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Title: Burning Paper Dragons
Author: persepolis130
Beta: none (Please let me know if you see any issues!)
Fandom: Eyeshield 21
Pairing(s): Habashira/Agon, various minor pairings (m/m and m/f)
Word Count: novel (WIP)
Rating: R
Summary: As a new member of the yakuza Syndicate, Habashira Rui has been assigned the nightmarish job of assistant to Kongo Agon.
Warning: Contains non-graphic (and typically insensitive) depictions of both consensual and coerced sex as well as some not-so-fluffy yakuza-related issues (gambling, prostitution, violence, drugs, blackmail, etc.). Feel free to contact me if you're not sure if this fic is for you, and I can give you more info.
Author's Notes: I've researched the yakuza quite a bit and have gone with a hybrid, manga-esque version instead of attempting to represent the more complex reality. Also, I've read this series in both Japanese and English (and watched the anime), so I sometimes hear the characters in Japanese and sometimes in scanlation-English, and I've tried to incorporate aspects of both in this story. To avoid confusion, I'll put notes about Japanese stuff at the beginning of each chapter. I love creative criticism, and I'm pretty hard to upset, so please let me know what you think!

Notes: Blackjack is a card game won by beating the dealer's hand; the best hand is a 21. In US dollars, one yen is worth roughly a penny, so a thousand yen is about $10, and a million is $10,000. Your direct superior in a yakuza organization is called your aniki, or "big brother." Shochu is a distilled Japanese liquor. A shinai is a bamboo sword such as the one Megu carries; watch your nuts.

CHAPTER 1

Tits in my face. This was what my Saturday night had become. It was off-key karaoke, overpriced appetizers, and being smothered half to death by a drunk hostess.

And they weren't even nice tits.

"Oh, I am soooo sorry!" the girl giggled, hand patting my shoulder as she pretended shoving my nose into her cleavage was an accident.

"I don't hit women, but if you keep pawing at me, I'll make an exception," I told her.

She blinked at me, eyes blank, emotionless smile pinned to her lips. "Hmm?"

Across the table, two more club girls tittered, play-scolding the one serving me for drinking too much and calling her naughty. Masculine laughter joined in, and I had to grip the table to keep from punching something. A girl on each shoulder, cigarette in his left hand and liquor in his right, sat Kongo Agon. His dreadlocks hung over the shoulders of a suit that must've cost a million yen. There was nothing I'd have liked more than to wipe that stupid smirk off his face with my fist.

"Ah, poor Rui-kun," he simpered. "Is this your first time being so close to a girl?"

This made all three girls laugh, though I don't think the one rearranging her lingerie next to me understood what he said. I couldn't decide which pissed me off more, Agon making a fool of me, or the fact that my hostess couldn't hold a candle to the two hanging on him, even though we were paying the same price.

Well, I was paying. For both of us.

Bastard.

"You don't need to be nervous. She's a nice girl, she won't bite," Agon went on, refusing to drop it. One of the girls nuzzled his neck as he stroked her shoulder. "Nice girls don't put their mouths on just anything, you know."

Come any closer, and I'll bite, I almost told him.

"Oh, I'm joking, joking!" Agon laughed, flashing his fake-sweet smile to the hostesses. "This guy and I go way back. We played the same sport in high school, you know? He was a benchwarmer, right, Habashira-kun?"

Benchwarmer my ass! I was a fucking ace! Did he really expect me to put up with this garbage? Was I supposed to sit here calmly and listen to him talk shit about me?!

Luckily, I was saved from further infuriating bullshit by the buzz of my cell phone. It was one of my boys. I slid the phone open and put it to my ear. "Yeah, what is it?"

"You got a minute, aniki?" he asked. "It's about the game we set up. You know, the blackjack."

"I know the blackjack," I told him, slapping the hostess's hand away as she went in for a try at loosening my tie. If I wanted the damn thing off, I'd do it myself. I hated drunks. "What's the problem? Did the police show up?"

