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Title: Burning Paper Dragons
Author: persepolis130
Beta: none (Please let me know if you see any issues!)
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.

CHAPTER 1 / CHAPTER 2 / CHAPTER 3


Notes: The name Ryo (as with most Japanese names) can be written using numerous kanji, some more common (and less tacky) than others.

CHAPTER 4

I was sitting at the kitchen table drinking sake from the bottle when Ryo came down. I hadn't eaten or slept since I got back from Agon's. I'd showered, but it hadn't helped. I could still feel his skin against mine and hear the sounds he made as he arched beneath me. I didn’t know what you put in dreadlocks to keep them smooth, but whatever it was, I couldn't get the scent of it out of my nose.

"Since when do you drink?" my son asked. A lit cigarette was hanging out of his mouth.

"What are you doing smoking again? And in the house?" I demanded, ignoring the question. It's not like I was drunk-- just a little buzzed-- but I hated setting a bad example.

"Getting ready for morning practice like a good little boy," he told me in his lazy-sounding voice. "You should get some sleep, Dad. You look like the Syndicate chewed you up and spat you back out."

I sighed. You have no fucking idea. "Ryo, I want to talk to you for a minute," I told him, pushing the sake aside. "I don't get to see you very often, and the last couple of times we've talked..."

"Sure, just a minute," he told me, and rooted around in the fridge. He came up with a bottle of soda, which he twisted open as he sat.

"You'd look more convincing without the cigarette," I told him. "What the hell kind of athlete smokes at breakfast? Or drinks that sugary crap?"

"Pretty sad they're calling me the ace, huh?" he said.

"They're saying that?" I asked, a swell of pride rising in my chest.

He shrugged and took a gulp of the soda. "It doesn't mean much, coming from the guys at Zokugaku. It's a good practice if the quarterback shows up sober," he said. "What would it take, Dad? So I can transfer."

I shook my head. "You're not transferring. I told you that already."

"Yeah, I heard you," he said, cigarette back in his mouth. "Right before you called me worthless."

"That was not what I said!" I insisted. A man could dream, but he didn't run away from his problems! A man never backed down!

He snorted. "That's sure what it sounded like."

"And you sound like you think you're too good for your own family!" I snapped.

"It's not that, Dad!" he told me, shaking his head. "You know I respect you. You and mom both."

"Well, you could show it once in a while," I told him. He was lucky-- if I were half as strict as my father, I'd be beating the kid black and blue.

"Look, I just... I'm different, okay? I'm not like you," he muttered, fiddling with the cap to his drink. "And I just want to be someplace where I can do what I was meant to do, you know? Where people won't stop me from being who I am."

I was starting to get pissed off. I wasn't in the mood for this. "What the hell is that supposed to mean, what you were meant to do? You think you've got some sort of great destiny?" I asked. This kid had an ego, that was for sure. I didn't mind a guy talking himself up-- I used to do it myself every once in a while. But you had to base your confidence on something real. You couldn't say I'm different with a cigarette hanging out of your mouth like a good-for-nothing dropout.

He sighed. "It's a long story. I don't feel like explaining it, Dad."

"Why not?" I demanded. "You think I wouldn't understand?"

"I didn't say that!" he insisted.

"I heard what you said just fine! Don't make judgments about what your own father can and can't understand!" I shouted.

"Ah, never mind!" he snapped, slamming his drink onto the tabletop with a gush of foam. "You're always like this! You just wanna be angry and never listen to anything I say! I'm asking for a school transfer, not a bone marrow transplant!"

My face burned red with anger. "What did you just say to me?!"

"I said I'm going to morning practice!" he shouted. "Like the good little boy you always wanted!"

"Ryo--" I started, but was stopped when my son's pack of cigarettes hit me in the face. I was too shocked to stop him as he stormed out of the house. What kind of a kid throws things at his parents? Where did he get this kind of anger? It sure as hell wasn't from me!

