Mob Child VII
All right, one more third-person chapter, then I’m going back to Aito’s perspective Hope you enjoy
Previous Chapter: Successor to the Beast
- Meeting Expectations -
Mao had done more to surprise Aito in the days leading up to Yatsumi’s death than anyone else had in his entire life. What awaited him when he returned from Susume’s restaurant, though, would ultimately put all of it to shame. Making it back to the house after two long hours, he threw the double doors open to reveal his older brother, his typical dull expression replaced by one of worry.
“Seishin, what’s goin’ on?” Aito asked him, half-expecting that his brother had lost something only mildly important, or that he just didn’t know where he was for the past few hours.
“Uhh, Aito? …Mao’s sitting in Dad’s chair.”
Aito’s eyes came close to popping out of his skull as these words hit his ears. He thought for a moment that Mao was just fooling around in Yatsumi’s office, only to remember what kind of person he was seconds later. Dropping everything at that point – not that there was much to drop – he rushed over there with Seishin following close behind, praying to God that he had simply misunderstood Mao’s actions. His prayers were ultimately in vain, though.
“Oh! Welcome back, Brother. How’s Susume doing?” Mao said as he barged into the office. He was apparently in the middle of a conversation with Hei, who turned around to greet Aito after taking the lollipop out of his mouth.
“Morning, Aito. Or is it the afternoon now? Hmm…”
He proceeded check his watch as though the time actually mattered to him. Aito merely shrugged it off and walked past him, ready to open his mouth to speak before realizing that Seishin was still in the room.
“Kaozu. Would you mind escorting Seishin out of here? I’ve got something I need to discuss with Mao…alone.” he requested, locking eyes with Mao as he spoke.
“Hm? Well, as his right-hand man, surely I’m entitled-”
“As my little brother, Kaozu, not as…”
Aito nearly choked as the words escaped his lips. …He just couldn’t believe he was using them in the same context.
“…as head of the family.”
He lowered his head in shame as Hei turned to Mao for orders. When the boy nodded in agreement to Aito’s request, Hei turned to walk away, throwing his arm around Seishin and leading him out as he did. Once the door had closed behind them, Aito looked up again, quickly reaching for his cigarettes for some relief from the tension building up inside him.
“Mao, don’t you dare finish that sentence.”
Mao did as his brother had ordered – albeit to much reluctance – and Aito proceeded to light his cigarette and place both the pack and the lighter back in his pockets. He took one long puff on it in order to calm his nerves before finally speaking up.
“So, …how’d you do it?” he asked.
“I’m sorry, Brother?” Mao inquired, trying to act as though he was oblivious to what Aito was referring to.
“Don’t play ****in’ stupid, Mao. How the hell did you convince someone as smart as Kaozu to give you control over the yakuza?” he questioned him again, his aggression increasing with each passing second.
“Hmm, I dunno. …Must be my way with words, I suppose.” Mao answered sarcastically, though there was truth in his words. Still not convinced that he was being completely serious, Aito reached behind him and rested his hand atop the handle of his gun, making sure Mao knew that he wasn’t playing around.
“I’m gonna ask you one question, Mao. And if you give me the wrong answer, …I will kill you.”
He still wasn’t sure whether Mao thought he was serious or not – he didn’t even know the answer to that question himself, truthfully – but Mao kept his hands intertwined on top of his desk either way.
“Okay? And what is it?” he asked, the coolness in his voice igniting Aito’s fury to the point where he might’ve punched him in the face, had he been anyone else. Inhaling and exhaling the fumes from his cigarette one last time, Aito extinguished it in the ashtray on top of the desk before leaning in so that their faces were just inches apart.
“Did you ask me to kill Yatsumi…just so you could take his place?”
Mao didn’t answer immediately, prompting Aito to believe that he was trying to formulate an excuse to hide his true reasoning. Infuriated, he reached for his gun, at which point Mao finally responded.
“In part, yes.” he said, breaking neither his pose nor his eye contact. Still unsatisfied, Aito was nonetheless appeased by what he was sure was at least a partially honest answer, and took his hand off the handle of his gun.
