come back, come home.
prompt: the journey of bringing back baji keisuke and hanemiya kazutora to their home, to their found family.
pairings: tokyo manji x female reader (platonic relationship)
word count: 9,517 with six scenes. ((god i got carried away))
warnings: canon divergence, spoilers, character death, swearing, angst without comfort through and through. also no proofread lmao + WORD VOMIT !!! expect a lot of narrations than dialogues. possible grammatical and typographical errors.
"i'm leaving to join valhalla."
"from now on, first division's captain, baji keisuke will be toman's enemy."
baji's words during the toman's meeting are still ringing in your ear, and they are making your head spin. quit? valhalla? toman's enemy? it doesn't make sense. you try and you try to look for reasons why baji uttered those words you never expected he'd ever do. baji has always been an unpredictable one, but you’ve always managed to see through him. why can't you do it now?
you try. you have been trying ever since he walked away from the meeting, but you just can't find any. so here you are, trailing behind him and calling his name over and over again to find out why.
"keisuke!" you shout, your strides bigger than usual to catch up to baji as quick possible. "keisuke, what the fuck was that?!"
it was supposed to be chifuyu following baji now because he said "this is my responsibility as the first division's vice captain." you stopped him though, stating that all of you don't have any idea what's running inside baji's head. there must be something wrong with mine then, you think. it wasn't chifuyu who followed baji but you when, in your own words, you don't have any idea what's wrong with the person you're following.
however, you think this is something you should do, as someone who's being considered as tokyo manjikai's only pillar. being the only female member in toman, the position automatically belonged to you. the brain, the meditator, the pillar, the bridge; anything that will keep toman united and prevent its downfall. you name it.
you think it's complete bullshit, though. because if you really are the pillar they think you are, then you wouldn't be put in this position, in a dark alleyway filled with silence, baji's back facing you. you wouldn't feel as if there's a huge wall between you two when you two have always been inseparable. pillar, my ass.
"go home." for the first time since you followed baji, he speaks. "go back to toman."
"i'm not going back until i hear your reason, keisuke," you tell him, determined. "no, scratch that. i'm not going back until you come back with me."
"i won't. so just go home," baji says, his voice sharper than usual. "i'm not going to save your ass when something happens to you."
"i don't need to be protected!" you yell, your frustration already getting the better of you. "i only want to know why you're lea—"
it was so quick that you didn't even have the chance to react. baji threw whatever the thing that was near him moments ago with full force. you didn't get hit, though. baji has always been like this, short-tempered and does whatever the fuck he wants. still, you know, no, you trust baji that no matter how foul his mood is right now he will never lay a finger on you. not even a strand of your hair.
perhaps, it's the sole reason why you decided to follow baji yourself. trust. that's the only thing you have right at this moment. trust that baji won't do anything to hurt you, that he would confide his thoughts to you.
that he would walk back home with you and meet the higher ups of toman, laughing his ass off like he didn't announce in front of everyone that he's going to quit.
"keisuke, i'm your friend! if you have anything you wish to tell me that you... you," you pause, taking a deep breath. physically, you are strong that you can take down guys twice your size. however, when it comes to toman, it gets hard for you to control your emotions. they are, after all, both your strength and weakness. "If you have things you can't tell the others, you know i'd be willing to listen."
baji stands before you, face stoic. you're not afraid but rather, the discomfort in your chest is starting to grow seeing how the baji in front of you doesn't even look like the baji you know. a completely different person, it's the aura that baji's giving off.
"let's go home, kei-"
"oi. what's with this drama?"
your words were cut off when you heard a familiar voice that you haven't heard for so long, coming from behind you. could it be...? is that the only reason why baji's here? to meet with him?
"long time no see, kazutora." your suspicion was proven to be true the moment baji mentioned his name. with wide, hopeful eyes, you slowly turn around to see for yourself. and there he is, leaning on a wall with both of his hands resting on the back head, looking straight at you. his hair is longer compared to last time you saw him and with yellow highlights now. you wonder, is that the only thing that changed?
"kazu-chan," you call, the nickname rolling off your tongue just right. "how have you been?"
"y/n-chan." hearing kazutora say the nickname gave you hope that everything will soon fall back to the right place, only to be shattered the next second. "baji's right. you should go home. we are enemies now, aren't we?"
kazutora walks past you to go to baji. as for the latter, he hasn't said a single word after greeting kazutora. you notice that kazutora's wearing a white jacket that doesn't look like a normal jacket— a gang jacket. but you hope, hard, that it isn't. because you waited a long time for kazutora to go out of juvie and make him wear his toman jacket again; you've kept that jacket with you all this time. you try your best to persuade toman into bringing kazutora to where he originally belongs, to toman. they're still reluctant, mikey especially, but you really can't blame him. still, you like to believe that there's an improvement in each day that you do.
you wish it's warmth instead filling your body as you stare at baji and kazutora, with the latter slinging his arm around baji, making baji support all his body just like before. but it's dread. because you don't have any idea what's going on. for some reason, it's making you feel hopeless.
if there's one thing you're sure of, it's that you know it won't be easy fixing what was once ruined. just a few days ago, you only have kazutora to worry about, but now you have baji. it's going to be a one hell, long of a journey bringing them back.
"i'm not going to say it again," baji warns, trying to intimidate you with his voice alone. "go home. i'm going with kazutora."
