Tougou is holding up a gun, almost to eye level, and he’s drowning on and on about the past. Osomatsu can’t hear him over the pounding in his ears. Karamatsu is on the floor, panting as his right leg stains through his dark pants, the fabric becoming darker and damp.
Osomatsu, oddly enough, is not by Karamatsu’s side.
He’s prepared for this moment. He knew. He kept track of all those years, of the year that Tougou would finally be let out of prison. Osomatsu doesn’t find out that way though, no matter how careful he was, he still misses the fact that there is such a thing as getting out early because of good conduct .
When Osomatsu finds out, this is how it happens:
Karamatsu—after taking a job with Akatsuka‘s PD—by association and because it is given to him as an assignment, is the first one to find out.
“Tougou?” He asks to himself, the name is strange to pronounce, there’s too many curls of the mouth and even the feeling is strangely familiar. He flips the folder open and his eyes widen at the man’s picture.
That’s why it sounds so familiar.
He doesn’t say anything as soon as he gets back home. He finds Osomatsu in the living room, sitting in their kotatsu, cutting pears.
“Welcome back,” greets Osomatsu by way of hello.
“I’m back,” and he pauses, he watches Osomatsu meticulously place the knife against the tender skin of the pear, from tip to back, it rolls as it cuts through the pear.
“What is it?” Asks Osomatsu, not looking up from what he’s doing.
Karamatsu hums and is considering it very very carefully. He’s the only one of the sextuplets that knows how faithfully Osomatsu has recorded the number of years Tougou was to remain in prison. It’s only fair, he figures, that he lets Osomatsu know. Better he find out through him first and than to find the guy in the middle of the street.
Osomatsu snaps the knife into the cutting board and finally looks up, eyes flat, “h-he,” and he stops, takes a deep breath and slowly lets it out, “he’s out?”
They eat the pears Osomatsu finishes cutting.
“You can’t go! ”
“You can’t stop me.”
“You want to bet?”
“I don’t want to fight you.”
“They’ll find out it was you,” hisses Karamatsu, eyes narrowed and following Osomatsu’s every move. Osomatsu is in the middle of checking magazines and sliding them back into the guns.
“I don’t care.”
Osomatsu lets out a heavy sigh, puts the weapon down and looks up at Karamatsu, scowling, “ what. ” He responds clipped and cold, slamming a hand against the dining table.
“Let me come with you,” he continues over Osomatsu, “it’ll be better if there’s two of us.”
“If they find you, you’ll be fired and I’m not about to have that on me,” snarls Osomatsu, turning his body to fully face the second born with crossed arms.
“They won’t. I won’t have my uniform and it’ll be easier.”
Osomatsu goes up to Karamatsu, and he can’t help but tense, his body preparing to fight the moment Osomatsu steps into his personal space. Their faces are just inches apart as Osomatsu tries to stare him down.
“You. Won’t. Go.”
Karamatsu, visibly comes the conclusion that if he’ll fight his only older brother, he might as well go down fight back. Karamatsu places both hands against Osomatsu’s chest and pushes him, just enough so he can close in on Osomatsu.
“I. Will. Go. And that’s that Osomatsu.”
There is a pause and long long silence, Osomatsu is just looking at him, eyes searching Karamatsu’s own. Finally he says “if Choromatsu finds out, it was your idea,” and finishes packing the duffel bag. Karamatsu chuckles and rolls his eyes at the older of the two.
“Whatever you say dear brother.”
Osomatsu doesn’t find it hard to find Tougou. He’s at the local pub, getting hammered.
“A good way to celebrate,” he tells the bartender and leaves it at that even when the bartender asks what he means.
Karamatsu and Osomatsu are sitting in the very back of the bar, on a booth, that gives them full view of everyone in the place.
“Osomatsu,” starts Karamatsu, glancing at the eldest who worries a fingernail between his lips. Osomatsu hums in response, “are you sure about this?”
Osomatsu stops glaring at the man and snaps his gaze back at Karamatsu, he scowls, “and what exactly gives you the impression that I’m having second doubts?”
