“Being lay down like this, isn’t like you. So please wake up.. Actually I used to think that it was fine if someone like me wasn’t even born to this world.. But after meeting you.. For the first time in my life, I was grateful that I was born.. And I’m grateful that the only reason I’m living now is you. I’m sorry.. And.. I really love you.”
A million thanks are owed to @mikototsu-trash for taking the time to proofread this.
Bar Homra’s door opened and in stepped Nagahama, his face rigid and pale.
Kusanagi, who was behind the counter helping out Mizuomi like usual, startled at the sight and stopped what he was doing.
Mizuomi bid him welcome in a gentle tone as though nothing was out of the ordinary.
“Is he a friend of yours?” Mizuomi asked Kusanagi softly as Nagahama situated himself on one of the seats at the bar counter.
Kusanagi gave a vague nod. He would hang out with Nagahama if he happened upon him in town, but this was the first time that Nagahama had come to the bar. He had believed they had a silent understanding with each other to not involve themselves in the other’s affairs outside of when they were roaming around the city.
When Nagahama sat down, Mizuomi silently offered him a glass of water. Nagahama looked up at Mizuomi, looking more at a loss than Kusanagi had ever seen him before. Lifting his head fully up, gave Mizuomi a quick bow (1) and then downed the glass of water in one chug.
“What happen that’s got ya comin’ ‘ere of all places?”
“Sorry…” said Nagahama, his face still as pale as before. “Remember how I told you about Earless Mitsuha- Kurayama Mitsuha, the other day?”
“Yeah.” Hearing about Suoh had been a result of that conversation that had started out as being about Earless Mitsuha.
When Kusanagi nodded and Nagahama bending forward to lean his body over the counter. He spoke in a quiet voice.
“Our group’s Oogaki got attacked. His injuries are gonna take a month to heal completely.”
Kusanagi’s shoulders stiffened. Oozaki was one of the people close to Nagahama. He was one of the violence prone members of Nagahama’s group.
“Why’d he get attacked?”
“Like I said before, Mitsuha’s like a serial attacker. If your eyes meet when you cross paths with him, you’re done for.”
“What’s he, some sorta creature from an urban legend or somethin’?” (2)
Though Nagahama was being serious, Kusanagi was not completely empathetic and could not help but joke around. Nagahama, did not react negatively to that.
“I guess…” Nagahama murmured. “He really might as well be. We don’t got a clue what he’s thinking or what he’s after. Even with Oozaki- he wasn’t trying to start anything with Mitsuha, he was just walking by when Mitsuha came up to him. And then without any warning Mitsuha just attacked him. I’m sure Oozaki was trying to act cool and all since Ami was with him instead of backing down. Heard from her that he tried to fight back but then got beaten up.”
Kusanagi thought back to the girl he’d thought seemed simple-minded yet cute that he had seen when he and Nagahama chatted at the park. He was certain the girl’s name had been Ami.
“What happened ta her?”
“She took a kick to the stomach after she started screaming,” said Nagahama in a low voice as his expression turned to a mixture of anger and fearlessness. “After she cowered clutching her stomach he seemed to lose interest in her. Her injuries were mainly bruises but…… I guess we should be counting our lucky stars he wasn’t the kind of guy who had an interest in doing anything to a girl beyond that.”
Nagahama ruffled his hair in an irritated fashion. Kusanagi quickly refilled Nagahama’s empty cup with water.
“So what’re ya plannin’ on doin’? Get revenge fer Oozaki? I hate ta say this but I don’t think there’s anythin’ you guys can do… If ya really wanna do somethin’ about Mitsuha, the fastest way ta get ridda him would be ta get Oozaki-kun and Ami-chan to go to the police.”
Even as he said it, Kusanagi knew that it was unlikely that Nagahama would take his advice. And sure enough, Nagahama looked up at Kusanagi with renewed fury coursing through him.
“Like we could do something so pathetic! First off, the police aren’t going to take up a dispute between guys like us. Even Ami’s been taken in by the police numerous times. There’s no fucking way we could just go to the police.”
Something dangerous shone in Nagahama’s normally easygoing eyes.
“There’ve been other groups who’ve gotten their asses kicked by Mitsuha too. No matter how you slice it, there’s no way we could go running to the police… But you’re right that we’re no match for Mitsuha’s team if it’s just us fighting them.”
It seems as though this conversation is heading in a troubling direction. Kusanagi scratched his cheek.
“Hey, Kusanagi,” Nagahama said as he leaned over the counter.
Here it comes thought Kusanagi, smiling wryly inside.
‘Hey, Kusanagi’. Kusanagi had had his name spoken like that quite a few times before. What followed after was usually a somewhat troublesome request.
“You got connection with a lotta people. Could you put in a word for us with a team that’s trying to take down Mitsuha? I’d wanna join forces with 'em.”
“Like I told ya before, Mitsuha’ll disappear without you gettin’ involved. 'Fore long the police… or the hired muscle of those kindsa people. He’ll either end up in jail or at the mercy of people ya don’t wanna mess with. The next rumor ta spread about him could be just that, y'know.”
No matter where you go, there is always going to be hot-blooded guys out there. Among those who fool around in Shizume City after dark, such guys are a dime a dozen. The reason why Kuroyama Mitsuha stands out amidst guys like that as a problem is he is just the slightest bit too strong. Despite that, however, he would probably be taken down before long. Even in a society where violence is an everyday matter, those too thirsty for blood would end up drowning in a pool of their own.
