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Caught the Scent

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Majima had been in a lot of situations in his life where the options laid before him were all shit.

He’d gotten pretty good at making the most of a bad thing because of it, though, which was a handy skill to have, he thought. Meant that even when life gave him lemons, he could whip that shit up into a fucking four course meal for himself.

But there were some lemons that were lumpier than others.

Kidnapping a little girl was already pretty lumpy. He’d done plenty of kidnapping in his time, but it was always scumbags who needed the reminder that they were strutting on the cracked glass surface of a shark tank. Having to snatch up a little girl from the streets gave him none of the satisfaction and all of the guilt, even if his boys were as nice about it as they could be.

Which, considering they’d beat the hell out of that cop before putting a bullet in him for some goddamn reason, wasn’t as nice as others might have liked.

So by the time the girl got back to him at the batting cages, he already knew he was in for it.

Oh well. In for a penny...

It was probably better this way, anyway. He’d briefly floated the idea of just going to that cop and giving him the rundown so he wouldn’t have to go quite this far, but he’d figured that wasn’t going to get the job done. The guy didn’t seem like someone who was too keen on listening to a yakuza, no matter how reasonable he tried to be.

And Majiima wasn’t feeling particularly reasonable.

Most likely because while it was bad enough to be targeting a little girl, it was lightyears worse to be targeting a little girl that Kiryu had taken under his wing.

And boy, did it feel not amazing when she recognised him as ‘Mister Kiryu’s friend.’

“We ain’t friends, kiddo,” he growled at her as he tied off the ropes around her, hoping to scare her into shutting up. But either the kid had balls of steel or she’d already seen some shit worse than him, because she just frowned at him in a way that reminded him eerily of Kiryu.

“Yes, you are. I’ve seen you two smoking together outside of Serena.”

In fact, there was something eerily familiar about her in general, he realised as he studied her face. Something about the eyes. “Doesn’t mean we’re friends. Just means he wanted a smoke.” He brushed it off, thinking that it was probably just his head making shit up again, and sat back, crouching down next to the girl as she struggled against the ropes. 

“Hey. Cut that shit out. Y’ain’t gettin’ outta that anytime soon so you might’s’well get comfy.”

Surprisingly, his words seemed to work. Instead of continuing to wriggle angrily, she just settled awkwardly back against the metal shelves, glaring up at him. He started to smile and praise her for her smarts, but then the little shit said,

“You should let me go, you know.”

Majima blinked, torn between amused and impressed and annoyed dissatisfaction. Who was this girl?

“Eh? And why’s that?” he asked, his curiosity getting the better of him.

“Because Mister Kiryu will be coming for me soon and he’s going to be mad at you.”

“Oh yeah?” he said, landing solidly on impressed. The girl didn’t seem to be even a little scared of him. He knew she must be, by the stiff way she sat and the fact that she wasn’t blinking. But if he wasn’t looking for it, then he might’ve thought that she was as stoic as the man that had somehow earned her unshakeable trust quick enough that she was willing to bet her life on it. “You think he cares enough to come rescue some brat? He’s a yakuza, you know. We ain’t exactly known for bein’ heroes.”

“I don’t care about that,” the girl surprised him with. Her frown deepened in disapproval, her brows lowered and mouth thin, and Majima could swear that he’d seen that exact look on Kiryu before. It got his hackles up for some reason, seeing that look on this little girl that had gotten everyone’s shit in a spin. “Mister Kiryu is a good guy.”

“Yeah, well,” Majima said in his meanest voice as he narrowed his eye, “ I’m a bad guy, kid. The baddest out there. So—”

Haruka .”

Majima’s mouth was still open, still trying to form the words of the threat he’d been saying before being interrupted. The two of them got into a glaring contest, facing off like two angry cats in an alley. Eventually, when Majima realised how stupid it was to be even doing this with a goddamn kid , he bit out,

“What?”

The girl’s voice was so tiny and girlish, and yet she managed to sound as sharp as any knife as she said, “Haruka. I’m not ‘kid.’ My name is Haruka.”

And with that, Majima was forcibly yanked back almost twenty years by the scruff of his neck, sitting on a cold bathroom floor and looking up into the dark to see a man barely out of boyhood, talking back to his superior without hesitation. 

He shot to his feet in the present, head spinning with the sudden change. He waited until he’d gotten over the surrealness of that coincidence before grumbling,

“Didn’t ask.”

Haruka just kept glaring up at him.

“Whatever,” he said after a few seconds of silence. He opened his mouth to continue, but before he could, the juddering clank of the spotlights turning on and ball machines starting up echoed in the tiny room, followed soon by the roar of,

Majima !”