"you heard him, y/n-chan," kazutora points his finger at baji who's already walking away. "he's going with me."
pathetic and helpless, that's what you think of yourself right now as you can't do anything but to watch them leave. you hate it, the sight of toman members' back facing you and then vanishing from your sight the next moment. how many times have you seen that? first was with kazutora, when he was caught and brought to juvie; second was with pah-chin, when he gave up himself after stabbing the leader of moebius; third was just a few hours ago with baji and now this. how many more times do you have to go through this?
baji and kazutora reach the other end of the alleyway without looking back. you wish they did, though. so they would realize that you would wait for them to come back no matter what, in any other circumstance. the flickering lights from the lamp post hands you the opportunity to take a glimpse of kazutora’s jacket. and you wish that it didn’t.
it’s been a week since baji left toman. no one in toman knows yet that you followed baji that night, that you met kazutora and the two of them are in valhalla. these idiots. you know they’ve been worrying about baji since that night, they just choose not to let it show, that’s why you don’t want to say anything about it yet. partly because you don’t want to add any more stress on them and partly because you really don’t know how to break it to them.
mitsuya, the ever observant mitsuya, takes notice of your silence. at this point, you should be screaming ‘stop it!’ now and tackling mikey down for being so rowdy. you were even accidentally hit by a water bottle in the head because nahoya, who’s behind you, asked mikey to throw him one, but you didn’t even flinch. chifuyu doesn’t know you went after baji that night but he can tell.
they all know something’s going on with you, but they don’t say anything, just waiting for you to open up yourself.
you find yourself looking at takemichi and when your eyes meet, the boy only gives you an awkward smile before looking away. mikey mentioned in passing that he asked takemichi’s help into bringing baji back from valhalla. in return, mikey will demote kisaki as the third division captain if he succeeds. you can’t help but think about it, will takemichi be enough? will he be able to convince baji? baji is stubborn, takemichi is the same, so maybe it’s possible for him to cave in with takemichi personality alone.
but will it be okay to make takemichi do all the job? you are toman’s said pillar, and if there’s anyone in toman who should bring baji back then it’s you because it’s always been your responsibility. ironically enough, for someone who’s deemed to be the bridge that connects all the members, you can’t think of a way to do something about the rift slowly growing between the people important to you. so you suppose, it would be fine to ask for takemichi’s hand from time to time.
"kazutora’s in valhalla.” mikey’s room that was a mess just a few seconds ago is now silent, and their heads simultaneously snap at you. chifuyu and takemichi have their mouths agape, the smile in nahoya’s face faltered a bit, while the rest have their brows furrowed. except mikey, he’s the only one who appears to be calm after that revelation of yours. he’s always been like that.
mikey settles on the floor, in front of you and asks. “how did you know that?”
“i... it’s because i...” you hesitate for a moment, feeling tense with all their eyes focused on you. toman’s always been over protective of you even if they know you’re capable. “... i followed baji that night.”
“you followed baji?” with a frown on his face, draken repeats, making sure that he heard that right. you can only scratch the back of your head and whisper a quiet, ‘yeah, i did.’
“y/n,” mitsuya calls from one corner of mikey’s room, his voice gentle yet there’s still a hint of him being vexed. “what you did was dangerous. weren’t you the one who stopped chifuyu from going then?”
“i know, i’m sorry,” you say, genuinely. “it’s just, i thought too highly of myself. i really thought i could bring baji back that’s why i went. wait, no, i didn’t mean chifuyu wouldn’t be able to do it if he was the one who went, but it’s just... i really...”
you are already scrambling to find words that won’t hurt anyone, and chifuyu, who’s the nearest to you only runs his hand on your back to soothe you. he understands what you’re saying. besides, he knows that he doesn’t even have enough confidence on himself that he could do it.
“i just thought it would work out more if i went instead. but as you can see, it didn’t. i’m sorry.” while you’re already too used with sputtering apologies whenever there’s an inconvenience within toman, they aren’t. because what the hell are you apologizing for? it’s not like it was your fault that kazutora killed shinichiro or pah-chin let himself get caught. this one too, it’s not your fault that baji didn’t want to go back with you that night.
your eyes scan the room, gauging everyone’s reactions for the last time before leaning forward to mikey, placing both of your hands on his shoulders; the action obviously caught them off guard.
looking straight into mikey’s eyes, you smile a bit. “mikey, i’ll do it myself.”
“i’ll bring baji back from valhalla.” mikey notices the way your face soften before you speak again. “... and kazutora. i’ll make them come home.”
“no way in hell!” souya stands up from the sofa, the usual angry look of his is more intense this time. “all alone? that’s dangerous!”
“not alone!” you retort, letting mikey’s shoulders go. “i’ll ask takemichi to lend me a hand.”
takemichi blinks at you, confused then points at himself. “me?”
“yes, you.” the answer you gave takemichi didn’t even help him a bit to understand the situation. “i need you for this, takemichi. you might be able to convince baji more than me, and... and when we succeed with baji, you can leave kazutora to the both of us.”
draken slams his hand on mikey’s table, making everyone flinch. you already knew that it wouldn’t be easy for you to see eye to eye with them. with draken, most of all but what else can you do?
“hold on, hold on,” draken says, pointing his finger at you. “why are you asking for takemichi’s help already? have we allowed you to do it?”
mitsuya nods. “baji would be fine, but we don’t know anything about kazutora now.”
