Scions: Ragnarok

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The After-Party

(Friday Night - Post-Performance)

The Rising Sun is a sushi restaurant and bar off of the main strip, featuring classical Japanese decor, but also the artistry of a Japanese-trained itamae. It is also one of the few places, other than the Miyako, where the adventurous can try fugu, although the price is equally adventurous.

"Ryder-san!" the hostess greets the party warmly. "Where would you like to sit?"

Hitoshi indicates a table that is near the stage, but the only entertainment consists of other patrons indulging in karaoke. There are one or two aspiring professionals pacing the evening, and an older gentleman who belts out Sinatra tunes with gusto, but the rest are folks who are too loud, too soft, or slightly off-key.

"The last time I heard music like this, it was during a wild boar hunt outside Delphi," Orithia smiles.

"The food is better here, trust me," Hitoshi smiles. As the waitress arrives, Hitoshi orders in fluent and rapid Japanese, without looking at the menu. The waitress bows and speaks to the chef, who also bows in Hitoshi's direction before setting to his work.
Warm sake arrives in short order. And then several plates of sushi, each a work of art in styling and color ...

Evie, who is unfamiliar with sushi, points to a particularly lovely piece and asks Hitoshi, "What is this? It looks delicious!"

"Oh, and...uh...is it okay if I eat with my fingers? I don't know how to use chopsticks. I'd just end up tossing food everywhere," she says with a shrug and apologetic smile.

Hitoshi smiles.

"Actually Officer Cartwright, sushi is made to be eaten with fingers."

He takes a closer look at what she is pointing at.

"I believe that is a crab and avocado roll, and one of my favorites. Course I love them all really." he say pouring some soy sauce into the small; bowl next to him. He picks up a piece of the same and dips it lightly before placing the whole piece in his mouth and chewing.

Once again, Evie shakes her head and looks a little exasperated, but also amused, "How many times do I have to tell you, Hitoshi...it's Evie. Only people I don't know and the rookies call me 'Officer Cartwright.'"

Relieved to know that she won't be viewed as an uncouth barbarian for eating with her fingers, she picks up a piece of crab and avocado roll. Following Hitoshi's lead, she dips it in soy sauce before popping it in her mouth.

As she had suspected, it is delightfully flavored. Finally able to fully relax after a very, very long day, she chews contently.

"I do believe I have discovered a tiny piece of heaven!"

Alex pours himself a glass of sake.

"Ave victores mortuis," he says, tossing it down before refilling his glass. Orithia takes note and raises her own glass in salute.

"I don't believe I've ever eaten here," Alex says. "This is really good sushi."

"Man either your drum set is putting on weight or I've got to get the suspension checked on the van," Lya announces as she walks up to the table and waves her staff at the waitress. "Sakebombs! It's not a celebration without sakebombs!"

She plops down in her chair with a sigh and leans back in her chair as she props her knee against the table. "I don't know about you guys, but I seriously need to relax after tonight. When those fireworks started going off I thought we were going to have a five-alarm freak-out."

"I suggest checking the van before you give my drums a complex," Klepto snorts. "You did good last night...you kept your head and kept the chaos to a minimum all things considered."

"Yeah... instead of a stampede we just had a good mosh pit," Toxic chuckled.

"I was ready to lose it when that creep showed up backstage, though," Lya grunted as she removed her knee and her chair fell forward with a clack against the tile. "This Lying Bastard with his boo-hoo act getting disgruntled people like us to join his side just pissed me off." She grabs a piece of barbecued eel and stuffs it in her mouth. "I mean..." she stops and swallows, "this guy has some serious abandonment issues and instead of popping some Zanex or finding his own way to live out of their shadow he's got to fuck it up for everybody."

She grabs her flask out of her coat pocket and takes a long drink before wiping her chin with the back of her hand. "Gods I hate Emo."

"Huh. Well, since you pretty well shot down the recruitment effort on his part, I guess we can expect him to start trying to take us all out," Evie sips at her sake, getting used to the flavor. It's not bad, but it's also not an alcohol that she's used to and isn't sure how fast it will hit her system.

"What do you guys think we should do, now?"

"'Join me, and together we will rule the galaxy!'," Alex says, mimicking Darth Vader. "I can't imagine he really thought that would sell anything to any of us. Especially after having his trained punks do a drive-by."