Kiryu had arrived.

That was faster than he’d expected. 

Guess all that time spent running away from him in the streets was doing good for his stamina.

With one more glance down at Haruka to make sure she was going to stay put, Majima turned and slid out of the supply closet, taking one of the bats propped against the wall as he left. 

Kiryu’s eyes found Majima’s the moment he stepped into view.

Majima had seen Kiryu pretty angry several times in their lives. A few of them were because of things he’d done just to rile him up. A few of them were because someone had threatened a person that Kiryu cared about.

Majima felt it was safe to say that the combination of the two had granted him the sight of Kazuma Kiryu at his angriest. 

In a way, it was pretty breathtaking. 

Then again, in another way, it made him want to puke, there was so much adrenaline pumping through him.

So that wasn’t a great way to start.

But it would have to do.

“Kiryu-chan—”

“Where is she.”

Majima closed his mouth on the teasing he’d intended to use to his advantage. 

His boys closed in on Kiryu from all sides, gripping their bats tight and limbering up, but Kiryu only had eyes for Majima and they were blazing with barely-contained rage.

Majima knew he’d have to tread carefully from now on or risk getting into some bad habits just to get that sort of attention. 

 But for now, he allowed himself to bask in it. He’d made his decision and now he’d reap the rewards, bad and good. “Right through this door,” he said, pointing to the closet and smiling. “Go ahead and take her.”

Kiryu strode toward him without hesitation, pushing through the wall of his boys as though they were nothing more than flies buzzing around him. When he reached out to the doorknob, though, Majima flipped his bat, slamming it onto the metal door before Kiryu could touch it. Kiryu whirled on him, eyes narrowed dangerously.

“If you can.”

They locked eyes for several tense moments until Kiryu spat out, “Get out of my way. I’m not going to fight you.”

“We both know that’s not true, Kiryu-chan,” Majima said in a singsong voice, smiling beatifically as he crooked his bat onto his shoulder and tilted his face close to Kiryu’s. “You gotta stop denyin’ yourself like this, y’know. After I went to all this trouble just to get you here, and you’re tryin’ to—”

Kiryu’s fist slammed into his mouth, splitting his lips against his teeth as he flew to the ground, rolling to absorb the impact and getting back to his feet in the same motion. Kiryu’s breath was rough and fast as he stalked toward him, the promise of more pain in his gaze.

“Ah, hell yes! Here we go, boys!” Majima cried, voice reedy with excitement as he launched himself at Kiryu, bat forgotten in favour of his knife. When he slashed high at Kiryu’s face, though, he found himself not only expertly dodged, but scooped up and slung aside like a bag of trash. He choked for air when his gut slammed into one of the cage bars, eye watering as he looked back to Kiryu, who had moved onto his boys with a clinical precision. 

They tried, bless them, but even with weapons, they couldn’t hope to stop the force of the dragon. 

Of course they couldn’t. Majima had been the only one who’d ever stood a chance.

But Kiryu would not fight him. 

Every time Majima rushed back at him, ready to catch him by surprise while he was busy with laying out one of his boys, Kiryu would just dodge or disable him in any way he could. Majima was so spitting mad at being deliberately denied that it took him until his last man was sprawled on the ground to realise that Kiryu wasn’t refusing to fight him.

He was just taking care of the fodder first.

And when Kiryu turned to him, not even out of breath, and said, “Let’s do this,” Majima was so giggly that he might as well have been a schoolgirl about to receive her first kiss.

“Kiryu-chan. If you wanted to get me alone—”

Kiryu strode toward him, scooping up an abandoned bat as he stepped over one of Majima’s men, and took a swing directly at his head. Majima had to use the sharp edge of his knife to deflect along the length of it as he barely ducked out of the way, the metals singing against each other.

Oh .

“—you just had to ask,” he finished breathlessly as they spun to face each other again.

Majima’s bones were buzzing from the force of Kiryu’s swing, but he didn’t get the chance to shake out the impact. Kiryu was already coming at him again, bat wild and heavy as he aimed for his weak points. Majima’s heart pounded in exhilaration as it cut through the air where he’d just been time after time, Kiryu’s eyes locked in his like a predator unwilling to let go of his prey.

Majima loved it.

They bobbed and struck, spun and kicked, sliced and swung in a dance that had become their own language, bodies knowing how to talk when there was nothing either of them could possibly say. They traded blows, both of them managing to avoid the other except for minor hits, until Majima backed away a little too far from Kiryu’s grasping hand and tripped over one of his boys, stumbling backwards.

