Wednesday, 27 August 2014

The Yakuza



Hey, I'm posting this story while its incompleted. It's done, but I need to write the fight scene. the reason I'm posting is just cuz I haven't in a long time, and in hope that someone who reads my blog, I love ya guys, can help me finish this. I can't write fight scenes, so I'm asking for help. Thanks in advance.

 

 

The songs that inspired me here became the themes for this story. For the battle and the set up for it was all Kristina Maria and Move Like a Soldier.

For their building relationship, it was the Saint Tail sountrack, with Junshin.

And for the end of the story, for them and them alone to hear, i chose Hedley, with Heaven Will Wait For You. This last song will also be in another story, eventually. One that's actually based on the song. That one is being written slowly, when I'm not running about town or at work.

Now, as said before in other works, the same applies. I do not own these songs, or the series Saint Tail, and this is just a fanfic. My imagination and a keyboard created this. I own nothing, but for a little bit while you read, I do own you. Just joking. ^_^

Please, if you do have any idease for stories, picture ideas, since I'm alway looking for those, art, or any ideas whatsoever, email me and I will be happy to discuss and write, draw, or create these. Anyways... See ya, Saint Tail fans. You're the absolute best!!! Love ya!!!

Sincerely, Saint Tail.

 

 

Meimi walked into the lunch room at work and shook her head at her friends, who were arguing over whose turn it was to make coffee. The same fight every single day. She passed them and headed into her office, where she saw her phone beeping with two new messages. placing her bag on her chair she played them. The first was from the main floor secretary, asking about lunch, and the second, was from someone she didn't know. She gasped though, when she understood the meaning of the message.

"Hello, I assume I have reached the location of Miss Saint Tail?" The dark voice said. "We have been following your escapades for a long time and have decided that you could be of assistance to us. It is urgent that you call us back, otherwise... if you do not, someone you love dearly may be in grave danger."

She was practically frozen in shock. What was this about? She dug out her cell from her bag and checked for power bars. Good that she had three out of four. Grabbing her bag she wrote down the number and ran from her office. Once outside on the sidewalk, she called and waited for an answer. She cared about her friends and family more than anything, she needed an answer to this.

The answer came, and after a few minutes, she understood that she had no choice. Her father... she loved him deeply. If he was going to live, she was going to have to do something she never thought she would.

Saint Tail was coming back to Seika City, and this time, it was to save a life.

When Meimi got home from a long, frustrating day at work, and started digging in her closet for her old Saint Tail costume, she was flooded with memories of the chases, near misses, and him. She still loved Daiki, a lot, but had accepted, in a way, that a relationship would never work considering her past... occupation. The mystery man had told her she needed to show tonight, otherwise her father would die.

She dug free a black velvet box from deep in her closet, hidden in the back behind other clothing, and and pulled it out. She took it to her desk and glanced at the doorway. She was all too alone, her father preparing for a show he had later that night, and her mother, baking some sort of orange cranberry loaf.

Meimi turned back to the box before her and silently snapped the locks open. She lifted the lid and stared silently, her hands clutching the silky material within, as a flood of emotions and memories came rushing through her system. She'd given up as Saint Tail after a dangerously close encounter with another thief and a gunshot, and because of that and sad realities of her future, she'd given up her alter ego and said goodbye to the thief, no matter how good being Saint Tail had felt. The stakes were all too high for her to handle.

And life had been better after. She had a busy life day to day, an excellent job with a publishing house, a nice future planned out, and no romance whatsoever. But romance didn't matter. Did it?

No, her father's life was on the line if she didn't show up as she'd promised. The last thought pulled her out of her mental reverie and she reached for the perfectly folded clothes in the box. At that moment, her father walked in on her. She managed to shut the box just in time to face her dad without his curiosity rising.

"Hey dad." She said, trying to make her voice sound smooth, and actually succeeding at it. Now there was a miracle on her part.

"Hey, how was work?"

"Fine." She said, raking her hands over her blazer and skirt.

"Just fine? Alright. What are you doing? What's in the box?"

So much for stifling his curiosity. "Uh... just a nightgown of sorts."

"Ah... for someone special?"

"There isn't someone special father, I just thought I needed a change... so..."

"Okay. Fine."

"Uh, dad?"

"Yes honey?"

"Uh... did you get any weird calls lately? Today?"

"No. Why?"

"Just curious, that's all."

"Hmm. Okay honey."

Meimi let him leave. He was already suspicious. She couldn't ask more of him than what he'd given her. She sighed and turned back to reopen the box and pull out the fabrics. Her tuxedo vest, the pink skirt, the gloves and bowtie, the stockings, the shirt to go with the vest, and the bow to tie up her hair.

She laid it all out on her bed and looked it over. After a minute her senses were driving her wild with the tension of the death threat she'd received at work, and she silently shrugged off her blazer and started working on the buttons of her blouse.

----------

Meimi couldn't deny that feeling the soft fabric against her skin felt pretty nice. It brought back so many memories, the satin of the vest and the lace of the set of undergarments she always used to wear as Saint Tail. Now the clothes were a little tighter, just a little, but still fit. It had been three years. Three full years since she'd been Saint Tail. At 17 she'd given up, and now, at 20, she was coming back. But not for a jewel or a crown. For something much more important, for her father.

She held her hair up and fastened the bow, remembering the feel of her hair in a high ponytail, remembering how nice it felt. At that moment, as she tied the bow into her hair, her father walked in on her.

The shock was all too obvious on his face. She looked at her father, her hands tight against her chest, and she held her breath. Now what? Her secret was out. Her stared at her blankly, staring at her clothes. A moment passed like an eternity. What would happen now? To both of them.

When he walked toward her, she tried to say something, anything to calm him, but her mind came up blank. What could she say? 'I'm a thief, but don't worry, I only steal for good.'

Yeah, good one. Not even a drunk man would believe that.

"Meimi?"

"Dad." She replied in the same tone as his. She didn't know what else to do. What else could she do? Say?

"What's this all about?" He asked quietly, eyeing her costume warily.

"It's exactly what you think it is." She said, her voice quiet and nervous.

"You're Saint Tail."

"Yes. I am."

"All those thefts, all those news broadcasts, all the battles Saint Tail faced head on, that was all you."

"Yes."