I'd overseen the blackjack tables for years, and if I wasn't here, that's where I'd have been. It's where I should've been. No one ran things like I did, and no one had the same knack for paying off the cops. It took a certain finesse. If there was some sort of trouble--

"No, nothing like that," he said, to my relief. "See, I was bitching out Satou for being hung over, but it turns out he's got a fever and not a hangover, so I sent him home. But now we're short a guy, and we had to pull Tanaka out onto the street. He's pretty big, you know, so I think he's scaring away the patrons--"

"Then call in someone friendlier-looking! Use your brain!" I ordered, to the sound of his feverish apologies. Did no one think anymore? "Get that apprentice kid, what's-his-name. The prettyboy. Nishimoto. Work that idiot until he drops, and not a single yen of the cut, you hear me? Apprentices have it too easy these days."

By the time I hung up, convinced I was the only man in Japan with a brain bigger than a walnut, my hostess had draped herself across my shoulders. Did she bathe in perfume or something? My suit was going to stink for a week. I hated women like that. Doing my best to ignore her, I raised my glass of orange juice to my lips. It tasted like shit.

"That was impressive," she told me, words slurring, "the way you handled that. You sound soooo important!"

"I am important," I answered, pushing her face away from my ear.

Agon laughed. I shot him a death glare, imagining how his face would look after I grabbed him by the hair and smashed it against the floor. That would be the most beautiful broken nose I'd ever given anyone.

Of course I couldn't do it. No matter how much I'd pay to see the expressions on those girls' faces when they saw their Prince Charming's teeth knocked out of his mouth, it was impossible. Even if I were physically capable of getting the better of a once-in-a-century genius, it was my job to take care of the asshole, not bloody him up.

Kah, what a shit job! If I were ten years younger, I'd have already blown my top. Of course if I were ten years younger, I'd be blubbering to my own aniki about the difficulties of running an illegal gambling operation instead of berating my boys about it while getting my pocketbook drained at a hostess club by some self-serving asshole. And not so many years before that, I was on my bike still, talking like I owned the whole of Zokugaku and dreaming of the Christmas Bowl. And thinking someday, if I played my cards just right, I might get a peek under Megu's skirt.

Ah, those were the days!

I didn't regret joining the Family, though. It had been tough going from the top of the heap to the bottom-- from the head of a delinquent motorcycle gang to a no-name yakuza flunky. I'd had the shit beat out of me more times than I'd like to admit before I figured out when to keep my mouth shut. But I'd learned my lesson, and no one looked down on me now.

In fact, the boss counted on me so much that he'd put me in charge of "personal assistance" for the new outside consultant we'd gained in our merger with the Syndicate. It was the biggest event in the history of the Family, and when I first found out I was a part of it, I bragged to anyone who'd stay in one place long enough to listen, whether they wanted to or not. Though I would've been less thrilled if I'd known the consultant was--

"Hey, Rui-kun. Wake up," Agon said. He was holding out a glass. "Don't ignore me. Have some shochu."

Do not use my first name like you know me! "I don't drink," I bit out. I'd told him this already. More than once. He pissed me off so much.

"Oh?" he asked with mock surprise. "Well then, have a cigarette."

"I don't smoke!" Kah, you know that, too! Shut the hell up! Just because I'm not an athlete anymore doesn't mean I don't take care of my body!

Agon laughed. "What a shame. You paid for them, after all."

I slammed my glass down on the table, trembling with anger, juice sloshing over my fingers. "I know that, asshole!"

One of the girls gasped, and the others tittered nervously. Agon took a drag off his cigarette, leaned over the table, and blew the smoke in my face. I almost managed not to cough. "Watch your temper, trash," he murmured. "One word from me to your boss, and you'll be on your knees begging me to let you pay my way. I'm paradise compared to what waits for you if fuck up this job."

I gritted my teeth and didn't spit in his face. I wouldn't let the boss down. It didn't matter that he never intended for me to pay for Agon's nightly entertainment, much less buy him cigarettes, run his errands, and do his laundry. But a deal is a deal, and at the end of the day, Agon had my nuts in his hands. Figuratively speaking, of course.

Though if he wanted it otherwise, there was fuck-all I could do about it.

I bowed my head and ordered another thousand-yen orange juice.

Twenty minutes later, with a girl under each arm, Agon threw his keys in my face. "Bring it around front so I can give these lovely ladies a ride. Scratch it, and you die."

I scowled. Did I look like a damn chauffeur? And wasn't it against the rules for the girls to go home with clients? They'd probably get fired. "How am I supposed to know which one is yours?"