And before he could get his footing back, Kiryu took the bat in both hands and swung hard, clipping the side of his head in a blow that sent him to the floor, reeling and confused.

He let out a high, grunting groan, brain scrambled from the force and the intention. Kiryu had done it. He’d actually done it. Majima curled into himself involuntarily, vision wavering ominously with the pounding of his head. For a few seconds, it went entirely black, and Majima wasn’t proud of how he trembled until it faded back in, slowly, slowly.

There was the sound of a bat clattering to the floor, the green carpet hardly cushioning the hollow clang.

Majima peeked up through the mess of his hair, feeling a chunk of it stick to the side of his head on what must be blood. Kiryu stood slack, mouth parted and nostrils flaring as he stared down at him with a strange mix of emotions barely showing in his eyes. Majima wasn’t sure if it was the likely concussion talking, but for a moment, through the confusion and the anger and the regret, Kiryu looked...lost. Betrayed.

But then their eyes found each other again and that tiny hint of something else disappeared, consumed by the anger until Kiryu’s face closed off entirely. Before Majima could even figure out how to talk again, Kiryu was mounting him, his weight pressing him into the floor as he smashed his fist into his face again and again. Majima was choking on blood and what was possibly a tooth by the time that his own anger reared its head. 

With a guttural shriek, Majima bit into the arm that was pinning him down, sliding his arms free and grabbing his abandoned knife when Kiryu yelped in shock. He slashed at his face, slicing a long line across his jaw before Kiryu jerked back, giving him the room to kick him off entirely. He sprung at him, making to stab him in the gut, but Kiryu palmed his forearm and slammed an elbow into his to dislocate it. Majima gasped as his knife flew out of his useless hand, his elbow snapping back into place like a thunderbolt through his arm. 

That was fine, he didn’t need the fucking thing! He’d tear Kiryu apart with his own two fucking hands if that was what he wanted! 

They slammed into each other like clumsy idiots, locking together as Majima hit low and Kiryu hit high, elbowing him in the back of the neck as Majima went for the ribs. Their grunts and cries of pain rang out in the center, echoing off the walls and coming back to them, almost ridiculous in their impotence. The industrial fans lined on the side of the wall blew against them hard enough to chill the blood dripping down his front, both his and Kiryu’s.

When they fell over another body, Majima’s legs gave out under him and they went down hard, rolling on the floor like boys in the schoolyard. Majima got the advantage first, grabbing Kiryu’s hair and slamming his head into the carpeted concrete, but it didn’t take long for Kiryu to regain the upper hand. He pinned him against the wall that they’d rolled into, his hands wrapped around his throat, squeezing so tight that Majima was immediately stiff, his cock straining against Kiryu’s ass. He scrabbled at Kiryu’s face uselessly, pulling in tiny wheezing gasps as their eyes locked like lovers in the night, his vision fading on the beautiful sight of Kiryu’s passion overtaking him.

He had a brief, tiny moment of regret that he hadn’t been able to hold out for Saejima, but if he had to die to someone other than his kyoudai, then he was happy it was Kiryu. Distantly, he felt his body spasming, giving in, and he was somewhat surprised at the relief that flooded him.

He hadn’t consciously known how much he’d wanted this.

But then— 

“Mister?”

—air crushed back into his lungs fast enough to keep him choking. Kiryu’s weight left him, and he curled up, thumping his chest to loosen the dumb muscles so the sudden breaths didn’t feel worse than death. His vision was like a strobing mirage, white and black and dotted with swimming yellow shapes that slowly became Kiryu and Haruka. Kiryu held Haruka close, bent over her as protectively as a father, and Haruka had her arms tight around his middle, eyes closed in relief.

Poisonous emotions bloomed in Majima’s gut at the sight, and he closed his eye so he didn’t have to feel it burning dangerously.

“Mister Kiryu, I was so scared.”

“It’s okay, Haruka. I’m here now. I’m here.”

A little hiccuping sob wormed into Majima’s heart, gnawing, tunneling through the meat of him to get to that dark place inside, and he rolled onto his hands and knees, needing to get away right that moment. Nothing else mattered—not the unsatisfying end to their fight, not the unspoken change between them, not checking to see if he was even fit to be walking. 

He just had to go .

But before he’d stumbled more than a few steps, Kiryu’s voice stopped him dead, commanding him effortlessly with just a simple, “Majima. Wait.”