"I mean, what's next? A car bomb?"

"No kidding!" Evie says. "But, I suspect that he was aiming his sights more at Lya and Hitoshi than the two of us. I mean, I can see how he might view the two of them as still being wild cards."

"He probably tried me because I didn't have a great relationship with my mom let alone my dad. Just as well I could care less about needing validation from either of them." she grabs a cup of saki from the table. "Don't get me wrong, I'm grateful that dad saved my life that night... and you guys are some of the best friends I've ever had," she says to the Furies as she raises a glass, "But I don't want to be a goddess; I just want to be free to be me."

"Ad libertatem!" Toxic calls out as she raises her glass and the other Furies follow suit before downing their shots.

"As to what we should do now... he got our reply, so now it's time to see what his next move is going to be. He's probably going to try and hit each of us individually in our weak spots... so my best advice is to second guesseverything that happens to you from here on in. When it comes to gods of chaos nothing is coincidence."

"Yeah, I have that whole 'unswerving sense of justice' thing going," Alex says. "Which is a bit odd, seeing as Dad's speciality is War. But it means a slick sales pitch isn't going to do the trick. So it's take me out, or make my life complicated, I guess."
"Hmm. Maybe that explains why the DA wants to talk to me."

"Do you think they're going to try to tie your hands, legally?" Evie asks.

Hitoshi sits quietly for a moment, then speaks. "I am afraid Lya, that we won't have much longer to stay out of the fight."

He pulls out an old and faded letter on parchment paper and unfolds it, sliding it across the table towards the others.

Hitoshi:

I ask that you read this letter and even if you cannot accept what I about to write to you, that you accept the gift the letter comes with.

You will have questions. The first, being, of course, why the Lord of Nets could not save your friend, when it seems such a small thing to ask.

It is a universal truth that the things we devoutly wish for are often denied us by circumstance or duty. So it was with Akane-san's fate. What the heart desires is not always what comes to pass, even for the gods. In this, I can only offer you my deepest apologies.

The other reason is that we - the gods - are at war. As you are just now coming into your heritage, it may not be apparent to you, but it is there. It is not something you will be able to hide from, and you will be tested more severely than you have in the loss you have suffered.

As the tsunami comes in the wake of a sea quake, so shall the battle that determines the fate of gods and men. Much will be swept away, and much will be lost. And in this regard, the future rests with you, and those who share the gift of our blood.

I cannot give you specifics, as I do not have them. The Greeks call the opposing forces the Titans, and that name shall suffice. Under their rule, there will only be darkness, with mankind little more than slaves and trivial amusements.

So I bequeath to you two gifts. First, a copy of Go No Rin Sho, the Book of Five Rings. It is a treatise on warfare and the animating spirit of the samurai. You will find it relevant to all things.

The second is a blade of legend, Honsho Masamune, the greatest work to come from the forge of Masamune himself. Not even the blades of his Ten Disciples have come close to its perfection. But, as warriors have traded their katana for fountain pens, so will Honsho be in the eyes of others - a walking stick. And even when drawn at need, few will be able to see its true form and nature.

Honsho also gives you access to a gift that you will find useful, if a bit late in coming. Through it, you may designate a single person or object to be under your protection, and maintain a link to same. Should they come under threat, you will know.

I could not save Akane-chan, and this saddens me more than you could possibly know. But from her life, I know you will take the lessons that will make you a formidable enemy to the Titans.

Be well, Hitoshi.

(The only signature is Hachiman's crest.)

"It, a copy of Go No Rin Sho, the Book of Five Rings, and Honjo Masamune were waiting in my apartment when I got home from my fated trip to japan. No, I don't think we can avoid the war much longer. The best we can do is be the eye in the midst of the hurricane and keep people safe."

He grins. "And of course ruin the plan of Mr. Lymann."

"I'd told Evie earlier that the scuttlebutt is that the DA wants to offer me a job," Alex says as Hitoshi is getting set up for his performance. "Yeah, it could be a way of tying my hands, as I'll have less say about what cases I handle. Maybe that means Lyman and his ilk will be putting the screws to someone who I could otherwise help. Or maybe it's just to make me just another cog in the gears of Justice."

Evie sits quietly through Hitoshi's performance, reading over the letter as she listens to him play in the background. When she is done, she pushes it back to the center of the table for anyone else to read.