“kazu-chan is still kazu-chan!” you cry, immediately silencing the debate going on. you don’t even know where you got the confidence to say that. heck, you’re not even sure if the person you met a week ago is still the same person a few years back.
but you can’t give up on him now, can’t you?
their blatant disagreement on your proposal is knocking you sideways. you’ve never felt this helpless before while you only stand in the middle of mikey’s room, fists clenched on your side. if this continues and they manage to convince mikey who hasn’t said anything about it yet, you’ll never be able to do it. the thought of not being able to do anything makes your stomach churn.
as a last resort, you turn to mikey, only to find that he already has his eyes on you. you really can’t tell what’s mikey’s opinion about it as his face remains to look indifferent. the eye contact went on for a minute or two before he broke it, and that’s when you found the answer you were looking for.
“takemichi, make sure you’d help y/n when she needs it,” mikey turns to takemichi. “i leave her in your hands.”
“mikey!” the others shout in unison except chifuyu who’s smiling at you, admiring your determination.
“what are you so worried for?” mikey asks, looking at you then back at the others. “i’ve always trusted her. aren’t we on the same boat?”
“it’s not just about trust! of course, i do trust her but.... haaaah.” draken sighs, admitting defeat. he already knows there’s no way words would go both into yours and mikey’s heads.
“however, there’s a condition.” of course, you already expected that much. “bring them back before we fight valhalla. they will probably schedule a fight sooner than we expect. if you don’t manage to do it before then, i won’t allow you to join the fight. are we clear?”
in short, you don’t have an exact deadline. the fight could happen a month from now or it could be three days from now. that’s what makes it hard but still, it’s better than nothing and completely losing baji and kazutora to valhalla.
“i’ll help, too! but only if y/n-chan would like me to,” chifuyu announces, grinning. you nod at chifuyu, returning back his smile. the boy could be very useful to you since after all, he was baji’s vice-captain.
the others could only glance at you with concern, thinking that they really can’t do anything to stop you now. still, they put all their trust on you like they always have.
this time for sure, you’ll live up to the name tokyo manjikai, your found family, gave you.
it’s one in the afternoon, and you’re supposed to be attending class during this time. and yet here you are, sitting under the sun outside of an abandoned storehouse. you lean your head on the wall behind you as you try to normalize your breathing, eyes tightly shut.
you’ve been in the same spot for twenty minutes now, and you’ve never stopped praying for it to stop already since you arrived. chifuyu sent you three messages earlier before you went here. the first one said that baji wanted to meet with him; the second was the location of the storehouse; and the third was an apology and to trust him. as soon as you received the third one, you immediately ditched school. why would chifuyu apologize? what is he planning to do? there’s no way he’s joining valhalla, too, right? you trust chifuyu because just like you, he’s desperate to have his captain back. but still, it scared you.
when you arrived at the said place, there you saw baji on top of chifuyu, throwing punches directly in the latter’s face as if chifuyu isn’t one of his most trusted ones. chifuyu doesn’t even bother fighting back, he’s just lying there on the ground, letting baji do whatever he needs to do. you couldn’t stand the sight, you had to run away and stay somewhere far where you won’t easily be seen, but near enough to hear what’s going on inside. immense guilt swallows you whole knowing you left chifuyu alone like that. you can handle yourself, sure, but after weighing the pros and cons of barging in, you realized it's impossible for you to fight more than fifty guys alone. your only consolation is that chifuyu told you himself to trust him, so that’s the least you could do.
resting your head on your knees, you bring your hand on your chest, clutching onto your uniform tightly that your knuckles are turning white. and for the first time since baji left, you let your tears flow. how long has it been since you tried fixing things? you don’t know anymore. the only thing you’re sure of is that you keep on failing every time you try. the rest of the members don’t ask you how’s it going, careful not to put more pressure on you. when they see you with a dejected look in one corner, they already know the answer.
it’s embarrassing, to say the least. you were so confident on that day you proposed this whole thing to mikey, and yet there has been no progress. to make matters worse, you overheard a conversation earlier that valhalla will soon challenge toman for a fight.
the noise coming from the storehouse gradually quiets down. you take that as a cue to take a peek at the entrance, and you see takemichi going out, guiding the almost lifeless chifuyu.
“chifuyu! takemichi!” you yell, running towards them. takemichi welcomes you with his eyes wide open as he never expected he’d see you here. all by yourself, on top of that.
“y/n-chan? what are you doing here?” asks takemichi. you stand next to chifuyu, bringing his other arm on your shoulder, so both you and takemichi can support chifuyu together.
“I received a message from chifuyu earlier and i—”
“ohhh, what do we have here? a girl?” you move your head to the side to at least have a glance on who it was. the voice oddly sounds familiar.
“it’s hanma,” takemichi whispers. “the one from moebius before.”
“takemichi, do me a favor and hold chifuyu for a second.” chifuyu moves beside you, giving you a quiet ‘don’t’ while grabbing the sleeve of your uniform. “i won’t do anything,” you assure them both, especially chifuyu by tapping his hand.
swiveling your body, you face the group of people. it really was hanma, with baji and kazutora beside him. the shock on baji’s face was gone before you could even see it.
“what’s this? challenging us for a fight already?” hanma asks, simply mocking you.
“do you think i’m dumb?” you ask back, unamused. staring down at you, hanma raises a brow but you remain unfazed. you’re really not one to easily intimidate. “you clearly have the upper hand. that’s a little bit unfair to me, isn’t it?”