Agon sneered. "Aah?! Just get it!"

Picturing myself jabbing his keys into his eye sockets kept me from screaming profanities, and I made the trek outside to search for Agon's car. It didn't shock me in the least to come across a jet black Ferrari blocking an alley at the end of the block. A girl with bleached hair and neon green shoes was posing for pictures in front of it.

"It's two in the morning!" I shouted at her, tossing aside several men with cameras. "Go home!"

By the time I got back to the club, my legs cramped and elbow bruised from trying to squeeze into that damned sports car, Agon had picked up another girl. I wondered if she was a high school student or if the uniform was just for effect. I also wondered how Agon was going to fit four people in a coupe that barely fit me. Though with as much as he'd had to drink, getting into a car with three grabby women was probably the least of his worries.

"I'll call you a taxi," I offered, since getting him offed wouldn't win me any points.

"I have a car. It's idling right behind you, idiot," he countered, before turning a sweet face to his girls. They tittered and cooed over him and made high-pitched noises like baby animals. Disgusting.

And what the hell was he planning to do with three of them?

"You've had a lot to drink," I said, "and that car won't hold four. I'll bring it to your office, and in the morning--"

Before I saw him move, his hand was gripping my collar. He twisted, and the fabric pulled tight against my neck. I could feel my face turning red as he lifted me off my feet. "Get in your piece of shit car, trash," he hissed, "and get out of my sight."

Megu always said I was an angry driver and I'd wrecked the transmission on the Cadillac. I said the roads were full of shit-heads who needed their lack of ability pointed out, usually with a thorough tailgating, a blaring horn, and my middle finger. The grinding noise the transmission made wasn’t my fault. The thing was almost twenty years old. Nothing lasted forever.

Agon was a bastard to insult my car, I decided as I hit the gas too hard and nearly took out a street sign. One day, I was going to kneecap him with a lug wrench.

The house was quiet, and I eased out of my suit and into bed. I was greeted by warm skin and soft hair smelling like citrus shampoo. I pressed my lips to the lotus tattoo on her shoulder, washed a pale yellowish color by the glow of the streetlights. Megu hummed and ran her fingers up my arm when I wrapped it around her.

"You stink," she said, voice husky with sleep. "Where have you been?"

"Taking my new assignment out on the town," I told her. "The usual bullshit." I'd never explained exactly what the "new assignment" entailed, and I sure as hell hadn't mentioned Agon's name. The idea of waiting on that arrogant bastard hand and foot was mortifying enough without my wife knowing.

"I thought this was supposed to be a promotion," Megu mumbled. "Why do you have to do this kind of crap? Did you piss somebody off again?"

I sighed and buried my nose in her hair. Ah, she smelled so good. This was how a woman was supposed to be. "The guy makes hundreds of millions for the Syndicate. Since he's consulting for us now, the boss says to foster goodwill and give him what he wants, so that's what I'm doing. Nobody's pissed off," I reassured her.

"If you say so," she countered with a yawn. "But if merging with the Syndicate means becoming glorified errand boys and chauffeurs, I don't know why the Family bothered."

Money? Power? Prestige? The Syndicate was the most powerful organization in Japan. Women didn't understand these things. "Don't bother yourself over it. It'll work itself out eventually."

"It better," she answered, "or I'll break the asshole's balls."

I wasn't sure which particular asshole she was talking about. I could name a few. But it was good to know someone was on my side. Also, I liked the idea of Megu taking a shinai to Agon's nuts. Sure, it'd never happen, but a man could dream. A man could always dream.

*****

Megu had asked me once, years ago, if I'd like her to dress up for me. Lacy underclothes, skimpy negligee, that sort of thing. I'd told her I didn't see the point. It’s not like she had to entice me, right? I was just going to take all that stuff off in the end anyway.

"Good," she'd told me. "I hate crap like that."

I thought of this as one of the girls Agon had brought to the hotel room knelt beside the other girl, hand on her shoulder. Silky pink ribbons peeked out from under the hem of her too-short skirt. Her ass looked good enough to bite into. "It's okay! Don't worry sweetie, you'll be alright," she cooed as her friend puked half a paycheck worth of liquor onto the entryway floor.

