A/N: Okay, so I know I said I was going to update Connections, but I wrote this on the plane back from Japan, and, well. It's already written.

Warnings: Language, slash/yaoi, spoilers for season one

Disclaimer: Yeah, I don't own it, I will never own it, and I'm not making money off this. I swear.

For those who are reading this with no background whatsoever, here's a basic breakdown of what you need to know:

The area known as SWORD was once controlled by a group known as Mugen Racing, which started as a group of people who enjoyed motorcycles and racing them, and grew to control the region. It was initially started by Tatsuya and Kouhaku, though Tsukumo, Cobra, and Yamato were a part of the initial group.

After a confrontation with a two man group know as the Amamiya Kyoudai (Amamiya Brothers), Mugen disbanded and the Amamiya brothers, Hiroto and Masaki, went to ground.

In the vacuum created by Mugen's disbanding, five major gangs grew. The gang that is the focus of this fic, and the series, is the Sannou Rengoukai (Hoodlum Squad), which is led by Cobra. *Translation note: While in the drama there are numerous flags, etc. that have 山王 written as "Sannoh" in rōmaji, it technically has a long "ou" at the end.

The other gangs are: White Rascals, Oya Koukou (Oya High School), Rude Boys, Daruma Ikka (Daruma Group, could also be translated as Family).

Due to the advantageous position of the SWORD area (it appears to be not unlike a manmade island, surrounded by water on almost all sides), Iemura-kai (Iemura Group) wants to expand its control to include SWORD, which would increase its power within the larger group Iemura-kai is part of, the Kyuuryuu group.

This fic picks up the night after the fight between Sannou Rengoukai and Daruma Ikka, which Sannou lost and, given the circumstances at the time, led to Cobra disbanding the gang in front of all the other SWORD leaders.

As far as Cobra can tell, there three reasons he would consider the best parts about moving into the small room behind Hino Gas. One is, of course, not having to deal with his parents when he ends up coming back from a fight (although he's gotten quite good over the years at sneaking back into the house). This is mostly because when Cobra is that hurt (and yes, Naomi, he knows what a hospital is. Yamato is the one who needs the reminder) he's usually got either Dan or Tetsu with him and Dan and his old man get on in disturbingly well. Same with Tetsu and his mom, but she tends to sleep more deeply, now, than when he was a kid.

The second reason is contingent on not having the gang end up crowding the kitchen when they inevitably come to find him/he calls a meeting and neither the bar nor Itokan Diner are options. Honestly, he's trying to protect the town, not get his parents mixed up in the insanity that's SWORD these days. That's not to say SWORD was ever not insane, but it was definitely calmer before Iemura-kai really started making their move on the area.

Cobra does, however, take Chiharu to his mom, so she knows what he looks like and because the new Sannou member looks like he needs someone give him hugs on occasion and it can't be all Yamato's responsibility. Cobra also really isn't sure what would happen if Yamato's mother spent too much time with Chiharu. He's not unconvinced she wouldn't adopt the former Oya Koukou member as a grandson if it wouldn't somehow justify Yamato always calling her "Baa-chan." He really appreciates Yamato's mom, and her onigiri have kept them going through adulthood. She's just a bit much in great doses.

The third reason is so that when he ends up pulling all nighters in an attempt to figure out how to ensure that, at least on the Sannou's end, the balance between the other members of SWORD isn't disrupted, he's not tripping over his parents in the morning.

Honestly, the balance wasn't such a problem until Chiharu showed up.

(But it goes deeper than that incident. It goes back to Noboru, and even before him, to Mugen Racing. It's just easier to deal with the idiot chestnut that legitimately, on accident, ran into the one person in Sannou Rengoukai who would help him...well, Tetsu probably would have done the same. And Dan.

(At least Dan wouldn't have been quite so easy to track down. Case in point, Rocky and his White Rascals had no idea who Dan was when he entered Club Heaven. Then again, somehow Dan hadn't known that Club Heaven, despite being full of people dressed in white, was the base of the White Rascals.

(Cobra occasionally despairs, in 3 am's quiet hours, when his only company is coffee or tea, about the rest of the gang.

(To be fair, he occasionally does this in the middle of the day, too, but only when the rest of the Sannou seem particularly determined to be obtuse. Tetsu has helped...somewhat. When he's not adding to the chaos.))

There were, are, a few other reasons that actually having his own place as an adult is a good thing (the top of the current list are nightmares, because what if that gun hadn't been loaded with a blank - and that brings Cobra back to the question of why Noboru even had a gun in the first place, and considering his state at the time, Cobra tries not to think too hard about that reason...although he has to, because Noboru is currently in the hospital for, yes, a slightly different reason, but with the Iemura-kai it's all the same in the end.)

Somewhere close to the bottom of that list is large hands in the dark, or behind curtains if there's time, and an aching gap where there's supposed to be another person - where the was another person, but he moved on and that was fine until...well, Cobra won't be surprised if Noboru is into the whole responsibility angst shounen manga protagonists are so prone to experience.

(Yamato would accuse Cobra of acting the same way. At least this time Cobra can just look pointedly at Chiharu to demonstrate just how much of a hypocrite Yamato is, the idiot.)

Not that Cobra needs to point that out to Yamato, not today.

"Oi, you going back to your place at all?"

Yamato reaches for one of the beers Cobra had brought with him and shakes his head.

Cobra really wasn't expecting anything different, especially given the way Yamato's hands shake, and the way he'd been clucking over Chiharu earlier, not without reason, and they still hadn't heard anything about Noboru and his surgery. Surgeries?