“so your business here is....?”
you point to chifuyu. “to obviously pick him up before he dies of blood loss.”
but since you, a toman member who’s currently in a valhalla territory, wouldn’t it be a waste to let the opportunity slip? the next thing you know, you’re being surrounded by them. you can hear takemichi panicking behind you, mumbling to himself, while chifuyu reaches out to grab your hand. still, you stand there with your head held high to get your message through: that you’re not as easy as they expect you to be. if chifuyu and takemichi notice how your hands tremble while holding the former’s hand, they won’t say a thing.
“but isn’t she toman’s beloved princess?” someone asks from the crowd. “so if we do something to her, then wouldn’t it be easier to crush toman? if she’s really as important as what the other gangs said.”
your eyes automatically land on baji, and you’re certain you saw his eyebrows twitch at that. does that mean he still cares? valhalla members start to holler, and you couldn’t catch what they’re saying except ‘crush toman’ and ‘get her’.
a guy approaches you and with the sharpest glare you could muster, you're glowering at him. “this little girl is so tough, isn’t she? exactly my type.” chifuyu pulls you by your hand, making you stumble a little. however, the guy in front of you continues to walk forward.
the guy extends his arm towards you, his intention as clear as day and that is to touch you. using your free hand, you slap his face — hard, that it left a mark. “don’t fucking touch me with that hand.”
“and if i do?” to provoke you even more, he asks. takemichi holds your other hand, silently telling you to stop by squeezing it.
“there’s only one way to find out,” you egg him on, wearing that smug smile both baji and kazutora are familiar with. it means you're ready to fight back; you miss it for the second time, how baji's and kazutora's expressions turn into concern.
the guy stares at you in disbelief, obviously didn't anticipate how you can appear to be this unbothered and do something reckless like slapping him. he takes your words, though and attempts to touch you again.
“she’s weak, it’s useless,” baji interrupts before the guy could lay a finger on you. “let’s just go.”
“yeah, baji’s right. the rumor going around her being strong is false,” kazutora adds, pulling the guy away from you. “if you really want to have her then defeat toman, so you could have her all by yourself.”
to your surprise, no one in valhalla seems to question the action of baji and kazutora. not even hanma. you steal a glance at the two of them, their faces void of any expressions. but you know that deep down, they did it to protect you, especially that they’re aware you’re ready to knock the living daylights out of the guy messing with you. and if you did, the answer is right in front of your nose.
before baji and kazutora could walk away from you again, you shout their names as loud as you can that you feel your throat burning. “baji keisuke! hanemiya kazutora!”
they don’t dare to take a step forward, but they don’t bother to face you either. but that’s fine, you only need them to listen. “i swear i’m bringing the two of you back to tokyo manjikai no matter what it takes. when you’re back, i’ll make sure i’ll be the one handing out your punishments!” and then you make your way to where chifuyu and takemichi are, so the three of you could go home.
to wait for baji and kazutora to look at you is useless because they won’t... is what you thought. but they did, and this time around it’s the two of them watching you fade from their view. they couldn’t help but stifle a laugh because you are something else. you really are a member of the tokyo manjikai for a reason.
attending this specific toman meeting is the last way you wanted to end your day. mikey's standing before all the toman members with draken beside him like the usual. you can't even bring yourself to lift your head up and meet eyes with mikey or with any of the higher ups because you're so ashamed of yourself.
"tomorrow, we are fighting valhalla!" mikey declares, his gaze fixated on you which you can't see, given that you have your head hanging low and your eyes closed. the blonde signals to mitsuya, ordering him to check up on you.
you feel a hand slip into yours, and you see mitsuya smiling at you the moment you opened your eyes to check who it was. shame starts to take over your whole being once again, so you avert his lilac eyes even if they are much more comforting today.
"you did well, y/n," mitsuya mutters, his thumb rubbing soothing circles on the back of your hand. "we appreciate your effort, you know?"
"i... i didn't do well,"
for the past few days, you refuse to believe that you didn't succeed, that's why you didn't want to attend this particular meeting because it will only serve as a big slap to your face, crushing the little delusion you have in order to comfort yourself. however, with mitsuya consoling you like this, you can't help but to concede.
"baji and kazutora would've been here with us if i did well, but they're not, takashi." your words led to mitsuya holding you tighter, hoping that it will be enough to stop your shaking. "and... and tomorrow you guys will..."
"ssshh, sshhh. it's okay, y/n. calm down," mitsuya shushes you as he puts his arm around your shoulder, pulling you closer to him. gently running his hand up and down your arm, he says. "you already did your part. it's time we do ours now, no?"
the higher ups' eyes including takemichi’s have never left your figure since they caught mikey gesturing to mitsuya. they're unable to stop themselves from wondering just how heavy the cross the moniker ‘toman’s pillar’ is making you carry? just how under the gun were you the past two weeks for you to tremble in mitsuya’s arm like that, your lower lip in between your teeth and bleeding? is it their fault why you’re like that? is it because they gave you that nickname they never thought you would try your best to live up to?
“prepare yourselves for tomorrow!” it’s draken speaking up, but his voice was a bit softer, his own way of comforting you. “it might get a bit dangerous so be more observant tomorrow!”
you want to cover your ears, you want to run away and go home and fall asleep because maybe this is all just a nightmare. maybe the whole thing starting from baji leaving toman up until now are just part of a long, horrifying dream.
a snicker reaches your ear. you turn to mitsuya and hakkai to check if they heard the same thing but based on how focused they are on mikey, they probably didn’t. suddenly, the conversation you had with takemichi yesterday crosses your mind, saying he can’t tell you the reason why, but kisaki is dangerous and that he shouldn’t be in toman. it was enough for you to cast your eyes over the said guy and seeing how there’s a manic smile on his face, it was obviously him.
without thinking things through, you go over to kisaki, catching everyone’s attention. even mikey’s who was about to finish tonight’s meeting.
