HBB: So I actually got around to writing chapter two. I'm introducing a new character…Enjoy!
Bike Hero: Fumaji Kai
Chapter 2: You Know
Narita, Ryoku peered into the mirror of his bathroom critically, tapping his jaw with a pair of gleaming scissors. He could see black-brown roots poking through his mid-length dyed-green hair. He raised a hank of it and began to snip carefully.
Thirty minutes later, there was a cloud of green hair in the basin of his sink. He carefully tilted his head this way and that, inspecting the fringe of green hair that hung over one of his black eyes, the one with three silver piercings over the eyebrow, and continued back into a lime-green faux-hawk, bright against his black hair. Satisfied, he turned the water on to let the hair swirl down the drain, threw the scissors with a jingle into a drawer, and began to change into pajamas.
Ryoku suddenly stood up straight, listening intently. There was a thud, like the sound of a window hitting the sill, and then a tinkle.
"Oh no," Ryoku moaned, a sense of dread filling his stomach. He hurtled around the corner and gazed into his room.
"Aw dammit. Not again, Kai." Ryoku said, exasperated. He knelt down behind his bed and turned over the facedown figure on his floor. Carefully, he pulled the white helmet and goggles off and the figure chuckled feebly, a tiny trickle of blood on the corner of his lips.
"Sorry. Just needed a place to crash. Geddit, Ryo-chan? Crash. Heh heh."
"Where's your damn bike, Kai?"
Ryoku helped his friend sit up, flicked on the light, then returned to the bathroom, fuming.
He thinks that every time he needs a quick fix-up, he can just come to me at any time he pleases and I can help him! Ryoku thought angrily. But deep down, he was relieved to see him again—and help him in any way he could.
After all that he's done for me, he mused, rummaging through his bathroom cabinet, It's the least I can do for him.
"Alright, what do you have for me this time?" Ryoku said, coming back into the bedroom carrying his foster mother's sewing basket and a first-aid kit. Kai swung his head slowly to the source of his voice, focusing with great effort. He dumbly pulled up his shirt to reveal a large gash on his abdomen still oozing clotted blood.
"Ew," Kai said, interested.
"That's an understatement, don't you think?" Ryoku said, disgusted. "What happened this time?"
"Carjacking," Kai responded, grimacing as Ryoku began to dab at the wound with rubbing alcohol. "Jesus, Ryoku, could you throw a little salt in there? It doesn't sting quite enough for my taste."
Ryoku rolled his eyes. "Brace yourself--this is about to sting quite a bit more," he said grimly, brandishing a needle and thread.
There was a moment's silence, punctuated by the sharp gasps of breath coming from Kai as Ryoku pulled the needle back and forth.
"It was a pretty yanki girl. Dressed up all like a real Sukeban." Kai mused.
Ryoku grunted, counting stitches. "Sounds like Tsuchiya, Chihiro-san. She's new in my class."
"Really?" Kai said, interested, "Tsuchiya…Chihiro… Well, anyways. The car was coming right at her…and she was scared. Completely lost it. That's what was so strange. I saved her. And she was so…Ouch!"
"That brings you to a total of twenty stitches from me."
"Thank god for you, Ryoku. You really have some skills."
"You know that, Kai. I've had plenty of experience." Ryoku said seriously, staring at him intently. Kai shook his head, bemused. "How are you feeling now?" Ryoku asked.
Kai sighed, stretched, and then doubled over. "Gah! Just tired, I guess. And your little patch-up hurts like a bitch!" he laughed a little, but stopped quickly.
Ryoku smirked slightly. "I guess you're expecting to stay the night, huh?"
Kai puckered his lip. "Pleeeeease?"
Ryoku growled, exasperated.
"Yess!" he grinned and hugged Ryoku, then flopped down on the floor with a yelp. "Oops, sorry, Ryo-chan. I got blood on your carpet."
"Dammit, Kai!" Ryoku snarled, "Ken-sama and Shira-sama are going to be angry again!"
"How are things going with your foster family going, anyway?" Kai asked, tugging a blanket from Ryoku's bed.