He wanted to ignore it, angry at the dog inside him that wanted to slink up to Kiryu with its tail between its legs and head hung low. Kiryu didn’t want him like that—didn’t want him at all—and even if he did, Majima didn’t want to give that part of himself to him. There was too much standing between them for that. There was too much history in the place they stood and it made him feel backed into a corner again, fighting to maintain the edges of himself before he bled out.

But he couldn’t find the words to tell Kiryu that, so he just glared over at him, waiting like the good dog he was.

“I’m not finished with you,” Kiryu said, his words stony and distant, a stark contrast to the position they’d only just been in. Majima could still feel the mark of Kiryu’s hands on his throat, the bruised skin raw and tingling.

“Don’t give a shit,” he rasped. “We fought. You won. You can take the girl, so just fuck off.”

Kiryu stared at him for what felt like a long time but was probably only a few seconds before asking, “Why?”

Majima knew exactly what he was asking—why had he betrayed Kiryu by taking the girl?—but he didn’t feel like having a fucking heart-to-heart, so he just said, “‘Cause I’m sick of th’sight of ya.”

Kiryu scowled, a little of his typical impatience with him returning as he opened his mouth to argue. But Majima wasn’t listening, even if Kiryu was speaking, because he’d only barely just noticed the slight movement behind Kiryu, and it almost took him too long to realise what was happening. 

“Die, Kiryu!”

Kiryu wasn’t fast enough to turn and stop the man who was rushing him with Majima’s tantō. Majima knew this like he knew his own name. So, without any conscious thought, he leaped forward, meeting his man’s attack with his own body.

The knife slid into his gut like it was warm butter, spreading icy numb through him with a distinct wrongness that stuttered his brain and made him stupid.

His only thought for a few moments was: it wasn’t so bad. He’d had worse in the Hole.

But then he looked into the terrified eyes of his boy and was overcome with the stupidity of what had just happened. Majima was going to die to some worthless piece of shit just because he’d thought that someone like the Dragon of Dojima deserved a knife in the back. The irony of him giving Kiryu this exact warning was not lost on him, and he choked on a laugh, slapping one bloodied hand onto his man’s shoulder as he coughed out,

“How many times do I gotta tell you fucks that Kiryu-chan—is mine , you—fucking— dumbass .”

Mustering up the last bit of strength he had in him, he punctuated his words with a haymaker that floored the idiot before he stumbled forward, laughing breathlessly.

“What a fucking joke,” he muttered, holding the knife tight against his gut as he collapsed. 

The last thing he saw before everything went dark was Kiryu’s panicked face bending over him, his mouth forming the shape of his name.

And for a little while, there was nothing.

Not relief, not sadness. Just...nothing.

But then he began to dream. 

Or was it another life? 

It must have been in another world, entirely, if it was, because time never seemed to stay still in this life. One moment, he was relaxing in a field of wheat, peering up into the blue sky with his arm over his bad eye and the next he was sitting up, looking out at the night sky over the ocean with both eyes, marveling at the memory of depth. 

There wasn’t anyone for a long time, or no time at all. But then there were children running past, stumbling over themselves in their eagerness and collapsing onto the sand, rough-housing and crying and laughing and just being children. Majima watched them disappear around the corner of a rock cliff, the waves crashing over his feet.

It was sunset when he felt someone kneel behind him and press their lips against the nape of his neck, bending his head forward as they nuzzled into him. He knew that he loved this person, but no matter how hard he tried to turn to look at them, he couldn’t see their face. He struggled against their embrace, needing to see them. He had to see who it was, but they just laughed softly, biting the curve of his neck in a gentle reprimand that sent shivers through him, his heart clenching.

It was only when he sighed and gave in, letting them wrap their arms around him and hold him close, that he began to recognise the shape of them.

They smelled like— 

“How is he?”

Majima blinked, his train of thought broken by the whisper that echoed in his head. Where had that come from?

“He’s stable. The knife missed anything vital, thankfully.”

When Majima stood up to follow the voice and looked around, he realised that he wasn’t at the ocean at all, but in Kamurocho. 

Then he looked back, and saw that the person was gone. Their absence left such a hollow pit in his stomach that he had to grit his teeth through it, until it faded the same as they had.

“If he’s stable, why is he still asleep?”

He was fine. It was for the best. He’d lived through it before and it was always for the best.

“He had other substantial injuries that he needs to recover from as well. Rest is always best for the system at these times.”

That was true, Majima thought as he watched the faceless people of Kamurocho march past him.

“But I…is there...”

He drifted amongst them, peeking his head around their umbrellas to see if they would bother to react. They didn’t.

“Yes?”