“Aito, Father was an evil man. You said it yourself. …He deserved death for all the things he did, so if you’re wondering why I couldn’t wait to take control of the family until I came of age, that’s my reasoning.” Mao went on to explain, his sincerity becoming more credible with every word uttered. Aito, however, wouldn’t allow himself to be coaxed so easily.
“But at twelve years-old, Mao? …Do you really expect me to believe you couldn’t wait to kill him off? I told you before, he abused me, took all his rage out on me, NOT you. And if you think that shit about being neglected will pass as an excuse, you’re dumber than I took you for.” he explained. Having laid all his cards out on the table, he stood up and crossed his arms, eager to see what Mao would say to escape this. Another long pause preceded the boy’s answer.
“Well, to be honest, I hadn’t fully made my decision until just recently.”
“And what happened just recently?”
Heaving a deep sigh, Mao looked up into his brother’s eyes, sincerity beginning to surface in his own.
“You placed a gun in your mouth, Brother.”
All the anger that resided within Aito’s eyes quickly disappeared. How could he possibly forget the moment when he reached his all-time low – especially when it occurred only two days ago? The sensations of helplessness and seclusion he felt in that moment were so unbearable, they were able to convince him that the only way to relieve himself of them was to take his own life. He lowered his head in grief as these feelings suddenly began to flow back to the forefront of his mind, Mao noticing his brother’s realization, as well.
“For all I know, had I waited any longer, you might have killed yourself. And I wasn’t going to allow that to happen when the only person who truly deserved to die was Father. …Besides, this is the Ryokudan family. Our yakuza, Brother. …Would you really trust anyone other than me to sit in this chair?” he carried on. Having laid all his cards out on the table, as well, he patiently awaited Aito’s response. He knew that his brother was much too cautious to ever trust anyone in his position, but nonetheless was certain that he would make no attempts to remove him from it.
“I’m still not convinced, Mao.”
“I expected that.” Mao replied, some amusement now heard in his voice. Aito paid no heed to this change in tone.
“Then you’d better start acting accordingly. …Do you plan to keep the empire running?” he inquired, already aware of the answer.
“For now, …at least until it’s safe to dismantle it.” Mao replied.
“Then you’d better get to work on the homefront. …I expect some decent changes around here before the week’s out, and there’s a lot of ass****s who need to go.” Aito explained, making sure that Mao knew he would have to work to gain his trust, and his blessing. Mao nodded to let him know he understood.
“I’ve already set priorities for that. …Any requests?” he asked. At this, Aito couldn’t help but smirk, though his inability to smile around Mao forced him to look away to keep it intact.
“Is that question really necessary?” he responded sarcastically.
“I’ll take them into consideration, then. In the meantime, it might be best if you go and talk to Seishin, Brother.” Mao advised him.
“And why’s that?” Aito inquired. Silence followed his question.
“…I don’t think he knows that Father’s dead yet.”
Having just realized this himself, Aito turned his gaze towards the closed double doors, curious as to what their older brother was doing right then – and if he even realized yet that Yatsumi was nowhere to be found. As the only one who bore no ill will towards him – perhaps simply because he wasn’t able to see him for the monster he was – Aito could only imagine what his reaction would be to hearing the somber news.
“I’ll be sure to let him know.” he assured Mao before leaving the room.
It had been three days since that conversation with Mao and, true to his word, several of the establishment’s more prominent ruffians had been expelled from its premises during that time. Even Roku, the yakuza’s chief hitman, was nowhere to be found, much to Aito’s overwhelming joy. He had his prior doubts about Mao’s sincerity, but it seemed that he might just be a reliable aide to him, after all. …That’s what he thought at the time, at least.
Aito was returning home from another outing at Susume’s restaurant one particularly cold winter afternoon – one of the few Oahu received on an annual basis. In addition to the thirty-minute walk from the café to Hanauma Bay, those who made the journey were separated from the Ryokudan family’s main estate by a walkway composed of lava rocks, which stretched nearly twenty-four hundred feet from the front steps to the iron gate built to exclude any unwanted guests. By this gate normally stood a kind, older man – kind compared to most of the other trash that polluted the grounds, that is – but to Aito’s surprise, two completely new cronies, each concealing small firearms beneath their black suits, now guarded it in his stead.