She was shocked to speechlessness when he came up to her and wrapped her in a tight embrace.

"Dad?"

"I'm so proud of you honey. You did all that to help people that needed a hero. You did it all. I don't approve of the stealing, but I am very proud of you. I'm proud of what you've done, but I want you to stop stealing. It's a dangerous game, and I want you to stop."

"Dad, I-"

"Baby please. You are my baby girl. My life. I don't want you getting into trouble with the law by stealing."

"I did stop. Dad I did. For three years I stopped. Saint Tail wasn't heard of, I'm sure you noticed that. But tonight is extremely important. I need to go. This is life or death." She said, forcing the sentence out as Genichiro let go of her, and forced herself not to run back into his arms.

"Sweetheart. Another lost Electra crown or another stolen emerald is important, yes, but it's not worth the risk. That isn't life or death."

"This isn't another jewel. Tonight, let me go without a word, because this time I need to save a life that could be in grave danger."

"What are you talking about?"

"I can't tell you at the moment. I was sworn to secrecy."

"Baby girl what on earth are you dealing with? Who dragged you into some legal secret?"

"I can't say. Father, please. Tonight, let me go and do this. Like I said, it's life or death. Not mine, but someone else's. Someone I deeply love and care for. Someone who has cared for me for a very long time. I wouldn't forgive myself if something happens to him and I didn't try to set things right. I need to do this."

"I can't let you. I won't let my daughter do something that risks her life."

"I'm going to be alright dad. I'm scared, yes. But I need to do this. I need you to keep this secret. Don't tell mom, and wait for me. Don't be scared, I will be back. All I ask is that you don't tell mom. I wasn't even supposed to tell you, but you caught me off guard. I may have already endangered this human beings life by telling even one soul. So I need you to keep this quiet until I return. Then I promise you will know everything. And so will mom."

She knew her father was getting angry with her, that he was against this entirely, but she also knew that, on some level, her father trusted her to keep herself safe. He'd seen Saint Tail escape thefts unharmed for years on end, and he knew it was a simple matter for her to do it again.

"Dad." She said, steeling herself. "Do not tell Mom. Wait here, and I will be back safe and sound. Then I promise I will tell you everything." As she spoke, she buttoned up her tux, ignoring the feeling it created as she pulled the fabric across her chest. She reached into the air and pulled out her Saint Tail top hat, and found her wand the same way. "I will be alright dad, because I learned my tricks from the best magician around." She finished, walking to the window and settling on the frame. "I got my mother's figure and her acrobatic abilities," She said softly, pulling on her heels slowly, surprised that they still fit. "and I became a very skilled magician because of you. I'm doing this for you, dad, so please, this time and only this time, trust me."

Before he could say another word, or make a move to stop her, she leapt from the windowsill and landed like a lynx on the grass below. She stood slowly, and looked back up at her window, where she saw her father sitting in a chair, resting his chin on his palm and his arm on the windowsill as he watched her quietly. She waved at him quickly, mouthing a silent I love you at him, and ran across the street and kept running. She didn't think to stop, because she was already late, they had requested her at 8:30. It was already 8:15 now. And because she was already wiping at her tears. She was more than scared. She was terrified of where she was going.

She'd looked up the number, researched it out, and found something she thought she'd never get into. She'd dealt with thieves, some kung fu fighters, some dangers far more serious than those, but nothing like this. This time, her enemy was the mafia. More directly, the Yakuza.

-----

When she came to the area she'd been told of on the phone, a strangely busy part of town for the sort people she was dealing with, she slowed down on a high apartment rooftop and stopped at the corner, gripping the railing, something to hold on to in hope to help with her sanity, and looked around quietly as the wind blew at her strawberry blond hair. She pushed her flaming red bangs out of her eyes, and looked at the sign on the road below her. She didn't come to this side of town much, so everything was a mystery.

Kizaki Avenue. She pulled out her cell and punched her desired street address into her map application. She found the road below her on the map and looked around her in confusion. She was close to the building, but she couldn't see it. Somewhere here. Somewhere close. She found her way to the next rooftop, and then the next, guessing as she went, and then spied a corner of the road that was eerily quiet. Everyone seemed to avoid it. Bingo. She found it.

It was a highly elite looking club, where only the richest and best came to hang out. Meimi thought for a moment whether she should retreat and get her best blazer and uniform to fit in, but she didn't have the time, and she knew what the Yakuza did as punishment. She didn't want that. Hell, no one wanted that. So she pulled her mask out of her skirt pocket, slipped it on, and leapt from the building, landing quietly on the sidewalk below. Her presence, coming from above as she did, scared a number of the passerby, and almost everyone within range stopped and simply stared at her in shock and surprise.

"I'm not going to hurt anyone. There's no reason to fear me. Go on with your business, and don't worry about me." She said softly to everyone, kindly. She meant it. She wasn't to be feared. But a group of people nearby were. She looked over at a quiet man who was looking her over, almost in awe. She walked over to him quietly, her heels barely making a sound on the concrete, and gently placed her gloved hand on his shoulder. He was a well dressed, rich looking male. He could help her out, surely.

"Tell me sir, do you know if anyone can get past that guard. I have business I need to attend to within that club, and I'm already late."

"Anyone can, but it costs plenty if you aren't on a list."

"How much?"

"About $80 I think."

"Thank you. You helped me a lot."

"Uh... you're welcome miss... Saint Tail?"

"No need for the formal name handsome. Thanks. Maybe I'll see you around." She said, walking away across the street. She waved at him and mouthed him another thank you.

She had $100 in her pocket, to use on something she had been saving for, but now she'd use it here. This was much more important than a birthday gift. She got herself into the line, ignoring it as people shied away from her. Some actually asked for autographs. She apologized to them all, rejecting them as kindly as possible, and focused on getting to the front.

Thankfully, the line moved quite quickly, and within five minutes, she was at the front. Paying the fee, which turned out to be only $60, she got herself in by flashing her ID quickly and walking past the guard. The sound inside the bar was deafening, the music and drumbeats shaking the floor beneath her. She looked around the busy building carefully, looking for anyone with tattoos or unusual clothing. She noticed a group of people in a booth, all dressed impeccably in tuxedos, all watching her curiously. Everyone was doing that, but these guys were more... serious.