Ryoku shot him a look about the blanket, but replied, "Good, I guess. They're foster parents." He tossed a pillow at Kai. "Hungry?"
Kai shrugged noncommittally, avoiding his eyes, and Ryoku rolled off his bed.
Minutes later, Kai was enthusiastically consuming food stolen from Ryoku's pantry in the darkness. "Tanks so much," Kai mumbled, "it hasn't been the greatest week."
Ryoku grunted. "So," said slowly, swallowing, "You're into the yanki girl." It was a statement; Ryoku knew Kai too well.
Kai munched pensively for a moment, swallowed, and answered slowly. "She's like you—well, like you used to be. Whaat?" Ryoku had just blushed. "Wow, Ryo-chan…" she chuckled. "Anyways…I…I think I can help her."
Ryoku snorted. "You think you can help everyone."
Kai was silent for a while as Ryoku snuck a look at him. "Just think about yourself for once, OK?"
Kai laughed, but there was something bitter about it. "Let's just get some sleep."
When Ryoku woke the next morning, Kai was already gone, leaving behind nothing but a pile of blankets and a tiny bloodstain on the floor.
Renji-kun was not in class the next day. Chihiro gazed concerned at his seat while the classroom filled with chatter around her. She could see the white helmeted figure flip Renji over his head in her mind's eye—
"Tsuchiya-kun! How are you this morning?" Hitaru chirped happily as she dropped into her seat beside Chihiro.
"Fine." Chihiro replied, distracted.
"Are you…are you staying in class today?" Hitaru queried, nervous.
Chihiro sighed, annoyed. "I guess so…No reason for me to cut, anyways." Not when Renji's not here… "Actually, Kobe-kun, I have a question to ask."
"Well, what do you know about the person they call…the Jinx?"
Hitaru blushed deeply for a moment and giggled. "The Jinx! Everyone knows about him!" She scootched close to Chihiro and lowered her voice as the teacher entered the classroom.
"They say that he used to be some big shot—like a businessman or a high-power lawyer or whatever. But then, all his luck went bad, so he was forced to live on the street. He's a powerful man, capable of taking down seven men at once and run even more quickly. He rides this purple bike all over town, covering his face with a brown leather jacket with the kanji "Unlucky" on his back, stopping crime everywhere! He's a hero!" Hitaru concluded, breathless and excited.
"How do you know he's not just a petty thief himself?" Chihiro asked, annoyed.
Hitaru flushed, her eyes bright with anger. "Of course he's good! He does more good than the police and the firemen put together! And," she added, "I know he's good, because he saved ME once!"
"Kobe-san, you may be at the top of the class, but do you need to excuse yourself for a moment?" the teacher cut in suddenly.
The entire class was now staring at the two of them. Apparently they'd been making a lot of noise in their debate.
"Gomen, sensei," Hitaru said bashfully, lowering her head. They did not speak for the rest of the day.
Chihiro trudged up the step to her apartment at the end of the day, stretching and yawning from her nap at school. She slid her key into the lock, nudged the door open with her shoulder, and dropped her bag at the door in disgust.
"Oh…Hey, Chiyo-chaaaan!" her mother called from the couch with a hiccough. She was tangled in the arms of some large man with greasy red hair and a scowl. A bottle of beer splashed dangerously in her grip.
"'Sup?" Chihiro answered tersely, frozen by the door.
"This here is Dai-chan…" her mother giggled, rubbing his arm.
you meet him?"
"Oh, you know…down at the loan office. He's a great guy." She cooed, looking into his face. He appeared indifferent to her slavering.
Chihiro greeted this remark with an angry grunt and stalked into her room. She slammed her bedroom door, threw her bag furiously onto her bed, and kicked her closet door. After a moment of angry heaving, she snatched up a can of spray paint, a metal pipe, a medical mask and her prized kamikaze coat.
"Going out again, dear?" her mother said blearily form beneath Dai on the couch. Chihiro did not answer.
Minutes later, she stood in an alley near her building feeling more at ease. She had sprayed a giant bloody heart on the brick with sharp black kanji proclaiming "LOVE STINKS—(I have to die mom, there's no other way to live!)". She sighed, an angry grin creeping over her face.