It's starting to blend together with Tsukumo-san and Tatsuya-san and really Cobra's nightmares didn't need anymore fuel than they had already had before today.

(Especially because some of them became reality.)

Cobra throws himself on the other half of the couch. He manages to get a few sips of his own beer before Yamato starts talking.

"Fuck, Cobra, things are really going to hell, aren't they."

Cobra snorts, and resists the urge to down the majority of his own beer in one go. He'd like to be at least mostly rational for this, given the day has seen pretty much everything he wants to protect harmed in some way or another.

At least no one has died from today's events (or has yet to, he hopes).

Cobra replies, "All I wanted to do was to protect the town - the one we grew up in, where our memories and our homes are, and suddenly we're back to when Mugen broke up, except without half as many people running around and being stupid."

Yamato grunts in agreement, before adding, "But, God, Noboru, too, and at the same time and...fuck!"

Before Yamato can punctuate his sentence with slamming his beer down on the table, Cobra says flatly, "if you break that table, you're fucking buying me a new one."

Because it's not like those ones that Yamato has in his garage that can stand up to him slamming things into them all day.

It's not like Cobra doesn't understand where Yamato is coming from. When Noboru had been sent to prison, they'd still had Mugen, and when Mugen fell apart, they had been spared having to worry about Noboru in the same, active way they do now.

But Cobra's comment causes Yamato to pause and redirect his anger onto Cobra, and it's something of a relief to the taller of the two because it's always so much easier to rage against a person, instead of a group, or the world.

"Goddamnit, Cobra, don't you care? Noboru - NOBORU - nearly shot Chiharu today, would have shot him in that gun hadn't had a blank, and before we would even take him home he got fucking run over by a goddamn car and if that wasn't Iemura-kai I'm not sure who the fuck it was, but SWORD doesn't need to attract any more attention! We don't need to attract more attention - you know that the cops only don't care so long as all the wars and fights are away from the civilians, and Daruma doesn't really give a fuck be they don't deal directly with the people in their territory, but we do and people could die if this escalates - Naomi could've died if it wasn't Rocky and the White Rascals that had been stolen from and I can't let Tatsuya-san down like that. I can't let Naomi down like that..."

Yamato looks down at Cobra, towers over him from where Yamato stood up in the middle of his tirade, tries to get him to look at anywhere but the beer held in his hand, and asks, "don't you care? It's Noboru, it's Naomi. Even disbanding Sannou -"

Cobra looks up, eyes shadowed behind his bleached bangs.

"You. You nearly died, Yamato. If Chiharu hadn't thrown himself in front of you, if Noboru's gun hadn't been filled with blanks, that would have been you.

"You're part of this town, Yamato, didn't we just talk about this? You, and yes, Naomi, and Noboru, and Chiharu and Dan, Tatsu - they're all part of this fucking town that I'm trying to protect and fuck, if the police would and could actually do anything besides show up late and give us speeding tickets on the days they actually have a speed gun on them to prove it, then I would leave the majority of it to them."

By this point, Cobra is standing, too, and for all that he's a good couple of inches shorter than Yamato it doesn't really matter.

"But they don't; they won't. You know that, I know that, and it doesn't fucking matter because Sannou Rengoukai was started so that we'd all have a place to come back to after Mugen disbanded - Noboru especially, but not just him.

"So, yes, I disbanded Sannou Rengoukai because having it would have just hurt us - we wouldn't have been able to fight after seeing Noboru like that, and Hyuga isn't going to make a move on our territory. If Iemura-kai does, then it just proves what I said back at the end of the fight - and everyone was there, they heard it."

There's a beat of silence and then they're wrestling like they're back in elementary school, and it's a regular afternoon, not the witching hour of a day that, almost, couldn't have gone any worse. It's how it's always gone, because they've always been each other's opponent, despite how good Noboru was (IS) at fighting; he tended (tends, damn it) to think when he was angry, instead of focusing that anger outwards at the world and other bodies in general.

They're both bruised, and given that Cobra isn't completely certain he doesn't have a concussion (which honestly isn't new), and his arms don't want to reach at anything, let alone fight Yamato into any kind of hold, this isn't his best idea, but it's how things get done. From how they used to decide on what anime to watch to, obviously, more serious decisions, because Yamato has always been focused on people, individuals, while Cobra can (usually) vacillate between the bigger picture and specific individuals. They don't, clearly, agree on most things, and usually Cobra gives in to Yamato's people sense because it's how they became friends and added Noboru, and later joined Mugen and the rest of their shared history.

But sometimes Yamato needs to see that he can't focus solely on the individuals, and he'll try and yield to Cobra if he's not dead set on a person, which is why wrestling is still their way of coming to an agreement.

It sometimes leads to kissing, and touching, and sex, and hanging in bed afterwards and ignoring the world, because it feels more like it did in the beginning, when they segue from fighting to sex and it's harder to miss the space Noboru used to take, and it's harder for the current problems to be current if they're both reminiscing about the end of junior high and how their problems were just starting to grow to the size they are currently.

"Fuck." Yamato grunts from his place on the floor, because he almost never wins these fights, when they degenerate to this degree.

"You? Sure." Cobra grins down at him.

"Yeah, yeah. Uncle, uncle."

Cobra's grin widens.

"Bed, then."

"Nope. I'm comfortable right - no never mind I'm moving, I'm moving!"

"Good. Because it's practically right in front of you right now."

At least Yamato's ticklish spot are his feet, Rude Boys are never hesitant to take advantage of shit like that, same with Daruma Ikka. But, well, maybe nightmares aren't the top of Cobra's list for appreciating having his own place, at least for now.


Please leave a review?