I scratched my neck as I contemplated the cigarettes, lightheaded from the sake. The abrupt silence of the house was jarring. Megu could sleep through a war, and the teenagers weren't out with their motorcycles yet, speeding off to school and shouting taunts at old ladies and bleary-eyed salarymen shuffling toward the morning train. The only sound was the ticking of Ryo's old Doraemon clock on the shelf above the sink. Its eyes flicked from left to right as the seconds passed, a giant smile on its goofy blue and white face. Only two hours before I had to leave for Agon's. I hated it for reminding me. Why the hell did we even still have that thing?

Kah, what happened to my life? I used to have it together. If someone had told me a year ago that my son would be throwing things at me, or that I'd be bending another man over a tea table and actually getting off on it... Shit, it really had been amazing, hadn't it? His fingernails scraping at the wood while I pounded his ass...

Shit, I was hard just thinking about it.

Shit!

I grabbed the sake and took a long pull off the bottle. It didn't really help. What was the point of drinking this stuff if all it did was make you dizzy?

Damn it, what was going to happen when Agon sobered up and realized what I'd done to him? He wasn't going to give a damn that he was the one who'd told me to do it. Kah, what was I thinking? Why hadn't I refused? Agon might've taken it up the ass, but I was the one who was fucked. If I was lucky, he'd leave the sex out of the story and just tell the boss I was useless. I'd go back to the blackjack tables, and in a few years, everyone would forget this ever happened.

But my luck was shit. There was no way I was getting off that easy.

Ah, getting off! Why was my mind in the gutter?!

I sighed, my gaze falling on Ryo's discarded pack of cigarettes on the table beside me. I picked it up and fiddled with the wrapping, drawing out a cigarette. An old lighter was sitting at the table. Eh, what the hell? I thought, and lit up.

The first breath was possibly the worst thing I'd ever felt in my life. The smoke burned my lungs, and my eyes watered so much, I had to wipe them on my sleeve. Good thing I'd taken off my jacket. Why the hell did anyone purposefully do this to themselves?

Probably for the same reason I'd just fucked Kongo Agon.

Whatever that was.

*****

My cell rang three times without waking me up. I only found this out when one of my boys came and shook me awake, saying Agon had been trying to get in touch with me for the past two hours. I rubbed my cheek where it had been resting against the table and stretched my cramped legs. Ryo's Doraemon clock read nearly eleven a.m.

Agon was up, and I wasn't? Something was wrong with this picture.

Above the pachinko parlor, Agon sat in his chair with a coffee cup the size of an oil tanker in his hand. As black as the coffee was, it could've been oil. The sake had left me with a mild headache, but it looked like Agon hadn't been that fortunate.

"I said eight," he told me, lips twisted into a frown and sunglasses not hiding his swollen eyes. "Can you not read a clock?"

I said nothing because there wasn't anything to say. I was still too caught up in last night. Seeing him there in his wrinkled clothes and stocking feet-- his usual hundred thousand yen shoes nowhere to be found-- my body was reacting all on its own. I could flip him over in that chair right now and fuck him breathless.

"We have business to take care of. Sit," he ordered, pointing at the table. The pillows that had been strewn around the room last night were placed neatly beneath it. "The rest of you, get out of my sight."

My boys filed out the door, and I did as I was told. I swallowed hard when Agon hauled himself up out of his chair. He was definitely going to beat the shit out of me.

But he didn't. He plopped down across from me at the table, taking a long drink of coffee. Was he trying to lull me into a false sense of security? Bring it on, asshole!

"There's a stockholder meeting at the Yoshida Corporation tomorrow morning," Agon said. "My contact hasn't been the most... cooperative lately. I want someone there for a bit of insurance. Just to make sure everyone keeps their promises."

We were actually talking about work? "That's not my usual assignment," I told him. "I deal with gambling, not extortion. And I don't know anything about Yoshida."

"What do I care about that?" he asked, frowning at his coffee before taking another drink. "If they try to cut us out of the profits, just start yelling. It doesn't even matter what you say. Tight-asses in big business can't stand it when things don't go smoothly. If you make enough of a scene, investors will think the company's unstable, and they'll start dropping like flies. If my contact has any sense left in his head, he'll give us what we want before it comes to that."

"So all I have to do is yell until they write the Syndicate in?" That didn't seem too hard. I was definitely in the mood to scream at someone.

