi asked in a serious tone.

Kanda seemed lost in thoughts for a moment, trying to look composed and confident. “What if I do?” He tried to sound menacing again.

“You would be expelled with your whole family. Do you think you can afford that?” The old man retorted, smug.

Sometimes he liked Kashiwagi. Of course, The Nishikiyama family couldn’t leave the Tojo after what happened. They didn’t have enough power and money before, using the Omi for their interest; but now, they couldn’t go to them searching for help—not only because they were being watched closely, but because the Omi wouldn’t want them again after the fiasco. If Kanda left, he would need big amounts of money to pay for their independence. Or have enough men to start a war. And if he got expelled, they would lose all their turf. So he had to accept Kiryu’s conditions.

After a tense moment, Kanda nodded once and sat back in his chair. That wouldn’t last for long, but for now it was a view he loved to see: Kanda humiliating himself in front of everyone. Even if Majima didn’t like the plan, he liked the idea of watching Kanda obeying. Just a little bit.

Luckily, he wouldn't overly-stay at the head of his family.

“So, the meeting is dismissed,” Kiryu announced and everyone started to leave.

Majima stood up, feeling drained from all the exchanges; maybe he could sleep a little this afternoon. He could use some peace and quiet.

“Daigo, wait for me in my office,” he heard Kiryu saying. Of course, now they had to keep talking about this stupid meeting alone. Like they used to do before everything happened.

“And Majima-san, can you wait for a moment?” Kiryu called him.

What the fuck? He accepted his plan, what more did he want from him?

Majima turned around, waiting for everyone to exit the room. To leave them alone; of course that didn’t give him anxiety or anything.

Sure.

As if people could sense his demeanour, they walked away slowly, peering at them with curiosity, the same as he had, but they couldn’t stretch the time infinitely and they ended up closing the door as they left.

Kiryu looked at him with a worried expression, still not saying anything. And seeming tense. Why would he be? Majima wasn’t the one torturing people.

“What?” Majima asked, trying to sound normal and failing immensely.

Kiryu’s frown deepened. “You don’t have to do anything if you don’t want to, Majima-san.”

That took him by surprise. “Do what?”

“Support me with the oath. I know you have never been very keen about it.”

Majima huffed. “Ain’t that hilarious? Ya have been always tellin’ me to follow yer orders and now you don’t want me to?”

Kiryu didn’t take that very well. “I just want you to be sure you’re doing this because you really believe in this plan. I know you don’t like to follow me, you said that yourself,” he said with a hurt expression and Majima felt like he had been slapped. “So, do you really want to help me with that?”

He didn’t know what to say, he couldn’t even correct his initial remark because he did say that and he still thought so. But now he felt uncomfortable. “You’re the boss, you’re always right even when you aren’t,” Majima shrugged, hoping that could be enough of a reason.

But Kiryu shook his head. “I know you think that and how things work. But I want to know your real thoughts. I appreciate your point of view on the matter.”

Frowning, Majima could only feel wary. “Why?”

“Because I prefer to count on your help, not on your obedience,” Kiryu told him, sounding almost sincere.

Still, that sounded strange. Since when had Kiryu cared about his opinions? They had always argued about their differences in how to deal with many subjects, and Kiryu had always made clear that he wanted Majima to follow his command. Why would he change that now?

“Ya didn’t seem to want that before,” Majima commented.

Kiryu averted his eyes, looking ashamed. “I know and I’m sorry. I was just feeling pressured,” he explained. Did he? Why did he never tell him? “I should have known better and now I’m trying to fix that. You’re older and you have more experience than me in those things. So I would really appreciate your input.”

Was that a trap? Didn’t seem like that and yet…it felt off. Why would he insist so much? Maybe Kashiwagi told him to make things better and he was just trying to fix their employment relationship. 

That made more sense than Kiryu really caring about his input.

“I’ve told you before; I don’t like the Omi Alliance or makin’ a pacifist’s oath with them. It makes us look weak. And I agree we have enough power to make them disappear. But you don’t want that. So it’s ok, you’re the boss,” Majima said, shaking his head. Maybe he shouldn’t have said anything; Kiryu could take it in the wrong way and, who knows? Maybe he ended up joining his men in the hole for defying his opinion. “Ya trust people too much. If ya wanna do the oath, go ahead. But at least consider the possibilities that they might not hold to their end.”

Nodding, Kiryu looked down like he had said something that bothered him. “I’ll keep that in mind,” he assured him.

Once again, Majima felt surprised by his words, although he wouldn’t take it for granted. He knew the tendency people had in saying things that they never intended to do.

“Well, I don’t believe that,” Majima admitted, feeling probably too confident.

Kiryu narrowed his eyes. “Why?”

Crossing his arms, Majima peered at him. “Dunno, you’re stubborn and not very open to different stuff that changes your worldview.” And that was true, Kiryu always followed his own rules. Except recently; and he chose the worst thing he could.

“I think I’ve been pretty open with you.” Kiryu seemed confused.

That made him laugh. Was he really referring to their relationship? Majima grimaced, showing he doubted his words.

“What?” Kiryu snapped, crossing his arms over his chest.

Majima had to avert his eye from his squeezed pectorals; he just hoped Kiryu didn’t have caught him looking. Why couldn’t just shake him off from his pants and brain?

“Nothing, really,” Majima didn’t feel bold enough to make a list of every time Kiryu acted closed-minded towards him, or how many times he had dismissed their relationship.

Kiryu frowned, waiting for something that never came. “What?” He repeated.

“I don’t want to talk about it now,” Majima denied

They stood there for a long and uncomfortable moment; Majima just wanted to leave but he would stay until his owner told him to walk away. During that time, they just stared at each other; Kiryu frowning, as always, and Majima bouncing his leg in apprehension. 

But suddenly, something changed in his boss.

“I think we have too much tension accumulated and we could use some release if we have to keep working together.” Kiryu offered a hopeful look, putting in those eyes he always found difficult to resist. Even now. He was a handsome man, he could use that to defend himself from his morality flaws. “Like we did before.”

Before, when? What did he mean by that? It sounded…strange. “I think we can get some release on our own,” he said, a little defensive.

“Well, it’s not the same,” Kiryu retorted.

“I think I’ll pass,” Majima rejected him, whatever he was proposing.

Kiryu didn’t seem to understand. “Why? You seemed like you enjoyed it.”

Majima gasped. His fucking audacity… “Oi! Just like ya did!”

Nodding slowly, Kiryu offered a shy smile. “Well, yes. I know I haven’t admitted it before, but I do.”

“So you can find it somewhere else!” Majima suggested, feeling a little nervous. What the fuck was happening? 

“But with you it’s different,” Kiryu said, making Majima open his eye in shock.

“What? No. I—, no. I’ll pass,” Majima tried to deny, but he probably didn’t sound very convincing. He found it enticing and repulsive at the same time; maybe he needed to check himself to see what was wrong with him. 

Or maybe get some action.

Kiryu sighed, sounding tired. “Well, if it’s not for you, could you do it for me? I’ve been a little stressed these days and I could really use a hand right now,” he almost begged, stepping closer. “If you could—.”

Majima made a confused face, sensing a big jolt in his chest. Did he really mean…? “I think I already gave ya more than that.”

Kiryu frowned. “Well, I mean now…” He took a heavy breath. “I find this a little hard.”

“I’m sure ya do,” Majima countered, giving him a wary look. Now he didn’t have any more doubts. Kiryu was only manipulating him, probably missing his toy and Majima couldn’t give in. Not even if he wanted to be with Kiryu again. 

“So…can you?” Kiryu tried, slowly.

Majima couldn’t believe his ears. “Holy shit! Ain’t that a little weird to ask me for that?”

Kiryu seemed lost. “Why? You’ve done this before.”

The sucker. Did he really have to spell it out for him? “’Cause I’m yer…” Ex? Complicated ally? Not a friend anymore? “You have a wife!” He decided to say in the end.

For a moment, Kiryu looked taken aback, thinking hard like he didn’t understand what was happening. Until Majima could see realization washing over him.

“I didn’t mean like that!” Kiryu rushed to say, his eyes wide open and getting redder than his shirt. “I mean fighting.”

Whoops.

Fighting would have relieved some of his stress for sure, just beating up his pretty face like he didn’t care. But now Majima felt too exposed. He could feel his face hot and his heart beating hard, and the urgent need to change his nationality and leave Japan forever. 

He really should stop thinking about Kiryu like that.