She swallowed against what felt like a huge lump in her throat, steeled herself, and walked over to them. When they stood to greet her, she knew she'd found the right people. When she came face to face with them, glad that she was tall and could meet them eye to eye, all she had to do was return a serious nod, and follow quietly among them as an old burly man led the group to the back. A few gasps came up in the background from a couple of people and just like that, she knew just what kind of trouble she was walking into. Serious, serious trouble. Now Meimi knew, if she was going to do this right, she was going to make every move consciously and perfectly. Otherwise, she was going to go down, hard. And Saint Tail never let herself go down, hard or not. Saint Tail fought, played, and then she won. Always. But the ball had always been in her court. Now it wasn't. And that was playing the most dangerous game ever.

The group, Meimi in the middle of them, took a flight of stairs up, then another, and yet one more, to a sort of party made up of plenty of people that Meimi could only assume were all Yakuza. They certainly seemed to be, mostly all of the ones in sight dressed in either suits or in some cases school uniforms. Everyone eyed her curiously, some of the females smiling almost wickedly, some of the men looking her over as if they could see through her satin costume.

She ignored it all, figuring that was the best move, and kept with the group, who stopped abruptly before a doorway, she listened silently as the oldest man spoke to whoever was on the other side of that wall, most likely their master. A definite female voice responded after a moment, and Meimi silently let out a long breath. Their leader was a female. Good, Meimi could work with that. Woman to woman. She had a slightly wider chance now. Or so she thought.

After a quiet moment the door was opened by another well dressed man, and Meimi steeled herself. This was it. She had to play every card right to win this. Within the cover of her skirt pocket, Saint Tail clenched her hand.

At a low wooden table, playing a flower card game was a woman in maybe her late thirties, dressed in a fancy light blue kimono. Her hair was adorned with five or six hairsticks and a few glittering jewel pins. She paid no heed to the suited men and Saint Tail as they walked in with her, holding her arms in place behind her back.

"Release her." The woman finally ordered. "She can't escape here."

Saint Tail smartly stayed quiet, but had a comeback to that. She could escape if she wanted to. She escaped from much tighter spaces. On one of her latest thefts, the one with the gunshot, she'd literally escaped from a moving elevator without having her identity shattered. That had been an escape act even she'd been proud of.

"Sit down Miss Saint Tail. Let me see you."

Saint Tail slowly stepped forward, settling down on her knees at her side on the table. The cards this woman had were excellent quality, probably worth thousands. Saint Tail saw that detail. And, she noticed, they were hand painted.

"I see your interest in my card set. Do you play?"

"Uh, yes... I do."

The woman gathered the cards, shuffled them expertly, and dealt them. Saint Tail watched and noticed no apparent trick in her dealing. This woman was playing fair.  

"Call me master if you don't want to get into trouble here, and more over, don't stammer. I hate it."

"Yes, master." Saint Tail responded immediately, making her voice sound smooth and perfect.

The woman made her move carefully, like a skilled person would, and smiled at Saint Tail when it was over. Saint Tail smiled back sweetly and looked over her cards for a smart move of her own.

"I like your lipstick. Where did you get it?"

The woman was trying to deter her from thinking about her moves. It wasn't going to work. "It's Mico Cosmetics. I got it for $12 at Seika Town Mall. The shade is called New York Nights."

"It's beautiful. It suits you."

"Thank you. I bought it for the costume." She'd bought it for Daiki, but she wasn't going to mix him into this. She wasn't going to involve another man she loved more than her own life.

The game progressed for about an hour, with some clear leadings, other incredibly close calls, and a lot of idle conversation, but in the end, Saint Tail won. The shock on the men's faces was apparent, obvious, and Saint Tail saw it happen when she cleared her two last cards together and placed them gingerly on the pile next to a very expensive looking sword. Obviously their master won this all the time.

"Very interesting. You play a strategic game. You plan every move, don't you?"

"Yes, master. I'm considered the queen of Koi Koi in my family. I nearly always win."

"I see. Well, that's quite curious. Okay then, time for my proposition."

Just as Saint Tail had expected. The game had been a test of her thinking skills. They needed to know whether she was worthy of their skill before bringing out the main reason for the visit, to know whether she was even capable of being part of their gang. Saint Tail assumed, at least, that they wanted her to be with them. She'd gathered that much from the message she'd gotten. They wanted her help. Somehow.

"I asked my men to contact you because I have a proposition to offer you. I have paid close attention to your thefts several years ago, and your sudden disappearance three years ago. I wondered whether you'd been caught, and so this call was a risk on our part, but thankfully you are still free as a dove."

'Not for long. Surely you're thinking that.' Saint Tail thought, hiding her smile and simply nodding.

"I'm glad that you are." The woman continued. "Tell me, do you ever plan on letting the police capture you?"

"No master. I'm better than a mere thief, or even Mouse kid. Yes I know of him. I am better, in fact, I'm the best burglar around. And I'm not bragging. I won't ever get caught."

"Good. Because I need someone that I can count on."

"You want my help?" Saint Tail asked, feigning to act astonished. "What for?"

"Now, hold on a second. My reason may be too much for you to handle."

"I doubt it." Saint Tail meant that.

"You really think you have that much skill?"

"Absolutely."

Saint Tail was trying to get accepted for the job. She knew something was up, and with her father involved, she'd do anything to keep him safe. Just then, Saint Tail noticed the woman shift ever so slightly, glancing up at a man behind Saint Tail for a mere split second. Saint Tail noticed it.

"Alright then, Saint Tail. I have something I need to take care of, something important. I want to see you here tomorrow night at 9:00pm. No earlier, no later, alright? I have a job offer for you, and if you want your father to stay safe, you will be here, and you will do the job properly."

"Am I allowed to ask one question?"

"Will you accept my offer?"

"Yes."

"Go ahead then."

"What does my father have to do with any of this?"

"Your father will be safe where we take him. But only if you do as your told. Fail your assignment, and you'll hear him scream."

"Then what do I have to do?"

"You asked your question. That qualifies as an offense, but I will let this slide, only because you are new. Don't do me wrong, Saint Tail, or you and your father will both pay. Do not tell a soul about this, otherwise, you will also be hurt."

--------

When Saint Tail got home, she knew immediately what was going on. Her father wasn't home. They'd been here, while she was talking with their master. It was too early for his show. They'd tricked her and taken him already.

