“It’s good to see ya get down and dirty like the rest of us once in a while,” Shimano is laughing, a thunderous rumble that shakes his broad shoulders and the hand he’s got on Sagawa’s brow. “Been startin’ to think you were some kind of fuckin’ pencil pusher.”
Sagawa winces, canting his head to the side and yanking the ratty handkerchief out of Shimano’s graceless paw. He waves him off and Shimano shrugs, murmuring something about “ungrateful bitches”. He reaches up and pats the new cut over his eye himself, giving Shimano the dirtiest look he can muster as the man turns around and fishes through the pockets of poor bastard they’d just laid out in the alley. Some punk, completely forgettable – bland face, blander ambitions.
Still, getting bum rushed by a goon stung his pride something fierce; Shimano had been all too happy to shatter the kid’s knees in retribution. Sagawa knew better than to think it was entirely on his behalf.
He shoves the cloth into his pocket and watches Shimano turn the squirming body over with his foot. Face ruddy with tears, the kid is begging forgiveness and swears he’ll never do something like this again.
“I think he gets it,” Sagawa says, feeling impatient – the wailing is starting to attract a crowd, and he feels the beginnings of a headache crawl across his skull. “Let’s get a move on.”
Shimano raises a brow at him but for once keeps his mouth shut. They leave the alley and move past the appalled housewives and curious teenagers. A few girls are watching him from behind their hands and giggle when Sagawa gives them a wink. He feels the blood drying up into his eyelashes and keeps himself from reaching up to rub at the spot where the cut stings. He’s annoyed, tired, and the humid summer heat makes his clothes stick to his skin. Restlessness jumps along his muscles and makes his fingers twitch.
The two of them take a shortcut and are winding down the stairs next to the riverbed when Shimano plants one of his big hands on his shoulder, stopping him in his tracks.
Sagawa’s got a couple years on him, but even at eighteen Shimano is the biggest man he’s ever met, with the freakish strength to match. Everyone in town knows the hulking silhouette that works at the butcher shop and knows to shrink back at his brutish strength. If Shimano wanted to stop walking, they would stop walking. Doesn’t keep Sagawa from sending an irritated huff his way, though.
Shimano is looking down at him, considering, black eyes roving the cut and the bruise on his cheek. For a man with little qualms about expressing himself, he’s very good at giving nothing away if he doesn’t want to.
It’s a tense moment; Sagawa braces himself for just about anything.
Then Shimano chuckles and reaches up with a thumb to roughly rub some of the blood away.
“That’s gonna scar.”
“You know that’s going to be a real tragedy, right?” Sagawa shoots, though he indulges Shimano being handsy for whatever reason. It feels a bit like being pawed at by a damn ogre. Completely graceless. “I actually got a nice face, unlike yours.”
The man barks a laugh again, genuinely amused; Sagawa remembers why he likes him.
“Tragedy? You outghta send that kid a thank you, pretty boy,” he smirks nastily. “Maybe this’ll man you up some, make it look like you’ve actually got some hair on your balls.”
“Been thinking about my balls, huh?”
He feels the thumb press him hard right above the cut and into the brow. He’s fully aware Shimano could crush his head like a peach if he wanted. Distantly, he wonders if Shimano’s ever fantasized about it, sick as he was.
He jerks his head back at the sharp sting, feeling Shimano’s hand fall to his shoulder instead.
“Quit prodding at me.”
Shimano says nothing, just watches him and clearly thinking hard; a frown drags his brows together and his mouth downward. His jaw works at something, words he’s chewing on but is unsure if he wants to say. Sagawa watches back, curious underneath the trepidation.
Because it crystalizes for him right then and very suddenly he knows: Shimano wants to fuck him.
Sagawa isn’t particularly interested in him that way, but he also isn’t opposed to the idea of it – if it would’ve yielded anything beyond a sated curiosity (for Shimano) and a day of walking funny (for Sagawa) he might’ve even considered it. But he never liked to do things if there were no promises of results or intrigue. Nothing was shittier than doing something for nothing.
It was the only thing driving Sagawa’s life, and how he wanted to go out: living cushy and unbothered. A fucking high roller.
Still, it was something new – and interesting. Something about Shimano he never expected. There was a lot about Shimano he never expected.
He gives the man a chance to say what he clearly wants to say. But he gets nothing, so he shrugs the hand off his shoulder and gestures down the alley: “let’s get moving, I’m starving and I need a damn wash.”
On the way back, they come across a stray cat with a mouse in its mouth. It stops in its tracks to stare intently at them, devising its escape should they interfere with its path. Looking closer, Sagawa could see that the mouse wasn’t dead yet – it was twitching fruitlessly, beady eyes wide and fearful.
It’s in for a slow, painful death.
“Poor sucker.” Shimano quips absently, then he starts walking again.
Sagawa lingers, and watches the cat turn its head to walk away, the little mouse’s tail swinging like a worm. He remembers little Mametaro, shrieking horribly in a pool of feathers and gore. Remembers his young self watching helplessly, so scared he hadn’t even be able to cry. Remembers his parents, bored at the display of misery, turning to go back into the house, leaving little Tsukasa to tremble alone in the tall summer grass.
The cat disappears around a corner, and Sagawa keeps walking.