“Well, I’m glad because I wouldn’t either,” he tried to defend himself, cringing hard.

Kiryu nodded, staring at him with a sad expression. Taking a step forward, Kiryu extended his hand. “Majima—,”

But Majima recoiled without thinking. Again. He needed to control that better. Sadly it was too late and Kiryu had noticed, frowning at him with confusion all over his face. He took a step back, looking at him with his puppy face. That one which melted his heart. But Majima knew better and he needed to walk away from that. 

“Don’t look at me like that,” Majima retorted, angrier than he wanted to sound. 

“Like what?” Kiryu asked.

‘Like you missed me’, Majima wanted to say, but thought better about it. “Like a sad puppy.”

At first, Kiryu seemed disconcerted, like he didn’t know what he was doing, but he finally surrendered. Glancing down, he nodded. “Ok. Thank you, Majima-san. You can go now.”

Without missing a beat, Majima turned around and left the room.

That was more difficult than he had expected.

And he needed another drink.

 

***

 

Majima woke up feeling arms around him, circling his shape. Feeling loved. It felt like the best thing that someone could experience. Comfortable, warmed, cherished…

He could stay like this forever.

But when he opened his eye, he found a shadow fading away, discovering that no one was at his side. Not even his captain, who he could blame for invading his privacy too often these days. Just alone in his dark room, the solitude as his companion. The last thing left for him.

Was his mind playing tricks on him?

Not this again.

Maybe he shouldn’t mix his allergy med with booze.

Majima turned around, lying on his back and looking at the ceiling like he had found something interesting on it. Part of him missed Kiryu. A lot. More than he could even imagine; not even caring about what he did or what he could do to him. Not even minding all the things Kiryu knew about him and could use against him. He just wanted to be with him one more time. But of course, it couldn’t be; Kiryu stole his hope for a different and better life. The hope of finding someone he would happily fight for because they deserved it. Die for if they needed that sacrifice. Did Kiryu still deserve this kind of loyalty? His mind reminded him that no, he didn’t; but another part of his mind didn’t want to give in and believe Kiryu was that monster he thought he had become. And then he remembered that loneliness would make him a pathetic man capable of loving the first bastard he encountered just not to be alone. 

Sometimes Majima liked to be at Kiryu’s side, happy just to be with him even if that made him feel used. 

Even if that confused him.

Why did he need people?

He knew he shouldn’t go back to Kiryu; that would emotionally destroy him. Even if his boss wasn’t the asshole Majima believed he was, he still had a wife and he couldn’t keep playing this little game that made him sick. Perhaps he should leave the clan knowing he couldn’t avoid feeling drawn to him; it seemed inevitable and he needed to get away as quickly as possible.

Maybe they could just keep fooling around?

No, he reminded himself. He sent his men to the hole, he shouldn’t have this kind of thoughts about him.

Probably he was just horny. It had been three months since the last time he got lucky and that was with Kiryu. He really needed something different now.

A woman.

Majima walked into the shower where he took care of his needs, totally not thinking about his boss, and the time they fucked for the first time, or that one quickie in the restroom with that police woman waiting for them outside. 

Not at all. 

In no time, he finished, trying to blame his lack of action rather than thinking that his boss really made him burn inside. With his mind more relaxed, he cleaned himself afterwards; he needed to look great and impeccable. At least he could think clearer now, but feeling a little dirty with what he just did.

Taking a towel and putting it around his waist, he went to his sitting room searching for Nishida. His captain felt the need to be around all the time now and Majima found it annoying. But not today. Tonight he had a plan.

“Nishida!” He shouted, startling his captain, who sat on his couch.

“Y—, yes, sir?” He looked anxious.

“Get ready! We’re gonna have a men's night!” Majima announced, very excited.

Nishida froze for a moment. “What does that mean, sir?”

Majima rolled his eye. What the fuck it could mean? “We’re gonna go out, search for some girls!”

But Nishida didn’t seem happy with the idea. “Really?”

“What?” Majima crossed his arms, peering at him.

“But…do you….like women?” Nishida asked, sounding confused and reticent.

He didn’t expect that, leaving his mouth hanging open in shock. “What the fuck does that mean? Of course I do. Fuck you!”

Nishida blinked fast, tightening his lips. “Sorry, sir…It’s just...Kiryu-san is not really—,”

Majima was going to kill him. “Can ya not mention him? I’m tryin’ to have a good day!”

“Sorry, sir,” Nishida apologized again, looking down. “But—,”

“Just shut yer mouth already and get ready!” Majima clapped his hands, trying to still seem interested. He just really wanted to move on, find someone new. Hooking up with whoever he encountered, just not to keep thinking about Kiryu-fucking-Kazuma.

“And, what are you going to wear, sir?”

Finally a good question.

 

***

 

Majima entered Deborah followed by Nishida, who still seemed apprehensive about this whole plan. At least he had helped him to decide his outfit, choosing a discreet one that didn’t scream ‘yakuza’ too much. He wore a black suit and a snakeskin patterned shirt, hiding his tattoos under it. Majima had complained how absurd that seemed since he wanted to get laid and she would finally see his irezumi, but Nishida insisted on trying to look less intimidating, the eye patch being intimidating enough on its own. Majima almost punched him for the remark, but accepted it nevertheless. It was true in the end.

The music was so loud that Majima couldn’t think, and he appreciated it more. This way, he wouldn’t think about Kiryu, the Tojo, the oath that still hadn't been formalized, the constant fights between patriarchs, how lonely he felt, what he was doing with this life…

The usual.

They sat in a booth, already with their drinks in hand and waiting. For what? He didn’t know. Women usually never started anything with him, always seeming taken aback by the eyepatch, the tattoos…Yeah, Nishida was right in the end. And now he felt stupid sitting in a place full of much younger people than him.

Ugh…what was he doing here?

“Oi, Nishida!” Majima called his captain, who looked around like he was trying to find someone.

“Sir?” He answered, always sounding too nervous for his own good.

“Don’t ya want to…dunno…find a girl or somethin’?” Majima tried, feeling already bored to be there.

“No, sir.”

“Why not?”

“I—, I…” Nishida did a long pause. So long that Majima wanted to slap him to get a reaction from him. But he just waited impatiently. “I already have someone, sir,” he finally said.

What?

“What!? Why didn’t ya say anythin’ earlier?”

“Well, I didn’t want to bother you, sir,” Nishida admitted in a murmur.

Majima frowned. “Why would ya bother me with that?”

“Oh…Since you don’t have a partner anymore, I thought…” Nishida shyly scratched the back of his neck.

Majima was going to murder him, indeed. “I’m not that emotional, ya moron!”

“Yes, sir,” Nishida agreed, not sounding convincing.

“I guess she must be so happy with ya,” Majima commented, sarcastically.

“Why do you say that, sir?”

“’Cause you’re always with me these days! Just…fuck off and go with her somewhere nice.”

Nishida seemed confused. “But sir, you need me here,” he countered.

“I don’t. Ya can leave whenever ya want.” Majima took a long sip from his glass, feeling already lonely. “Tomorrow, though,” he added after considering how pathetic he would look there, sitting alone.

Nishida smiled. “Yes, sir." 

 

 

A few minutes passed; Majima only took that first drink and didn’t even try to move from his seat. What would he do? Harass some girls until they ran away? Nah, it didn’t sound good.

At least he wasn’t moping around in his apartment.

“Want some company, honey?” He heard someone saying.

Raising his head, he saw a person in front of him with blonde long hair, wearing a tight blue dress that highlighted their absence of curves and make-up that matched with the rest of colours. That made him remember when he got all dolled up for Kiryu.

Not that again.

“Yo, sweet’eart, what’s yer name?” Majima wondered.

“Whatever you prefer, darling,” they winked at him.

Majima huffed. “I don’t really care,” he shrugged, taking a little sip from his almost empty glass. “Nothin’ that starts with ‘K’, tho,” he added as an afterthought.

That seemed to make them happy. “I knew it! I still have my gaydar!” They clapped, taking a seat beside him. “You have that kind of aura that tells me you wouldn’t say no to any kind of food,” they said in a flirty way.

“I barely eat, dear,” Majima smirked, taking another sip. “So, what’s yer name?” He repeated.

“You can call me Iori,” they offered. “You?”

“Majima.” He made a little nod. “And this one is Nishida,” he added, pointing at his captain, who looked tense.

“Hi,” Nishida said, nervous.

“He seems a little stressed,” they noted, pouting their lips.

“He’s always like that,” Majima dismissed.