Saint Tail ran into the hall, her heels hitting the floor, beating out a rhythm on the hardwood. Things were broken, glass shattered on the floor. She ran to their bedroom, found it empty and went to the stairs immediately. Where was her mom? Downstairs, Saint Tail found her mom tied to a chair, struggling to release herself. Saint Tail ran over to her, ignoring her mom's stunned expression, and cut her bonds with a steak knife that was lying on the counter. Once the rope was broken through, Saint Tail went to do the same with the rope around Eimi's ankles, and unknotted the ties and knots holding it together.

"Meimi! You're..." She heard when her mother got the stuff out of her mouth.

"Never mind that now. It's a long story. I'm glad you're okay."

"Where were you. Where did you go?"

"I was with the people that took dad. I should have guessed."

"What the hell is going on here?"

"It's all the Yakuza. I got a call earlier, I was sworn into it, and now I need to fix it. They want me to work for them, to steal for them. They know I can, they know I'm capable, but they also know I'm smart. So they took dad. They say if I back out, or if I fail the theft, then they'll hurt him."

------

Saint Tail spent the tough night with her mom, talking about everything that had happened. Neither one slept, stressed and worried. Saint Tail stayed by her mother's side, trying to be there for her in every way possible, though there wasn't much she could do. The hours ticked by quietly, in complete silence, and in those hours, in that night, Saint Tail forged her plan into completion. The Yakuza were right. Saint Tail was smart. Smart, cunning, and a very skilled thief and magician. Now one question hung in the air. Who was smarter? The mafia? Or Saint Tail?

When the sun rose, Saint Tail woke up with the sun in her eyes as she sat in the chair beside her mom, who was sleeping on the sofa. Quietly, without a single sound, Saint Tail got up and covered her mom with the quilt hanging on the edge of the sofa. Taking a paper that was on the table, Saint Tail wrote her mom a quick note, telling her mom where she was going and that she shouldn't worry about her.

Saint Tail folded the note, grabbed an apple from a basket, and after changing back into her normal clothes, a light sundress, left the house quietly. She knew where she had to go, and called her workplace, telling them she wouldn't be in. After a short fight with her stubborn boss, she made her way to a friend's house. Meimi knew if she was going to beat the Yakuza, she was going to need to fight. And the only way she was going to be able to fight, was with a sword. A katana. A samurai sword. And the only person Meimi knew that was a master with such arts was Noriko. Meimi remembered her theft with the Munemasa sword, and if she was lucky, hopefully Noriko would be willing to let her borrow it.

"So what did you want to talk about?"

"Actually," Meimi said softly, pausing to sip her tea. "It's about your sword."

"The Munemasa." Noriko said seriously, looking behind her at where it hung on the wall, sitting on a shiny mantle on a silver holder. "What about it?"

"I was wondering if I could... borrow it for a few days."

"Why would you need to borrow our Munemasa?"

"Uh well, that's sort of a lengthy story."

"I'll bring the ice cream then. Talk away."

"Uh well... alright." Meimi said, took a deep breath, and began. "Do you remember Saint Tail?"

"Yes, that I do. Who wouldn't? What does Saint Tail have to do with my Munemasa? She hasn't appeared for years."

"Yeah. Well that's the thing. She's sort of right here... right now."

"What do you mean."

"I mean, I'm Saint Tail. Or rather, I was."

"You're not serious."

"In fact I am. And I need your sword. For a short time, for a very serious mission, but I promise to return it unharmed."

"How do I know you'll keep my heirloom safe? You were a thief, after all. As you say." All the compassion was gone from Noriko's voice. She was rather wary as she placed the small glass dishes of vanilla ice cream on the table before Meimi.

"I understand your hesitancy, I do. I know how valuable a treasured family possession is, but there is no one else I can turn to. No one else can help me with this."

"Prove to me that you truly are... were Saint Tail, and then we can talk."

Without a word, Meimi stood and made her way to the bathroom in the hall. She was thankful that Noriko was the only one home at the moment. She didn't need this revealed to a bunch of people other than one more of her closest friends.

It was only a moment and Meimi opened the bathroom door to the hall, but not as herself, but rather as Saint Tail. She walked out of the bathroom in her satin tuxedo, cotton candy skirt, and everything else that she wore as Saint Tail. Even her hair was up in a ponytail. She even wore the stiletto pumps. Meimi watched as Noriko's face fell, as her mouth dropped open, and she leaned against the wall beside the door, letting Noriko think and absorb the impact of what she was seeing.

Meimi, or rather Saint Tail merely watched silently as Noriko stood up quickly and walked to the bathroom door, peered in without saying a word, looked back at Saint Tail, back inside the room, then back at her, and then did it all over again.

"How on earth did you just do that?"

"It was magic. I am a magician. A very skilled one."

"Clearly. Alright... Saint Tail. Why do you of all people need my Munemasa? And why should I trust you?"

"Firstly, you don't need to call me by my formal name Noriko, I'm not the mafia, I won't hurt you, and secondly, you honestly are, as one of my best friends, truly my last hope."

"Why me?" Noriko asked after a long moment of thought.

"Because you know martial arts, you have a very good Katana sword, and I need a teacher to refresh my skills by tomorrow night."

"Again I ask, why?"

"Because I may not be the mafia," Saint Tail said, settling down at her side of the table and picking up her spoon. "But tommorow night, I will be fighting with them, and I need to win."

"What on earth is going on Meimi?"

"I'm not supposed to tell you this, but my father," Saint Tail whispered, leaning over the table to close the distance between the two of them. "Is being held by the Yakuza. I know where, I know how, and I know why, but if I'm going to get him back, I'm going to have to fight them. And I'm going to have to win."

"What do they want from you?" Noriko whispered.

"They want me to work for them. To steal for them. Until I complete a theft, they won't let my father go."

"How are you going to get around that?"

"I have a very delicate plan."

"Explain..."

"I was asked to go back to them tonight to receive my order.  I said yes since I had to make a decision there last night, and I was scared to death."

"Naturally. Go on."

"So I said yes. Because I was told if I refused that my father would die."

"Whoa."

