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After telling his father of his intentions, Masaomi made only one pronouncement. That Masato had to take two of his muscle with him or he couldn't go. Masato held his sigh behind his teeth and made a quick mental decision; he would take Otoya and Nanami. The two looked about as unassuming as one could get. Otoya gave the impression that he was only one-quarter present at any given time and Nanami… Nanami. Her habit of getting lost went a long way, as well as her delicate and frail appearance. However, those who knew were well aware that the couple was a lethal combination. They were two halves of one whole, frightening killing machine. That was the reason they were his go-to muscle for this trip.
After receiving his own copy of the file from his father's own hand, he realized that his cousin and her boyfriend were the ones to bring. The young man in question was skittish, didn't appreciate being courted by some of the largest syndicates in the country of his birth. Moreover, there were two after him. Masaomi had decided on a gentle wooing of the young man, while the other was in the business of snatching prospects from the street and convincing them at the business end of a pistol.
What was not listed in the file was the reason the Hijirikawa syndicate and the other wanted him so urgently. When asked, Masato's father told him that he would see once he met the boy. Masato snorted inelegantly. Boy. The boy was his age.
His morning was relatively peaceful. Breakfast alone; some time working on his calligraphy (a vanity he refused to give up despite his responsibilities), some quiet planning time in his grandfather's garden. Then it was back to his suite, instructing Jii of what to pack and assuring his personal assistant that, no, he was not needed for the trip.
He tried to seek out Otoya and Haruka, but they were nowhere to be found. One of the housekeepers told him that the couple had left early and would be back late in the afternoon. He instructed the woman to ensure that two had luggage prepared for an extended overseas trip; they would understand the presumption. A couple of targeted text messages received only the most cursory replies. Satisfied that the couple was still in once piece, he went to his office for a regular day of work.
One more hour, and he was finished playing little worker bee for the day. Masato leaned back in his chair, propped his boots on the edge of the desk and decided he was going to spend the last hour playing a music game on his phone. Before he could get one bar into his current favorite song, however, two tiny raps on the door interrupted him.
It opened to admit his cousin and her boyfriend. Masato brought himself upright and gave them a small smile, grateful for the convenience. He was glad he wouldn't have to chase them down, but he wondered what brought them into the office at this time of day.
Haruka answered that question quickly enough. She plopped herself into one of the chairs in front of his desk with a smile that encompassed her whole face. That smile never failed to raise his mood, and it did so yet again as he felt his own grin growing in response. Curiously, though, Otoya stopped behind her chair and stood both hands on the back, a studiously calm look on his usually animated face.
Masato watched as Haruka reached into her impossibly small purse and pull out a piece of plastic, which she promptly pushed across the desk at him. It had to be the only thing in that damned tiny purse, and as he recognized what he was, his whole body froze, along with the smile on his face.
He gingerly picked up the pink and white stick and gave it a cursory glance. It was obvious what it was, and he didn't need the little, inky plus sign peeking through the tiny window near the middle to tell him why she'd bought it to him.
Whatever Masato decided when it came to his companions was law, and not even his father contradicted him. If his decision caused issues, it was his lot to accept responsibility for them. It was training, pure and simple, for when he took over the entire Syndicate. Older, more seasoned soldiers were jealous for a short time, and then they realized that there was a method to Masaomi's madness. Instead of a clutch of crazy teenagers to track, Masaomi only had to look to his son.
Masato let out an explosive sigh and leaned back in his chair, still holding the pregnancy test. He stared at it for an eternity, thinking that his father would have had Ittoki hanging off the side of the building by his balls within the half-hour had he seen this thing. Masato was tempted to do just that for a small moment, but he sighed again, understanding the dynamic between the quiet, demure Haruka and her wild-assed boyfriend – who also happened to be his right hand.
He squinted at them, and then put the test down. Still silent, he opened the top center drawer and withdrew a business card file. Flipping methodically through it, he pulled two cards from it and returned it to his desk. Then he went to the drawer and pulled out the mini-safe again. This time, it was a black leather zipper pouch that he pulled out, and laid it on the desk beside one of the two cards. Next was another Centurion credit card, which he laid on top of the other business card.
Last of all, he reached around into his jacket and pulled out the final tool for this little discussion he intended to facilitate. Colored a solid matte black, the pistol was a refined instrument that fit well within his fine-boned, almost delicate hand. It made a satisfying 'thunk' sound as he placed it on the desk behind the other items, rested his elbows on either side of it and rested his chin on his bent fingers.