After that, they turned to look at him, devouring him with their eyes. Majima felt a little self-aware now.

“So, Majima-san,” they started. “Do you want to do something special?” They made a knowing face, sounding suggestive.

Did he want to? He had tried to convince himself about that, but he didn’t feel the need for that. In some way, it still seemed like cheating; that was the most stupid thing, but he couldn’t deny it. “Not really. Sorry for wastin’ yer time,” he shrugged, looking apologetic. 

“Oooh, that’s a shame. Why though? A man like you should have success with anyone you wanted,” they kept flirting anyway.

“He broke up with his partner,” Nishida unnecessarily informed.

“Shut your face!” Majima snapped, making him flinch.

But Iori seemed to find it funny. “It’s that so? Aww, I guess you’re still in love,” they batted their eyelashes, making an endearing gesture.

Majima froze at that word. Was he? Did he ever really…? He didn’t want to think about that. Why did he end up this deep with his damn boss? That seemed like a good reason why people should never mix job and relationships; it could always end wrong. 

And now he was fucked.

Did he really love Kiryu? How could he love someone like that? Because he isn’t that bad, you moron, a voice in his head reminded him. 

But of course he was.

Maybe he needed a drink. Or twelve.

“Well, see you around, dear,” they said, standing up and leaving them alone again.

Majima sighed. Maybe he should just leave too, this didn’t make sense anymore. And he didn’t want to end up picking someone up to just talk about his ex; that would make things worse.

Standing up, he looked around one last time. People were having fun with their partners, their friends…and there he was, dragging his captain along with him to literally do nothing. If someone searched for the word ‘pathetic’ in a dictionary, it would show a picture of him. And maybe one of Nishida too.

“Are we leaving, sir?” His captain asked.

“Yeah,” Majima said curtly. He had enough for a night, and maybe for a few months more.

They started to move searching for the exit, when he spotted Daigo in one of those private booths. He was wearing more casual clothes, not the emo outfit he used to have, but nothing too fancy as a suit. And he was sitting beside a man, hanging an arm around him and looking really intimate. 

Heh, another who’s in the same boat, Majima thought.

Then, he glanced to his left and saw another man who didn’t seem to blend in the place —like this wasn’t his usual environment— standing out with his expensive suit, looking all handsome and a little bitchy. And staring directly at Daigo. Should he worry? He just seemed to observe the situation, maybe a little too interested in the kid. But nothing more.

Until—

“Have ya seen that?” Majima exclaimed, enough for his captain to hear him.

“Daigo flirting with a man, sir?”

“What? No, that man behind him…” Majima peered at that someone lurking on Daigo’s back, trying to see his face.

Something seemed suspicious.

Without thinking, Majima ran in his direction, startling Daigo, who removed his arm off the man.

“Majima-san!” He seemed afraid, looking at him in shock. Sounding drunk. “This is not what—,”

Then, a gun was fired. People started screaming. Running away and pushing each other, trying to escape. And, without knowing how that happened, he ended up pulling Daigo with him to hide behind a booth.

They found some cover, Majima pushing the kid to the floor. People kept yelling, strong enough to drown out the music until that went silent.

And now they could only hear the screams and the bullets being fired.

“What’s happening?” Daigo yelped, sounding afraid.

“I don’t fuckin’ know!” Majima answered, peering over the booth and trying to spot where the hitman was. 

All the time trying to stop the kid from getting up.

He saw two bodies laying on the floor wearing Daigo’s family crest, and if they were alive, they wouldn’t be for long with the crowd running over them. Fucking people. The mysterious lurking man had already disappeared and, where the fuck was Nishida? He just hoped nothing had happened to him or he would start killing all the thugs he found on the street until he found out who did it. Fuck if he had never wanted to kill someone before, no one would touch him.

Studying his surroundings more, he could spot his captain. For more he tried, nothing. Majima would blame himself eternally if he had managed to—

“I’m here, sir,” he heard his captain saying at his blind side.

Phew.

“Where the fuck were ya!?” Majima barked like he wasn’t happy to see him.

“Trying not to get killed, sir.”

More shootings.

And more screaming.

Quickly, the three of them hid again behind the booth. He couldn’t escape the situation without risking getting a bullet in their bodies and the police would surely come late as always. He didn’t come armed and the lights in the place didn’t make it easy to move. What the fuck could he do?

Daigo tried to stand up but Majima stopped him. “Where are you goin’? Ya idiot!”

“I can’t abandon my men!” He said with determination. Just like Kiryu would say. 

Ugh.

“And how are you gonna stop the bullets? With yer charm!? Just stay here!” Majima commanded and Daigo nodded, looking confused.

Majima peered again over the booth. No more dead bodies. 

Good.

Then, he saw a few men running and jumping over someone. That someone. They started beating him, removing the gun from his hand and kicking his shape until he didn’t move again.

Well, another dead body, then. And no way to know now who he was and why he was here. These fucking amateurs…

Although Majima had a feeling about who could be behind this, now he didn’t have a way to prove it.

“I think you’re safe now,” Majima commented.

Without losing more time, Daigo stood up and walked towards their men, who were trying to identify the dead man; they didn’t seem to have much success.

Couldn’t he have a normal night? For fuck’s sake…

They joined Daigo’s men; some of them were now apologizing to his patriarch while others still tried to find something useful in the hitman.

“Anything of importance?” Majima wondered, looking at the man lying on the ground.

“Nothing sir,” one of them informed them. “And thank you, sir. You saved our patriarch.” He bowed, too much for Majima’s taste.

“Whatever, those two did really the work,” he dismissed the man, pointing at the men who had been murdered defending Daigo. “We should leave now.”

But the kid seemed lost again, looking around at the bodies that lay in the ground; at his wounded men. Sobered up in that moment. He didn’t look happy with the outcome; Majima wouldn’t be, either. It never felt good to know someone would give their lives for them. Their existence wasn't worthier than theirs; it was unfair. But it was also part of the job, and Daigo had to get used to it. People would sacrifice for him all the time and he couldn’t do anything to stop it. He had Kiryu as an example. Their chairman always tried to defend everyone and everything all by himself, but that never worked out well; people always got involved even if he wanted to or not —Majima was guilty of that. And that was destroying Kiryu. So much it even corrupted him.

And Daigo would follow the same path. After all, he was Kiryu’s chosen one.

“Let’s move, Daigo,” Majima insisted, not wanting to waste more time.

Daigo nodded with a concerned gesture.

“Take our fallen men with us; we won’t leave them here,” he ordered and some of his men took the two dead bodies.

After that, all of them left the place trying not to draw much attention to them, getting separated after several minutes. The police had arrived just in time, as always, and people crowded around the entry of the place like moths attracted by the light. People were really weird. In the meantime, some of them took care of their dead men, and others followed his boss from a distance. And Daigo played with his phone. Was he sending a message?

“Where do ya wanna go?” Majima interrupted him.

“To my office. He is waiting for us there,” Daigo informed in a serious tone; he still seemed in shock.

“Who?” Majima narrowed his eye.

 

***

 

When they arrived at his door, he saw that damn grey suit.

“Are ya kidding me!?” Majima snapped.

“What?” Daigo glanced at him, seeming confused.

“Did ya call the fuckin’ chairman?” He didn’t want to meet him now.

“It’s there a problem?” Daigo really seemed puzzled.

“He’s the fuckin’ boss; ya can’t just call him for somehtin’ stupid,” Majima reprimanded.

Daigo looked affronted. “It’s not stupid; they tried to kill me!”

“And you’re still alive!” Majima yelped. This fucking kid...

Daigo frowned, looking ashamed now. “But he said—” he tried to excuse.

But he said,” Majima mimicked. “Just man up! Ya can’t call him every time somethin’ like this happens!” He barked, hoping he could understand. How the fuck was this person a patriarch? He was a fucking kid.

After that, they kept walking in silence, Majima feeling worse at every step. And Nishida looked at him, making an unreadable face. He just wanted to disappear.

Majima just wanted to enjoy the night, meet some random woman and maybe forget about his stupid existence. But no, of course not; he had to end the night encountering his ex after that awkward scene he caused.

Fantastic.

Sadly, they finally reached Kiryu at the door. He looked perfect, like always, as if he didn’t have nightmares every night, and had people who loved and cared for him at his side.

“Kiryu-san.” Daigo was the first one talking. “I’m so sorry, I shouldn’t have called you. I got scared,” he lamented, bowing at his presence.

