Chapter 1: Chapter 1
Five of the six founding members of the Phantom Dragons Motorcycle Club sat around the long mahogany table housed in the cabinet’s meeting room at PDMC Headquarters. At the head of the table sat Tetsuya Naito, President of the club, his face was lined with exhaustion as he ran a tired hand through his shaggy hair. On the table in front of him sat his signature black baseball cap, thrown there in the midst of a contentious argument with Hiromu Takahashi who was glowering at him with arms folded petulantly across his chest. Naito wasn’t overly concerned. Hiromu would be over it in minutes. Hiromu had a temper, but he could never hold onto his anger against his brothers.
To his right sat Tetsuya Bushi, Vice President of the club, who looked like he wanted to pull his hair out by the roots. For the past two hours Bushi had been trying to play peacemaker with his temperamental brothers. With an irritated sigh he pulled off the latex mask covering his face and threw it on the table. In front of this group was the only place he felt comfortable going mask less. A personal preference he had adopted when they had moved to this country. Moving to the United States from Japan had taken him out of his comfort zone and he didn’t like it, but he would go to hell and back for his makeshift family, including moving to a foreign country. Yes, Bushi would follow them anywhere, if they could all agree on where that would be.
“Mask’s off. We’re in trouble now.” Hiromu said with a giggle trying to lighten the tense atmosphere that was suffocating the room now that he was over his own strife. Shingo was the first to crack, a loud guffaw escaping as he slapped his palm on the table. Soon the room was filled with laughter and the tension dissipated.
“Can we talk now without trying to kill each other?” Naito asked as the laughter died down.
“You really feel like this is necessary?” Seiya Sanada spoke up from the other end of the table. His laser sharp eyes focused on Naito, one perfect eyebrow arched as he waited for Naito’s answer. Next to Sanada was a conspicuously empty chair; a chair that had been empty on approaching two years now as its occupant was incarcerated at Newham State Prison.
“I do.” Naito said seriously. “I wouldn’t have suggested it if I didn’t think it was necessary.”
For ten years the club had run its operations out of Newham, but Naito now believed it would be in the club’s best interests to set up shop somewhere new. His suggestion of moving to a small town a few hours away, where the police force wasn’t as advanced or well-manned, and they would be able to operate more freely, wasn’t going over too well with some of the members.
“I agree with Naito. It’s a step we have to take.” Shingo chimed in. “It started with Evil and has only gotten worse the past two years. We have a target on our backs and the Newham Police Department has the resources to make our lives very difficult. They aren’t letting up. We don’t have the numbers to combat the problem. We need to set up shop somewhere off the radar.”
Sanada pursed his lips, leaning back in his chair with arms folded over his chest. He didn’t like this. He didn’t think the club should be making a decision of this magnitude without input from all of their members. Yet Naito was insistent they had to move forward; that there wasn’t time to wait for Evil’s upcoming release from prison. An increasing amount of close calls had Naito feeling like their backs were against the wall and he was ready to do what was necessary to protect their club. Sanada and Hiromu disagreed with his position, leading to tensions flying high.
“I don’t like it. I think Evil should have a say in a decision this big.” Sanada said with Hiromu making a concurring noise. “I don’t disagree with the need for a move. Your points and logic are sound. I just don’t think we need to rush.”
Hiromu nodded in agreement, while Sanada looked around the room meeting each man’s gaze as he thought.
“But I’m not going to hold it up.” He finally continued. “If you think this is what’s for the best, I have your back.” With Sanada giving his blessing, Hiromu gave his agreement as well, though neither looked particularly happy about it.
Naito released a breath he didn’t realize he was holding, feeling the tension draining out of his shoulders. The last thing he wanted was to force a decision that wasn’t vetted by the boys, but this was something he felt very strongly about. Making the decision without Evil didn’t sit right with him either, but it was a decision Naito felt needed to be made now. Given the fact that the warden up at the prison refused to grant anyone affiliated with the club visitation or even contact with Evil it had to be done without him.