Karamatsu’s lips thin, eyes growing hard, “because you are not like him, Osomatsu.”
“Yeah? Well…” he trails, looking off to where Tougou is, “maybe I am.”
In the short while that Tougou had Osomatsu under his care, he teaches the young fifth-grader to pick locks and teaches him how to hold a knife. Basic stuff, just to get him to lose fear and to get used to the weight.
So when the police officers finally pull up inside his hideout, guns drawn barking orders to let the child go, Tougou makes a snap decision, “you can never be safe,” he hisses against Osomatsu’s ear. The child trembles under his hold, whimpering in fear, “remember that.” Tougou shoves Osomatsu away, raising his hands in surrender.
The red lights flicker across his face and light Tougou’s in a demonic light, he smirks when he spots Osomatsu, snuggly wrapped in a blanket amidst the cold October night.
“Remember me,” he whispers maniacally as the police drag him away, his eyes never leaving Osomatsu’s own. “when I get out...you will regret it.”
“You’ve grown,” he says offhandedly.
“Shut up,” growls Osomatsu, gun raised at eye-level.
Tougou reaches behind his back, causing Karamatsu to also draw his own gun, the older man smirks and shakes his head.
“Remember this?” He asks and draws out his knife. He looks at it, smirk still in place before looking back at the duo, “you two really are identical. It’s bizarre, really-”
“And there’s six of you.”
“Shut up!” Screams Osomatsu, patience slowly drawing into a thin line, stepping closer, knuckles turning white. Karamatsu hisses his name.
“Woah,” and Tougou finds it in him to give Osomatsu an incredulous look, he cocks his head to the side, the corner of his eyes wrinkling as he squints at the other man, “ you will shoot me ?”
“I’ve been waiting for this moment,” he snarls, voice low, hissing and heated.
“But you won’t shoot,” states Tougou, matter-of-factly and before Osomatsu can answer he forges on, “because you can’t. You may have learned how to shoot, how to sneak around, how to do all the itty bitty tricks you have under your sleeve,” he says and starts stepping closer.
“Osomatsu ,” Karamatsu hisses, eyes never leaving the approaching man. He’s 30 feet away.
“But,” 20 feet away.
“You can’t shoot.”
He’s right before Osomatsu, a hand reaching to grasp Osomatsu’s wrist in a painful grip. He stops the trembling hands.
“Because your brother is here,” and the smirk grows impossibly wider, sly and hungry and predatory. There’s a slight movement and the glint of the knife-
Both men shout, grunting as they struggle to keep each other off. Osomatsu is yelling profanities at Tougou.
“You fucking asshole! You should be dead!”
Tougou laughs, and with a snarl pushes Osomatsu away from him. He quickly lashes out with his knife when Karamatsu attempts to jump him. He nearly gets him.
Osomatsu takes the distraction to sweep his feet under Tougou and the man falls with a pained gasp to the floor, knife scattering away. Quickly Osomatsu goes and sits on the man’s chest, an arm raised with a clenched fist, and he punches. The first one is not strong enough and Tougou laughs at his, as he called it, pathetic attempts.
“You can’t kill me,” says Tougou once more and Osomatsu sees red. Karamatsu watches as Osomatsu splits his knuckles open against Tougus’s face. The man still finds a way to cackle through the whole ordeal.
“Shut up!” Shouts Osomatsu and keeps punching, “shut up!” A punch and a crack. “Shut up! Shut up shut up shut up!” Blood squirts against his cheek and a sob rocks his frame. “You asshole. You fucking dick. You did this,” he whimpers, slowly ceasing his actions. Tougou attempts to speak and prompts another blurry attack from the oldest of the sextuplets, “I’m not like you! You brought this on yourself!” Cries out Osomatsu and continues punching until he feels Tougou’s form go lax under him. Osomatsu rises on unsteady feet and Karamatsu quickly moves to hoist him, keeping him steady.