“Hey, where the hell’s Shou?” Aito asked one of them as he passed.
“Boss got rid of him just this morning. Said he wasn’t cut out for it.” one of them answered as he pressed the nearby red button, which prompted the gate to open automatically. Aito, however, wasn’t ready to head inside.
“What the **** are you talkin’ about? The guy’s been guardin’ the gate since before Mao was born.” he questioned them, but neither gave an answer, returning to their gargoyle-like poses without uttering a word. Seeing no end to this, Aito gave up on interrogating them and returned to the house, his first line of business being to ask Mao the same question.
“Hey, Mao! You mind explaining to me why you got rid of-”
Aito’s speech was cut short as he noticed that the two of them weren’t alone inside the office. His breathing deepened and his eyes gaping, he looked on in shock at the two individuals he was currently sharing the room with. Behind the desk, his younger brother sat in what could now be considered his usual spot, while perched along the edge of it sat Roku Denashi, whom Aito believed to be no longer affiliated with the yakuza.
“Hey, bud. How ya doin’?” he greeted Aito, evidently more cheerful than usual. Aito didn’t return the greeting, instead locking eyes with Mao, murderous intent building up in his own.
“…Leave us.” he ordered Roku, not taking his eyes off Mao as he spoke. As usual, though, the hitman was disinclined to obey him.
“Excuse me? Who the **** are you to tell me what to-”
“GET THE **** OUTTA THE ROOM!!!”
His gun out and already cocked, he kept it fixed on Roku’s head until he finally exited the room, fear in his eyes as he scurried past the double doors, which Aito closed behind him. Turning around, his gun still at the ready, Aito paced up to Mao’s desk and slammed his hands down on top of it, lazily pointing the one holding his gun towards the doors.
“Denashi’s still here, Mao!? Are you ****ing kidding me!?” he shouted.
“Why wouldn’t he be?” Mao inquired in his typical emotionless tone.
“He’s a ****in’ douchebag, that’s why! There’s absolutely nothing he could contribute other than a few lame gags and a bucket of grease from his gigantic forehead! Now explain to me why the **** you thought he was too valuable to kick to the curb!!”
His screaming quickly beginning to irritate him, Mao’s right eye twitched slightly as he continued to look up at his brother.
“For the same reason Father kept him around.” he answered.
“Yatsumi only kept him on so there was at least one person around here that I hated more than him! …Or are you gonna tell me otherwise?”
Seeing how one-sided this argument was and realizing it was going nowhere, Mao heaved a sigh of annoyance before dismissing Aito from the room.
“The yakuza’s gonna go through some drastic changes during its last few years of life, Aito, and it no longer has any place in it for the more softhearted subordinates like Shou. …Now be a good boy and leave us. My advisors and I have plans to attend to.”
Aito’s initial reaction was utter shock – not even Yatsumi had ever addressed him so disrespectfully before – and it was soon replaced by an equivalent amount of rage, enough to provoke him into pointing his gun at his younger brother’s head.
“You little mother****er. I’ll-”
The sound of two other pistol slides being cocked behind him quickly restored Aito’s rationality, causing him to jerk his hand back upon realizing what he was doing. Turning around to find both Hei and Roku – whose guns were pointed at his head – he hesitated a moment before putting his away, turning to Mao one last time before storming out of the room, pushing away Roku’s outstretched arm as he passed him.
“That little prick’s gonna cause problems if you keep him around here too much longer, Boss.” Roku said in an aggravated tone, which matched his expression as he shut the doors behind Aito.
“Why not just send him out on his own? He is eighteen, after all.” Hei advised, not sure why Mao insisted Aito remain in the manor when he posed such a major threat to him. Their leader replied with a simple shake of his head.
“True, but unfortunately, he’s not gonna budge from this house so easily, at least not while Seishin’s around. …And contrary to what my deal with Sesshoku might’ve had you believe, Kaozu, Aito’s the one that I need to please the most with my performance as head of the family.”
To Be Continued…