He strolled through alleys past drug deals between laughing kids, yakuza shakedowns, and a woman getting her cock sucked by a man dressed as a demon. He wondered what he was supposed to be cosplaying as, or if he just liked the idea of being a demon.

“Is there anything I can do?”

There was never anything anyone could do, Majima thought, wincing as his stomach clenched in pain again. That question had haunted him in all his lives, and there never was. 

Maybe he was just too complacent. Believed in inevitability a little too deep in his bones.

“Not really.”

Majima grinned, nodding. See?

“Oh.”

He knew that feeling well.

“Can I stay here for a little while anyway?”

That would only hurt worse. Seeing stark reality for too long was never good for the health of those left behind.

But had they really been left behind?

The voice had said that they were only resting.

“Of course. Please stay as long as you like.”

So maybe they were just hoping to be at their side when they woke up.

He could understand that.

He walked through the gate at Tenkaichi and down the steps to the river in Sōtenbori, resting against the railing with a sigh. The river was choppy and black, white foam cutting across the surface like clouds at night. 

There was only silence and the faint memory of neon lights and barkers calling from Sotenbori Street, until the voice returned.

“Nii-san…”

Another spike of pain stabbed into Majima’s gut at the familiarity of that voice. 

Kiryu .

It was Kiryu .

He stood up straight, the city around him wavering. Memories returned like buckets of water dumped over him. Taking Haruka. Fighting Kiryu in the batting center. The knife.

He was the poor asshole laid up in bed, and Kiryu was the one waiting for him to wake up.

“Nii-san...I’m sorry.”

Don’t be, Majima wanted to say, becoming aware of the space of his own body and where it lay as Kiryu spoke to him. He grabbed onto that feeling and, like a child learning to walk, tried to remember how to wake up. He didn’t have time to be laying around. He had shit to do.

Starting with punching Kiryu for letting him sleep when he’d only gotten a single sorry stab wound. And for apologising to him for something that they’d both had to do. Majima hadn’t had any choice but to take Haruka, and Kiryu couldn’t have just let him. They weren’t like that. What had happened between them was only natural.

“I didn’t mean to—to go that far,” Kiryu was saying as Majima gripped his body back to himself and remembered the feeling of snapping awake. And like a magic spell, he woke up, rubber-banding back into his other life.

“I lost control and I’m—”

“Kiryu-chan,” he mumbled, his throat raw and tight enough that he wondered who he’d deep-throated before remembering that Kiryu had nearly choked him to death. He tried to swallow past the pain instinctively, but that only made it worse, so he just ignored it and said, “Shut the fuck up.”

Then he opened his eye and saw Kiryu hunched over in a chair that he fit in so poorly that it must have been a child’s seat, and lost his goddamn mind.

“Oh fuck,” he croaked, wincing and holding his hand over his gut as he wheezed with helpless laughter. “Oh, shit. Fuck, you could’ve warned me. I’m dyin’ here.”

Kiryu looked so miserable at his laughter that Majima lost it again, cackling despite the way his head throbbed in warning.

“Majima-no-niisan, I don’t see how this is a laughing matter.”

“Ah, of course y’don’t, ya fuckin’ Easter Island head,” Majima sighed, tears of both pain and laughter streaming down his cheek. He wiped them away with the hand that didn’t have a drip fed into it. He looked around the room, trying and failing to place what hospital he was in. Kiryu must have noticed, because he mumbled,

“You’re at a clinic of a doctor I know. Your men wanted to take you to the hospital, but I thought this would raise fewer questions.”

“For who?” Majima asked, genuinely curious. “You think anyone gives a shit what injuries a yakuza comes in with?”

The answer became obvious when Kiryu just looked away, his mouth thinning.

He didn’t want anyone asking him questions about Majima’s injuries.

“Hm.” Kiryu still didn’t look at him or say anything, and Majima hummed. “So how long have I been out?” he asked, figuring it was a safer option.

“A day,” Kiryu said, looking even more miserable.

“You let me sit on my ass for a whole day ?” he rasped, sitting up higher in bed as best he could with the pull of his stitches and sharp resistance from his stomach. He growled in frustration when Kiryu put a firm hand on his bare chest, keeping him from swinging his legs over the side.

“You have to rest,” Kiryu said, no quarter given in his voice. “You were stabbed . You can’t do anything right now.”

“It don’t matter what shit I got wrong, I got a boss to report to, unlike some people —”

“I said , you’re not going anywhere.” Kiryu’s eyes narrowed in a steely glare. 

Majima just glared back at him, teeth bared. “And I’m sayin’, you ain’t stoppin’ me.”