“At the end of the day you know we’ll all follow wherever you lead.” Hiromu said with Sanada nodding in agreement. They had said their pieces, made their opinions known, but as Hiromu said they would follow Naito to the ends of the earth. If he felt moving operations to a small town was the right move for their club, they believed him. Naito had never steered them wrong before.
“So do you have a particular place in mind?” Bushi asked Naito, leaning back in his chair now that things had fallen into a more amicable path.
“A few. I thought Shingo and I could take a ride up, scope out a few places see what he thinks of the logistics.” Naito said. As the club’s Sergeant in Arms Shingo was in charge of security. His opinion would hold the most wait as to the best fit for their club. If Shingo wasn’t comfortable, Naito wouldn’t pull the trigger. Now that the others were on board with the move, they were the two that would make the final decision as to their destination.
Naito leaned back in his leather chair, watching as one by one his brothers left the conference room as the meeting concluded. Only when he was alone did Naito let out a relived breath. He hadn’t been entirely sure how this meeting would turn out. As President he had the right to make whatever decision he felt was best for the club without their input, but he wouldn’t ever play that card. Their brotherhood was made up of love, respect and trust and he would never do anything to betray that bond. President or not Naito didn’t feel his voice held more weight than any other member of the board.
Pushing away from the table, Naito grabbed his cap and threw it on his head before heading towards the door. Flicking off the light switch Naito exited the room, shutting the door behind him as he went. Instead of leaving like the rest of the club Naito headed towards his office. It was late, but he had a few loose ends he wanted to tie up before he headed home.
Flicking on his desk lamp Naito walked over to the side bar and poured himself two fingers of scotch, downing it in a quick shot and wincing as the liquid burned his throat. Refiling his glass Naito moved to the desk, grabbing the nearest stack of paperwork and settling into the stiff wooden chair he favored for his office. It wasn’t meant to be comfortable, quite the opposite in fact. It kept Naito on his toes, not lending itself to any of his impromptu naps he was so fond of. The chair would keep him awake while he reviewed numbers coming into the club and shipment manifestos. As much fun as running an outlaw motorcycle gang was, the paperwork was a bitch. He was beyond exhausted, but Naito had a strict twenty-four hour turnaround on letting papers hang around and the clock was ticking. The longer the originals were in their possession, the more of a chance they fell into the wrong hands.
His least favorite part of this whole operation, but a necessary part. Naito would spend hours poring over every inch of paper line by line making sure every dollar was accounted for and every shipment had the expected merchandise. From Naito the papers would go to Hiromu who would transcribe every word into the code the club had engineered. Once everything was translated, the original documents would be incinerated, the evidence completely eradicated. After Hiromu had worked his magic, Bushi and Shingo would run through them one last time to make sure Naito’s numbers were on the money. As soon as they were through the papers were returned to headquarters and locked in a safe that only Bushi knew the location of. Failsafe after failsafe were in place by the Dragons to protect themselves.
“We’ve got to stop meeting like this.”
Naito startled awake at the sound of Bushi’s teasing voice, jerking his head up where it had fallen on the desk, piece of paper stuck on his cheek by dried drool. Pulling the paper off Naito groaned his muscles screaming from sleeping in the rock hard chair as he squinted at Bushi.
“Come on Tetsuya.” Bushi said helping his friend to his feet. “You need some sleep. In an actual bed.”
“The papers.” Naito gestured vaguely at the mess on his desk as Bushi ushered him out of the office.
“I’ll get them to Hiro.” Bushi promised leading Naito up the stairs and into the first bedroom at the top. “Get some sleep. That’s an order.”
Naito gratefully sunk onto the soft mattress, his eyes closing as soon as his head hit the pillow. One of these days he was going to make it to his own house, and his own bed with his woman.
Shutting the door behind him Bushi headed back down the stairs and into Naito’s office gathering up the stack of papers to deliver them to Hiromu. Locking up the compound house Bushi hopped down the steps towards his bike, securing the papers in his saddle bag then taking off towards Hiromu’s house.