“Hey,” starts Karamatsu, placing a hand against Osomatsu’s cheek, and taps it with a cold hand, “hey, Osomatsu look at me,” and moves his own head as he tries to meet Osomatsu’s flickering eyes, “Osomatsu.” He finally snaps, and the eldest looks at him.
“It’s over,” he says quietly, “it’s over dear brother,” he reassures. Osomatsu nods, eyes still not completely holding Karamatsu’s gaze.
“Okay,” breathes Osomatsu, “okay.”
“Can you stand?” Asks Karamatsu, slowly unwrapping his arm from Osomatsu to let the other stand on his own. Now they have to deal with the man on the floor.
A third shot resounds in the empty room and Karamatsu falls to the ground with a pained groan.
“Well then,” says Tougou, and spits off to the side, face unrecognizable from all the blood and snot that dribbles down as he stands up, pointing the barrel at Karamatsu who is merely glaring at him with gritted teeth. He shoots Osomatsu an amused look over his shoulder, smile all teeth and no mirth, “what did I say? You can’t kill me.”
Tougou is holding up the gun, almost to eye level, and he’s drowning on and on about the past. Osomatsu can’t hear him over the pounding in his ears. Karamatsu is on the floor, panting as his right leg stains through his dark pants, the fabric becoming darker and damp.
Osomatsu, oddly enough, is not by Karamatsu’s side.
He can’t move. His body locks him in place and his mind reels from everything that just happened in a matter of second.
I told him not to come , thinks Osomatsu to himself, this is why I didn’t want him to come , and he feels the prick of tears behind his eyes. I don’t care if I die in the process, and there’s something bubbling deep in his gut, but this asshole won’t stay alive to hurt anymore children .
Osomatsu makes eye contact with Karamatsu and sees the second born nod, grim and tight.
Karamatsu is right, he’s not like Tougou. Not like Tougou at all.
“Hey, asshole,” says Osomatsu, making the older of the three laugh, and fully turn around to face him with unrecognizable maniacal glee. Osomatsu doesn’t wait, and raises his fingers shaped like a gun. Whatever Tougou is about to say when he sees the childish action, gets silenced when a small red circle appears right in between his eyes.
The body falls with a thud. Now there is no barrier between the brothers.
Karamatsu’s hands are raised, a revolver in hand. Slowly he lowers it, and looks at the body before him. Quickly Osomatsu goes over the body and to Karamatsu, checking the injured leg.
“You idiot, I didn’t want you to come,” he hisses, hands rummaging through Karamatsu’s form to see if there were any more injuries.
“Check for an exit hole,” retorts Karamatsu instead.
“Yeah,” says Osomatsu, and slowly eases Karamatsu’s leg back onto the floor, “there is one. Now we just apply pressure,” he continues, quickly shedding his red hoodie, leaving him only with a white undershirt. He reaches for Tougou’s knife and cuts a sleeve off.
“And what of him?”
Osomatsu stares at the body, for a long, long, long time. Doesn’t feel satisfaction. Doesn’t sad, or angry, or scared. He’s not feeling anything .
“We burn it,” he says simply.
They sit a few ways away. Sirens blare and they watch the building be consumed by hungry, bright flames. A cloud of ashes bathes the streets, the wind carries it to where they are now. The fire department is busy at work.
Karamatsu’s bleeding stops while Osomatsu is away getting antibiotics and some gauze from the pharmacy. By the time he gets back, Osomatsu is already on his third cigarette.
Karamatsu raises an elegant brow, and watches as his older brother kneels by him and rips open the leg of his pant—with Tougou’s knife. He works the gauze over his injury an offers him the pills. Letting out smoke from the side of his mouth.
Finally, finally , Osomatsu dares to meet Karamatsu’s gaze.
“You were right,” he starts, eyes steady and glazed, “I’m not like him.”
Karamatsu regards Osomatsu with a flat look and nods lightly, a chuckle despite himself, bubbles from his throat, “No my dear brother. Not at all. That’s what I’m here for.”
They smoke until the wee hours of the morning.