“kisaki tetta.” it’s inevitable for people taller than you to look down when you’re in front of them, and you’ve experienced that a lot of times. but seeing kisaki do the same annoyed the shit out of you.
for him to be on the same eye level as yours, you pull him down by his collar with a scowl, your eyes blazing with anger. “why the fuck are you laughing? do you think this is funny? why don’t you stand the fuck up on where mikey is right now and tell everyone what you find so entertaining about this!”
“y/n,” mikey calls you, his voice stern. a warning. however, you, who let the overwhelming frustration you have triumph over your usual bright nature, could only brush mikey’s admonishment off.
you let kisaki’s collar go, making people assume that you’re done with him, only for you to grab his face and hold it in between your hand. he winces at how your nails are digging on his skin, but you don’t move an inch, eyes still staring directly at his. the lower members quiver in terror for this is the first time they’ve seen you like this —you were always smiling and laughing, playing around with the higher ups and always greeting them with enthusiasm. kisaki is taller than you, enough to tower over you — but now, it’s like it’s you towering over kisaki with your presence alone.
kisaki raises his hand abruptly, with the intent to push you away from him, but you hear nahoya’s voice from behind him. “oi, kisaki. if i see one crease on her clothes, i’ll make sure to put a crease on your face.”
“if you have plans on bringing tokyo manji down, i suggest you stop now. because if i catch you with my own two eyes, mikey won’t be the one making you vomit blood as you kneel for everyone’s forgiveness, it will be me.“ you hiss, putting emphasis on the the last four words.
you only notice draken's near you when you feel his hand patting your shoulder as he whispers ‘let him go now, y/n’. so you oblige and let kisaki go, albeit harsher to his liking that he tumbles sideways.
looking over to your shoulder, you continue to speak. “apologies for disturbing the meeting, mikey. you can suspend me from attending for as long as you want.”
mikey ended the meeting soon after that little scene of yours. the truth only dawned on you then, that you weren’t able to bring baji and kazutora back before the fight with valhalla. you would talk to mikey and draken to try and win them over, so you can join in tomorrow. but with the fuss you caused earlier, you already accepted that it wouldn't be possible.
“y/n-chan!” chifuyu sneaks beside you with a grin. “you were so cool earlier!”
“really, ‘fuyu? you’re not just saying it to make me feel better?”
“no, y/n-chan! you were really cool!” says takemichi, who’s now walking beside you, too. “kisaki was scared shitless!”
“he really was, wasn’t he?” you laugh, in contrast to how you acted moments ago like your eyes alone are enough to open up the gates of hell. “i’ve never liked him. i’m only tolerating it because i trust mikey.”
“but, y/n-chan, why are you going this far?” takemichi asks. he’s genuinely curious even if he already knows the answer as to why. the past days that he was with you, takemichi witnessed how strong you are, physically and mentally — always shrugging the uneasiness with a smile. “if you don’t want to answer, it’s fine!”
“why, you ask? hmmm...” you trail. the other members are a few steps ahead of you, falling about the place laughing at mikey who's standing there like it's the end of the world, his dorayaki on the ground. you only have one answer.
"because toman's my family," you say with a smile; the biggest one takemichi has seen on you yet. "toman feels more like home than my actual home."
chifuyu and takemichi are well-aware of how much you care about toman, and they adore you for that. they think, no one else is fit to be toman's foundation but you. all the other members, higher ups or not, would agree to that, that much is for sure.
you stop walking to sling your arms around their shoulders, pushing their heads closer to yours. "so tomorrow, bring baji and kazutora back for me, yeah? let's complete this family."
"thank you for helping me until now, chifuyu and takemichi!"
and then, you went on ahead, leaving chifuyu and takemichi behind. for some reason, your figure slowly disappearing from their sight didn't sit right with them.
you made a promise to toman when they paid you a visit hours before going to where the fight will take place that you would only stay at home, that you wouldn’t do anything reckless. the said location is only a few streets away from your house. the reason? so they could hang out with you after and immediately make baji and kazutora apologize to you, mikey said.
they didn’t leave without making a promise to you, too — a promise that they won’t let your efforts go to waste by dragging baji and kazutora’s asses back to, according to you, where they should be, here in toman. and if they did, all the credits will still go to you because it was you who suffered the most. you really don’t need the credits they told you about, but you were still thankful, nonetheless. draken said you should only relax and let them do their part now, so they made you promise again to do your new part — staying at home.
you were supposed to be in the confine of your bedroom, binge watching dramas or sleeping while waiting for them to come over just like what they advised you to do. they wouldn’t make you wait for a long time, why were you so impatient?
you’re supposed to open the door of your home for them later, the distress visible on your face dying down as soon as you see baji and kazutora with them. their bruises are supposed to be treated by you while being scolded for not being extra careful, but you would still handle them with gentle care. but why instead of them, you were the one who got wounded?
all of you are supposed to spend time together after this fight just like how they promised you... that’s what’s supposed to happen. and yet, you’re here, in the place you weren’t even supposed to be in, lying on the cold, dirty concrete. the white shirt you’re wearing is steadily being painted by red —by your own blood.