Patiently, she waits. The performance is beautiful but she is now far more curious to what his announcement will be than anything else. Does it have to do with the letter she just read ? Or, was the letter simply a glimpse into his past to let them know that he has been aware of the impending war for some time?

"The Gods are always at war, Hitoshi," Lya replies with a roll of her eyes as he hands everyone his letter. "You Japanese are so honorable and solemn... the Greek Gods start wars because they weren't invited to dinner parties or somebody said they were prettier than they were, or Zeus stuck his thing in the wrong nymph. " Lya grabs a handful of wasabi peas and crunches on a few. "Of course the Titans have always had that issue with kids... but hey, that's what you get when your favorite meal is a kid sandwich. I'm just glad Dio and the others didn't take after their parents." she pours herself another cup of saki and takes a sip before sitting back in her chair. "I don't think Lyman's game has anything to do with the war these Gods are having though... I think Lyman wants to take advantage of the fact that all the gods are going to be too busy in order to stop him from staking his claim on whatever's left."

"Yup. Car bomb," Alex snorts. "And, no, I don't mean the shot of Bailey's & Jameson's in a pint of Guinness. He even asked me what it would take to kill me, seeing as he's tried twice and fucked it up."

"But, I think I saw a Valkyrie tonight. She came to claim Hitoshi's playmate. And she was the same one who collected the chopper crew after we got shot down. That, or they have some kind of institutional memory thing. She said it still wasn't my time, but I don't know if that means I'm on a short list or something."

"That explains that, then. I overheard your conversation with her, but I thought you were just trying to pick her up," Evie grins, a slightly mischievous twinkle to her eye. It's not something seen often from the usually rather serious detective.

"Well you've got to wonder how many other Scions this guy has gotten on his side already, you know? Other than Fenris, of course... that one's pretty obvious."

"That's a really good point," Evie's expression becomes serious once again. "I'm still really new to all of this...is there any way to detect scions? I don't know if there's any magic or anything...I guess magic exists. Magic exists, right?"

"David Copperfield will be crushed to find that you've doubted him for so long, Evie," Lya deadpans. "Crushed." She holds the serious look for a total of 3 seconds before she snorts.

"It may not be all unicorns and rainbows... but yeah... it exists. My friends are walking proof of that one."

"Well, she was rather pretty," Alex smiles. "But it'd be like dating a subordinate officer or something, wouldn't it? Conflict of interest, if she's got to punch my ticket for Valhalla."

He closed his eyes for a moment, listening to the room, trying to get a feel for where everyone was.

"I don't know. I'm not getting any weird vibe off of any of you," Alex says. "I mean, Lya smells like clove cigarettes, but short of us seeing something odd, like a guy getting shot and run over, then coming away without a scratch, I'm not sure there is a tip off."

"As for magic, there has to be, right? I should be a stain in the driveway, that's magic enough for me."

For just a moment, Evie's cheeks tinge pink but it passes quickly.

"Well, yeah. It has to exist since, well...we are who we are. But, that seems more like...genetics? I don't know how else to explain. We have the blood of gods and that is, in itself magical."

"But, are there scions that can do magic? David Copperfield level stuff?" Evie smiles at Lya, acknowledging the good-natured jab from the scion of Dionysus. "Could a scion conjure fire and lightning? Could they have clairvoyance?"

Evie shakes her head, and agrees with Alex, "I don't feel anything off from you guys, either. I don't know...I'm just trying to figure out how to be proactive. I'd rather not wait for someone to try to kill Alex again before we figure who all of our enemies are."

"Yeah wish I could help there... I can nudge circumstance a little in one direction or the other and I've got a direct line to my best buds whenever I need them, but other than that... nope." She tosses a wasabi pea up into the air and catches it in her mouth before crunching. "Unless of course you count being ungodly charming and witty," she finishes with a wink at Alex.

"Why not? I heal fast, you assess crime scenes. Maybe if I was Thor's kid, I might be able to throw a lightning bolt," Alex says. "And maybe there are things about ourselves we haven't discovered or tapped into. Loki's kid better hope 'smashing smarmy punks into paste' isn't something I inherited."

"Well, that's something! If we know all of our strengths, then we know what we have to work with."