The irritated voice of Hiromu had Bushi smiling as he continued ringing the doorbell incessantly until Hiromu threw the door open with a glare.
“Did I wake you princess?” Bushi teased flicking the eye mask pushed up into Hiromu’s sleep mussed hair.
“Fuck off Bushi.” Hiromu grumbled stepping back so Bushi could come into his house.
“I’ll be out of your hair in two minutes.” Bushi promised following him down the hallway towards the kitchen. “Just dropping these off for you.” He waved the papers he had brought in with him.
“Naito pass out in his office again?” Hiromu asked taking the proffered papers from Bushi. More often than not Bushi ended up making these late night visits to deliver the papers to Hiromu.
“As usual.” Bushi responded digging through the fruit bowl on Hiromu’s table until he found a pear. “He’s going to break his back one of these days sleeping in that fucking chair.” Bushi washed the pear under the sink faucet then took a bite, juice dripping down his chin.
“I keep telling him.” Hiromu said with a smile. “It doesn’t matter how uncomfortable he makes himself, Naito will still sleep.”
Bushi laughed in agreement, settling himself down in one of the kitchen chairs and eating his fruit as Hiromu disappeared down the hallway to tuck the papers away in his safe. In the morning he would begin coding them then send them on to Shingo.
“Two minutes my ass.” Hiromu said with a smile as he returned to find Bushi making himself comfortable. “Some of us actually sleep Bushi. You know? That thing normal people do at night.”
Though he was giving him a hard time, Hiromu wasn’t upset. He was well-versed in Bushi’s problems with insomnia. Late night visits were not out of the norm.
“Don’t talk to me about normal.” Bushi said pulling off his mask with a yawn and running his fingers through his short blonde hair. “You have no room.”
Throwing his sleeping mask onto the table, Hiromu pulled his hair back and tied it into a messy ponytail before peering inquisitively at Bushi.
“What’s on your mind Bushi?” Hiromu asked as he slid into the chair across from his friend. Yes Bushi suffered from insomnia, but he knew his friend too well. His face was strained and his body language was tense, even trying to present a laid back front to Hiromu.
Bushi sighed, dropping his head, chin resting on his chest as he chewed on his bottom lip. The silence stretched, Hiromu staring patiently at Bushi until he realized Hiromu wasn’t going to let him off.
“I don’t like change.” Bushi said shortly.
“You agreed with Naito.” Hiromu reminded him. During their earlier meeting Bushi had been very vocal in agreeing with Naito’s plan from the very start.
“I do agree with Naito, that doesn’t mean I like it.”
Hiromu nodded. He could understand that. Bushi was the one who had the most trouble acclimating to America, had struggled learning the language and customs. Ten years later he still held his true identity from everyone outside his inner circle.
“New people. New places.” Bushi continued as Hiromu looked at him expectantly. Hiromu would make his friend talk out his worries. Get him to a comfortable place. “People staring at me like I’m a freak.” He shrugged uncomfortably, trying to play it off like it didn’t bother him.
“I’ll kill anyone who looks at you wrong.” Hiromu said fiercely bringing a small smile to Bushi’s lips.
“C’mon Bushi-san.” Hiromu said rising to his feet and holding his hand out to Bushi. “Time to put you to bed. You can use my guest room.”
Bushi let himself be led down the hallway gratefully crashing onto Hiromu’s spare bed. He felt exhausted and ready to collapse, though he wasn’t hopeful that sleep was going to come. It never did.
“Really Hiro?” Bushi asked as Hiromu bounced onto the bed next to him, sitting up against the headboard. “You gonna bunk with me?”
“I’m gonna make sure you sleep.” Hiromu said seriously. “It’s been too long since you had a good sleep. I’ll be here. I’ll make sure your safe. Sleep now Bushi-san.”