“who the fuck had the gun?! this isn’t some killing show, dude! bullshit!”
“call the ambulance! call the ambulance!”
“go and look around, try to look for the culprit!”
you hear different voices around you, people panicking and running around. even if you’re in the same place with them, they sound so, so, far away from you. for some reason, you can’t hear the voices you want to hear the most.
ever since you opened your eyes this morning, an unsettling feeling, like a foreboding of some sort, never left your body. you were willing to brush it off and regard it as simple as nervousness as it was your first time staying in during a fight. that is, until you were cleaning your room, and you tripped on your feet, accidentally hitting the photo frame behind you. it was a toman higher ups group photo, and there was a crack on the glass, exactly on baji’s face.
the next thing you knew, your feet already brought you here. you instantly searched for baji in the crowd, then for the others when you saw baji can still fight. you found everyone, except for one person. kazutora. a mere five minutes, you only spent five minutes to look for the said boy.
and there he was, a few steps behind baji, holding a knife. your heart was in your mouth the moment you saw kazutora rushing towards baji. everything’s already a blur from there, but you’re certain you stood in front of a shocked kazutora, shielding baji. and then the next thing you can remember, two consecutive gunshots were heard. you wanted to yell, to tell them that they were not supposed to bring a weapon in a fucking fist fight. however, before you knew it, you were falling on the ground.
based on the knife that’s beside you, the one kazutora was holding, you managed to prevent him from killing someone and baji’s possible death —there’s no trace of blood on it. had you been a minute late in finding kazutora....
“y/n? y/n?” baji calls you, his voice small that it almost sounded foreign to you. you can feel different hands, trembling hands, tapping every part of your body.
slowly, you open your eyes. everyone’s looking at you with tears, and you wish you have enough strength to wipe their tears for them but you don’t. god, you can’t even lift a finger. not too far away from where you are, you hear mikey losing himself; pouncing on all the valhalla members he sees, kazutora included, screaming ‘i’ll kill you all’ with all his might. from the corner of your eye, you can see mikey beating up kazutora, while the latter only allows him. you don’t want to see that, especially now that you’re in this situation.
“mikey....” swallowing the lump in your throat, you try to get mikey’s attention to no avail.
“y/n, don’t speak. please, save your energy. talk to us when you’re already out of the hospital, okay? please,” mitsuya pleads, his voice shaking. he’s always been the calmest one, you find this a little bit out of character, but it makes you feel warm somehow.
letting out a silent laugh, you suppose that maybe it’s time for you to bring out your trump card to save kazutora from mikey’s hands. you never thought you’d have to do it this soon, though.
everyone flinches hearing the title coming from you and just like you thought, mikey lets kazutora go. mikey has always wanted you to call him leader, but you always refuse. as childish as it sounds, mikey threatens you that he would kick you out of toman if you don’t do it at least once. you only ignore him, saying you would only call him that in your last breath. you had always brushed mikey’s requests and threats aside, so why now...? why now?
“leader...” you repeat, now that mikey’s in front of you. “did i do well... bringing baji and kazutora back?”
mikey wants to tell you that you did, but he finds it so hard to utter those three words. because how can he say that when the cost of your achievement could be your own life? but those words... he knows you're aching to hear them, so he tries.
“yeah... yeah, you sure did well,” he assures you, the words leaving a bitter taste in his mouth. “that’s why i said i’ve always trusted you, right? so stay awake, okay? you have to. we’re going to play and fight a lot just like before.”
if only mikey knew that this is how it would be like being called leader by you, he wouldn’t have pestered you then. he hates it. “stop calling me that already. didn’t you say you would only call me that when you’re dying?”
“but i am dying, mikey.”
“no, you’re not!” they all shout.
you, too, would like to believe that you aren’t; that some god will grant you a miracle to let you live more and be with them longer, but you know that isn’t the case. your vision is getting blurry, your breath getting more ragged in each second — the only thing stopping you from closing your eyes is draken lightly slapping your face. that, and that you still have a lot of things to tell them.
“oh. when pah-chin... gets out of juvie, tell him i said... welcome home, ‘kay?”
“tell him that yourself!” peh-yan barks. “we’re not going to tell him that, so you should do it!”
“nahoya, souya... peh-yan, i’m asking you to behave... take notes from hakkai.”
hakkai and peh-yan are still, while souya’s already leaning on his brother’s shoulder and crying. nahoya, on the other hand, is still smiling, but it shakes every now and then. it’s not like he finds this amusing because fuck no, it’s just he knows you like his smile a lot. so here he is, trying to prevent himself from making it so dreary.
“takemichi... chifuyu, thank you... we brought them back.”
the two who were with you the most during this small journey could only let out the tears they were trying to stop, can’t even tell you not to thank them. last night, they told you they would do in your stead, but as it turned out, it was still you who did it. for them, they’re not deserving of your gratitude.
“draken... takashi... sorry, i have to leave... all of them in your hands now.”
both draken and mitsuya are silent. either they’re trying to remain calm, or they already accepted the truth. the lilac haired boy has his hand on top of your head, his thumb caressing your forehead as gently as he could. it’s warm. you hope they can feel that warmth, too while their hands are on you and not how cold your body is getting.