“It’s ok, I told you to call me any time you needed it.” Kiryu smiled at the kid. So fucking endearing, Majima thought. He never said anything like that to him.

“What happened?” Kiryu wondered, a little worried.

“Someone tried to kill me, but we don’t know who was or why. He is now dead.”

Kiryu nodded, looking pensive. “We’ll try to find the ones responsible,” he assured him.

“But Majima-san helped me. I’m probably alive thanks to him,” Daigo kept saying and Majima couldn’t avoid making a disgusted face.

“Shut your face!” Majima yelped, feeling ashamed. He didn’t want to be in the spotlight.

But Kiryu smiled at him now. And that smile seemed completely different from what he offered to the kid, something more loving and charged with something he didn’t want to analyse. 

And it was in the moment Majima knew he was fucked.

“Thank you for lending me a hand, Majima-san,” he said with a smirk. The sucker. Did he just make an innuendo in front of the others?

“Whenever ya want, boss,” Majima retorted with a sarcastic tone, trying not to give in.

Kiryu huffed. “You didn’t say that the last time,” he joked.

And Majima didn’t know if he should laugh or punch him for the audacity of teasing him with that.

“Maybe ya didn’t ask properly,” Majima countered, making a face. Why the fuck were they flirting again? That needed to stop. Kiryu wasn’t good for him, he did something awful; Majima needed to remember that.

Kiryu shook his head with a regretful expression. They locked eyes and something passed between them, like time just froze. All the things left unsaid lingered between them, no one addressing the elephant in the room. Majima could still see the man he had fallen in love with in front of him, but it must be just an illusion. Or more like a delusion; just what he wanted to see.

Then, Majima dropped his eye to Kiryu’s hand, the one with the ring.

They couldn’t work out anyway, Majima needed to understand that. He needed to keep going and not hyper fixate over someone who would only hurt him.

Taking a deep breath, Majima looked at the sky.

Maybe in another life….

Nishida cleared his throat. “Sir, maybe we should leave.”

He looked around and saw Daigo a little too uncomfortable too. He almost felt tempted to stay, just to bother him further, but his captain was offering an escape and Majima would totally take the opportunity.

“Sure, we have more stuff to do,” he answered Nishida.

Kiryu nodded at him, looking suddenly sad. Did he still think he was hooking up with his captain? Whatever, it wasn’t his business anymore.

“Thank you again, Majima-san,” Daigo repeated.

“Sure,” Majima said, turning around without saying goodbye and leaving them alone. Surely they needed to talk about what just happened. In Deborah, of course. And maybe Daigo would need more protection.

But whatever; Majima didn’t care about any of this right now. He just felt sad and melancholic.

And he just wanted to go home and disappear under the cover of his bed.

 

***

 

“Last night someone attacked Daigo,” Kiryu informed the room full of concerned patriarchs.

With the news, all of them started to talk between them, making it almost impossible to understand a thing. But Majima didn’t care anyway. Having nightmares all night about Shimano and his men using any creative way for torturing him —and adding into the mix his fucking allergy— made this whole situation pointless. He couldn’t care less. Daigo was in danger, so what? Not his problem.

“Who did it?” One of the patriarchs asked.

“We still don’t know,” Kiryu admitted.

More talking.

“Tch, maybe if his men didn’t kill the hitman, we could have some info by now,” Majima reprimanded looking at Daigo, who seemed ashamed of that.

“And how do you know that?” Hamazaki wondered with a tone that he didn't like.

“’Cause I was there,” Majima retorted, narrowing his eye at him.

“What a coincidence, huh? Finding yourself in the middle of an attack,” Hamazaki kept saying.

Majima didn’t appreciate the direction of this conversation, even less after the shitty night he had. “Are you tryin’ to start somethin’?” Because he wouldn’t mind stabbing him right now.

“He didn’t do anything wrong,” Daigo interrupted. “In fact, he saved me.”

People started talking again.

“Then, he did something wrong!” Someone joked in the background; Daigo looked hurt by that.

“Oh, so you’re his dog too? Should we call ya ‘Mad Dog of Dojima’, now?” Kanda proposed with a disgusting smile.

And Majima tried to ignore the other possible implications of that suggestion, although he couldn't avoid regretting his decision to help. He knew what happened when someone acted like that. Now he would become the punching bag of these assholes.

“Or maybe this whole thing is a plan,” Hamazaki added between laughs.

Majima didn’t have the time for this bullshit. What would happen if he started a fight right here?

“Yeah, maybe it is, but not exactly mine,” Majima commented, glaring directly at Kanda, who seemed unbothered with the whole situation.

“Enough!” Kiryu shouted before Majima could say something he could regret later.

“But, why would Majima-san save this man? That’s so out of character for him,” Hamazaki beamed at him. “I always thought you only followed strong men and Daigo doesn’t seem your type. If he can’t save himself, he isn’t worthy,” he smirked at him, feeling full of himself. 

Majima didn’t know how to feel about that statement. It repulsed him to believe that only strong people were worthy to be protected when it was the other way around. And Daigo, in this case, needed his help at that moment and he didn’t hesitate in offering some; after all the kid had people who cared about him when no one would care about Majima. He just found it natural to act like that. So, why wouldn’t he? He could use the excuse as they needed to protect the clan, but Majima knew deep down the truth, and maybe others had started to see him for who he was.

And that made him shiver.

But then he remembered how many times he had proclaimed that shit about himself. How many times he had said that strength was the only thing that mattered.

And how messed up that was. Sure, it was a necessity in their line of work, but that didn’t make it right.

Majima felt suddenly on edge; all that shit Hamazaki was saying… Part of him thought he was trying to bring up Saejima, but that didn’t make sense, what could he know? And yes, he had found himself in the situation of surviving and not risking more than he should for helping people; Majima wasn’t proud of it. Although he never stopped caring. That was a part of him he needed to keep; without his humanity, he would have got lost so many years ago behind all the masks he needed to wear. That part of him stayed always dormant and appeared at the times he least expected; he wouldn’t stay unbothered when he saw something unfair happening in front of him, but he usually couldn’t do much to help either. It wasn’t good to be caught showing interest in something or someone if he didn’t want that used against him, and apparently he had failed again for trying to help someone. That made him sick. Why did he have to act like that? No one ever worried about him or helped him, why should he care for the same people who ignored him? Even more when they didn’t deserve his attention —he wouldn't go as far as Kiryu did. He wasn’t that naive and he knew when to stop. His experiences had shown him when to give up and when it was too dangerous to keep going. When someone deserved his efforts and when not. More or less, he still had to work on that.

But the case was... people did care for him, not many, but some. Like Nishitani; he gave his life for his and now he paid back his sacrifice with a mediocre life. He would surely be disappointed if he could see him. He had let too many assholes get away with their actions when he knew it was wrong.

However, maybe he shouldn’t be so hard on himself —and this alone seemed like a big step for him. This thing with Daigo had shown him that this part of him, the good one, was still there. Sometimes he gave in and acted following his impulses. Following what he considered right and saved the people who he felt the need to help. Maybe there was still some hope for him after all, maybe not all was lost and he could become the man he had always wanted to be.

He had been scared for too long that he almost forgot he could be better; to the point that he believed himself the mask he sported. That mask that everyone seemed to consider real.

But now he had enough power to do the things right without the need to hide it; not to be the hero, but just a man he could feel proud to be.  He just needed to remember Shimano wasn’t alive anymore.

He wasn’t the fucking ‘Mad Dog of Shimano’.

Or was he?

Majima glanced at Kiryu, who was looking at him with a strange expression, and then he remembered that he would never be a free man. He wasn’t strong enough for that. If he wanted to stay in this world, he needed to protect himself and his reputation; a man without it was as good as dead. He almost wanted to laugh; Kiryu always seemed so easy to read for him, but after what happened…he couldn’t say that anymore. Did he really know that man?

But maybe he shouldn’t care anymore about those things. About his reputation or about the clan. Kiryu failed him and Majima thought everything was lost; no more hope in the world. Why would he try? But that was when he understood that he didn’t have to get better for someone else, but for himself. Because he was going to be alone and he should get comfortable with the only person who would stay in his life. 

No one else, just him.

But then—

“The dog isn’t going to bark back?” Hamazaki asked, obviously bothered and interrupting his thoughts. Maybe he should thank him for that; he was starting to spiral and doing so in the middle of a meeting didn’t seem the best idea.

“Well, what can I say?” Majima began. “Ya don’t know shit about me.” He flashed a sarcastic smile; he didn’t even know himself sometimes.