"Yeah, whoa. So I'm going back tonight, as they requested, and I'll accept my order. I'll steal the item they want easily, I've been doing this for years, and I'll bring it to them. I'll let them see it, and request that they release my father. Once they cut his bonds, I'll vanish the item, whatever it is, and fight to keep them at bay until my father is free. Then I'll escape. I know I can. I always have."

"That has a lot of places that could go wrong."

"It's the only shot I have."

"True."

"So you see why you're my last hope."

"I do. But I can't give you the Munemasa. It's priceless to us."

"I do understand. But what other choice do I have?"

"Come with me."

Saint Tail silently followed Noriko through the house into the attic, to a wall that held over thirty samurai swords, in a variety of shades and colors.

"The Munemasa is literally priceless, over 250 years old, but these others were made by qualified crafters. These are the best quality. I think you need... this one."

Saint Tail watched as Noriko gently removed a very fancy, heavily decorated black and red sword. At least, it looked red. Saint Tail gasped when Noriko brought it into the faint sunlight streaming through a small window, and the red turned into a flaming dark magenta. Ever so gently, Noriko placed it into Saint Tail's hands. Noriko watched silently as Saint Tail's fingers curled around the handle and the glove for the sword, almost as if there was a supernatural connection. The fit was perfect. That sword seemed to be made for her. Noriko believed it was.

Carefully, delicately, Saint Tail pushed the base open with her thumb, and pulled out the sword. Shiny as hell. Smooth as glass. Reflective as a perfectly clean mirror. And sharp enough to cut through anything. Even the Yakuza. She carefully lifted it and automatically made a move she knew from when she was young.

"You look good. Like a warrior. But I was wondering, what would you think about changing your costume slightly. Ever so slightly. To make you a more agile fighter. The skirt looks like it could get in your way during combat."

"What would you do? I love this outfit."

"I know you do. And you'll keep it. But I have an idea that might appeal to you."

"Show me."

---

That evening, after going home to her mom, forging a plan in her mind, and then going back to Noriko to change her costume, and two hours later, Saint Tail stood before the mirror in awe. Her tux was now detailed with pink crystals, a cut similar to a kimono, and the tails stayed in place. The skirt was cut to reach her hip on the right side, and her knee on the left, to give her more room to move with her new sword.

At the start of her "refreshment" training, Noriko was doubtful about Saint Tail's skill, but now, twenty minutes later, in a cleared portion of the attic, Noriko was having the trouble keeping up, not Saint Tail. Noriko had learned this all her life, and was considered a master of the sword in her masters class, but Saint Tail was blocking her thrusts like a pro. Noriko was having trouble avoiding the attacks. Noriko kept it up, since this wasn't a fight, rather a very real looking training session, and no one would get hurt, but she knew Saint Tail was more than ready. She would stun the Yakuza the second she pulled out her sword.

They practiced until 6:00pm. Saint Tail took her sword, thanked Noriko for the help, and went home to spend a little time with her mother, Eimi, before heading out. Just like her father Genichiro, Eimi was frightened to let her daughter go anywhere near the mafia. But Meimi managed to convince her mother to let her go when she said it wasn't going to be a fight, just a order for theft.

She left her sword home, taking only a sharp knife that she strapped to her thigh. She needed some protection at least. Just in case they decided to break their rule and attack against her. Or if she upset them in a way.

--------

When Saint Tail arrived at the club, the tension was a thousandfold of what it was before. And confusion, so much confusion. What would they order her to steal? She assumed it would be theft, because they had asked about her skills as a thief. Would it be a crown? A jewel? A ring maybe? Something bigger than that? More than one item?

Her confusion was shattered when her order was in fact, theft. But for not one item, but rather three. Three unique, special pieces that were considered royal to most people. This was going to be tough. First, an azure crystal, stolen ten years ago from a royal family. Second, a one and only Egyptian sword being shown at the museum. And third, a priceless jewel from the rainforest. A few had been sold about town, and they truly were priceless. The first two would be easy. One she'd steal from a thief, easy peasy. The other from the museum. Simple. She'd done it once before. And the third? They'd shown her an image. She just needed to find its location. A little scouring on her ipad would give her that answer.

After they let her go, she went straight home, knowing her mother was probably freaked out over her. She just went straight through the front door, and hugged her mom tightly when she embraced her hard, relieved to have her daughter home.

"I'm alright mom. I'm fine." She said, pulling the knife from her garter belt and placing it on the counter."

"Until I have you and your dad home safe, I won't believe that. Did they hurt you?"

"No. They just want me to steal stuff for them. It won't be too hard. I'll go right away. I just need to know where it's being held."

"What is it?"

"A jewel, a crystal, and a sword. Nothing tough."

"Nothing tough? Are you serious?" Eimi asked, stunned.

"I don't mean it like that mom. But honestly, I've swiped so many jewels that it's second nature to me. No problem as far as I'm concerned."Saint Tail, or rather, Meimi answered softly, searching her Ipad for clues.

"Are you chased?" Eimi asked after a moment of silence.

"Not anymore I bet. I used to be, directly by the Seika Police Force. Surely, you know this. My classmate, Daiki, you know who I mean, the clueless guy, used to chase me endlessly. But I was no match to him. I was always better. He never caught me, no one did, and at 17 I gave up. I wouldn't have done this, but I got the call, and for dad I had to."

"You have no idea how proud I am of you, and I think Daiki would be as well. Does he love you? Do you love him? Was it ever serious?"

"Mom!"

Eimi smiled. "I know, I know, private subject. I'm just plainly curious. I know I had certain... desires at 17 and 18, and I'm just curious if you took advantage of yours. Or if you are now."

Saint Tail sighed, scrolling through google maps on her machine, and took her time before answering. "No," She said after a moment. "I never let them cloud my reasoning. I had them, I have to admit. Many, and they were so god damn intense it was painful sometimes. But it doesn't matter. That, with him, could never ever work. He's working against everything I am. It could never work, so I ignore it. I've come to focus on my job and careers more."

"I know you have. And you have a very good career. I'm proud of you, really, but I think, maybe you should give love a second thought. I know you think you two can't work out, because of your thefts, but I found your father that way, maybe you can find your love as well."

"I'd like to mom. In my heart, he's the one, but I have no choices now. Right now, my father matters the most."

"You are totally right, my beautiful smart daughter, but don't turn away from love entirely. It happens when you least expect it. Remember that."

"I will."