Agon shook his head. "No, the Syndicate's already in. You start yelling if they try to write us out. Check with Itou before you leave-- he'll give you the details."

"I won't let you down," I told him, wondering if the Chairman of the Yoshida Company's board had a wife and how he'd feel if I publically insulted her breasts. Could I do that to a woman? Even some rich bitch who wouldn't deign to look down her nose at me?

"I'm counting on you," Agon said, and set a roll of money in front of me.

I stared at it. He was a little late if he wanted me to pay someone off before the meeting. "What's this for?"

"Nothing happened last night," Agon said.

I pocketed the money. "I don't know what you're talking about," I agreed.

I was so relieved, I could shit myself. I didn't know what I'd been thinking-- of course Agon wasn't going to bring it up. What kind of idiot would admit he liked it up the ass? Or maybe he'd been too drunk to remember but had a feeling he was better off not knowing?

Agon contemplated his coffee, holding the cup in both hands and staring into it. He frowned and looked up at me. "But if something had happened, I'd say you were shit at it."

"Aah?!"

"Don't fucking shout," he ordered, "you heard me. You're such trash, it makes me sick. And now you're a whore, too."

"You bastard!" I yelled, face going red with shame. "That's hush money, not-- "

"It was payment for your services. Which were barely adequate," he insisted.

Barely adequate my ass! I had you feeling so good, you were moaning like a-- "Kah! You said nothing happened!"

"I know that!" he snapped.

A vein was pounding in my forehead. "Then why the hell don't you stop talking about it?!"

"How the hell should I know! I'm hung over and pissed off, and I don't answer to you!" he shot back. "Now if you don't want to do things my way, give me the damn money back!"

"Like hell!" I screamed.

"Then shut the fuck up!" he bellowed.

Fuck, I was hard. My dick was throbbing, and I wanted nothing more than to shove it down Agon's throat. Wait until he choked on it-- I'd show him barely adequate! I could picture his lips sliding around it, eyes closed with my hand on the back of his head... or maybe I'd take a handful of his dreads and yank until my dick hit the back of his throat, and then I'd...

Shit, what was I thinking? What the hell was wrong with me?

Agon made an annoyed sounding noise and lit a cigarette. I glared at the way his fingers brought it to his mouth. Like my twisted fantasies really needed reinforcement. My life was such bullshit.

Agon threw me a dirty look. "You're in a prime mood today. I'm the hung-over one. What crawled up your ass and died?" he asked.

"You told me to shut up," I reminded him.

He snorted. "When has that ever worked before?"

I didn't have anything to say to that.

Agon held out his cigarette. "It'll calm you down," he told me.

I took it. I had no idea how filling my lungs with smoke was supposed to make me calmer, but it was worth a try. Agon chuckled when I coughed.

"So what's the real problem?" he asked, fingers brushing mine as he took back his smoke. It sent a shiver down my spine.

"What makes you think there's a problem?" I demanded. "If I'm not bowing and scraping to you or... or sucking you off, that means something's wrong? Screw you!"

"Fuu, you're going to give yourself a heart attack, Habashira-kun," he chuckled, shaking his head.

Shut up, asshole, I've got some serious problems here! Like... "My son wants to transfer schools," I blurted out. I shouldn't have, but it was better than All I can think of is fucking you.

"Since when do you have a son?" Agon asked.

I rolled my eyes, annoyed. "Since fifteen years ago!"

Agon blinked. "Eh? You were in high school?"

"I was in college! It's simple arithmetic!" I snapped. Aren't you supposed to be a genius?!

Agon shrugged. "Guess they don't teach about birth control at that crap school you went to. And stop yelling, my headache's bad enough as it is."

You were yelling, too! Kah, I was going to kill this bastard!

"So what's the problem with your kid transferring?" Agon asked after a moment's silence. He took a gulp of his coffee. "He too stupid to get in anyplace else?"

"Ryo is at the top of his class!" I hoped that coffee burned his tongue. My son wasn't dumb! An irresponsible slacker with no sense of respect, maybe, but...

"Ryo? Don't tell me you write that with the kanji for dragon," Agon said, waving his hand at me like he was shooing a small child. "How tacky!"