"So, let's see...Lya, you have allies at the ready and can affect luck (kinda), Alex, you can heal, it looks like Hitoshi is crazy fast and good with a weapon and I'm basically a walking CSI lab," Evie rattles off their assets. "Is there anything else that I'm missing? I'm only listing what I have been told or seen firsthand."

Hitoshi laughs and summons the waitress. "Kemiko, bring over a bottle Plum wine please. Thank you." Once she leaves he speaks again. "Well I can put a ward on others by touch, then I know when and if they are in danger. Oh, and no big deal, but I can fall from any height and walk away."

He lowers his voice. "Only if I have my ring and my sword. Otherwise I'm just fast and one hell of a fighter."

"Sake bombs, Hitoshi... sake bombs!" Lya pleads. "We just stopped a riot and had all our lives threatened by a Nordic Emo with daddy issues. I think we deserve something stronger than Plum Wine." she looks to the others with puppy dog eyes and bats her eyelashes. "Don't you guys want to share a drink ritual with me? It'll be a great bonding experience if you remember it all the next day," she finishes with a grin.

"Line them up!" calls out Orithia as she slaps the table, "for I wish to drink with my sisters!"

"Yamas (cheers)!" the others call out.

Hitoshi laughs again. "Hey, the Plum wine is for me. This place can get it from as far back as nineteen eighteen vintage."

However, he signals Kemiko again. "Kemiko, Sake bombs for these fine ladies, and this distinguished gentleman, oh, and one for me as well. I won't be missing out."

He thinks for a minute. "Actually Kemiko, unpack the Shochu for later. as well."

"So is this where I discover the godly power of getting blind drunk and waking to find out this has all been a hallucination while I'm dying of dehydration in Afghanistan?" Alex asks no one in particular.

He looks at the sake bomb. "What are the rules?"

Hitoshi grins. "Just follow the examples of these fine ladies right here." he says setting up his own Sake bomb.

Alex watches Hitoshi set his sake bomb up and nods. "Ah, the Japanese version of the car bomb. Is it drop-and-chug?"

His question is answered as Lya and the Furies all unseat their sake glasses by slapping on the table, and downing the pint glass in a single pull.

"Round TWO!" shouts Toxic, as a second set of glasses is prepared. She smiles at Alex, half invitation and half wicked challenge.

"I'm gonna regret this," Alex says quietly, matching the Furies for another round ...

Hitoshi laughs. "Mr. North, I recommend you be very careful in accepting a challenge from these ladies, they regularly drink with Lya."

He drinks his Sake Bomb and sets the glass down, belching loudly. For a moment his face reddens and he looks embarrassed.

"Excuse me, I have no idea where that came from."

Evie laughs softly at everyone's antics. However, she politely turns down the sake bomb. As it stands, she's still nursing the sake from when they first arrived, "I think at least one of us needs to not wind up knee-walking drunk. Looks like I'm DD for the evening!"

She leans back in her chair and happily pops another piece of delectable sushi in her mouth, chewing with relish. The corners of her eyes crinkle into a happy smile as she watches the others.

Hitoshi shakes his head. "No Ofiicer cart... I mean Evie, I will stop drinking here in a bit giving myself plenty of time to sober up before time to take these ladies home."

"Please, call me Alex. 'Mr. North' reminds me of OCS," Alex says. "And, so far, this isn't bad. I remember one commissioning party where two friends went drink-for-drink and no repeats. It didn't end well.*"

"What is it they say? Kanpai!" he adds, quaffing his third.

"I say he folds on the next one," Klepto says, winking at Alex.

Phoebe shakes her head. "Five."

"Six and done," says Toxic, mimicking someone doing a face plant on the table.

Hitoshi looks at Alex and pulls out a 100 dollar bill. "I'll take your bets ladies. I say he drinks all of you under the Table."

"These ladies have to keep up with the daughter of the god of wine, Hitoshi," Lya warns. "Unless his ability to heal covers the alcohol abuse we're about to commit on his liver." She chuckles. "Either way it's going to be fun to find out."

"Opa!" she shouts as the waitress brings another tray full of drinks.

"Aha! Finally!" Evie laughs as Hitoshi actually calls her by her nickname.

"Oh, no. I want to be dead sober for this. Later, when the rest of you are wondering what happened, I want to be able to hold the fact that I remember every drunken word and detail over your heads," she chortles happily, her threat merely a jest.