When he tried to shift from underneath Kiryu’s hand, he just stood and pressed him back down harder, keeping him pinned to the cot-like bed. The paper-thin sheets rustled as they slid from Majima’s hips to the floor, leaving him feeling cold and impotent in ill-fitting sweatpants, which got him angrier than ever.

“Nobody asked you to be my fuckin’ nursemaid, Kiryu!” Majima barked up at him, viciously throwing his hand away from his chest. “Now fuck off so I can—”

“So you can lose your finger to Shimano for not getting Haruka’s pendant for him?” Kiryu asked, his voice flat with barely-restrained anger as well.

Majima wanted to be surprised that he’d found out part of why he’d taken Haruka, but Kiryu had enough informants now that he would have been more surprised if he hadn’t figured it out.

“Yeah,” he said matter-of-factly, breathing through his nose to ease the pain of sitting as he was, with his stomach bent. “What about it?”

“Nii-san,” Kiryu began, but Majima felt like it was his turn to get a jab in, annoyed as he was.

“Don’t fuckin’ ‘nii-san’ me,” he grumbled, turning to the IV in his arm and prising it out of him, holding his hand tight over the hole while he hobbled out of the bed to where he could see some bandages. His jaw was slack as he struggled to breathe through the pain while he yanked open the closest box and quickly wrapped a bandage around his bleeding arm. He could feel Kiryu approach, but didn’t turn to face him. He just made slow, sloppy work of patching himself up before looking around for his clothes. “Where’s my shit.”

“Majima-no-niisan,” Kiryu said behind him, his voice stiff and formal once more. For some reason, that got Majima’s goat worse than the familiarity, but he didn’t have the time to be starting fights. He needed to check in. The longer he put it off, the worse it would be. Shimano had been extra rough lately, ever since the funeral. And even though Majima was stronger than ever, it had hurt worse, somehow. Left him with angry eels squirming in his stomach now, where he might have felt drained but satisfied before. 

He didn’t want to think about why that was. He knew , but he didn’t want to think about it. It was bad enough for Majima already, having Kiryu so close, without him thinking about how they had gravitated towards each other ever since he’d gotten out of prison. Without thinking about how he couldn’t stop thinking of Kiryu’s strength and what he wanted to do about it. Without thinking about the dog in Majima that wanted to offer himself to Kiryu and promise to be at his side forever, as long as he wanted him.

Majima wasn’t going to think about that because Kiryu didn’t. He didn’t want him or his loyalty. He had made that clear enough with all the times that Majima had reached out to him to try to be closer despite the wriggling panic that coiled around his chest like balls of worms, threatening to fill his limbs and climb out of his throat with his manic, screaming laughter. 

He’d known every time that Kiryu would reject him, would tell him that he wasn’t in the mood for him, would never be in the mood for him, didn’t have time for him, and he’d never disappointed. 

But he’d thought—after Goromi—after that moment that they’d shared—that Kiryu might have changed his mind. Might have seen something in him that even Majima wasn’t sure was there anymore. Stupid, of course. Kiryu and Majima were still polar opposites even if he’d spent every waking moment trying anything to get his attention, and for what?

For what.

So he could be the pathetic one who did things like kidnap little girls and take knives in the gut for the man who had nearly killed him minutes before that?

Majima hadn’t changed at all. At all. Still that same kid waiting for someone to just look at him , see him, tell him he was worth keeping around, if only for his venom. His bite. If he couldn’t be anything else, at least he could be the sharpest knife anyone could hope to wield.

But there was no use courting a man like Kiryu with the promise of a deadly weapon. He was already deadly enough. Why knock at a man’s house and try to sell him another? 

Fuck that. Fuck all of it.

And so he limped around the tiny room, checking drawers and cupboards and everything else he could think that would hold his belongings, his breath ragged and sore in his throat as he prepared himself for the punishment that Shimano would have waiting for him. 

Majima .”

“What?” he snapped, slamming a metal drawer back into its cabinet and finally turning to Kiryu, who was frowning deeply at him. “What do you want from me? I’m tryin’ to do my goddamn job here, so if you have somethin’ to say, then you need t’spit it out already.”

Kiryu didn’t seem fazed at all by his temper, simply crossing his arms and stating, “You’re not going.”

The finality and confidence in his words were the straw that broke Majima. He stared at Kiryu with a wide eye, pushing forward into his space aggressively. “You think this a fucking game? You think I have a choice here? You think I’m gonna sit on my ass like a good boy just because you feel guilty for putting me there?”