An hour later, Saint Tail hugged her mom one more time, gathered their coffee cups and put them in the sink, then slowly left, taking her sword, and leaving the house quietly. This was the homestretch. After this, the battle was on. Saint Tail couldn't deny she was afraid of the battle to come, more than afraid.

-----

Daiki sat in the police office with a couple other members, quietly looking through a couple papers, drinking a cup of bold coffee. There hadn't been a theft in weeks, so the group was really just hanging out. There honestly was nothing to do.

The phone rang in the chief's office, and Angus went to get it, while the rest laughed over a joke someone said. When Angus returned a moment later, with a faint pink file in his hands, Daiki thought nothing of the color's meaning, and only got up in response to the meaning of the file. There had been a sighting on someone, a thief, and that was something to do for the first time in weeks. Good news.

"We have a sighting of someone. A thief in the north part of town. A crystal was stolen from the museum. We are dispatching two vehicles now." Angus said.

"Who? Do we know the person? Has he stolen before?"

"It's not a he. It's a she."

"Who?" Daiki asked, trying to visualize the list of  female thieves of late.

Angus said nothing, just silently handed the file over and watched Daiki's eyes widen as he read it.

"Who is it Daiki? Someone familiar?"

Daiki closed the file and placed it on the table quietly, facing his coworkers with a smile. "Guys, watch out, because Saint Tail is back. With three thefts in one night."

The silence rang out for a few moments, and the file was passed about quietly. A fax was there, along with a brief description of what she'd stolen and where, when, and how easily she'd gotten away without a trace. A blurred photo was on the fax, from someone's cell phone, and Daiki spent a moment looking at it, matching it to other pictures they had gathered over the past years, when she'd been about. She looked mostly the same, except some details on her outfit seemed to shift. Minor stuff. Her hair was longer, thicker, and still in its signature ponytail. Her skirt was shorter on one side than the other. Stuff like that. Not much of a difference. But she was obviously older, 20 or so by the looks of it, and Daiki found that just about perfect. He realized that he was smiling, and didn't hide it. She was stunning. She wasn't a girl anymore, and it was more than obvious.

He found his hands were starting to get hot from where his mind was going, and quickly handed the photos back, before things got embarrassing, and artfully rearranged his jacket over his lap. He didn't need this now, or anytime. He wasn't surprised though, about the way he felt about her. And about the reactions she instilled in him. Even now, after a few years of her nowhere in sight. Simply thinking about her, which happened often, brought on reactions he really didn't have time to deal with. The simple blurred photo he saw now, the sight of her, older now, more mature, had his jacket doing a levitation act. She was an aphrodisiac to him, and he doubted that even if he'd gotten what he wanted with her, provided she'd want the same, he still wouldn't be satisfied. He wanted her, and he knew that even if he got what he wanted, he'd just want her more. She was the only one he'd ever love as much as he did her. And it wasn't purely desire, either. He adored her, in every way, and he knew he always would.

At the thought, as he drank his coffee and stared at the picture of her blurred form that his friend was holding, he made a resolution, silently in his mind, and he vowed that he'd keep it. This time, he wouldn't let her get away. This time, he'd trap her, tell her everything about how he felt towards her, and whatever her answer, that would be what he'd accept. Yes or no. He'd accept either. All he hoped for was a breathy yes and possibly a chance to feel her full lips against his.

The desires he had for her, the fantasies he often dreamed of, filled with breathy moans and whimpers and cries of pleasure would all wait. Possibly forever. It all depended on what she wanted now. And he'd find out what that was if it was the last thing he ever did. And soon. All he needed was a warning note. And that was one thing she probably gave no thought to.

-----

"You should Meimi. But that's just my thought. That decision is up to you."

"I came to you Seira, in hope that you'd have an answer to this. I don't want to get lost further in this mess. I don't want to involve him, because I love him deeply, but it was a promise. Can I just break it?"

"Remember what happened last time you broke it. Do you want him crying and sobbing about deals again?"

"No, I don't. But I don't want to involve him. This is dangerous, and I don't want him hurt."

"Why don't you tell him that? You've made sneaky thefts before with warnings that didn't reveal the whole truth. Maybe you should tell him that you are back for a theft, but because of the danger involved, you don't want him to come find you."

"He would. He would come."

"Maybe you can use that. He could be a distraction for the Yakuza, something to deal with while they battle you, and then you might just have a better shot at saving your dad."

"I don't know. I don't want the chance of having another man I love hurt."

"He won't if you play your cards right. Right now, I see the ball in your court."

"How? They control my thefts, my actions, everything. If I make a mistake, my dad could die."

"Think, Saint Tail, think." Seira said, touching Meimi's shoulder. "I bet that they believe you're a thief and that you work alone. I think that they believe you won't tell anyone what's going on because it would jeopardize your identity. They may know that you've sent warnings to your detective, but they were always so... let's say...sweet hearted that it probably isn't their worry. They may expect him to show, though I doubt it, and they may watch for him, but I believe they won't think about him showing up. They'll focus on you, and so maybe, sending that clueless detective a warning with high detail on where to show up and when will work in your favour."

"I'm not following you."

"You've lost your Saint Tail thinking, haven't you? Send him a warning. Ask for his help. Tell him you have your identity to offer in return. Something to make him agree to help you. Tell him where and when, what to do and exactly how, and have him become a distraction while you sneak your dad out."

"That leaves him in fire though. I don't want him hurt. I love Daiki."

"I know you do. Deeply. You have to trust him to take care of himself. He's with the police force. He'll be okay. And how can you be sure that he'll come alone. He may well bring a few officers along. You can use that. Meet him there, tell him to have his officers hold back. Talk to him. Trust him. Let him hold your fate in his hands. I trust that he loves you as you do, and that he'll keep your secrets. Speaking of battles, I see you changed your costume, and you have a sword."

"Yeah, I needed a change. Something older. Something that wouldn't interfere with a battle. Noriko gave me a sword."

"Noriko knows?"

"She does now."

"Okay. Whatever. It's unimportant. I would tell Asuka Jr. I'd use the advantage to take on less people and have a better shot at winning."

"I'll do it. Doesn't mean I have to like it."