Hitoshi looks up from his drink. "Well I better say this now before you all get too drunk to remember."

"Watch, I bet he's gonna say he's a rich Son of a Bitch now." Toxic jokes.

"Actually I am." Hitoshi replies.

"Okay, start explaining." Orithia says setting down her drink. She nudges Phoebe. "This ought to be good."

"I didn't think I'd ever get to this point, but back before I met Lya, I won two thousand at the casino, and I did the smartest thing I could think of, I went to a Stock broker named James Sokatsu, and I invested it all. I bought ten shares of stock in The Westview grand, I mean I don't know why, but I did. I also bought a few shares in other small companies and such just to round out my portfolio. I, I, I left James with orders to reinvest the dividends as wisely as he could, and well umm that was that. I didn't think about it much, I figured I would end up tanking." Hitoshi speaks in a rush clearly worried, and nervous as hell.

He takes a drink of his plum wine, and drains the glass suddenly.

"Then about three months after the Japan incident James called me. My 10 shares over the years had split five times, and that he had taken the one hundred and sixty public shares and traded them for just forty. I thought he was a dumbass until he explained to me just what the forty was. Private shares in the company. Non Public. Suddenly I found myself sitting on the board of directors for the Westview Grand. I didn't want it at the time so James sat in my stead. It's been that way ever since then. Mom has finally annoyed me enough that Tomorrow at the meeting, I am going to sit on the board, just to shut her up."

"Right so how.." Toxic begins.

"One point Five Billion." Hitoshi says quickly.

"Fuck me." Toxic blurts out in amazement.

"That's not all. Mother has given me an interesting job offer. Director of Entertainment for the Casino. And before you ask, thankfully, I would answer to the board, and not to her. I'm strongly considering taking it, and no, not for the money. I could fucking care less about the money. It would enable to me do more for the band than just be a bodyguard."

He looks across the table at Lya. "It's more than the money. Half of my Dividends go to a rescue fund to help people around town."

"Oho. Now we're getting serious," Alex says, eyeing the bet Hitoshi lays on the table. "One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor."

He knocks the glass of sake into his fourth pint and downs it.

"Oh, gods. Goosh mornin, Misha Deee Ay, you wanna offer me ash job?" he laughs. "Frankly, I'm more interested in seeing if I can beat Toxic than getting the job with the Dish ... Districk ... fuck, DA."

"Congratulations!" Evie reaches over to give Hitoshi a hardy pat on the shoulder. She smiles happily at his fortune, glad to have some good news after having the weirdest week of her life.

She then looks at Alex and snickers, making internal bets with herself as to exactly when he's going to wind up face down in his sushi.

"Lessee, five for Phoebe, six for the lovely Toxic ..." Alex mumbled. "You know, I mysh jest be kidding. Could be stoned, I mean stone-cold sober. Where's five? Five!" He looks at Evie. "I'll take a cab home. Promish."

"Do more for the band..." Lya mutters as she slams the table a little harder than necessary to make the sake glass land in the beer with a 'plop.' She grabs the drink and stands as she chugs the glass to the encouraging cheers of "Chug! Chug!" from Klepto and Orithia.

She wobbles slightly as she sets the glass down and points a finger unsteadily at Hitoshi. "I'm doing just peachy without some rich boy having pity on the poor runaway, thank you very much." She falls back into her chair. " I told the same to Dio...dad... and now I'm telling youse...if you really care then be there when I need you, but keep your money to yourself...got it?"

She pulls her flask from out of her coat and mutters to herself before taking a drink. "Nobody pay attention to the CEO worth over a billion dollars as he tries to blend in and play security guard for his lessers...yeah that will work."

"D-d-damn... tell us how you really feel," says Orithia.

"I didn't work this hard to get our band where it is just to have everyone think that the only reason we have anything is because he gave it to us," Lya pouts.

Alex is partway through his fifth round when Lya expresses her opinion about Hitoshi's money, and nearly does a spit-take.

"Gotta stand for something," he agrees with no one in particular. "Not sure I'll be able to stand at all if I keep this up. Whouf."

Evie says nothing. Instead, she simply leans back in her chair and continues to munch on the goodies before her. She knows that Hitoshi and Lya have a history together, so she's not about to speak up and interfere in something that is obviously a personal matter between the two of them.

However, that won't stop her from watching any drama unfold.