“Oh, don’t I? You seem to have a special sore spot for him,” Hamazaki countered with a tone that reflected how much he knew. Had he been looking him up? Would he be in more trouble than he thought?

And that made him shudder. What was he referring to? This showed he had to control himself better, that any wrong step could be his end. He wasn’t safe.

He would never be.

All his fear came back at him, pushing him against the ground like a tsunami would destroy all in its path. All over again doubting himself, who he was for real and what remained left of him. Maybe Hamazaki was right, maybe he cared too much about his reputation.

Maybe he couldn’t be saved.

They stayed in silence for a while. A very tense moment. Majima’s thoughts were racing, too anxious to really grasp any of the ideas that formed in his brain. When he thought he had reached a conclusion, a new idea, a scary one, crossed his mind and shattered everything else. Things were getting too complicated and he needed to go. To think.

Would this hell ever end?

“If any of you find something about the attack, I’d appreciate the information,” Kiryu suddenly said, bringing him back to the present. “The meeting is dismissed.”

Patriarchs started leaving the room, but Majima didn’t even stand up, still pensive. 

And tired.

Why was he still here? His promises; his fucking promises. But apart from that, why? He didn’t like this life; in fact, he never did. He wanted to do something completely different with his life, maybe even be a professional baseball player. But life was a bitch and no one could control how things unfold and molded their destiny. Sure, they could make choices, there was always the possibility to pick one or another path, but not every time. And now he felt lost and trapped, with no options to break free from this nightmare.

“Majima-san,” he heard Kiryu’s concerned voice. “Are you ok?”

Majima raised his head, staring directly at him, not even knowing with what expression. He didn’t care right now. Maybe he had anger on his face, or maybe he only showed sadness. Whatever. Anything he felt, it would be there for him to see.

“Yes,” Majima obviously lied.

Funnily enough, Kiryu ‘Oblivious’ Kazuma did seem to notice, but didn’t push forward. Or say anything else. Kiryu just fidgeted with his ring and Majima found it very annoying. What did he want now? Could he leave already?

Majima took a deep breath.

“Are you busy now?” Kiryu began.

“Why?” Majima snapped, maybe too quickly.

“Well, I need you to join us at another meeting. I need to ask you something,” Kiryu explained.

And now everything made sense. Kiryu was just trying to be nice to take something from him. As always. Everyone seemed to only care about him for what he could do for them like it was the only thing he could offer. He needed to remember that.

“Sure,” Majima said, standing up against his better judgment.

They walked to his office, already wary of the situation. When Kiryu opened the door, he saw Haruka again wearing big headphones, Yumi sitting in what used to be his place and Kashiwagi at her side.

Awesome.

Majima took his new place beside Kiryu’s desk, and resting his back against the wall, he waited for this shit to end.

But it seemed far away from that.

He glanced at Yumi, who seemed really busy with her phone, smiling at the screen. Weird. Even Kiryu noticed it. Two times in a row, impressive, Majima thought. She kept sending what it looked like messages, sounding a ping now and then, like she had received a response. 

Could she stop so they could start and leave?

Kiryu started to tap his finger over his desk, unamused. “Yumi, do you mind?” He said in an exasperated tone.

She raised her head, looking confused. “Oh? Ah…sorry,” she pocketed her phone, looking a little ashamed.

Kiryu sighed, rolling his eyes. “Well, let’s start.” He cleared his throat. “I think the hitman could have been sent by someone from the Tojo.”

Kashiwagi frowned. “Do you think we have another traitor?”

Majima huffed. “Tch, I wouldn’t be surprised. And I don’t just mean the rat thing, but because it’s Daigo and Kiryu is treatin’ him like his fave,” he pronounced in a mocking way. “I understand people are aimin’ at him.”

“Do you have anything to complain about, Majima?” Kashiwagi wondered. He could feel Kiryu’s gaze on him, piercing him.

“Complain? Yeah, a lot. But about this in general…” Majima made a pause. “Don’t ya see what are you doin’? You’re basically puttin’ a bounty over his head. Whoever manages to kill the kid, is gonna fuck with ya too. And I don’t know if ya noticed, but we’re surrounded by rats greedy for blood.”

“I did notice, yes,” Kashiwagi said in a tone he didn’t appreciate.

“Somethin’ ya wanna say now?” Majima gave back.

“Yes,” Kashiwagi started. “Should we really trust you?”

Majima didn’t expect that. “What?” He couldn’t believe this shit. There were some days it seemed better to never get up. “After all the shit I’ve done, ya still think I’m behind this?”

“I’m just saying you don’t have the best relationship with our chairman right now,” the advisor explained.

That felt like a slap. “What does that even mean? Do I have to be suckin’ his—,” Majima stopped himself before finishing the sentence, glancing at Haruka who still looked unaware of everything. Kiryu seemed highly uncomfortable, though.

Not even to mention Yumi.

Oh well… It wasn’t a secret anymore, anyway.

“I’m not a fuckin’ traitor,” he resumed. No need to say more.

“We will see, I guess,” Kashiwagi let it drop.

‘Fuck you’, Majima mouthed.

Sighing, Kiryu spoke again. “Majima-san, could you take care of Daigo?”

Majima didn’t like the sound of that. “What do ya mean?” He said, suspicious.

“We think there must be someone inside the clan trying to eliminate him, so we need your help,” Kiryu explained.

“Like Kanda? Yeah, he seems really pissed off with the kid for killin’ off his boss. What a surprise, huh?”

Kiryu showed some awkwardness on his face. “So, will you?”

Majima peered at him, not saying a word. He didn’t like this, he didn’t want more clan problems and to have to deal with Daigo’s. 

“I don’t have a family of my own to back him up. And maybe people will try to mess with his family, trying to take territory from him,” Kiryu kept insisting.

Fucking no. “Excuse me!? And why I have to take care of him? If he is a little weak shit it’s not my problem. Besides, defendin’ him won’t really help him. He needs to show his own power, not dependin’ on anyone else or he’s gonna end eatin’ dust. You’re not helpin’ him like that.”

“But, in the meantime…” Kiryu tried, putting on a serious face.

“What? Until he manages to man up I have to babysit him? Do I really have to take care of everythin’? Again? If ya really wanna help him, give him the means to protect himself or let him go.”

People always used him, that was his only use and Majima felt tired of this whole shit. He deserved something better than this treatment.

Kiryu made a face. “I know and I’m sorry to ask you, but I wouldn’t if I didn’t know you are capable enough of that.”

“Oh, so first I was a traitor, now I’m the most resourceful man in the room,” Majima mocked.

“I’m here, you know?” Yumi smirked at him.

“I said man,” Majima said, annoyed.

“And I didn’t say you were a traitor,” Kiryu corrected him.

“Ya didn’t deny it either.” Majima crossed his arms, looking at the door.

“Majima…” Kiryu tried again.

“No,” Majima said quickly.

Kiryu frowned. “Why not?”

“’Cause he is a fool,” Majima commented.

“He is not,” Kiryu countered.

But Majima ignored him. He just wanted to leave. Maybe just go to his house and sleep another month.

“And if I give you the order?” Kiryu finally demanded.

Majima wanted to scream. “Are we really startin’ with this shit again?” He hissed, narrowing his eye at him. They always ended up arguing about everything, and it seemed obvious there was still some unresolved tension between them that wouldn’t fade away magically.

“Well, you’re making me do it,” Kiryu defended himself, looking unsure of what he was saying.

“Oh, now it's my fault. Again.”

Kiryu sighed. “It’s not…I…”

Kashiwagi and Yumi looked at them like they were watching a tennis match: bored but also interested in the result.

“So, you are not following my orders, right?” Kiryu commented, not even annoyed, just stating a fact.

Majima felt a shiver running down his spine. Could that mean…? No…Kiryu wouldn’t do that to him. Would he?

“Maybe,” Majima dared anyway. “Are you gonna do somethin’ about that?” Maybe he was really crazy because he didn’t understand why he just said that.

However, Kiryu seemed more taken aback, maybe even ashamed. Not the reaction he expected. Was he trying to manipulate Majima into helping him?

“Daigo is a fuckin’ kid,” Majima exploded. “I’m not gonna put my ass at risk for him.”

Kiryu looked completely lost. “Why not? You already did.” 

“Yeah, that was a mistake. I’m not gonna help a fuckin’ Dojima,” Majima blurted in a rush, stepping forward, getting closer to Kiryu. For some reason, he just wanted to piss Kiryu off. And he finally managed to do so.