Chapter 2: Chapter 2
The Club continues to work towards their future
If you've read this before I've scrapped the work and am re-writing it, so check out Chapter 1 again as there are some changes
Warnings: explicit language, references to sexual content, implied criminal elements
With a groan Naito awoke slowly, the sound of a familiar ringtone dragging him from slumber. Stretching sore limbs that popped loudly reminding him of his aches and pains, Naito reluctantly sat up, running a tired hand through disheveled hair and reaching for the offending gadget. Nish’s face flashing on the screen had him ignoring the call. He would deal with her later. It wasn’t like she didn’t know where he was. If he didn’t come home to her, he was at the clubhouse. Nishi knew damn well what he got up to behind her back. So long as he treated her right, Nishi was willing to turn a blind eye. She still liked to know where he was and what he was up to. Even if she knew he was lying to her. Gave her a sense of ownership he supposed. Whatever. He loved her and was willing to do what it took to keep her content. Naito was willing to play her game most of the time.
This morning was not one of those days. He had more important matters to take care of today. Grabbing the black cap Bushi had thrown on the end of the bed Naito settled it on his head and started downstairs drawn by the tantalizing smell of coffee floating in the air. Several lower members of the club were lounging around the living area which told Naito that the rest of his brothers weren’t in residence. At least not the more intimidating ones, but a glance around the room didn’t reveal either Bushi or Hiromu so Naito would bet they were absent as well. In the corner at a round table sat a couple of the newer members Ace Austin and Eddie Edwards hunched over a checker board. The morning news blared from the 70 inch TV hanging on the wall, holding the attention of the Crist brothers, Dave and Jake, as they lounged on the leather sofas.
With a general wave to the group Naito grabbed his favorite coffee mug, branded with “Sorry, No Hablo Fucktardo,” from the cupboard and filled it to the brim with steaming black coffee before splashing copious amounts of hazelnut cream into the mug until it was a light brown in color and practically dripping over the edge. Leaning against the counter Naito surveyed the room, eyes lingering on the two in the corner.
“Ace; Eddie either of you know where Bushi is?” Naito asked raising an expectant eyebrow as he sipped the brew.
Nervously clearing his throat Ace put down the checker disc and shifted so he was facing the President.
“He left with Hiromu about an hour ago.” Ace answered quickly, wincing as Naito frowned at his response. Though he was just imparting information the last thing he wanted to do was upset what was essentially the boss.
“Bushi said they were going to pick up his new bike.” He hastened to add hoping the additional knowledge would lessen Naito’s irritation. Instead it only seemed to increase it as Naito rolled his eyes and turned his back as he dug through the fridge looking for something quick to eat.
“He’s seriously getting another fucking bike?” Naito muttered to himself. “Like the ten he has aren’t enough?”
Bushi picking up another bike was nothing new, every time Bushi designed himself a new mask, you knew a bike to match it was soon to follow. Nobody begrudged Bushi his collection, or obsession with coordination, but this morning, when Naito was hoping to have him accompany him as a buffer, it was irritating.
“Hiromu said they would be back in a few hours.” Eddie Edwards chimed in trying to help his clubmate out.
Naito internally sighed as he turned back to the men having come up empty in his search for sustenance. Draining the rest of the coffee and setting the mug in the dish filled sink Naito pointed at Eddie.
“Clean this shit up.” Naito directed while heading out the front door. “And someone go shopping.”
Walking over to his white Thug chopper Naito tossed his baseball cap onto one of the patio chairs and slid on his helmet. It appeared he was on is own for his little visit to Sanada. The two men could be incredible stubborn and hard headed, and it was usually beneficial to have a neutral third-party (namely Bushi) there to help cooler heads prevail when they inevitably butted heads. Yet as much as he would like to put it off, Naito knew he needed to talk to Sanada before things festered any further.
Out of the entire club Sanada was taking Evil’s incarceration the hardest. The two were closer than blood which lead to Sanada bristling at any perceived slight to his brother who wasn’t there to defend himself. Making a huge decision like moving the club, something that directly impacted each and every single one of them without consulting Evil wasn’t sitting well with Sanada, even with his tactile agreement the night before. Naito knew his friend well enough to know that his apparent approval hadn’t been approval in the slightest.