"What is your plan?" he asked his cousin, continuing to ignore the fidgeting redhead behind her.
Haruka blinked and looked over her shoulder at her boyfriend, patting his hand. "Looks like I've got a few options," she said. "Oh, Masa-kun, you know what I want to do! Do you have to scare Ittoki like this?"
Masato gave her a crooked smile. "I just want to impress upon Ittoki the importance and seriousness of the situation," he replied. He pierced the other boy with a long look that promised dire things if he mistreated his cousin, and then shook his head. He pulled the zip pouch and card off the desk and put them back where they belonged. "Do you want to call the doctor yourself, or do you want someone to take care of it for you?"
Haruka let out a tightly held breath, obviously relieved that her sweetheart would live to see another day. "I can call."
"Then here," he handed her the business and credit card. "Doctor Koyashi is known for his discretion and that will ensure that everything is paid for up front." He rolled his eyes at Ittoki. "I should make you pay for it, but I've got other plans for you, and I know you don't have two yen to rub together."
"Hey, I've saved!" Ittoki finally spoke, giving the elder boy a half grin. He scratched at the back of his head, moving from foot to foot. "I have plenty to take care of business." He gave Haruka a loving glance. "I would never leave her hanging."
"Good." Masato left his side of the desk, walking with his usual distinct calm toward his cousin. It didn't take long, but before either could blink, he had Ittoki by his throat, slammed against the closest wall. He could feel the muscles in his friend's neck convulse as he tightened just enough to make the other boy nervous. He knew exactly how much pressure to apply to make a man twitch, to make a man piss his pants, and to stop his heart in his chest. He didn't have the strength in his hands to do the last, but it was of no matter; he didn't intend to kill the father of his cousin's child.
"If you can 'take care of business', did you not have enough pocket change to purchase a condom or two?" he asked his friend, his face utterly passive.
Otoya was turning pink under his grasp, but to his credit, he didn't even twitch a hair. "Uh… it broke?" he offered lamely.
Haruka was looking at the two of them, wondering whom to comfort first. "Um..."
"Then stop buying shoddy goods," Masato answered with a chuckle and let him go. "I don't have to tell you to take good care of Haruka, do I?"
"Of course not!" Otoya said after straightening his shirt and gathering a bit more air into his lungs than was necessary. "I love her. I'd never harm a hair on her head."
"Then I guess I'm about to become a second cousin." He smile genuinely now. "Congratulations." He leaned against the front of his desk. "I would keep this quiet until I come back from Sydney, though. I have to make sure that I can keep Father from having someone flay Ittoki from head to foot."
"You're going to Sydney?" Haruka asked. "Why?"
"Yeah and why can't I come?" Ittoki asked.
Masato looked at Haruka for the first part of his answer, "Actually, I was going to bring the two of you, but it seems that is out of the question l for a least one of you." He gave a pointed look a Haruka. "Kamyu is bringing in a new recruit, and I'm going for the experience." Then he looked at Ittoki. "You're coming. Your price for being irresponsible. It will also keep you safe when my father discovers what's happened."
Otoya looked at Haruka. "Will you be okay if I go?" he asked. Masato held back a smirk, knowing it was his friend's backwards way of asking for permission.
"Of course I will. Someone needs to keep an eye on Masa-chan," Haruka teased.
Masato growled at her. He hated it when someone called him Masa-chan."I am more than capable of taking care of myself, Nanami."
The girl stood and smoothed her skirt down. "Well, then, keep an eye on Ittoki-kun, then. I don't feel like having to deal with him shooting himself in the foot again."
"Ah, yes," Masato said, "I'll make sure I bring enough money to pay any hospital bills."
As they left, Masato considered his quandary. His father was adamant that he bring two others with him. As distant as father and son were, Masato knew that his father valued his safety above all else. Only son; only technical heir and all that.
Whom would he bring? Kurusu was not ready for a long distance trip yet. That left him with few choices.
There was another perfunctory knock on his door and it opened almost immediately. He was about to protest the rudeness when he saw the solution to his problem.
The young man adjusted his glasses and moved up to the desk, clutching a tablet and a file. The real books and those that were cook to a crisp, golden brown.
"Ryugazaki," Masato said, relaxing back in his chair, "You've come at a perfect time." He leaned forward, taking both tablet and file. "I have a proposition for you."