"Ah, what a pain in the ass," Agon muttered, lighting another cigarette. "Habashira-chan. Get me a beer."

Do not call me chan! "There's some in the fridge," I told him, pointing at the mini-bar. "It's right behind you."

"Get me one," he repeated. "It's rude to point."

Yeah, I'll get you one. Then I'll shove it down your throat. Asshole.

"Open it," he ordered when I hold the bottle out in front of him. I gritted my teeth and did it, and if looks could kill, Agon would be face-down on the floor right now. I'd break the beer bottle over his head just for good measure. I could almost feel the slippery cool of the glass beneath my fingers shattering as it broke his skull.

Shaking off the feeling, I checked my watch as the girl with the panties cleaned her friend up and Agon downed half the beer in one go. He was in casual clothes tonight, and it gave me one more reason to hate him. Even in jeans, he looked better-dressed than me. Well, maybe he was. Tailored suits cost serious cash, and not everyone afford crap like that. Some of us had responsibilities. Was it my fault the sleeves weren't long enough off when I bought shit off the rack?

People with short arms pissed me off.

"Agon, I'm so sorry," the non-puking girl said. "We really have to go. Aiko should get to bed..."

"Aah? What do you mean, go? There's a bed right here," Agon told her. He nodded toward the canopy-draped monstrosity in the center of the floor piled high with blankets and pillows. Some people sure went to a lot of trouble to get laid.

"I can't put her there!" the girl protested. "That's not the kind of bed you sleep in! There's a mirror on the ceiling!"

Agon took a sip of his beer and gave the girl a tepid glance. His sunglasses had been on top of his head tonight, pushing his dreads behind his ears and giving his face that "innocent" look that made stupid women fall all over themselves. He slid the lenses down over his eyes and tilted his head toward the door. "Rui," he said. "Get them out of here."

Gladly, I thought.

"Agon, look, I'm sorry," panties-girl said as I stepped around the vomit and took her and her friend by the elbow and hauled them to the exit. The plastered girl was dead weight, but this one put up a bit of a fight as I tossed her into the hallway. I felt a moment's guilt treating a woman like that, but she'd brought this on herself. "Agon, do you think maybe tomorrow night--"

I slammed the door in her face.

Agon snorted and finished off his beer in the abrupt quiet of the hotel room. He looked at the label for a minute, frowning like he was annoyed with it, before he tossed it aside. "Stupid bitches," he muttered. The bottle landed on the carpet with a dull thunk and rolled under the dresser. I got him another without bothering to ask if he wanted one. He took it without bothering to thank me.

"You were going to do it with those girls with me in the room, weren't you?" I asked, the thought just striking me.

He threw me a dirty look. "Do it? What are you, a grade-schooler? At least call it having sex. Or maybe screwing. Or you could say getting it on or even fucking if you--"

"I don't care what you call it! You were going to do it in front of me, weren't you? Did you think you'd impress me?!" I demanded.

He snorted and leaned back against the wall, bottle at his lips. "Why the hell would I need to impress someone like you?"

"How the hell should I know!" I snapped. I could see that girl's pink panties in my mind's eye, and it pissed me off. "To prove you could? To show me how much of a man you are? I'm not interested!"

Agon put the bottle to his lips and took another sip. "Hey, Rui-chan," he said. "Blow me."

"Ah, shut up," I muttered. And don't call me chan. Drunk bastard. He definitely wanted his errand boy here when he did it, if not to impress me, then to order me around. Turn down the sheets, Rui-chan. Set our clothes on the dresser, Rui-chan. Open my condom for me, Rui-chan.

"I'm serious," he said. "Blow me. Now."

"You're not serious," I told him. "You're drunk. I'll drive you home. Why do you always drink so much? Don't you know how bad it is for your body? I don't care if you're a genius, it's going to catch up with you eventually."

He glared at me, emotion clear even through his sunglasses. "Don't talk like I care what you think. I'm not drunk. What I am is hard as hell. I'm minus two cute girls and who knows how many hours of their naked bodies wrapped around me."

"I didn't need to hear that," I let him know.

"And while an ugly prick like you is no substitute--"

"Kah! Shut up!" I shouted. Why did he have to crack on the way I looked? His head looked like a mop!