The Dragon of Dojima frowned, finally getting caught into his trap. For a moment, he seemed to be studying him, tightening his lips to probably stop himself from falling into the taunt. But he could see he just wanted to give in too.  “I was a Dojima once,” he commented in a threatening tone.

Majima smirked. Just where he wanted to end the fucking conversation. “Yeah, like Shimano was once too.”

Something changed in Kiryu’s eyes, now full of fire. Without anything else to say, Kiryu stood up, slowly enough to put Majima on edge. What would he do?

“Do you want to add something else?” Kiryu began, staring at him without blinking, feeling his anger in every word he said.

Majima gulped, suddenly coming to realize what he had done. But he couldn’t back down. Not now.

Flashbacks of his time in the hole started to pass before his eye, his only fucking eye. He had never thought Kiryu would be that kind of person, but obviously Majima had to be wrong once again. 

Kiryu was the chairman, the boss. Obedience was expected and he needed to follow the rules. He always did. What was he thinking? Kiryu could send him to the hole with the others. Again. And Majima knew he wouldn’t be able to survive this another time; he didn’t want to experience that shit again. 

Why did he just open his mouth?

He needed to make the right choice here, even if he didn’t want to. Suffering again for his stupid behaviour wasn’t a thing he wanted to do. He hadn’t survived that shit to end up in the same place again.

“Do you just want an obedient dog? Have it yer way,” Majima snapped, turning around.

“Majima-san, wait,” Kiryu roared, but Majima left the room.

He walked through the hallways, encountering all the patriarchs, some shooting him mocking glares while others felt afraid of him. And Majima just wanted to stab them all. Be free. How foolish he was, thinking he got free of Shimano to just walk directly into the same trap again. After all the effort it took him to overcome, to take control again over his life by starting his family and dishing Shimano’s after his death, feeling free again after basically a whole life being a slave… All for nothing. He couldn’t have nice things in his life. Maybe getting thrown in the pit wouldn’t be a bad option in the end.

Just suffering a little more to stop suffering altogether.

Look at Majima-san, he surely had another fight with the chairman,” he heard someone saying.

They are always like that. But it’s obvious Kiryu-san can beat him,” another one mocked.

Majima started breathing heavily, unable to stop listening to the people talking around him.

He’s even helping little Dojima,” someone mumbled.

Yeah, he would do anything for his Kiryu-chan,” a man teased.

When did people start to see through him? He couldn’t sleep on that; he needed to do something to prove them wrong. It was obvious now, he couldn’t be free; he needed his mask to survive or he would end dying at their mercy. Humiliated. And he wouldn’t accept that.

One.

Two.

Three.

Four…

Majima tried to calm himself down. He should leave, not think any more about this. Maybe even disappear.

He’s just using him. He is so loyal.” That one was Hamazaki’s sneering. That fucking bastard.

And that was it.

Majima took his tanto and walked directly to Kiryu’s office.

He went crazy!” Someone shouted.

But Majima didn’t care anymore.

Kicking the door, he stormed into the room, where they all kept talking without him.

Kashiwagi glanced at him with an exasperated look.

Yumi seemed concerned about his behaviour.

Kiryu stood up, expectant for what was coming.

And Haruka…Haruka opened her eyes, scared. And Majima wouldn’t ever forgive himself for making her feel like this again.

But he couldn’t stop himself either.

With his tanto in hand, he walked directly towards Kiryu, ignoring all the people who tried to stop him. Looking at how Yumi ran to Haruka’s side like he was some kind of monster. And maybe he was in the end. 

Kashiwagi put himself in his way, but Majima just pushed him aside without much effort.

Other men grabbed his arms, but Majima fought them to get free, not holding back any of his strength.

And, finally, he stood up in front of Kiryu, pointing at his face with his knife and breathing hard as he did. But he didn’t move, didn’t even flinch. He just stared at him with the same confidence as always, thinking Majima wouldn’t ever hurt him.

Cocky bastard.

Suddenly, Daigo appeared from nowhere, grabbing his armed hand. But Majima knocked him down easily; it felt obvious why the kid needed protection.

Majima pointed at Kiryu again with his tanto, hearing more people coming at him to stop this.

“Leave him,” Kiryu ordered before someone else could touch him.

Good.

“Are you insane?” Kashiwagi shouted, recovering himself.

“Oh, I thought ya always believed that,” Majima said in a sneering tone, making a pouty face.

But the advisor didn’t dare to answer. Maybe he felt really scared of him now. No more funny remarks, huh?

Kiryu stared at him with an expression somewhere between anger and sadness. But Majima didn’t want to care. He could feel his heartbeat racing in his chest, his head quickly developing a migraine, and all the adrenaline rushing through his body making him do something this stupid.

For a few seconds, they didn’t do anything. Nor talk or move. Maybe not even breathe. Everyone expecting his next move. The tension in the room was almost tangible and Majima just decided to make the wait longer.

“What do you want?” Kiryu finally asked.

Majima smirked. “A fight. If you can beat me, then ya can do whatever the fuck ya want with me.”

Kiryu frowned. Majima was almost expecting his usual comeback about that not being necessary because Majima would end up losing anyway. But it never came.

“You really want that?” Kiryu asked.

“Yes. You have all the fuckin’ clan as witness,” Majima smiled again.

“As you want.”

 

***

 

If Kiryu was honest, he had never seen Majima acting this feral. That made him wonder, did Majima hold back every time they fought? Because it seemed like that. It took extra effort from Kiryu to dodge every blow, to counter every kick. Any wrong step and he could end up dying here. Would really Majima do that? After all, Kiryu still trusted him, but he couldn’t deny feeling afraid of that possible outcome. Right now, Majima was out of his mind. And Kiryu didn’t know what had happened.

After they broke up, they had barely talked, let alone fight. And Kiryu felt rusty, finding it difficult to get used to Majima’s moves again, always quick enough to block the most dangerous hits. Until today, they had always had more civil fights, where they both knew how that would end. Never pushing to this limit. Kiryu didn’t like it; he didn’t want to hurt Majima, but he found the need to go full strength against him. That was the only way he could confront him now.

And that pained Kiryu deeply. Not only for the obvious damage he was receiving, but because he still didn’t understand how they had ended up in this situation. Months ago, they used to be good friends, lovers. Kiryu thought of Majima as a vitally important part of his life; and he still did. But Majima didn’t seem to think the same. He wished he could fix this, to go back to being friends at least. Sometimes it even felt like Majima wanted the same, but not now. Majima kept pushing him aside and no matter what Kiryu tried, nothing would work.

If they could go back to the past… If he could find what caused all this. Kiryu missed Majima even having him at his side, because this wasn’t the man he got to know but a fragment he showed to the rest. To the people he didn’t trust.

Kiryu wanted to be that special person for Majima again, but it couldn’t be.

He could see himself reflected in Majima’s eye and he didn’t like what he saw. Was he really the monster Majima tried to imply? He felt like that. The Tojo had broken his entire life; it gave him the opportunity to meet Majima, but it also destroyed their relationship. 

He really needed to leave this nightmare.

“Majima, stop!” Kiryu tried, avoiding getting stabbed for the umpteenth time.

“Why should I? We aren’t done yet!” Majima kicked his abdomen, sending him against the floor. Feeling the cold on his naked torso, he almost welcomed the soothing feeling.

“We don’t have to keep fighting!”

Majima jumped over him, with the tanto in his hand. “Why? Are you scared to lose now? No more cocky remarks?” He moved his knife, trying to make a cut that didn’t reach.

Kiryu felt exhausted, and couldn't even breathe properly. His eyes were swollen from Majima’s punches and he barely could see him in the same state.

“You don’t have to prove anything more,” Kiryu said the most calm way he could.

“Oh, I beg to differ,” Majima sneered, putting the tanto over Kiryu’s neck.

Kiryu gulped.

“What’s your problem?” Kiryu tried again, thinking this could be his last words. Mostly because Majima didn’t seem to take it right.

“What’s my problem?” Majima loomed over him, moving the tanto closer to his neck, making it impossible for him to escape. “Y’know? I could make you a list seein’ how you’re takin’ care of the Tojo, takin’ the pacifistic route. But probably the icing on the cake was you sendin’ two of my men to get fuckin’ tortured just because one of them decided to pay the attention that ya don’t give to yer wife,” Majima hissed in his face. “I expected better from ya.”

Kiryu frowned, feeling more offended by his words than for having Majima ready to make the final cut. “I didn’t.”

Majima froze in the act. “Ya didn’t what?”