A spark lit in Kiryu’s eyes and Majima felt a mean satisfaction in the doubt he saw there.

“You wanted to fight me. You only got what you wanted.”

“Yeah, I did,” Majima agreed, voice hoarse with how much talking he’d done on such a raw throat. “And now I want to report to my fuckin’ boss before he decides that I deserve more than a slap on the fuckin’ wrist!”

“And I told you: I’m not letting him hurt you at all when you’re like this.”

Majima gaped at Kiryu. “What the fuck are you talkin’ about? D’ya even know who you’re talkin’ to? Did those ten years in the clink scramble your fuckin’ brains so bad that you think a yakuza has a choice what punishments he takes from his boss?”

“It’s my responsibility to make sure you heal properly,” Kiryu repeated stubbornly, putting himself bodily in Majima’s way when he tried to just leave. 

Majima didn’t like that one bit. He didn’t like feeling caged. Kiryu was making him feel caged. 

“Get out of my way,” he said, his voice hollow. He was already looking for weapons to use. He had to get out of this room. He had to go or there would be hell to pay and Majima didn’t know how long he’d be out of commission if he had to take Shimano’s worst. He couldn’t let that happen. He had responsibilities now. He had to be sure Kiryu was ready for what was coming whether he wanted to be or not. The pieces were moving on the board, getting ready to strike. Majima couldn’t—he couldn’t let Kiryu lose. Kiryu couldn’t die.

“You aren’t strong enough to take Shimano’s punishment right now,” Kiryu said, the gentle, but firm concern in his voice and eyes making him panic more. He couldn’t deal with this. He couldn’t deal because the longer he listened to Kiryu argue, the more he wanted to just agree and lay back down and let Kiryu look after him.

That wasn’t Majima. That wasn’t him. He wasn’t soft like that. He was rough; sharp and hard like broken glass. 

But Kiryu put his hand on his shoulder and murmured, “Please, Nii-san,” and he felt himself begin to bend, becoming pliable under his touch. Majima struck instinctively, slapping Kiryu with as much force as he could muster and Kiryu staggered so hard that he knew he’d surprised him. 

He’d surprised himself, too. But at least he’d given himself the opening he needed. So even as regret flooded him, he made for the door, determined to escape before he did something he’d regret even more. 

Kiryu hadn’t been staggered enough, though, it seemed, because as soon as he got his hand on the doorknob, he yanked him back from it, digging his fingers into Majima’s wound so hard that it was obviously deliberate. Majima gasped, his body falling forward as his vision flashed white, and Kiryu used that as an opportunity to scoop him up and toss him roughly back onto the bed. After he got his breath back, Majima glared up at Kiryu, his fingers sticky with the blood leaking through his bandage.

He opened his mouth to snap as many obscenities at Kiryu as he could, but when Kiryu simply asked, “Do you want to die so badly?” he couldn’t manage to do more than stare dumbly. 

“You know what will happen if you go back to Shimano with nothing,” Kiryu continued, voice and body so tense that Majima knew he was holding something back. “But you’re still trying to go. I’m not telling you not to go at all. I’m offering you a safe place to recover before you go. I know what sort of man you are, Majima-no-niisan. You would never run away from your responsibilities. But I’m asking you, this time: please, don’t go yet.”

Majima was still so shocked by how emphatically Kiryu felt about this that he couldn’t think of a single thing to say.

“Use me if you need to,” he continued, the barest hint of unsteadiness coming through his voice as his eyes burned into Majima’s. “Tell him I locked you up. Tortured you to get information about the ten billion.”

“No one would believe that,” Majima said, finally finding his voice at the ridiculousness of that suggestion. 

“Nishiki wants it,” Kiryu said, his throat working for a moment before he continued. “They’d believe that I’d do it for him.”

“No, they wouldn’t,” Majima said, suddenly very tired. He dropped his head back against the lumpy pillow, taking a few shallow breaths through his nose as the light overhead flickered annoyingly, the smell of antiseptic and blood making for a nauseating mixture. “Not even Nishikiyama believed that.”

Kiryu was silent for so long that Majima eventually rolled his head to see what was going on with him, but he was just studying his face. Probably looking for the lie, he thought, but then Kiryu just said,

“Nishiki came to you about Haruka, didn’t he.”

Considering it wasn’t phrased as a question, Majima didn’t feel it needed an answer other than, “Your old man, too.”

That got more of a reaction out of him. Kiryu’s scowl returned, deep and shocked. “What?”