“keisuke?” you call for him, who’s been sitting beside you all this time and holding your hand. “go home... okay? with kazu-chan.... toman will... they will welcome you with open arms... because that’s what i told them.”
baji nods as he puts your hand in between his, and you just know he’s holding it tight, but you’re already numb. “yeah, we will. we’re sorry for putting you through this, so hold on a little bit longer, okay? we will make it up to you. please...”
from a distance, you can hear two different sirens. one, from the cops; the other, from an ambulance. you listen to the sound of people frantically dispersing, of the motorcycle engines being revved at once. toman, on the other hand, remains frozen in their places. idiots...
“go now. can’t have... all of you entering juvie... right?” you tell them, but they refuse to leave you all alone because maybe... maybe you can still get out of here alive, and they’re sure you’d get so scared inside the ambulance without one of them holding your hand.
“i’m staying with y/n,” you hear kazutora say from somewhere. “this is partly my fault, so i will live with this burden forever. i’m sorry.”
“no, kazu-chan...” your voice, despite being a lot quieter than earlier, is still stern. "if you... if you go back to juvie again.... then who would bring you... cookies?"
right... right. the cookies the staff in juvie gave him every week, why hadn't he realized that those were from you? why did he think that you, of all people, would abandon him? if he had known about it earlier, then maybe things would've turned out different. if only he had listened to you at least once, you wouldn't have pushed yourself like that and meet your end like this. if only...
"it's not your fault." even if you're having a hard time catching your breath and you're coughing blood, you continue. "so... don't blame yourself... kazu-chan, 'kay? just go back to toman... whenever you’re ready."
the place that was just buzzing with excitement, followed by horror, is now dead silent that your heavy breathing and occasional sobs are so audible. it’s almost empty, you’re almost alone if it weren’t for the founding members beside you, on their knees. you try, although weakly, to reach out for mikey's hand one last time to say your last words. you don't want it to be your last yet, you haven't said everything you want to. but judging by the way blood comes out of your mouth rather than words, it's clear you don't have that much time left. your eyes are getting heavy, like they're begging you to finally give in and just... sleep.
"mikey... i'll be watching you create that new age... i promise."
with the last string of strength you have left in your body, you smile at them. at the people who once became your family — your people who made you feel what a blissful home is like.
you were always on pins and needles every time their backs were facing you then fade away from your eyes the next second. before your eyes shut close, you got to see it again — the five of them fleeing together, all their backs turned on you. for a split second, you saw their twelve-year old selves. they were laughing to their hearts content and suddenly turned around, waving their hands at you, as if they were calling you to come.
maybe it was because you were already hallucinating, or maybe it was just simply a reward for being toman’s pillar until you can’t anymore; that’s why the gods wanted to show you that for the last time. you wouldn’t have it any other way, though.
it wasn’t such a bad sight, after all.
being formal like this, wearing suit and tie, and staying in a place full of grieving people as if they never disregarded your presence before. excruciating and infuriating. they would rather be in an intense fight, wherein no one would go home unscathed, all of them bruised and bleeding than be in this room. anywhere but here.
their eyes, lacking any type of emotions, are fixed on the middle of the room where you are right now — your framed photo and your casket. everyone, excluding kazutora, remembers that photo. it was taken during your last birthday. you have balloons in both of your hands, your face smeared with icing as they took turns putting one. but even so, you are beaming from ear to ear, enough to rival the sun itself.
you were always so perceptive, always noticing even the smallest details about them. but if there’s one thing you failed to notice, it’s that the only reason why toman felt like home is because you were there, spreading the warmth you radiate and rubbing it off on everyone. and now that you’re gone, they’re not sure if toman would ever feel like home again..
“baji, kazutora,” mikey stands up from his chair, looking over his shoulder. “let’s go. i’m sure she would like to see the two of you.”
baji and kazutora both contemplate until draken ruffles their hair, motioning them to follow him. so they do. is this the punishment you mentioned before that you would give them? you, inside a casket, while the two of them have no other choice but to look at you? this is such an unwelcomed punishment then.
“hey,” mikey greets your framed photo, as if it would respond to him. “do you see these two beside me?”
“we’re home,” baji whispers, his body shaking at this point. “we’re finally home. see?”
“we’re home... but why aren’t you here?” kazutora asks, eyes brimming with tears, his grip on the edge of your casket hard. “you were the one who waited the most, don’t you find this unfair?”
mikey tries to form a smile, even if it’s only small, while looking at your lifeless body. “i told you, didn’t i? you did well. the day you told me you would bring them back, i knew that you could do it. that’s why... i let you do it.”
“y/n, keep on watching us, okay?” they all ask, beg, you. before, whenever they asked you ‘can you watch my back for a sec’ during a fight, you would only laugh and say ‘no need to ask’. if you were here and alive, they know your answer would be the same.
one by one, they touch your framed photo, hoping that it was you instead and not just the you behind this small, cold glass. they know it’s impossible and that it will never happen anymore, but they would love it if they hear your gleeful voice, saying ‘bye bye! take care!’ as they walk towards exit, similar to what they always heard before whenever they drop you off.
“uhm... excuse me?”
a woman, maybe in her mid 20s, stops them from completely going outside. after gathering enough courage, she looks up at tokyo manji. they all can’t help but think that if you were only alive, this woman is exactly how you would look like if you’re already in her age.
“i’m y/n’s sister. you’re tokyo manjikai, right?” she introduces herself, fiddling with her fingers; probably nervous that she’s facing delinquents and a known one on top of that. but the fact that they were your friends eases your sister’s worries a little.