“Send your men into torture.”

“Sure.” Majima didn’t sound convinced, but finally he stopped. “Tryin’ to win some time? Are ya?” He quivered and Kiryu understood this was his moment.

Taking advantage of that, Kiryu grabbed and threw his tanto away, pushing Majima to the ground and pinning him against it with his hands around his wrists.

Majima opened his eye in shock. “Let me go!” He demanded.

“No, now listen,” Kiryu said calmly.

But Majima wasn’t listening to him. “Don’t fuckin’ touch me!” He yelped, trying to slip away.

Panicking.

Majima jolted under him, breathing hard, avoiding eye contact. They had been in a similar situation some time ago. At the time, Kiryu tried to dismiss it as just being something fleeting, thinking Majima felt like he was under too much pressure those days. And he was still. But it felt deeper than that; Majima shivered, getting paler at every passing moment. He almost looked like he would throw up. And Kiryu had never felt so disgusted with himself.

“Will you stop if I let you go?” Kiryu asked, worried about his reaction.

“No,” Majima rushed to say, still searching for a way to free himself.

Of course, Majima wouldn’t make it easy.

“Majima-san, relax.” Kiryu didn’t know what to say, how to act. Just trying what felt natural for him.

“Maybe when you let me go,” Majima whined, sounding more distressed than he ever heard him.

“I will when I know you won’t do something you will regret later.”

“So what? So ya can send me to the fuckin’ hole again? No thanks.” Majima moved violently, kicking Kiryu’s gut, making him groan in pain.

After recovering, Kiryu looked at him, feeling ashamed. “Why would I!?”

“Because all of you are fuckin’ assholes. Y’all use yer strength for the same shit!” Majima tried one last time, almost managing to free a hand from Kiryu’s grip, but Kiryu felt the need to tighten his hands around him. If he let him go, he didn’t know what he could do right now.

After that, Majima froze under him, finally staring at him with a mix of disgust, sadness. And fear.

“I’m not going to hurt you,” Kiryu assured.

“I’ve heard that before,” he mumbled in a monotone tone.

“Why would I?” Kiryu frowned, feeling lost.

“Why wouldn’t you? You’re obviously stronger than me,” Majima lamented, sounding wary of every word he said.

Kiryu didn’t understand that; it took all his effort to stop Majima and yet, he was still fighting back. How could he think he was weak? “I don’t want to use my strength to control people,” he retorted, finding it stupid to say that now while pinning Majima against the ground. But he really didn’t want that.

“Funny ya say that now,” Majima seemed to notice the same, his face contorting in. Kiryu could settle for that. “You already did once, it’s just time for ya to follow the path of corruption.”

Oh, for fuck’s sake. “I fucking didn’t!” Kiryu shouted, angrier than he should.

Majima fell quiet, staring at him without blinking. And he couldn’t read his demeanour anymore. He just wanted to fix this and let him go, but he didn’t know if anything he would say to him now would reach him.

But he needed to try.

“They are alive and well,” Kiryu continued, looking at his reaction.

Majima seemed baffled. “What?” 

“They are in Okinawa, you can talk with them if you want.” 

Majima seemed hopeful. “That’s a lie,” he said anyway.

Taking a deep breath, Kiryu insisted again. “Kashiwagi made sure they could start a new life over. You can ask him.”

What!?” Majima blurted.

“That’s the truth,” Kiryu assured, hoping he would finally believe him.

But Majima wouldn’t let it drop easily. “And why do I have to believe you?” He wondered, sounding doubtful.

“And why would you think I’ve done that? I would never,” Kiryu answered, feeling offended all over again.

Frowning, Majima just kept staring at him. And Kiryu could see in his single eye all of the stages of human emotions until he shook his head like he had finally connected the dots.

“I—” Majima began, shouting his mouth closed after a second, completely speechless. And ashamed of himself. “Why didn’t you tell me then?” He whined, looking at him like he didn’t want to be seen.

Kiryu sighed. He could say Kashiwagi had stopped him from that many times, not thinking Majima would be trustworthy, that he wouldn’t take him seriously and would be a problem in the end. If Majima really wanted to make things difficult for Kiryu, that information would be an easy way to do so. Ironically; things went worse following his plan. Still, it probably wasn’t the best option now. “I did try, many times. But you never let me.”

Majima seemed to start relaxing, so Kiryu loosened the hold on his wrists. And that was the moment he realized how much tension he had been through, and how much strength he had to use to restrain Majima in place. Now he felt bad all over again.

Without wasting a second, Majima pushed Kiryu aside, getting up in a rush. For a moment, Kiryu panicked, thinking he would try to retrieve his tanto and keep up the fight. But no; Majima stopped at the edge of the porch where they always used to fight, under the already dark sky. Gladly no one was around to see them.

Kiryu walked slowly to his side, afraid of how Majima might react. He was still breathing hard, his eye staring at nowhere, lost. Still shaken and full of bruises he had put there himself. Kiryu just wanted to hug him, to take care of his wounds, maybe just talk about all this thing, but he didn’t know how to start.

Carefully, he looked at Majima’s face with worry when he didn’t move at his presence, looking defeated. Drained. His eye red.

“Are you ok?” Kiryu asked in a soft voice.

That startled Majima, who finally acknowledged him.  “Eh? Yes,” he lied.

“Your eye…” Kiryu began, not feeling confident enough to finish the sentence.

“Fuck off, I have allergies,” Majima dismissed, avoiding eye contact.

Somehow, Kiryu didn't believe that was the real reason.

With determination, Kiryu stepped forward, wrapping his arms around Majima.

“What are you doin’!?” He exclaimed, looking uncomfortable and recoiling from him.

Still, Kiryu passed his arms around his figure, hugging Majima with care to not hurt him more and resting his head against his naked shoulder. He didn’t know if Majima needed this, but he totally did.

Majima tensed for a few seconds, not knowing how to react. Maybe unsure of the situation. To be fair, they had barely hugged; Kiryu always was the one who initiated those kinds of things and Majima always stood awkwardly under his attention. Kiryu didn’t mind if he didn’t want to kiss or hug him; perhaps he just didn’t like that, but he never complained.

That was why Kiryu felt surprised to feel Majima’s arms enveloping him tightly. They both were sweating and hurting, however, they didn’t care right now. Even if it was just for a moment, he felt loved now, that not everything was lost. That what they had could still be fixed. It gave him a little hope. 

But maybe he shouldn’t dwell too much on those thoughts.

Majima started trembling a little, hiding his face in the crook of Kiryu’s neck. Did he do something wrong? Did he overstep? Feeling something wet falling over his shoulder, he finally understood. And he didn’t know how to react. What could he do to soothe him? He had never seen Majima crying before and it broke him to think he had put him in this situation. That someone as strong as Majima and always so cautious with how he showed himself, would open himself up like this in front of someone he considered a monster.

What could he do to fix this?

His eyes started to burn too, tightening his hold on Majima, not leaving a free space between them now. Carefully, he started to caress his back, trying to reassure him. But that only made Majima cry harder. 

Was he making it worse?

“I’m sorry,” Kiryu lamented with tears in his eyes.

“No, I’m sorry,” Majima sobbed against his neck.

“It’s ok,” Kiryu assured him.

“It’s not,” Majima retorted.

And maybe it wasn’t. But Majima shouldn’t be blamed here.  

They stood like this for a long moment, until Majima finally relaxed. Until Kiryu recovered himself. And he didn’t want to let him go, but they couldn’t be like this forever.

Slowly, Kiryu disentangled himself from Majima, who let him go without complaint. He looked ashamed and Kiryu wanted to tell him not to be, although that could result in another fight.

“Let’s go to my office. We really need to talk,” Kiryu told him, sadly.

Majima nodded in silence and they started to collect their clothes.

His body hurt like hell and he thought he would have a difficult time sleeping tonight. If only they could just…

Kiryu stopped the thought. He needed to focus on Majima now.

Entering his office without encountering anyone in the way, Kiryu went directly to the water heater to prepare some tea for the conversation they had ahead of them.

Majima sat in what used to be his chair and Kiryu went to collect some stuff from his first aid kit to patch them up. At first, Majima shot him a confused glare, only getting more concerned when Kiryu brought a cup of tea for him.

“Stop treating me like a kid,” Majima protested, sounding wary.

“I’ll do it when you stop acting like one,” Kiryu answered, winning himself an offended gesture. “If you had come to talk to me earlier, this whole thing could have been avoided,” he explained, getting on his knees in front of Majima and grabbing his hand to tend to the cuts he had there. Majima flinched at the contact, but didn’t move back.