The ride to Sanada’s condominium was a short one, barely five minutes but an entire world away from the neighborhood where the clubhouse was located. Naito always got a kick out of visiting Sanada knowing the hoity toity pricks looked down their noses at them. Pulling off his helmet and setting it on the seat Naito had his signature smirk in full effect as he pushed past the concierge who held the door open with barely concealed disgust. Naito knew it drove the residents crazy that a lowlife outlaw motorcycle gang member resided among them, not to mention the fact that Sanada gave his brothers full access to his residence.
With two heavy raps and a jab at the doorbell Naito announced his presence to Sanada. Even though he had a key, Naito wasn’t going to start this meeting off with an advantage over Sanada. He’d give Sanada the home court advantage for this little tête-à-tête.
When the door was finally opened a shirtless Sanada in low slung gray sweatpants greeted Naito with a mask of irritation that faded to confusion when he realized who was at his door.
“You’re knocking now?” Sanada asked yawning as he brushed his mussed up hair back only for it to fall right back into place. Naito almost laughed, but wisely kept it to himself. It was so rare to see Sanada ruffled and looking less than one hundred percent put together.
“Can I come in?” Naito asked garnering another look of confusion from Sanada.
“You don’t even have to ask.” Sanada said stepping back and waving his friend in. “What’s up with you? You’re being all weird.”
That gave Naito pause, wondering if he had read the situation wrong. Maybe his own doubts were making him see things that weren’t there. He had been expecting a hostile environment and Sanada’s relatively amenable disposition was throwing him off.
On his way to the living room Naito paused catching sight of a slim figure coming down the staircase. He took his time admiring her, lingering on the blue panties playing peek-a-boo with the hem of Sanada’s white t-shirt that was hanging off her tiny frame. She was certainly Sanada’s type. He gravitated towards the petite tiny little things with nice tits, and subtle curves. Bushi theorized it was because they were the complete opposite from the types of women he dealt with at the strip clubs. Made sense to Naito, though Sanada certainly didn’t shy away from fuckin any of those girls. But they weren’t the ones who made it back to his place for a sleepover.
“I can come back later.” Naito said looking back at Sanada who didn’t look too pleased at her sudden appearance.
“I told you to stay in bed.” Sanada said flatly ignoring Naito’s comment as she bounced over and plastered herself to his side.
“You were taking too long baby, I missed you.” She simpered.
Someone who didn’t know Sanada as well as Naito did wouldn’t have noticed the tick of displeasure at the corner of his lips. Naito knew as well as Sanada did what she was trying to accomplish with this little stunt. Trying to stake a public claim on Sanada wasn’t going to end well for her.
Naito was proven correct as Sanada disentangled her, stepping back pointedly.
“It’s time for you to go.”
The smile on her face fell and she stared at Sanada with hurt written all over her face.
“But…I thought we were gonna…” She trailed off.
“And now we’re not. Go.”
Sanada followed Naito into the living room ignoring his guest as she stood there in shock before turning and running up the stairs in tears.
“Break her heart why don’t you.” Naito teased as the two men settled into the plush sofas.
“I fucked her a couple times. She knows better than to get attached.” Sanada said bluntly.
They kept the conversation on hold until she returned, dressed in her own clothes and scuttling out the front door when Sanada barely spared her a glance. Once his guest was gone the air turned serious.
“I said yes.” Sanada said having figured out exactly why Naito had shown up at his door and was acting so out of character.
“That wasn’t a yes.”
Sanada met Naito’s eyes with his own, chin dipping in the barest of acknowledgements of Naito’s point. Sanada had agreed and he would back his club to the death, but the whole situation still didn’t sit well with him and he doubted it ever would. But he understood where Naito was coming from, and he appreciated the effort his President was expending to get him comfortable. For the past year and a half he had been trying to carry both his own and Evil’s weight in the club making sure Evil had representation in spirit when he couldn’t be there physically. With something this big, Sanada couldn’t grasp why they couldn’t wait six months.