"It's better, trust me. Ask him to bring his officers, but tell him to meet you in secret close by, maybe a block away, and to leave his officers behind. Talk to him, ask for his help, and bargain your identity in return. Let him help you. Tell him what you're dealing with. Let him help out."

"I'll write out a warning now. With detail on all points. I'll do the job well."

"You always have."

With that, Saint Tail dragged a small paper out of her inner breast pocket, found a pen on the counter, and sat down on the floor, immediately writing.

-----

When Asuka Jr. made it home and scanned through what bills and papers sat in his mailbox, and found Saint Tail's note, fairly too simple for what he remembered, he held it at arm's length for a moment, full well expecting the folded paper letter to explode. When it didn't, he carefully read it over. He didn't know what to make of it.

Daiki: I know you haven't heard from me in ages, and I full well understand if you've moved on from our game. This isn't a mere theft, as before. This time, I'm back to save the life of someone I dearly love.

Who I'm writing about is unimportant to you. All that matters, to me anyways, is your cooperation. I am fully aware of our... situation. But this time I write not in warning, but in question for your help. This will be extremely hard for me to do without getting myself killed. Hell, it is practically an impossibility to do this without some serious injury occurring.

So, I am asking you to help me, by coming tonight at 7:00 to the address I give you here, with trusted, skilled officers, and to be ready to fight something even I, Saint Tail, don't want to be involved in. I will be fighting with the Yakuza, for them to release this person I love. I will need to fight, and fight hard, and there will be blood. Hopefully not mine. And hopefully not yours.

I want you to meet me a block away from their club, The Star Angels, and to leave your officers as watch, basically so I can talk to you in private company, to better explain the situation. I trust you inexplicably with my secret identity, and in return for your help, I can only thank you by offering my identity and my surrender as thanks. Arrest me after if you desire and I promise you now, if you help me to save this man, than I will come with you willingly and take all your punishment. Do what you will, I surrender to you my trust, my identity, and my fate. Just please, help me.

The Club is located on 5th street, crossing with 134th. It's simply a black building that resembles a garage. There's nothing more to say. It's plainly obvious when you get near to it. Walk inside, and it's a very high class strip club. These Yakuza people huddle together in bunches and literally resemble uptight millionaires. If you decide to come, meet me in the underground garage on the corner of 6th and 134th. I will wait by my car for you in the west end of the garage, fifth floor down. I await you. Please come before 7:00 pm.

Saint Tail

Asuka Jr. stared at the letter blankly for so long, he knew he looked stupid to passerby. He stuffed the note into his pocket quickly after he read it, and called his officers. Yeah, he'd help her. This was the perfect moment to ask her what he needed.

When he got nearby with his large band of officers, he told them to go ahead while he checked the nearby area for Saint Tail. He hadn't mentioned the Yakuza to them just yet, and told them to wait a few meters away in their respective cruisers and keep an eye out for Saint Tail.

He slipped silently into the garage and walked the stairs down the floor five and headed to the west end for her. When he saw her, polishing her sword with a clean cloth, and she looked up at him quietly, he nearly fainted. She was a million times more gorgeous than when she'd been young.  His emerald eyes locked on hers, faintly blue through a very fancy black masquerade mask. Of course, she'd given thought to hide her identity. But she'd bargained it in return for his help, hadn't she? It didn't matter. The fact that she was a secret to him heightened everything he felt for her. It made all this feel exquisitely forbidden. He'd never admit how much that idea appealed to him.

"So... you came after all."

He melted at her voice and had to keep himself from grinning like a total nutcase. He couldn't deny he was over the moon at knowing Saint Tail was back. At seeing her name pop up again. At seeing her before him. The desires he had for this sweet secret thief hadn't faded at all since she'd disappeared three years back, if anything, they were stronger now than before. His jacket was gearing up for another magic trick, and he couldn't believe how much trouble he was having at walking straight, let alone keeping his sanity in check.

"That was a very detailed note you sent me. I was surprised to get it. Hasn't been one in quite the long while."

"Yes, I know. But this isn't simply a theft. As I said."

"Yes, obviously not."

"I assume since you've come, that you will assist me. Or am I wrong?"

"No. I will help. But I want to know who we are saving before we talk any further."

"... my... my father."

-----

"Your father?"

"Yes."

"How did this happen?"

"They contacted me and told me that unless I do whatever they say, my father would die. I agreed to help them and tonight I'm going to bring them the jewels they asked me to steal. I stole them last night without any trouble and I apologize for not sending you a note for that, but it doesn't matter. The jewels will be returned after tonight's battle, assuming I don't die in the fight. I have a delicate plan, but it's risky."

"Let me fight alongside you. I know martial arts, I can help you." He said almost too vehemently, walking towards her quickly when he saw her sadly think about her father's situation.

"No." She said, rather intensely for her usually sweet attitude. "You aren't fighting with me. You are my decoy. My distraction. While I fight, I want you to sneak my dad out."

"I can help you. You can't fight 30 Yakuza by yourself. Let me assist you and let my officers and my dad find your father."

"How many officers did you bring?"

"Just 50, but I can call for more."

"That should do. How about half of your team fights with us, since you so badly want to, and the other half become distractions. We need a distraction badly for this to work out."

"Alright. Where do you suggest we start?"

"I'm not sure of that. I need to go in alone, obviously, to keep any suspicions of what I'm planning at bay, and you need to be ready with your officers to come in when I need you, which will probably be when I show them the items they want and then steal them back before they get them. That's when the fight will begin."

"How are you going to steal them back? You need to get rid of them. They're going to fight you for the items, whatever they are. You need a plan to get rid of them."

"How can I do that? Most likely I'll be surrounded immediately. Like last time."

"Now wait. Just a second. You think you have the upper card here, but what are they thinking? You need to know that. What's their plan? Maybe you give them their jewels and they will still hurt your father. Who says that they'll follow their word? I would think that they plan to hurt your father no matter what you do, and that they are after you as well, in one sense or another. I think you should give them the jewelery, in hope of us winning this battle, and use that as a distraction."

"Alright?"

"You know what I mean. You're Saint Tail, of course you know what I mean with this plan. I've taken a few moments on the way here to look up a typical Yakuza ceremony. I think they'll offer you to join their forces, and push you in again if you want to save your friends and family. It's a simple, perfect, scam. The perfect blackmail, the perfect lie. They know you care about your relations deeply. Their playing they're cards well. I would have you go in, give them they jewels, the real versions. They're too smart to know fakes from real ones. When they offer you the option of joining them, and I really think they will, then you'll accept it immediately. When you do that, it'll be enough of a distraction for me to get in and to your father. I, with my officers, can safely rescue your father and get him out to safety."