"The dragon is a powerful sign of masculinity," I objected.

"So is your kid ugly too?" Agon asked. "I bet he looks just like you."

"He's better looking than you!" I challenged. At least nobody mistook Ryo's head for janitorial supplies!

Agon graced me with a hungover version of his fake-smile. "I bet he's athletic too, right? Naturally gifted. The ace of Zokugaku!"

Now I was steaming. "He's--"

"It's alright, Rui-rui," he told me. "I can see why you're jealous."

I gaped. "What did you say?!"

Agon shrugged. "You've got mediocre intelligence, you were a subpar American football player, and you've got a face like a constipated monkey's ass."

"Aaaah?!"

"You see another rat trying to crawl up out of the gutter, and you pull it back down so it can wallow in shit just like you," he said. "That's why you don't want your kid transferring. You can't stand the thought of him being better than you."

I jumped to my feet so quickly, my knee clipped the table. It smacked Agon's coffee and sent it flying down the front of his overpriced shirt.

"What the fuck is wrong with you?" he demanded, shaking his drippy fingers.

"Last night," I hissed, "was the worst sex of my life!"

"Ahh?!"

The confused look on his face pissed me off so much, I reached into my pocket, found the money I'd stashed there, and threw it at his head. He dodged, and it fluttered to the ground behind him like dead leaves.

Fuck you, Kongo Agon. I'm not playing by your rules anymore!

*****

When I got home, Megu was bringing the wash in from the line. When she saw me, she stopped and came in to make tea. I didn't feel like tea, but at least someone knew how to treat a man these days.

When she poured my cup, she poured herself one as well. "We need to talk, Rui. About the baby."

"What baby?" I asked, taking a sip.

"Don't screw with me. You know what I'm talking about," she said. "I'm having another baby."

I set down the tea. "I seem to remember saying you weren't."

"You promised you'd think about it," she reminded me.

"Yeah, I thought about it," I told her. "The answer's still no. If you need a change, go to an onsen for the weekend or something. Go visit your sister. Get your tattoo worked on. Don't give me this nonsense about babies."

"When you want something, I give it to you," she said. "When I want something, it's nonsense?"

"No, having another kid is nonsense," I told her. "You hated it the first time. Why would now be any different?"

"I was nineteen the first time," she countered. "I had to drop out of college, and I was constantly worried about making ends meet. My father threatened to disown me. What was I supposed to do, dance for joy?"

"I gave you money," I pointed out.

"Not enough," she said.

I was starting to get pissed off. Did she think I could just snap my fingers, and the money would steal itself? I couldn't count how many nights I'd stayed up trying to increase the cash flow and how many mornings I'd gotten to practice too tired to put my pads on straight. "Are you saying I don't provide for my own? You must be forgetting everything I sacrificed for you!" Megu rarely lost an argument, and I could tell she was itching to start one. I took a deep, calming breath.

"If you can't do any better at the age of thirty-five than you did at nineteen, I guess I was wrong about you. Maybe I should've gotten rid of the baby and found someone else to marry," she told me.

"Maybe you should've!" I snapped. Kah, this woman knew exactly what buttons to push! "You don't seem to respect what I go through to take care of you! Where am I supposed to get all this extra money, counterfeit it? I don't have the training to do that! And where would we even put another kid? Ryo's too old to share a room with a baby, and it's sure as hell not sleeping with us!"

"I'll move in with my sister," she offered with a shrug.

I gaped. "Aah?! Who's going to cook for me?!"

She took a sip of tea and set the cup down. "I don't feel like talking about this anymore."

I told her, "That makes two of us," and walked out of the room.

What a bitch of a day. Nothing was going right. I'd left Agon's without talking to Itou about the stockholder meeting tomorrow, and now I had to go back and find the guy. Being treated like an object or a woman or whatever that bastard thought I was didn't negate my responsibility. I wasn't about to slack on my job, even if I did hate Agon so much I wanted to gag him and fuck him senseless.

Shit, that was it: I needed a ball gag. And maybe a rope to tie his hands behind his back. I'd force him up against a wall and get a good handful of his hair and bang his head against the drywall. That was the only way this day could be salvaged.


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