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It's a Night Like Any Other...

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It's a night like any other. At least, that's what you'd think upon first glance. But tonight was different.

This was the night.

He could feel it.

Deep down inside him, he always knew when something was about to go down. A burning inside him, like the effects of a too large drink of a too hot coffee.

The last time he'd felt like this was three months ago to the day. That night had seemed like any other at first as well, but he knew better. A flash of red satin and a pair of full pouting lips had both started and ended that night for him.

But he was used to those kinda dames. A dangerous flame that would charbroil his heart with a side of fries. A cunning vixen who moved from man to man, about one a month. She'd win his heart and his wallet, only to wreck them both before disappearing into the night.

But tonight...tonight wasn't about a woman. Tonight was about a job.

He'd been here before, seen these places, seen these people. When you've been around as long as he has, everywhere and everyone starts to blend together.

At times like this, he chooses to walk to the scene. It helps remind him that he's alive, that these are real people. Real people that needed him.

Why does he do it? It's a simple question with a simple answer. Because he enjoys it. Year after year, he finds himself in this same situation, yet he doesn't mind. Better to be amongst friends than amongst enemies. Though in this world, sometimes it was hard to tell the difference.

Arriving at the scene, he greets his colleagues with a curt nod and a gaze set in grim determination. He keeps his composure around the younger men, knowing that they need him to be the strong leader of the group. Because without him, everything would fall apart.

A loud laugh rings through the room. "What is he talking about?!" Chirolyn asks with a laugh. "We've rehearsed without him plenty of times!"

You walks over to the bassist and pats him on the shoulder. "Don't mind Chacha," he says quietly. "Sometimes he gets like this. I think it's his way of dealing with being the oldest one here."

Jun-ji comes forward to join the other two men. "Is Chacha...narrating everything he does? Like...film noir style?"

You nods. "Sad, but true."

"You said that he does this from time to time," Chirolyn explains.

"I didn't say that," Jun-ji frowns.

"I did," You sighs. "I think this must be Chacha's way of dealing with a mid-life crisis."

He surveys the array in front of him, deciding on the best weapon of choice. He has to choose carefully as this is an especially difficult case tonight. As senior member of the squad, it's his job to carry the brunt of duties. Some of the other members of the squad were probably a little too green for this kind of situation, but no better way to learn than to be thrust directly into the shit. He'd keep an eye on them though, he always did. Especially the rookie with the ridiculous mohawk."

"Hey!" Chirolyn starts to advance on Chacha to defend himself, but You and Jun-ji hold him back.

"Just leave him be," You says. "He'll stop sooner or later, just let him have his moment."

He looks over the notes left for him by the Captain. Nothing out of the ordinary, the same old warnings about not scaring the rookies and keeping his hands clean.

The Captain didn't trust him as far as he could throw him, but he knew he could get the job done. He'd been known to act rashly in the past, stepping out of line on numerous occasions. He was a revolver with the safety off and everyone knew it. But they tolerated it because it was no secret to anyone that he was the best.

"HA!"

A hush falls over the room at the sound of approaching footsteps. He pauses in inspecting his equipment. Judging from the timbre of the footsteps, it was a male. About five foot, eleven inches. Perhaps 135-140 pounds. Must be the Captain. He straightens his shirt and runs a hand through his hair as the door opens. He may be a renegade in the field, but he still held with the old-fashioned ideals of respect.

"Oh, Christ. Is he doing this again?" Gackt asks as he stands in the doorway.

"Afraid so," You replies.

Gackt rolls his eyes and looks at his bare wrist. "I don't have time to deal with this today. Let's just meet tomorrow."

And just like that, the Captain leaves and the case is closed. Perhaps this isn't going to be one of those nights after all.

A junior member of the squad invites him out for drinks. The lad is hard-working and earnest, but still a little green behind the ears.

"I'm standing right here, Cha," You says with a sigh.

But through it all, the boy has always stuck with him. And in this crazy, messed-up world, it's best to keep what few friends you can get close.

Chacha and You leave the studio and head towards the parking lot and You's car.

Stepping outside, he pulls his coat tight around him against the chilly night, the collar barely staving off the cold autumn air.

"It's the middle of August."

He lights the cigarette dangling from his lips, the end flaring red in the darkness.

"You don't smoke."

On the way to the pub, he ignores the ramblings of the younger man and thinks back on the evening. It was uncommon for his gut instincts to be wrong and he pondered what it could mean that the night hadn't turned out as he had suspected.

Although...

As the car pulls into the parking lot of the seedy little dive bar, he spies the sheen of a sleek blue sports car parked nearby. Red satin and a pair of full, pouting lips flash through his mind and he smirks. Perhaps this is going to be one of those nights after all.