Majima sighed, punctuating it with a laugh. “Yup. Sent some guy to Shimano’s office to bargain with me. Knew that Shimano wanted the pendant and wanted me to give Haruka to them, instead. Turns out your girl’s some kinda ace in the hole for everyone at the table.”

Kiryu mulled that over, arms crossed and head bowed. “Father…”

Majima struggled to prop himself up against the freezing cold metal headboard, holding a hand over his wound to ease the pull of the few stitches that hadn’t broken with Kiryu’s rough handling. “Shimano just wanted the pendant, but Nishikiyama and Kazama’s man—they specified that they wanted the girl, too. No clue why. Didn’t ask.” He huffed out another laugh. “Was frankly too impressed by the balls on them to come to Shimano’s captain asking him to betray his boss to ask too many questions.” 

Kiryu’s mouth thinned enough to almost disappear before he looked to the floor and muttered, “I know why. Haruka, she’s—she’s Yumi’s niece. Yumi was apparently separated from her family at birth. Her sister Mizuki is Haruka’s mother.”

Majima blinked, the memory of seeing Mizuki at Serena for the first time slotting into the puzzle that was Haruka’s familiarity and sending him into a spin.

Back then, he’d taken one look at ‘Mizuki’ and had thought to himself: oh, Yumi is back, that will be one less worry for Kiryu when he gets out. But then Reina had introduced her to him as Mizuki and he’d stopped himself in the middle of asking where she’d been for five years. He’d just nodded and sat with Mizuki, asking her careful, but innocuous questions about herself. She’d expertly dodged his attempts to get her to admit to him that she wasn’t Yumi’s sister at all, and he’d just shrugged it off, thinking that it wasn’t really his business. If she wanted to make a new life, that wasn’t any problem for him. He wasn’t about to sell out a woman who’d obviously needed to escape something.

And now Majima knew exactly what she’d been escaping.

He’d seen Yumi and Jingu around the Tojo offices, giving each other doe-eyes that made it clear that there was more than just casual acquaintance between them. But Majima hadn’t expected that they’d actually had a goddamn kid . That put Yumi’s disappearance and rebirth as Mizuki into a new perspective.

No fucking wonder Haruka had looked so familiar. She had Yumi’s eyes.

But the big question was, now: did he tell Kiryu?

Majima studied Kiryu’s troubled face and knew in an instant that he couldn’t do that. It wasn’t his place to say anything. This was between the two of them. 

Three of them, now, he supposed.

Fuck. No wonder, too, that Kiryu had attached himself to the kid so fast. He probably didn’t even know why he had. 

What a shitshow.

And Majima hadn’t exactly helped it with his stupid curiosity about why everyone wanted this one kid enough to approach him about it. It had seemed more than a bit strange, coming to him of all people. Anyone could kidnap a little girl, after all. Why would they approach the one man who had made it painfully obvious that he didn’t stand for that kind of shit?

Guess he knew, now, and as it often happened when his curiosity was sated, he wasn’t happier with the knowledge.

They’d come to him specifically because he was the kind of man that wasn’t into that shit. They’d known he would do it out of curiosity, though, and he would keep the girl safe until either they could come collect her or he’d die to Kiryu. Either way, Shimano wouldn’t be getting the pendant.

He was a little annoyed with being played, but at the same time, he was the one stupid enough to fall for it. It wasn’t their fault he was a fucking idiot when it came to Kiryu.

Kiryu’s eyes slid up to meet his as he watched him, and a silent conversation passed between them, then. Majima could never bring himself to apologise out loud, but there was an unspoken regret from both of them in that one look, and he knew that it was understood. 

 Kiryu sighed after a moment, his arms relaxing back to his sides as he moved to sit on the edge of the hospital bed, back slumping tiredly. Majima’s lip twitched and he let his head fall back again as he muttered,

“Can’t believe I was played by Nishikiyama, of all people. What a fucking buttmunch.”

He was surprised when, after a second, Kiryu snorted with laughter, resting his face in his hands as he chuckled. Majima couldn’t help but smile wryly at the sound.

“He is, now, isn’t he?” Kiryu sighed again, shaking his head and looking solemn again when he dropped his hands to his lap, letting them hang between his thighs. Majima hated how defeated he looked. He wanted to take his bat and smash Nishikiyama’s head in for making someone so strong look like that, but that wouldn’t bring Kiryu’s kyoudai back. It wouldn’t bring him back to a simpler time, when they’d laughed together and drank together and fought together, back-to-back. Nothing either of them could do now would bring that back. “I wish...I just wish I could...”

“I know, Kiryu-chan,” Majima said, and it was the truth. “I know.”