"So, what kind of yanki are you, anyways?"
She whirled around, rage roiling through her once more. "What the hell is that supposed to mean?!" she snarled into her own face twisted in rage, reflected back at her in those ridiculous goggles.
"Well," the Jinx began, scratching at a spot on his chin, "You don't have a lot of slogans on your tokko fuku—your kamikaze coat. Isn't that a symbol of your strength? And where is your bike? Or your gang? Or anyth--"
He landed hard on his butt, his chin throbbing. In a second, Chihiro was on top of him, punching everything she could reach.
"You-stupid-baka-you-have-no-clue-who-I-am!!" she spat with rage, each word emphasized with a balled fist. Suddenly, his white helmet popped loose, freeing a cloud of long, golden hair.
"Stoppit, stoppit—geroff you crazy yanki!" he yelped, wincing. His goggled had slid down from his eyes screwed up against her hits, and when he opened them, she stopped in shock.
He had eyes like brushed gold, dark and burning.
An ironic smile remained on the boy's thin face, and for a moment Chihiro paused to drink it in. He was lanky and young, probably no older then she was—about seventeen or eighteen. In spite of the two white scars beneath his left eye, he was very handsome. He struggled to his feet, wincing and smiling. Casually, he stooped to pick up his helmet and goggles.
"You know what this means, don't you?" he said lightly, but his nature became threatening. Chihiro backed up, suddenly nervous. "What?"
He cocked his head, his amber eyes glinting, 'I'll have to kill you."
Chihiro gulped, trembling. She couldn't see any way of escaping. Crap…I really am done for now!
There was a tense moment of silence, until he laughed raucously. "Oh my god, you should see your face!" he hooted. Her faced heated up suddenly, filled with confusion and anger.
Still chuckling, her offered her his hand. "Fumaji, Kai. Alias the Jinx. Crime fighter."
Chihiro did not take his hand. "You…you're giving up your identity so easily? Why?"
He smiled. "I guess I can trust you."
"What the hell do you want with me? You really hurt Uetake-kun yesterday."
Kai laughed heartily again. "Ren-chan? That idiot was perfectly fine when I, er…stopped him from stealing some more liquor today." He studied her face closely. "Were you really worried about him…?" He was asking for her name.
"….Tsuchiya, Chihiro." She said after a moment's deliberation. He smiled.
"Thank god. I was about to get seriously pissed after you know my identity and I didn't know yours."
She nodded stiffly, silently scolding herself for caring about Uetake, Renji-kun. I've only known him for a day, dammit!
"Hey…so now that you do know my identity, you're going to treat me a little better, right?" Kai asked, eyeing her closely. "Much to your disdain, I'm trying to help the people of this town out, and I can't have a wannabe yanki chick mucking things up."
Chihiro's anger flared up once more. "I am NOT a wannabe!" she screeched, smacking him across the face. "My mom and I…" she hesitated, but plunged on with her story, "We move around a lot, you see. I don't ever get a lot of time to make friends…I had to leave behind my gang—and my bike, for that matter--over two years ago, in Nanba." She hugged her arms. "But I've never given up the tokko fuku of my original gang! I will always be a yanki in my heart!" she proclaimed.
"Wow, you really are a sappy one." Kai observed.
Chihiro flushed once more and opened her mouth to speak. "No—it's a good thing, Chihiro-kun. Hang on to that." Kai continued gently. Chihiro flushed a deeper red.
Kai turned his bike to head out. "So, now you know who I am. Are you going to be one of the two trusted people to protect my secret?"
Chihiro was still for a moment, but then, she nodded.
"Brilly," he grinned. He pulled on his helmet and goggles, put a finger to his lips, and lifted his leg to pedal off.
"Kai. Will I…see you again?"
And with that, Kai sped off on his violet bike.
Fumaji…Kai. The Jinx.
HBB: So that was chapter two…hope you like…next up! The drama ain't over between Chihiro and Kai…or Renji, for that matter. Chapter 3: Hands