Good.

Now they were at the same level, Majima’s face in front of him. He felt tempted to kiss him, but he knew that wouldn’t be welcome. While Kiryu worked on his wounds, Majima studied Kiryu’s hand, the one with the ring and shook his head.

Probably wouldn’t have been welcome.

From his hands passed to his neck and chest, making a great effort to not look as nervous as he felt. Still, Majima let him work on him without making it more awkward than he should and Kiryu was glad for that. Gladly there weren’t many cuts that needed his attention —probably Kiryu had more— but he would take care of that later.

“It still hurts me to think you thought I’d be able to do that,” Kiryu commented absently, paying attention to his wounds.

Majima huffed, raising his head. “Well, I’m not good at talkin’,” he excused.

“You don’t say?” Kiryu retorted, finishing with him.

Majima made a face, but didn’t say anything. “Let me help you,” he offered.

“It’s ok—” Kiryu dismissed but Majima wasn’t taking a ‘no’ for an answer. He pushed Kiryu to the next chair and started to emulate the same, taking care of every cut in silence. A silence only interrupted by Kiryu’s whimpers. Majima did really go hard on him.

He seemed really focused on what he was doing, having a long lock hanging over his only eye. Without thinking, Kiryu passed it behind Majima’s ear; this way he could see his serious face. And his shock when he did that.

“Your hair is longer than usual,” Kiryu pointed out, a little ashamed of what he just did.

“Oh?” Majima seemed baffled.

“Your hair, I never managed to make it stay in place. It’s longer now,” he repeated, a little too nervous.

“Oh…yeah,” Majima admitted, averting his eye and focusing on the last cut. Something seemed off but Kiryu didn’t want to push him more; he had enough for a day or maybe a whole month and he just wanted to make him feel a little better if he could.

After that, Kiryu took his usual chair, thinking it would be better to stay away from Majima. At least he wouldn’t make him uncomfortable anymore.

“Well, ya win,” Majima started. “What do ya want me to do?”

“I didn’t,” Kiryu simply said.

But Majima looked at him with a big frown.

“If you wouldn’t have given up, you could have stabbed me,” Kiryu explained.

“I didn’t want to stab you,” Majima assured him, scratching his neck.

Kiryu couldn’t resist looking at him with a tender smile. But, again, Majima seemed bothered with the situation.

“Anyway, I want you to reconsider if you really want to stay,” Kiryu finally commented.

“Where?”

“In the clan.”

Majima shot him a piercing gaze. “Do ya think I’m too weak for this?” He sounded irritated.

“No, I think you are too good for this place. The Tojo doesn't deserve all you do for us.”

That took Majima by surprise, but Kiryu didn’t want to let him speak before he could finish.

“As I told you before, I know you stayed here for me. You don’t have to. You are a free man, nii-san,” he said without thinking. “Majima-san,” he corrected himself.

“I stayed because I wanted to,” Majima commented. And yet, Kiryu didn’t believe him; he knew he wanted to leave a year ago and he knew he didn’t care about the Tojo. It seemed useless to lie now.

“And yet, you don’t seem to want to be here anymore.”

Majima huffed, looking like he was really considering it. “Maybe it would be the best, yeah.”

Even if Kiryu was the one who offered the deal, he didn’t feel prepared to hear that. What would he do in the Tojo without him? But he couldn’t keep him there just for his selfish thoughts. And, in the end, Kiryu would leave too eventually. He would just miss him here in the meantime.

Majima stood up. “I think I’m gonna leave then,” he announced.

Kiryu’s heart skipped a beat. He knew he was the one who offered him to go, but he didn’t think it would be this soon. He would be lost without him.

Majima made an unreadable face; if he couldn’t read him before, now it seemed impossible.

“The room,” Majima clarified, but Kiryu had the feeling he didn’t mean that. Did he make him stay again for his reaction? He really needed to control his emotions.

Nevertheless, Kiryu nodded in silence and saw how Majima disappeared behind the doors. Maybe he wasn’t prepared for this conversation yet.

Resting his head against his chair, he took a deep breath. What was he doing right now?

 

***

 

“Kazuma?” Kiryu heard someone calling.

“Majima?” He said, raising his head from the desk. When did he fall asleep?

Yumi gasped when he saw his face. “What happened?” She rushed to see if he had more urgent wounds.

“It’s ok,” Kiryu dismissed, stopping her.

“Dad, are you ok?” Haruka wondered, fear in her voice.

He didn’t even notice she was here, too.

“I am,” he promised, feeling like shit.

“Did Majima do this?” Yumi questioned with anger.

How could he explain this?

“Have you been crying?” Haruka got closer to him, peering at him with worry.

“I…” What could he say? A kid shouldn’t deal with these kinds of problems.

And Yumi seemed to understand it. “Haruka, dear, sit there, ok? Play with your console.”

Haruka glanced at her with confusion, old enough to understand what was happening. More or less. She was growing so fast. Still, she obeyed, leaving them alone at the desk.

“What the fuck happened?” Yumi whispered; and he never saw her this way.

Where could he start? “Majima-san is leaving the clan.”

“What? Why?”

“I know he is important and all, you both always insist on that. But he doesn’t want to be here anymore. So he is probably leaving.”

“But, why? Why would he leave you? And why would he beat you like this? I don’t understand.”

Kiryu stayed in silence, not knowing how to explain everything. This whole time, he had been thinking Majima felt pressured to be with him, scared of him, and that was why Kiryu wanted him to leave and be free from his influence; but after the fight he saw that that couldn’t be the reason. If Majima stayed, it was because he had wanted to. The same as why he broke up with him. Nothing was pushing him to do one thing or another more than his own desires; when they started their relationship, it was because he wanted to pursue it too and, when he broke it, it was because he also wanted to, probably feeling disappointed with what Kiryu could offer. He understood that. Majima still was a loyal man even after all those times that he had failed him, trying to help him with the Tojo and the oath even when he should have to, and Majima deserved something better than this.

He could see that now.

“Kazuma, what happened?” She insisted, her patience wearing thin.

Kiryu sighed. “We aren’t together anymore. We haven’t been for months now.”

“What!?”

“And, in fact, I’m probably leaving too. Someday, when Daigo is prepared for this.”

Yumi seemed more shocked every time. “Look, if you don’t want to tell me what happened between you two, it’s ok. I know you’re a very private man,” she finally accepted. “But I don’t understand it. And you want to leave?”

“Yes.” He could give her all the reasons why, but it seemed pretty obvious. “We can divorce if you want. Go to Okinawa with Haruka and Shiro and start a new life. I know you want to,” he proposed.

Yumi frowned. “I’m not leaving you with these people alone. Not now. There will be plenty of time to get divorced, but now it will be a mistake. And Haruka would be sad if we leave without you. We can protect her together until you can finally leave.”

Kiryu huffed, part of him felt relieved to know he still had her at his side, and that he would be able to see Haruka. But he didn’t want this life for them. He never wanted it. Sometimes he wondered how Yumi had managed to keep herself sane; after all, she lost many people, just like him. And yet, he could count on her even if he was a failure. Some stability inside his personal hell.

“I put you in a difficult situation, I know, and I’m not leaving. Was that why Majima broke with you? For his men?”

Kiryu would like to stop talking about this. “No, it was before.”

Now she seemed even more lost. “Why, for that cop?”

Kiryu took a deep breath. It seemed stupid; nothing had happened between them and yet, Majima didn’t believe him. “Part of it, yes.”

“Then, what more?”

Kiryu shook his head. “He doesn’t like breaking a family.”

“He is not breaking anything. He did at first, but not now. Haven’t you talked to him?”

“He doesn’t want to be with me anymore, it’s ok,” Kiryu insisted. “I think he even has someone else now,” he excused, trying to avert her interest.

Yumi didn’t seem convinced. “That doesn’t make sense, Kazuma.”

Kiryu felt uncomfortable with this conversation. “Can we stop talking about this?”

“But—” Yumi looked murderous now and he didn’t want to make them both fight for this. Maybe he shouldn’t have said anything.

“Please,” Kiryu told her and, after an intense minute, Yumi nodded, glaring at him with suspicion. At least she let it drop. Not like she seemed happy with it, but he appreciated her effort. 

Rubbing his back with delicacy, Yumi tried to reassure him. “We will find a way to fix this.”

“I know,” Kiryu said without believing it.

Now he had more problems to take care of.