“He’s gonna come home from being locked up for almost two years to have his entire life uprooted. He’s going to get thrown out of his home, his life and forced somewhere he’s never been. I don’t think it’s fair to him. He should have a choice, and a say.” Sanada said emphatically.
“We don’t have time to wait for him Sanada.” Naito argued. “We need to get this in motion. We’ve got cops on our ass every time we turn around, they’ve already locked up on of our brothers I’m not looking to lose another.”
“I don’t think six months makes a difference.” Sanada’s voice was wrought with frustration, knowing he was fighting a battle he had already lost. “Evil has been cut off from all of us. He has no idea what’s going on, or what’s happening in the club and throwing something this big on him the second he gets out isn’t right.”
“I’m not trying to slight Evil.” Naito leaned forward earnestly. “I swear I’m not. I’ve done everything in my power to get us through with him gone. I would like nothing more than to let Evil have his say. Believe me. Even though he would chew my ass up and ream me over the coals I long to hear from him. I love him too Sei. Don’t think I don’t.”
“What the hell are we supposed to say to him? Welcome home Evil, sell your shit we’re leaving. Or is he just going to come home to an empty house? We gonna leave him behind?”
“That’s enough Seiya!” Naito growled his temper flaring. “That’s bullshit and you know it.”
“I don’t know it.” Sanada yelled. “All I know is you’re pushing this fucking agenda and nobody is thinking about Evil.”
Naito glowered at Sanada. It pissed him off that Sanada would imply that he would ever leave Evil behind. That he would leave any of them behind. Naito was ready to defend himself and launch into an argument to do so when a flash of emotion on Sanada’s face had him faltering. It was such a quick flash before Sanada rose and headed towards his kitchen that Naito wondered if he had seen it, but seeing the slight hunch to Sanada’s shoulders reinforced it and had his temper quickly deflating. Sanada was lashing out because he was hurting.
“Talk to me Sei. Please.” Naito said softly.
Never being comfortable articulating his feelings Sanada faced away from Naito grabbing a bottle of Acqua Panna from the fridge. Taking a deep drink Sanada played with the cap as he tried to give voice to the thoughts darting through his mind. Forcing the words out of his throat seemed to be an impossible task, his mouth opening and closing as he struggled to speak what he was feeling. Speaking his mind was no problem; speaking his feelings was an entirely different matter. It was so much easier to argue than give voice to his emotions.
A hand on his forearm startled Sanada from those thoughts, making him realize Naito was now standing in front of him with a concerned frown.
With Naito’s encouragement Sanada was soon rambling out disjointed thoughts that seemingly had no rhyme or reason yet made perfect sense somehow. It eventually came out that Sanada’s reticence stemmed more from his personal feelings than objections to Naito’s reasons or timeline. Logically he understood. For the club he understood.
“I met Evil before I met any of you. He saved me when I didn’t think there was a place for me in this world. For the first time in my life I connected with someone. And then he brought me a family I never had.” Sanada said quietly. “I’ve never not had him by my side since we all came together. It’s a big adjustment. I didn’t just lose my brother, I lost my best friend. The one person I could turn to no matter what. I love you all, but there’s still a hole.”
Naito felt a surge of chagrin that he had missed just how isolated Sanada had been feeling in Evil’s absence. Thinking back over the past year and some odd months he realized Sanada had been missing on more occasions than he had been accounted for. How many nights out had Sanada begged out of without them realizing it? They had all failed Sanada and it would be addressed.
“I hope you don’t think you can’t turn to any one of us.” Naito said. “Every single one of us love you Sanada. We’re here for you. Any time you need us.”
Though he departed a few minutes later, Naito was nowhere near satisfied with the conclusion of his meeting with Sanada. Yes they had gotten on the same page on the decision to move the club and Sanada was on board a bigger problem had come to Naito’s attention. A problem that had him feeling like a failure as a leader and as a friend. As he stepped into the elevator Naito pulled out his phone and created a group text to Bushi, Hiromu and Shingo.