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find shelter in his way

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The first time it happened they were walking ‘round a forest, one that did not have any trails close to human society so both of them could do their business in peace. By business it meant scour the place for potential graveyard.

Sykkuno was the one with the idea, practically forcing Corpse to come with him with promises of Kris's gun run session later in the night, even promised to do one himself because Corpse wanted to see. Who was Sykkuno to deny?

Come on, there’s a place nearby, the soil there is perfect for compost, he had said, deliberately ignoring Corpse’s annoyed face since he just wanted to come home, let Sykkuno take care of his mess like the child that he was. Ugh, he really wanted to just go home but when Sykkuno used that voice of his, it was just an instant lose for him (he didn't know it was the same way around).

“I miss my sister,” he said suddenly, unprompted, waddled a bit in his stance.

Sykkuno looked down, steps a little more cautious, words pushed back to the back of his throat. He knew of Corpse’s sister, of his whole family, of the pain they had caused upon him, of course he knew, the whole cartel knew.

“Would you ever… try to see her again, someday in the future?” he asked, still not looking at him, for he also knew that such topic was one Corpse did not really like to dwell on.

Corpse hummed low, eyes trailed on the ground as well then, crunched dead leaves never looked more beautiful before.

“Well, I guess I can. Though I hate to risk it, but I really miss her,” Sykkuno kept his mouth shut, there was something relieving in hearing Corpse let it all go.

“And I can’t… I can’t even be mad at anyone, at anything. I chose this line of work. I chose to be this… what even am I? Whatever I am. And, Sykkuno, I’m not even mad at myself, I just– I just miss her so much and I can’t even go see her.”

Wind passed as Sykkuno chose to say his weighted words, all soft and understanding, “Would you tell me about your siblings?” he asked.

He knew about this as well, once they got in the cartel, practically there was nothing that could be called secret anymore, but Sykkuno just wanted to hear his past from Corpse himself.

“Toast didn’t tell you anything?” The cartel, didn’t they tell you everything about my life?

Ah, well.

Let out an apologetic giggle at that, and the consolation he felt when Corpse just smiled back at him was palliating.

“I only have her. My father’s never been there since we were kids, hm, I don’t care either about him. But my sister, she is fine last I checked in on her, though I don’t get to hang out that much with her, obviously, but I know, I hope that she is good. I’m just afraid for her, I’m never afraid for myself, Sy, more for her. I just wish that I can keep her safe myself, but, yeah. And– and she’s been with a cousin I think, since, uhm–” he stopped midway, looking far away in the distance, “since my mother is dead. She was diagnosed with cancer a year before it took her. That’s what it says on my file, right?”

Sykkuno could only smile at him, nodding a bit sadly.

Although he expected this before, hearing it straight from Corpse still made his heart broke a little for him. He had lost so much, too much. Corpse deserved so much more.

“I didn’t even see him, my father. Or rather, the story went like: he didn’t say goodbye to us. Left one morning with his clothes only, I don’t know. But I woke up wanting to show him that I got a new collection of drawings, and he wasn’t there. Heh. It just sucks, to think about it sometimes. I might not care, but I don’t even know if I can forgive him for that.”

And silence came shortly, Corpse never tore his gaze away from the leaves he crushed under, birds from faraway made their presence known, Sykkuno turned his head to look at him.

“I could help you,” he said, with a hint of caution and wariness, hoping it wasn't the wrong thing to say.

Corpse only smiled at him. Sykkuno knew then, that he might accept that offer, someday.

The both of them let the silence stretch again, Sykkuno had the gears in his mind turning when suddenly he heard something, footsteps, in the distance. They were in the denser area of the forest. Corpse couldn’t hear that, he was sure, deep in thoughts and brain going haywire.

Turning his head around, Sykkuno was quick to notice a small tranquilizer dart coming their way –Corpse’s way, to be exact.

With a force he pushed him down, earning a wide eyes and arisen pair of eyebrows at that, he looked around again to be sure that whoever did this would not try to shoot another tranquilizer, shushing Corpse in the process when he noticed the younger man was about to protest.

“Come on,” he said first, not even giving the other time to speak, bringing Corpse up with him and quickly far away from there.

He donned a calm face throughout all that.

“What happened?” Corpse asked.

He didn’t see the tranquilizer, didn’t even have the slightest idea what just happened. Sykkuno made sure to hide it from his eyesight, just to be safe, act innocent, better to not let Corpse know now since he would definitely try to chase after the enemy, and maybe the innocent act wouldn't work either, maybe whoever shot it would try again, and they would be fucked. But, whatever. Silently, he picked it up from the tree bark where it had landed, skilfully dragging the rubber stopper that was wrapped around the needle to stop the drug leaking, and put it inside the side pocket of his suit without Corpse knowing or seeing anything.

“Huh? Nothing, I just saw a bird almost crashing into you,” ignoring his enforcer's confused face, dragging him along to go out of that forest with quick strides of their legs.

Sykkuno expected the snort to come out of his mouth, maybe some eye-rolling as well to his lame excuse.

What he didn’t expect was– when they were out of there, the car hummed softly as they passed through a freeway, anyway, what he didn't expect was–

“Sy…kkuno,” said it with a tone so clingy and he just knew, without even taking his focus off of the road that Corpse was pouting under his mask.

He had been calling him for the past ten minutes, begging to be told what the fuck happened in the forest, pleading with the most childish tone Sykkuno had ever heard Corpse talked in. Kept calling his name time and again, larger body leaning towards him midway his pleading. And Sykkuno– Sykkuno was truly a man of utter calm and control, poised as a prince, so he was really good with the distraction in order to keep them both alive.