"You really believe they'll offer me a position with them?"

"I do. You, a skilled thief, would be an excellent asset to their work. They could use your skills to their advantage everywhere."

"I'll take that as a compliment."

"You still have your wit. I like that."

"It'll be different."

"What?"

"Fighting on the same side. It's a new experience."

"That it is, Saint Tail."

Saint Tail tried her best to focus on her sword as she slipped in back into its shield, and avoid blushing at his words. The way he said her name, the way the words rolled off his tongue, it was capable of making her melt within. Always had been. Always would be.

"Listen, Saint Tail, there's something I need you to know, before we get into this battle. I need to tell you this, and I think it's best to get it out of the way now, so I can focus on the fight with you."

"Alright... what is it?"

"This meeting, it's much more to me than a simple battle set up. I agreed to meet you because I want to help you, yes, but also because I think I'm in love with you."

Saint Tail wasn't sure if she'd heard him right. Was he teasing her again? Playing a joke? Was he possibly serious? She didn't respond because she didn't know what to say, and rather acted like a girl much younger than herself and looked anywhere but at him, the blush she was trying so hard to hide creeping onto her cheeks.

"I know I am. I've known it since I was 14, and now it's stronger than ever. You're stunning, smart, funny, and right now, absolutely, utterly beautiful. You don't know how badly I want to kiss you right now. I'm sure you can see that since I walked into this garage, my pants have started feeling three sizes too small."

The blush intensified, and she bit her lip.

"I have wanted to know how your lips would feel against mine for years. I've wanted to kiss you for ages baby."

"Then why didn't you?"

Her voice was so small that he barely heard it. He looked up at her and saw her tearing up. She wiped at her tears and smudged her eyeshadow in the process.

"Oh, baby girl." He whispered and embraced her quickly, holding her close to him, close to his heart. She fit so perfectly into his arms, so tightly. Her skin was soft, warm, and his pants tightened another size in response. He needed to feel her lips on his. Before the battle. In case something happened, he needed to know what it would feel like.

"Can I apologize by doing it now?"

She looked up at him, but said nothing. For a while she just stared at him blankly. He was serious. He did still care. When his fingers slipped to her neck, and he turned her to face him, she felt electricity flash between them, and without her conscious thought, her legs moved and obeyed him. He looked her face over, taking in her features, then leaned in quietly and closed the distance between them. When his lips came down on hers, as light as a feather, she stopped cold and simply felt, her eyes closing without her consent.

The kiss continued for a couple seconds with just a brush across her lips, then he pulled back, and then kissed her again, more firmly this time, making her weak to the knees. She wrapped her arms around his neck, her fingers in his hair, simply to hold on and keep herself upright. That wasn't necessary though. He was holding her waist so tightly against his hips that she couldn't fall. Couldn't escape. This was forbidden. It felt good. Thrilling. They could be busted and caught at any second.

"Do you feel it?" He whispered into her ear when the kiss was over. "Can you feel that? That's several years of waiting for you and fantasizing about you every damn night."

"I think we're going to have to remedy this after tonight's fight. We have something else to take care of."

"I thought you weren't interested. You never showed interest."

"I'm more than interested. You have no idea what I've resorted to doing almost daily for the last seven years. I'm worse off than you."

"How often?" He asked, immediately knowing what she referred to. This was the sort of connection they often shared. There was no guessing. Even without spoken word, they knew what was implied.

"At least once a day, if not twice. When I get the chance, I take advantage of it."

"Every single morning, before work, occasionally on my lunch breaks if I have time, and then at night. I've tried not to, but I can't help it. You invade my mind every time, and then I only have one method of relieving the tension."

"If... if we make it through this fight and can still stand, then tell me where your car is parked, and we'll fix this."

As she spoke the words, immediately after, she felt something rock hard suddenly press quite firmly against her hip and smiled through her last words before they parted ways, nodded quietly, then left to set up this battle. "It's time."

------------ Fight scene -------------

"I'm so happy that dad's okay." Saint Tail whispered beside Daiki, watching her parents talk and chat with his officers. All the trouble was now over, and the lingering relief felt amazing.

"I'm happy for you. You fought so well, they didn't even know I was in there." Daiki said softly, gently pushing her back, to the wall where no one would find them. Now for their second promise, the eternal one.

This kiss felt just as intense as the first, in fact more so. Now there was no tension buried in with it. This felt good. Perfect. Rough, even, as he suddenly slammed her against the brick wall and pushed his body against hers, holding her hands snug above her head with one hand. The other, he trailed down her body, making her breathing increase as he placed his fingers on her thigh, hiking her skirt up just enough to reach her thigh high stockings. She was so pretty, he wanted nothing more than to slip his fingers just a touch higher, to what her really wanted to touch. Hell, his hands were shaking. he'd never been this much in pain from her, never been so close to her, and she wanted this as much as he did. It did insane things to his control.

"...please..."

He nearly came on the spot. Too much. Too much temptation.

"Don't do that."

"What?" She asked breathlessly, already breathing more raggedly.

"Don't beg. That does wicked things to me."

"Please." She said again, smiling now. Little wicked tease. "Please. Please baby please. I need a bad boy to take me hard. I need you and the back seat of your police cruiser. Right now."

He groaned and looked her straight in the eyes, looking for nervousness and apprehension. He found none. She was serious. She wanted him, now. But in the back of a police car? That certainly wasn't appropriate for the first time, was it? Was it even her first time? It was for him, but her?

"It won't be so bad. I don't care if it hurts. I can take it."

"How do you know that?"

"I trust you. As I said in my note."

He stared into her eyes for a long time then, releasing her hands and gently caressing his hands over her body. Savouring her. Finally he had his thief. And she wanted this just as badly as he did. He kissed her again, softly brushing his lips over hers, relishing in the feeling of finally kissing her, the way he'd dreamed of ever since he was fourteen and she made her first theft, then gently lifted her into his arms and smiled at returned her smile.

"Okay baby, I promise to be careful. Let's have some fun."