“He attacked our members. We can’t just sit back and cry ourselves to sleep hoping someone else’ll take care of our problem for us.”
Kusanagi gave a light reply of “guess so,” as he looked at Nagahama’s glaring eyes.
Kusanagi had never once experienced the impassioned feeling of seeking revenge for one of his own himself, as he remained unfettered by social entanglements. However, he understood. Teams who did nothing when their members were slapped around would lose their ability to function as a team. And once others began to not take them seriously, they would fall much further. In order to parade oneself proudly on the streets, one had to show their strength.
Kusanagi was actually aware of several other groups that were put in the same situation as Nagahama by Mitsuha since his appearance in Shizume City.
“I’m giving you a job request, Kusanagi. Be my middleman in helping take down Kurayama Mitsuha. I want info on him.”
Kusanagi sighed in defeat.
Among the young guys who fool around in Shizume City after dark, Kusanagi had a convenient position. He did not have any affiliations to a particular group, which made him able to go to any group. He attained a lot of information from being known in various circles since he could move about freely due to his actions being unconstrained by the people and positions of powers within a group. Because of that, from time to time he would get requests for “jobs” for him to do. He would be someone to go to for advice when suspicious things popped up, settle internal disputes among teams, act something like an informant, etc.
Mizuomi would laugh and say: “What are you, a lawyer for the streets?” (Incidentally, he did not find out about Kusanagi’s “jobs” through Kusanagi telling him. He did not know through what channel the rumor had reached Mizuomi’s ears, but before he had realized it, Mizuomi had found out.)
Moving on, it was not as though Kusanagi had accepted working on this “job”, but since it had been requested of him, he could not help but feel as though he should do something. He did not want to see Shizume City enveloped in a war because of Kurayama who would in time be disappearing from the picture either way.
Kusanagi shrugged his shoulders. If that is the alternative, then it would be best if he controlled how the situation plays out himself.
“Looks like business is flourishing for you, Izumo.” Mizuomi said with an interested looking expression after Nagahama had left.
“Oh I’m sooo happy. ’S not like I wanna be doin’ these chump change sorta things.”
Mizuomi gave a hearty laugh. Even though his nephew had gotten himself involved in something odd, he wore a pleasant smile and did not say anything.
Though he would occasionally say things as though he took his role as Kusanagi’s legal guardian seriously, most of the time, Mizuomi would leave Kusanagi to his own devices to an almost worrisome extent.
Mizuomi abruptly spoke up while he polished a glass. “You know Ikushima-san?”
“Yeah. That customer wit’ the dangerous occupation.” A man in his forties with a scar on his cheek, a regular customer of the bar. He would always order spam musubi with paired with a bourbon. Though Kusanagi privately questioned drinking bourbon while eating rice, it was a normal occurrence for Ikushima to say ‘this complex flavor’s great’ while munching on the spam musubi in a way that left it unclear to Kusanagi of whether or not the words were actually a compliment. He was gentle-mannered while he was in the bar, but even Kusanagi was aware that he was a member of the yakuza.
“Whadda 'bout him?”
“I heard about Kurayama-kun from Ikushima-san himself when he came here the other day.”
Kusanagi made a wry face. The way Mizuomi mentioned Kurayama and referred to him as Kurayama-kun made it seem as though he were a friend of Kusanagi’s. Mizuomi paid no mind to that and carried on.
“It looks like Kurayama-kun’s becoming someone well-known among the adults of Shizume City. If he goes too far, it’ll prove dangerous for him.” Mizuomi said in a gentle tone that lacked the slightest trace of the gravity of those words.
It was just as Kusanagi had thought, Kurayama Mitsuha had already driven himself into a corner. He imagined it would not be long until he caused some trouble with the underlings to real yakuza members which would result in him receiving a harsh punishment.
Though he had not the slightest ounce of sympathy for Kurayama, he knew it would be prudent for this teen-against-teen war to be brought to an end by the teens involved before other parties intervened.
Kusanagi finished his task at hand of peeling the skin off of broad brands and called out to Mizuomi. “I’m done fer the day.”
(1) It’s customary to do a quick head nod in the parody of a bow as a wordless expression of thanks for things such as getting your water refilled.
(2) Creature from an urban legend = youkai. Mythological creatures and spirits in Japanese mythology. Neither monster nor ghost felt like a good match with what Kusanagi was trying to convey here with his sarcasm, so I went with this more liberal rendering.
So how I’ve been breaking the sections apart until now is how they are broken up in the book. That being said, the next section after this is 31 pages long, and for the sake of readability (and my sanity) it will be split in half.
In the meantime, I’ll be here crying over the delicious irony of a young Izumo not knowing what it’s like to want revenge for one of his group.
Gakuen K Drama CD: Evacuation Drills – Case of Second Year Class 1
Raw version here. Please feel free to message me about possible corrections. Warning: this drama has an elaborate punchline that simply cannot be properly adapted to English, so please see the end of the post for clarification.
jasamdominik #tbt zum shooting mit @thelastshadowpuppets im soho house berlin. die fotos von alex und miles - geschossen von @peterkaaden - und die geschichte dazu - geschrieben von mir - gibt es ab nächsten donnerstag in der neuen ausgabe des @musikexpress_magazin
(Translated from German):
“#tbt to the shooting with @thelastshadowpuppets in soho house berlin. pics of alex and miles - shot by @peterkaaden - and the story included - written by me - will be available next thursday on the new issue of @musikexpress_magazin"