Rabbit and Carrot

Chapter 4

It felt like the talk with Ukitake-sensei in his office happened a lifetime ago when, in reality, it only happened less than a month ago. Ichigo and I, to my surprise, actually didn't get on that badly – sometimes. And this was one of those times where we weren't trying to drive each other nuts.

"So, you're saying you hate me, gangs, whatever even though you guys practically rely on gangs to live?" Ichigo asked with a raised eyebrow while balancing dangerously on the two back legs of his chair. "I mean, I can see your brother's name everywhere and I don't think there's a millimetre in Karakura where he hasn't influenced, he's tight with the yakuza as well, right?"

I spoke too soon… I sighed inwardly. But anyway...

All big companies these days somewhat relied on the yakuza to keep their business running. Yakuza takes care of the 'dirty' business for the company. The bigger the yakuza group you have on your side, the more respect you gain and the less trouble you have to encounter during your life in business. Those people go to no ends to obtain what their employers need but it's a delicate relationship. God knows how many greedy, ignorant bosses have fallen prey to their enraged employees from the yakuza world.

Most bosses would rather die than admit they work with the yakuza, though, but everyone knows they do, anyway.

Brother's company is no different.

But at the same time, brother's company is different.

"The yakuza in the real world are much more respectful and powerful and better, in general, than the bunch of students here who call themselves gangsters," I replied while cleaning my glasses.

Ichigo rolled his eyes, "Just 'cos they got enough money to play with guns, money and girls and know enough people…"

"A group of students like you, lazing around, skipping class, drinking and smoking are nothing compared to the real yakuza," I placed down the textbook I had been reading. I shouldn't be getting so worked up over this, but I needed to let him understand the different, and he always manages to make me say more than I have to. "And they know how the real world works, they know their capabilities and they have their goals which they will get to no matter what."

"Sounds like what we do," Ichigo shrugged.

I sighed. "Yakuza do have money, and quite a bit, from people like us and-"

"So you've really met Yakuza before," Ichigo interrupted me with wide eyes.

I clicked my tongue at him. No one other than my sister and brother had ever interrupted me... but luckily for him, I was in a good mood. "Yes I have met them before, and they are just like you and me. Except when they get an order then they…What I mean is, the Yakuza world isn't a good place, don't even think about having a future in that society. It's. Not. Nice."

"How do you know," he retorted. "I know you've met some, talked to some, and probably even ordered some around, but do you really understand what they're thinking? Have you ever seen them shoot people, seen them kill people? Have you ever held a gun? Ever shot or killed someone?"

I stiffened and bit my lip. "I…"

"I'm guessing no." It was only until he sat back in his seat did I realise he had been leaning forward, getting closer to me, as he was talking. "Don't talk about them like you know them."

"Coming from you?" I recovered back to my usual self – well, my usual self when I was around him. I'm sure many of my brother's employees would be shocked to the core by how much I can actually talk – and huffed. "I don't get why you see entering the Yakuza world as a possible career choice."

"Not 'possible'," he corrected. "But 'certain'."

"I'm afraid I don't understand," I furrowed my brow. Oh, he better not say what I think he's going to say…

"I've joined a gang. Not a cr*ppy school gang made by students," he said proudly. "The real Yakuza, real organised crime groups, the biggest and most respected one."

"And probably the most dangerous," I added but he pretended to not hear me. "People die, Ichigo. People I've talked to one day got shot the next, like Renji's - " I stopped myself. I was saying too much. "This isn't a game!"

"I know," he snapped. "And I know I will survive."

This guy can't be saved... I massaged my temples, "Well, which gang?"

"I said the biggest, didn't I?" He replied. "Everyone knows the biggest yakuza group here is Kings. Just like their name says, in the yakuza world, that group is royalty. I can't wait to meet the boss, K. I heard he's a scary person but he always has a small girl with him."

Oh, no… My eyes literally widened to the size of dinner plates and I gripped the table as I leaned forward, "And how, may I ask, did you get into that group?"

"With skill," He smiled proudly. "Surprised?"

I felt a headache coming. This was not good…

"Why that group? I'm sure there are many other safer groups around here… Wait, what am I saying? All gangs are dangerous and you shouldn't even know about these groups in the first place let alone ways to join them!"

"I'm the most infamous trouble kid in the area. Who doesn't want me?"

What I want is to slap you or, even better, k... I caught myself before I thought any further.

He frowned and looked around then back at me, "Did you feel that chill just then?"

I shook my head.

"Weird, I swear I felt something murderous."

"See," I pointed out. "You're getting paranoid and you haven't even officially entered yet!"

"Who says I haven't?" he said, surprising me. "And my reputation already puts me amongst the big guys within Kings! See…" he looked around before pulling up his sleeve. On his upper arm, surrounded by still-pink flesh, was a picture of the black letter 'K' with the bottom half in red, dripping drops of blood which eventually transformed into small, red swords. "Cool, huh?"

I looked at it in disgust. "You know tattoos are against the school rules."

"So what, no one will see," he said, sounding a bit disappointed by my reaction, and pulled down his sleeve. "See?"

"What I see is an idiot who is on his way to meet death," I grabbed his arm, starting to panic. "We're getting rid of that now! You are messing with the wrong people, Ichigo!"

"What? I can't do that," he tried pulling his arm back but I tightened my grip. "If I get rid of it, it means I'm leaving the gang!"

"Good," I mumbled. I packed up our books and pulled him out of our library. From the corner of my eye I saw the librarian walking over with an angry expression, ready to lecture us for being too loud, then realising who I was and walking away again with an apologetic expression.

Ah, the benefits of being rich and famous…

"Hey, did I mention this girl I saw the other day?" Ichigo suddenly said as I pulled him down the street.

"No. What about her," I said in a bored tone but I was all ears. Not that I was really interested or anything…

"I was at the back streets of Karakura, racing with the people in Kings when this chick in, like, tight-as racing gear showed up with a white bike and challenged us to racing," he said excitedly. "I think I heard the other people calling her Kime or something. But anyways, she won every race. Even I lost to her and I'm the best racer amongst the gang."

"Uh-huh," I nodded while taking a sip from my water bottle. "What she look like?"

"She was wearing a helmet the whole time but…" Ichigo looked off into space for a moment. "Man, she was hot."

I chocked on my water. After coughing for a full minute I gasped for air as I said, "You *cough* thought she was *cough, cough, and more coughs* hot?! You didn't *gasp* even see her fa-*gasp* face! *cough-a-thon*"

He patted my back with a worried expression until I stopped coughing and gasping for air like a fish out of water. And then he said, "Yeah, like the way she rode that bike and she got guts, I mean, since she challenged Kings and everything."

"I… see," I looked at him weirdly. Guys sure have a weird sense of beauty… I found him looking at me with a funny expression and I frowned. "What?"

"Uh, you have spit on your chin..."

Sh*t.

Well, whatever his standards were, it's not my problem, right?…I hope.

I just wish he'd stop looking at me with those lovely brown eyes…

I did not just think that…

No, nu-uh, nada, never…!

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