Besides, she's keeping an eye on Alex. The poor man is obviously about three sheets to the wind, at this point. She's ready to reach over and rescue him if he does flop over in a drunken heap into the sushi.

She suppresses a tiny grin of mischief and pushes away the urge to poke Alex and see if he's like a Weebil. Does he wobble or does he fall down?

"Can't stop now. Gotta have sex ... have six with Toxic," Alex says. "Ohshit. Sorry, Toxic, that came out wrong."

Nonetheless, Alex spends a moment doing a drunken laugh-snort as he cues up the sixth glass ...

"S'ok...I'll kill you later...if I remember anything after this..." Toxic replies shakily as she tries to focus enough to grab her next shot off the table.

"He shoots. He scores. Skoooooooooooooooal!" Alex says, downing his sixth pint. "Hey, shat's not as bad ash I thought. I can even say, 'Shupercalifragalisciousexperallydoses.'"

"He's still standing, Tox," groans Phoebe. "Well, sitting. I'm out."

"Lushy number seffin?" Alex slurs.

"I'd besher ... better not find out you've been drinking colored water," Toxic says. "Damn. You'd put Ulysses' men under the table."

"Practishing for Valhalla," Alex says. He fumbles with some of the empty glasses. "You really wanna keep goin'?"

Toxic looked him dead in the eyes. "There's nothing you could say to make me back down."

"Supercalifragilisticexpialadocious," Alex breathed, sitting up straight.

"Son of a bitch. You are drinking colored water!"

"Nope. It's the real thing," Alex shrugged. "I noticed when I was drinking sake earlier that I felt a mild flush, and then, nothing. Lya, maybe your Dad knows how that works."

"Yanno, when I'm sober, I'mma beat you up," Toxic smiled.

Evie laughs aloud at this, "Of course! Your healing factor. You heal, you don't get sick...your body automatically handles anything detrimental, including alcohol. You're like our own, personal Wolverine!"

"You sly dog. You were hustling the ladies!" she chuckles.

"I honestly don't know if it's my healing ability," Alex says. "Getting shot isn't the same as getting drunk. It's probably related somehow, but I don't know how."

He fishes $100 out of his wallet. "There, that covers the bet Hitoshi made. I won, but it wasn't entirely fair, so it's not fair that you pay up."

"Hey I did warn you guys about his healing ability," Lya chuckles.

Lya runs her hands through her hair and sighs as she leans her elbows on the table. "Look, Hitoshi... this is... it's a lot to take. Your friendship has meant the world to me and you've been like the brother I never had... but you have to know this changes things, right?"

She grabs a Sapporo off the table and takes a swig. "You've skyrocketed yourself into this whole other life and now you expect things to stay the same... but society just doesn't work like that. You practically took that hotel in a surprise business takeover so now everyone's going to be looking at you from the board members to the National Enquirer."

She takes a bigger swig of her beer. "Why do you think I never wanted to hit the big leagues with the band? Because I wanted to be free to do what I wanted, when I wanted, without having my actions questioned or controlled by others 'in my best interest.' I wanted everything that I got to be because I worked hard and earned it. Now... if we're constantly seen together people are going to talk... you know? Doesn't matter if it's not true... in the world of entertainment it's all about appearances and you've just radically changed yours. It's the same reason why I asked dad to let me live my life on my own terms."

She reaches over and puts her hand on his. "You will always be my best friend... but you've got to figure out what you're going to do with this new life of yours now."

Hitoshi sits through Lya's rant and waits. He looks her dead in the eye. "If I have to wear Shinobi shozoku and hide in the stage lights just to come to your shows, or do the Scion things that we need to do, I will. You and the Furies are my family, and you all mean more to me than life itself."

He takes her hand in his. "I'll figure this out, you know this." Then he grins that infectious grin. "I always find a way."

"I'm sure you will, Hitoshi. If you start wearing a super hero costume though you better look cool though... none of that cape shit," Lya snorts.

"Oooh... we could call im' the Super Sword..." adds Orithia with a giggle as Toxic splutters.

"Secret Aaaaasian Man," Klepto sings drunkenly as Phoebe shakes her head and laughs.

Hitoshi straightens his tie and gives his most dashing look. "The namesh Ryder... Hitoshi Ryder..." He busts out laughing unable to hold a straight face.