“uh, yes. we were her friends. how can we help you?” mitsuya politely asks. toman knew you never had a good relationship with your family, except for a sister who ran away from home. it’s probably her. she wouldn’t have approached them if it wasn’t her.
“do you mind if i tell you different stories about my sister? i’ve always wanted to meet her friends,” she says, smiling. a tear went down her cheeks, unnoticed by her but toman did.
they don’t mind. actually, they would love to hear it. all of it. at this point, they would take anything they can get just so it would feel like that you’re still beside them.
so, they let your sister talk her heart out. it seems like she didn’t have anyone to talk to the past few days with how she’s just rambling about you, rarely pausing to take a breath. she tells them stories of you when you were a kid, about how you used her eyelash curler when you were five and got all your eyelashes cut off; how you fell off the tree and dismissed it like it was nothing but cried when you got home, saying you were not pretty anymore because your forehead was swelling; how you got bitten by a dog and you almost bit it back if she hadn’t stopped you. all the stories she told were all embarrassing, really. but toman appreciated it, it’s like your sister is trying to distract them from their sorrow.
“ah, if she was here, she would’ve pulled me by the collar now,” your sister says, wiping the tears on her eyes. from too much laughing or from mourning, they don’t know and they don’t ask.
“nee-san, did you know that she collared one of our members before?” chifuyu asks. and yes, your sister asked them to call her nee-san because she said would miss hearing someone call her that. “she was really cool!”
your sister rises up from her seat, shockingly asks back. “really?! that girl really...!”
“yeah, she did. the guy got so scared of her that night. he couldn’t even look her at the eye after that.”
“it was a guy?!”
“it was a guy, nee-san! and taller than her!”
your sister could only let out a laugh. between the two of you, you were the bold daughter, while she’s always been the softer one. she even wondered before if it was only normal or something’s wrong with the two of you because she thought your personalities were interchanged.
“she’s always been stubborn, you know?” her voice sounds a lot more somber now, and toman remains quiet. “always telling me that she would protect me and she would kick everyone who will make me cry, even if i’m ten years older than her.”
sounds like you, alright.
“when i found out she died, i wanted to pin the fault on all of you.” toman feels their breath hitch because of the sudden confession. but she lost you, they can’t blame her. “but then i saw you earlier, truly grieving her loss unlike our other relatives. i’m sorry for doubting you. kindly accept my apologies if you want to.”
“nee-san, you don’t have to apologize,” draken guarantees. “you were her sister, after all. we understand your sentiment.”
“and besides...” mikey starts, his eyes going from one member to another. “it’s true that somehow, we are also to blame for her death. it’s because we failed to protect her when we all swore that we always would.”
“guess we’re on the same boat, no? we all let down the person who did nothing but to protect us.”
“we’re sorry, nee-san...”
your sister waves her hand, turning down their apology because they didn’t have to. “no need. but you know, she wouldn’t like it if she hears us saying things like this and blaming ourselves. so make sure this is the last time we will, ‘kay? or else she would visit us in our dreams every night.”
the thought of seeing you again, even if it’s only in a dream, is soothing— a dream wherein you’re all smiles that your eyes could replace the crescent moon in the night sky, or wherein you would tell them off for being too rash but with just one joke, you would crack and fool around with them; or wherein they’re fighting and they would feel reassured because you’re there, or just you in general. even if you just stand there, not doing anything else but breathe and blink, would be fine.
“ah. i have to go now, my friends are paying y/n a visit,” your sister breaks the short silence. “sorry for taking too much of your time.”
“it’s fine, nee-san,” baji says who still couldn’t meet her eye because apparently, your sister knew about baji and kazutora. “we appreciated it. hearing things about her we never knew.”
“i want to say thank you to all of you, by the way.”
“huh? for what, nee-san?”
“when i ran away from home, it probably took a toll on her. i felt bad for her, i really did, but i just couldn’t go back,” your sister starts choking back her tears again. “but i’m just glad that she had all of you until the end.”
“it’s nothing, nee-san,” kazutora speaks for the first time since they met your sister. “it’s because she was always there for us, never leaving any of us behind even if...” he stops there, looking away from your sister because of shame.
“thank you, tokyo manjikai. you acted more like a family to her more than our family ever did,” she makes her way towards each member, ruffling their hair. “you guys were her home, you know? that’s what she told me.”
“no problem, nee-san. but y/n loved you dearly, too,” mitsuya tells her, and she smiles. she was your older sister, the person whom you shared the same problems with so of course, she knew that.
“before i go, i have something to give all of you,” she pulls something from her bag — your funeral photo but in wallet size. “i know it’s kind of weird giving out this photo like this, but i thought you would appreciate it.”
they do. they really do that they could only stare at it and just wish and wish to let them see that smile in person once more; to give them the chance to make you smile like that again, and they promise they would take care of it better than they did before.
but that’s impossible. and again, they would take anything that they can get at this point. this photo would suffice.
“i was about to get a copy of a different photo, but i know that day was so important to her because she told me so,” she points at your photo then at all of them. “and you were the reason why she was so happy that day, that’s why i decided to give you that.”
“thank you, nee-san.”
“no problem! that’s the least i could for you after taking care of her in my stead,” she flashes them a smile, almost akin to yours. “live well and stop blaming yourselves, yeah? i just know she’s content now wherever she is.”
“thank you again, nee-san and we’re sorry.”
“just keep my sister in your hearts, that’s all i ask.”
keep you in their hearts, they surely would.