But then there was his hand, Corpse’s veiny and bulgy hand, tainted with nasty souls and wicked blood, took its place on top of his, grip it tight for few silent seconds–

“I-I have to drive, Corpse!”

His protest went in one of his ears and out just a second after.

“Shush, this is your punishment for not telling me."

"M-my punishment?!"

"Yes. Sorry maybe I wasn't clear. Sykkuno’s hand is being held hostage, and no is not that dangerous, and yes he can drive and hold my hand at the same time, so shush,” said it all with the deadpan-est deadpan ever being shown, not faltering even the slightest.

Sykkuno could only hope the red adoring his face wasn’t too obvious.

***

The second time it happened they were in Michael’s lab, tranquilizer that almost hurt Corpse was under their examining eyes.

“Tranquilizer dart in a public forest? Does someone have a bounty on you, Sy?” Corpse murmured when he saw the dart in his friend’s hand.

Sykkuno kept silent. He knew, but it wasn’t him being hunted down, it’s you they have a bounty on.

That afternoon, after explaining to Corpse of what had happened, both had gone straight to the headquarters to examine more about the dart. Sykkuno had wrapped it in a handkerchief so the needle wouldn’t do any harm if ever any incident happened, and so the liquid inside wouldn’t spread anywhere, his eyes narrowed slightly at the small shapes stamped on the dart.

“Lily told me of what happened, Sykkuno. Are you alright? Are you alright, Corpse?” someone said, that took the attention away from both Sykkuno and Corpse from the tranquilizer dart that was on Michael’s research desk.

Sykkuno gave him a slight nod, while Corpse stood still beside him, a movement he did was only a turn of his head towards the third presence in the room, staring at him with nothing in his eyes. To think of it, it was probably their first ever encounter, so, bound to be a little awkward.

“Michael, yes, we are alright. Whoever did that didn’t try again for another shot,” Sykkuno answered.

Michael stepped closer, palm up in a gentle manner as he asked, “Let me see?” eyes so focused on the dart already, almost like in a trance. Sykkuno proceeded to give the dart to him.

A slightly uncomfortable silence fell upon them as Michael got to his table. And Sykkuno felt it when Corpse started getting fidgety beside him, and thus he lent a hand for  his enforcer, just as something to hold onto, shoving it in front of Corpse, deliberately not looking anywhere near his direction.

The smile that appeared on his face when Corpse took his hand was too wide for his own liking.

He did, however, shifted his gaze to his new partner when he said, “It was directed to Corpse,” because this fact, he hadn’t told the younger man yet.

Corpse raised an eyebrow at that, and then his eyes narrowed as he turned towards Sykkuno, “You didn’t tell me anything about that dart being directed towards me, Sy.”

Sheepishly Sykkuno chuckled, his free hand went up to the back of his neck as he whispered an apology. Corpse’s annoyed hum shouldn’t have amused him that much.

And before there could be a cold war starting between them in the room, Michael came back with his answers.

“This… I’m just guessing but this looks like the one that contains neurotoxins, they are destructive to the nerve tissue. But I really can’t be sure, though, for now,” he explained.

“You will have to examine it more?” Sykkuno asked back, posture straightening.

“Yes,” Michael answered quickly.

Sykkuno raised an eyebrow, because he had known Michael for many years now and that yes contained so much more rather than only a yes.

“Michael…?”

Michael sighed, a somewhat dejected façade fell upon his face, “It’s… their typical weapon, Sy,” he said, eyes still glued to the dart, more so now to the symbols on it.

Oh. Well.

But before he could comprehend of the situation, however–

“Who are they?” Corpse had beat him to it.

Michael worked fast on his computer at the other side of the room, typing like a lightning and then turned the computer around to show both Sykkuno and Corpse what it meant. Corpse lowered his head slightly to read the content.

“That’s who you’re facing up now, Sykkuno, Corpse.”

They sat in silence for a while, both Sykkuno and Michael calmly waiting for their newest enforcer to read everything the cartel had on their enemy –possibly their number one, most annoying enemy.

“Rocket? The hell is that?” a scowl appeared on Corpse’s face after he read what was on the computer.

“Hm, I thought you might know since you’ve been in this business for quite long. But they are our enemy, not the most feared, but very annoying,” Michael responded, irked.

“The hell kind of name is Rocket?” Corpse asked again, to Sykkuno now, and the older male almost burst in laughter when the only thing concerning for Corpse was the cartel’s name.

It was really an ugly name, though, to be really honest.

“You see the lines at the end of the dart? There are two red lines and one blue, the three in parallel line, it’s their weapon when you see these lines, it’s something like an identity for them,” Michael added.

Sykkuno carefully took the dart to his hands (or rather, hand, singular, since his other one was still very much preoccupied with being Corpse’s hold to reality) again and examined it. And yes, there it was, the parallel lines as Michael had said.

“You sure there’s no other group who have this kind of weapon?” he asked.

“Maybe, but not those lines. It’s only them who use that identity. I mean, you know how it works with them, Sykkuno,” Michael said, his answer was firm in stating about the weapon’s origin.

Sykkuno narrowed his eyes, gaze flitting about around the room, the weight enveloping his hand somehow the only thing that kept his brain from going too far in a mess of haywire, now glad as well that he had been the one to offer to Corpse.

Hm, Rocket be damned, he would take care of them later if it meant safety for Corpse.

And as he listened to Michael's ramblings again about the possibility of another weapon coming up their way, Corpse's grip tightened around his hand, brought him a sense of serenity he didn't know he needed from someone else.

He could deny it all he wanted, he could be someone so against being touchy-touchy with other people all he wanted, but having Corpse’s warmth against his skin, all because he himself had offered to, was something he was not going to not like for… forever.