"--there must be some use for that mouth of yours besides spouting nonsense," he finished. "Now get to it before you really start pissing me off."

His hand pulled up the bottom of his shirt, revealing several inches of muscled stomach, the top of his underwear, and jeans pulled tight across his... I could see it. Yes, I could see it clearly.

I could see myself cracking his face over my knee, breaking his ribs with my foot, shoving a switchblade into his belly and twisting, the air filled with his agonized screams for-- Shit, I had to pull it together! "Listen up, Agon! This is bullshit! It's my responsibility to look after you, not--"

"Ah, fine, fine," he conceded, waving me away like one would a small child, like my anger meant nothing. Was the bastard even listening? "You'd be garbage at it anyway. I'd end up beating the shit out of you, and I don't feel like walking around with some ugly trash with a fucked-up face."

A vein in my forehead started to throb. "What did you...?!"

He shrugged. "A handjob is fine."

"I am not jacking you off! I'm your assistant, not your..." I fumbled for the right term. Whore? Fuckbuddy? Sex slave? Bastard! "My job responsibilities don't extend that far!"

Agon gave a fake-sweet grin. "Oh? And what's going to be your excuse when I tell your boss you're doing a crap job? What are you going to say when I tell him I want a replacement? You think he's going to believe your pathetic lies about Kongo Agon demanding sexual favors?"

"They wouldn't be lies!" I fumed. "You are demanding sexual favors!"

Agon laughed, and I'd have sold my soul for a switchblade. He was still holding up his shirt, and the muscles of his half-naked stomach flexed. "Let's get this straight once and for all. You're an expendable small fry. I made the Syndicate Cooperative seven million yen before lunch. The truth is what I say it is."

I clenched my teeth so hard, my jaw trembled. I knew he was right. In the end, it all came down to power. The boss liked me because I did good work, but it's not like he owed me anything. And even if he believed my story over Agon's, it's not like he'd request a different consultant. Why would he throw away all that cash over something so stupid?

This was my problem, not his. It was like a bad night at the blackjack tables: Agon never had to hit to get his 21, and I was playing a hard 16. What were the chances of me coming home with money in my pocket?

There's no shame in doing what you need to do to be successful. Sometimes you have to set aside your pride and look at the bigger picture. It was only a handjob. It was no big deal. I'd given myself hundreds of them. Right?

"Put your shirt down," I told him. "That's indecent."

"Hmm? Jealous I'm still in such good shape, Habashira-kun?" he asked, dropping the fabric.

"No!" I lied. I hadn't had washboard abs for a decade, and he drank like every day was a holiday. How was that fair?

He laughed in that intensely irritating way he had and finished off his beer. The bottle hit the ground at his feet. "You going to do it, or you going to cry about it?" he asked.

"Who's crying?!" I answered, stalking up and kicking the bottle aside. Fuck crying! It's more like I was puking at the thought of touching your... ugh.

"Do a good job, now," he advised me as I eased open the button of his fly. "If you don't take your work seriously, it'll take you all night to finish, and neither of us wants that. Oh, and turn towards the wall. There's no way I could get off looking at a face like yours."

Humiliated, I gritted my teeth and did as he said. With cards like mine, what other option was there?

Sometimes I hated my job.

Afterwards, Agon patted me on the back. "See? That wasn't so bad, was it?"

Like hell it wasn't! I felt like screaming. But I didn't want to give him the idea he'd made some sort of impression. Kongo Agon might've had the abilities of a god and the influence of a king, but at least I had a bigger dick. A lot bigger, actually. I mean, giant, if you compared the two. Were girls really impressed with that tiny thing? I wondered how they even found it. I bet it wasn't even six inches long. Probably closer to four. No, more like two.

No wonder he drove a Ferrari.

Asshole.

Agon fished another beer out of the fridge and flopped onto the bed. Half-buried in the mound of pillows, his body looked small and strangely helpless, like a quarterback being swallowed up by the whole defensive line. Successful sack, Shinryuuji second and fifteen. He twisted the cap off the bottle and raised it to his lips. "What the hell are you still doing here?" he demanded. "I'm done with you! Get out!"

I shrugged and did as he said.

Midget-dick.