"Okay okay, even I admit that was silly. Remind me to sqay no if the CIA comes to recruit. Now, I have a bit of a treat for you all. In my free time over the years I... well, I picked up a musical skill other than Kareoke, and I was wondering if you would like to listen to my music for once."

"Hey knock yourself out, Hitoshi... " Lya replies as she leans back in her chair. "It's nice to get be the one in the audience sometimes."

"Want us to move some tables for the mosh pit?" Toxic snorts.

Hitoshi laughs. "Nono Toxic. No Mosh pit needed."

He pours himself a glass of plum wine, snifs it and takes a sip. "Thats a damn good vintage."

Picking up the glass he walks up to the white baby grand piano and lifts the key cover before sitting down.

"Now, I might be a bit rusty, so please bear with me."

The waitress goes and closes the door to the bar, cutting off the noise of kareoke.

Hitoshi bows his head for a moment then begins to play.

He has a bit of an off start but after a few seconds, everything smooths out. For the first time anyone looking at him sees him at peace, there's no inner turmoil that always lies behind the surface, no tension. When he gets done with that song he pauses and begins another one.

The second one done, he pauses again. "Sorry, I think I'm still a bit rusty." He says, even though everyone else can see he's not.

Finishing, he closes the key cover and sits at the piano a moment more before standing and walking down the steps back to the table. He bows slightly when a few other patrons clap. Quietly he sits in his chair and with eyes closed takes a long sip of his.

"Rusty, hell," Alex says. "That was really good. I mean, when I sing, I have this really bad habit of going out of my range. Any way, I think I'm going to pack it in. I've got a meeting with the DA. Wish me luck." He slaps a twenty on the table and parks an empty glass on it, indicating it's a tip for their waitress. "Night, Toxic. Thanks for being a good sport."

"That was beautiful, Hitoshi! Thank you for playing for us," Evie smiles, appreciating seeing this side of her new friend.

"Good luck!" she calls to Alex, giving him a friendly wave. "Drive safe."

She stretches and yawns. It's been a long day, "I need to skedattle, too. I'm supposed to be off, tomorrow, but I want to work some more on my regular cases. I don't want to let what I am doing as scion make me fall behind."

"Heh," she grins. "Plus, I'm going to have to sneak around to do it. If Saul catches me at HQ, he'll fuss at me about over-working."

Evie takes out a $20, as well, and puts it down as tip, "Thank you for inviting me out with you guys! I had a great time."

"Whoozawha?" mumbles Toxic as she sits up suddenly. "I didn't pass out... nobody can prove anything!"

"That imprint of a spoon on your cheek says differently," chuckles Klepto. "It's been fun, kiddos... but Alex is right, we should get some sleep and prepare ourselves for the battle to come."

"That was some pretty stuff, Hitoshi," Lya says as she stands up and puts her coat on. "A nice mellow lullaby to end a chaotic night. I'm sure you've got business meetings galore to keep you busy now though, so I think the girls and I are going to head home. Right, Phoebe?" she laughs and kicks the leg of the chair as Phoebe lifts her head from her hand. "It was a pleasure Alex...Evie... and I hope we'll have more reasons to celebrate soon. Time for the ramblers to get rambling!"

"Right! Ready to go!" Phoebe replies as she sits up and blinks rapidly. "Night, Hitoshi... that was very lovely, and thank you for dinner. The karaoke will have to wait for next time."

"Oooo I want to sing some Joan Jett!" exclaims Orithia as she grabs her coat and puts her arm around Toxic's shoulders as they all head out the door.

"Crimson and clover... ooooover and ooooover..."

HItohsi smiles and nods. "Make it home safe gals." He watches as they leave, and then stands, handing the cash tips to Kemiko, and adding a twenty of his own.

Walking back into the Kitchen he takes off his jacket and rolls up his sleeves grabbing a busboy's tray, he goes out and clears the dishes off their table and brings them back.

"No Hitoshi, you don't have to do that, you have done so much for the resturant already." The owner says.

Hitoshi waves him away. "I help out my friends Kenjiro, and I count you and your daughter among them. Let me do this. I'll pay for the food afterwards."

Hitoshi gets done with the dishes, sweeps the floor, and then pays for the meal.

"Have a good night Kemiko." He waves at the woman as he heads out to his car, and then heads home.



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