I came home to find Ryo on the front step smoking. He was still in his school uniform, white collar pulled high around his neck and shirt black to match the night. He was a good addition to the line, with broad shoulders and swift feet. Megu had watched one of his games and said his style was just like mine. If only he had my work ethic.

"Put the cigarette out," I told him.

He sighed, took one last drag, and snuffed it against the step.

"Now give me the rest of the pack," I told him, holding out my hand. He used to be such an energetic kid. I didn't like the distant, glazed look he had nowadays, like some kind of lazy-ass slacker. Where was his sense of urgency? Where was his dedication? I hadn't raised this kind of son.

"That's the last one," he said, voice slow and unconcerned.

"Don't lie to me," I ordered, bristling. "Hand it over."

"I'm not lying," he told me with the same indifferent calm. "I was just about to go in 'cause I finished the pack."

I wasn't sure I believed him, but I let it slide. I wasn't in the mood to go through his pockets again. "Why aren't you asleep? Do you have any idea what time it is?"

He shrugged. "I'm not a watch."

I stared at him, wondering what kind of answer he thought that was. Was he being a smartass? I wouldn't put up with that kind of disrespect. Ryo stared at the sky, his neck a slender white pillar in the moonlight. Mouthing off to me seemed like the last thing on his mind.

When was it that I stopped understanding my own son?

"We haven't talked for a while," I said. "How are your classes going?"

"They're going," he told me.

"Are you liking high school?" I asked.

"I guess," he said.

"What about football? How's training been?"

"It's alright," he answered.

"You get those upgrades done on your bike?" I tried. "You'll be getting your license soon."

"I don't really care about things like that."

"Is there anything you do care about?" I demanded, annoyed. "Besides ignoring your father, staying up until all hours of the night, and destroying your lungs with those cigarettes?"

He shrugged. "Guess not."

"You know what? I give up," I announced. "I'm too tired for this. I've put up with too much crap today. I'll teach you some respect later, when I've had some rest and can be sure you appreciate it."

"Okay."

I sighed. He never took anything seriously, this kid. So much for understanding him. Sometimes, I wondered how he was even mine.

I loosened my tie and headed inside. "Is your mother here?" I asked over my shoulder.

"She's in Osaka," he called back.

I frowned. "What the hell is she in Osaka for?"

"Dunno," he told me.

I looked back at Ryo to see him lighting up another cigarette. I should've known he was lying. Kah, why did I bother?!

In my empty bedroom, I threw my clothes against the wall and flopped down onto my futon. I'd just jacked another man off for the sake of bringing a paycheck home to my family, and this was what I got for it? My wife gone and my son lying to my face? What the hell was I working so hard for?

This was bullshit.

*****

Something was buzzing. It sounded like a cell phone. Why was my cell phone buzzing? There was no one in bed with me. Where was my wife? Oh, she was in Osaka. What was that buzzing? My cell phone. Cell phone? Shit.

"Whoziss?" I managed after I'd finally gotten a hold of the thing and gotten it to my ear. Then I realized it was upside down. I turned it over. "Who th'hell's this?"

"Who the hell do you think it is? It's Agon," the speaker squawked into my ear. "Act a little more awake when you answer your phone."

"Agon?" I mumbled, wiping the sleep from my eyes.

"I'm out of cigarettes. Get me some," he ordered.

I blinked over at my clock. "It's... Agon, it's 4:49 in the morning. I'm not getting you cigarettes or anything else."

"Why do I care what time it is? Buy me some cigarettes," he told me. "I'm at a club in Roppongi--"

"Bum a smoke off someone else, then," I moaned, feeling like I was going to puke. I always felt sick getting up at weird-ass times. Especially when I did it on two hours of sleep.

"Hey. Trash," Agon's voice said in my ear. "I want cigarettes, and I want them now. Is that clear?"

Swearing, I grabbed my wrinkled suit up off the floor.

Such bullshit.


CHAPTER 2

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
loveoniv
Dec. 18th, 2013 10:10 pm (UTC)
What a fantastic start! Your writing is very engaging, I got really into the story right away and only got more and more engrossed in it as I read on. Your characterizations are just brilliant. Ahh, how I enjoy simultaneously loving and hating Agon. :´D
persepolis130
Dec. 31st, 2013 04:57 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much! I figured nobody was reading this, so I didn't bother posting further chapters, but I'll start on that now!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )