A/N: Here I am with another update for everyone. Sorry about this being a little short, but hopefully it will be just as engrossing and entertaining as the rest of the story has been. In four chapters the event will kick off and the physical action will be more prominent.



Defy and Comply

Lesson 12: Restraint

By: Revamp


Lamar stirred awake, slowly opening his eyes. His vision swam and his body felt fuzzy for a few minutes as he slowly pulled out of his haze. The only sounds he could hear was the light whirring of the fan and slight snoring of his best friend, who laid sprawled out on his back beside of him. Wiping his eyes of the mucus they had acquired during his rest, the green-haired man rolled over, limbs still heavy. It seemed that in the time that graduation neared he had a considerably hard time sleeping and when he did, Lamar always woke up to nightmares or dream-like scenarios over the events of before. When his vision finally adjusted he noticed that the bed across from him was empty. The covers were pulled back and the pillow laid cock-eyed in it's position.

Tsukimi was gone.

His eyes widened in horror as the last thing the girl said shot through his mind, tearing his senses awake like a sharpened knife.

'After all, you can get away with murder...'

Rolling back over, Lamar grabbed the yakuza's shoulder, shaking him. "Taiga! Hey man, get up!"

Taiga stirred, clamping his eyes shut further before opening them slowly. Above him was a blurred silhouette of black and green. When his vision adjusted, Lamar looked into his eyes with worry.

What was up with him? Did he have a nightmare or something?

"Wake up, yo. Tsukimi is gone."

Taiga slowly sat up, his clothes were rustled and his pompador was in sad shape with wayward curls spiraling out of place. He stuck a finger in his ear, cleaning it out as he closed one eye and replied lazily. "What did you say?"

"Tsukimi is gone," Lamar repeated his sentence and watched his friend's tired expression morph into a disgruntled one. It was as if Taiga's visage was silently asking him what was so important about that event and why did he feel the need to wake him up for it?

"So?" Taiga arched an eyebrow. Was that what he was so worried about? Who gave a shit about the girl? She was probably walking around school, like everyone else was.

"Didn't ya hear what she said before she went to sleep last night?" How was this not a concerning thing? Taiga was just being a lazy ass.

The yakuza jolted a little and his eyes widened as if the realization had hit him. He almost forgot about that whole situation. "She wouldn't really do it, right? She was pretty upset. I've said she shitty stuff when I was messed up in the head." Surely it was just that. He didn't think Tsukimi would actually go through with her plans. Taiga had threatened to kill people before in some pretty gruesome ways but that didn't mean he would have actually done it.

Lamar's expression hardened. "Do you know her well enough to trust her being as unstable as she was?"

Thinking about it a little, Taiga decided that they should both chide their worries. "You do have a point, let's go look for her."

The two hopped out of bed, still clad in their clothes from the day before and exited their dorm, locking the door behind them. They darted into the hallways, frantically glancing around for any sight of the wild-looking girl. She was nowhere to be found. They glanced inside of dorms that had their doors standing open, and glanced through clusters of students to see if she might have went into a circle of gossipers but she wasn't anywhere to be found.

Kiyomaru stood in the hallway, among a group of male students who looked like they were members of Shinjinku's baseball team. They were all dressed in their uniforms, carrying catcher's mitts and baseball bats. The group looked as if they were having a grand old chat in the middle of the hallway.

"Hey, there's Kiyomaru. Let's ask him if he's seen Tsukimi," Lamar glanced back at his friend, who stood a few steps behind him.

"Hey! Kiyomaru!" Taiga shouted from his place. His loud, rough voice carried through the halls, causing the model student to turn towards them.

"Huh? Oh, Lamar!" Kiyomaru was beaming with joy, before his facial expression morphed into one of perplexion. "What are you doing here?"

Lamar and Taiga ran up to the blue-haired boy with dire expressions. "I snuck in so I can be here when the dome closes and everyone is trapped. I'm rooming with Taiga," he didn't bother to keep it a secret as the faces of the baseball team members turned to those of utter confusion. What were they talking about? Maybe it was some video game or something.

"I see," Kiyomaru was a little thoughtful as he put his hand up to his chin and closed one eye.

"Have you seen Tsukimi?" It was the one question that Lamar was dying to know. He had to find that girl before she made a mess of anything or got herself in trouble or even killed.

"I just woke up an hour ago. I have not seen her, though. Perhaps she went to the cafeteria early to get something for breakfast," he had hoped that was the case, anyway. For some reason, the two males before him radiated with enough tension to make him feel the aftermath. Even the baseball team walked away from them. Then again, they steered clear of Taiga on most occasions.

"We have to find her. She was upset last night and we don't want her doing anything stupid," Taiga didn't want her killing his men, nor did he want her getting killed by them. It was bad if she decided to take matters into her own hands.

"Good luck, I hope that you find her and that nothing has happened," Kiyomaru glanced down and folded his arms over his chest. "I heard about what happened to Inori." His words were solemn and low. It could have been any of the student council members who met that fate. Just thinking about everything, all of the deaths that had been happening unsettled him and made him paranoid.

Just then, Tsukimi walked up to the group, donning her cat ears with an arm full of pork buns and bottled juices. "Look who has breakfast!" She sing-songed and beamed with happiness, only to be met by a group of disapproving glances. What did she do this time?

"Where were you?" Lamar was the first one to question her.

"I went to the cafeteria so I could get some pork buns. People grab them all usually so I wanted to be the first one there." What was the big deal about her leaving? It wasn't as if she was supposed to be there in the first place. Tsukimi appreciated her friend's concerns but she was really alright.

"Next time you leave, write a note or say something before you walk out so we'll know where you are." Especially if she was talking about killing people the night before. Taiga was thinking all the wrong things, but he couldn't help it after Lamar decided to bring up what she said the night before.

Tsukimi closed her eyes and wrinkled her brows in shame. "I'm sorry. I wanted to surprise you both with breakfast in bed. I thought if I woke up really early that I could sneak out and come back before you both woke up. Mission failed."

Letting out a huff of breath, the yakuza frowned sternly as the girl's confusion caused her to scratch her head with her free hand.

"Do you guys really think I'd do what I said? I was just really upset," knowing that they had suspected her of doing something hurt her feelings more than they were. They should trust her more than that.

Kiyomaru stuck a finger into the air as if to take his turn speaking. "Excuse me for intruding but, what did you say that would cause such questioning?" It was pretty concerning when Taiga worried about someone in general, much less suspected someone of doing something. He was beginning to wonder if he would worry as well.

"I lost all of my friends and my boyfriend, so I said I'd kill them all at graduation as revenge..." Tsukimi looked ashamed of her earlier actions, and she was. The girl could feel a pressure build up inside of herself. Her face felt hot and her body tightened as she leaned forward, her voice projected more than it normally did, "but I didn't mean it! I can't believe that you guys would think I'm serious. Whoa! Back up there, friends!"

Taiga glared at all of them. "I don't trust any of you."

"It's uncool to say things like that, especially with someone running around killing students," Lamar didn't find it to be anything to joke about. He had enough war flashbacks from the last graduation to really care anything about kicking the event off earlier than it had to be. He knew that if one of the students killed another then dome would drop on the spot and the mutual killing would begin instantly.

A bead of sweat ran down the back of Kiyomaru's head as one of his thick eyebrows twitched and he did his best to maintain a smile. "That does look incriminating."

Tsukimi then averted the subject. She didn't want to hear anything else about it. She knew what she had done and that she was no killer. "Kiyomaru, are you the student council president now?"

The militant teen's expression hardened. "As vice president, it is my duty to act as president if anything should happen to Inori. It has not been officially announced yet, but it will happen. This is not how I wanted to ascend to the position." It would have been better as a friendly class vote, not an incident surrounded by mystery and murder.

Tsukimi's face warped into one of sorrow as her voice lowered, "Mr. Mandio must be devastated."

"Aren't you worried?" Lamar knew that made Kiyomaru a big target. If there were members of the student council being killed, then he put himself in that position.

"Do I have additional reason to be?" Kiyomaru had figured that Inori was killed because he was the son of the founder of Shinjinku.

"You should be. Look at the pattern," Lamar didn't know if Kiyomaru was aware of it, but there was an established pattern among the last two murders that took place.

"Whoever it is, they're targeting people who have been in the student council meetings." Tsukimi hit the nail on the head.

"Recently, they targeted the student council," Lamar knew the trend would continue from there. They obviously knew that the student council members had knowledge of graduation.

"I am aware of that. I know that it puts me at high risk, but I am powerless as you all are." Green eyes panned over to the black-clad man. "What will you do, Lamar? You aren't a student at Shinjinku."

Tsukimi looked shocked, then turned her head quickly to Lamar, her strands of black, red and yellow hitting her in the face as she did. "You aren't?"

Taiga's irritation amplified. "Why are you spreading that? You asshole, it's supposed to be a secret."

Tsukimi whirled back around to Taiga. "You knew about it, Taiga?"

"I snuck him in. We'll need him at graduation." It was all a part of his plan, and he tended to keep with the plan if people would stop continually shooting it up with holes. These idiots couldn't keep their traps shut if it depended on their lives, and in a sense it did.

"Why?" She was so confused. None of this was making any sense. Was Taiga being secretive again?

"I'm the survivor of the last graduating class," there was only one way to make Tsukimi understand and that was for Lamar to out himself.

Blinking, the girl pointed her painted, pointed nail at him as her body trembled from the shock she felt. "Hey...are you the one who started those rumors?" If he did, then it would make sense. Lamar looked older than the rest of them; she should have figured that he wasn't in their class. Not to mention, she had never seen him before Taiga introduced him to her.

"Sunoma found out, so I had to confess, but yes it was me. How many of you people know about this?" It was unsettling how people came up to him with knowledge of what was going on. Did everyone in the school know already or was it just the circle of people he happened to come into contact with?

"The numbers are still small," Taiga chided his worries. Right now, everyone was doing a good job at containing the secret, although with their current blunders, he knew someone would slip up sometime.

Tsukimi balled a fist by her face, thin lips curled into a smile as her face lit up with hope. "You can help us!"

"I'm not sure what I can do, but I'm going to try." Hopefully, Lamar could save more people than what he did for the prior graduation.

"We've been preparing for this. I just hope our plan works," Taiga had been weaving his web all of this time, and he wasn't about to give up his plans yet. Lamar was inside of the school; this meant that they were closer than ever to their goal.

It was a step in the right direction.

"If not, we're both dead men," Lamar knew the cost, but he was willing to risk it.

"You both lost so many people, and yet you came back to help us, knowing that you might die this time. I don't know how many people would do that," Tsukimi thought of the two as a beacon of hope for the school. She wouldn't have come back, not like they had done. She didn't even understand why they did, other than the fact that the guilt they felt from losing people would have made them want to rectify what had happened by putting a stop to the event this time around. They were so brave and selfless. She wished that she could have that type of mental fortitude.

"What does running away solve? People will keep killing. How many have to die before they get justice? How many people have died in the classes before my brother's? I am not sitting around while more people keep dying senselessly being forced to fight each other like animals and gladiators. I want to be able to put them to rest, to be able to give them a proper burial and I'll do that even if I die in the process. This sick fuck isn't gonna get away with this shit," Taiga clenched his fist; his glare could have pierced the heavens as his body filled with determination and passion. More than anything, he strove to avenge the dead and make sure that his brother didn't have to sacrifice himself in vein. For the sake of Raiga and all those who died, Taiga was going to make sure that they rested in peace or he was going to die making it happen.

"T-Taiga..." Kiyomaru was rendered speechless by the yakuza's display of drive and charisma. If they were in a play, he would have cried at the performance and execution.

"You're either with me or you can become a corpse at my feet. Death is no stranger to me." Taiga did what he had to do, and he wasn't above crushing those who got in his way. He was on a mission and no one was going to stop him now.

"I want to help. I need to know who killed Mishio and Inori," Tsukimi creased her eyebrows and her face hardened with determination. If there was ever a goal that she was going to achieve, it was going to be who killed her friend. She was going to hunt them down and make them pay.

"I'd like to know who could be this cruel as well. I wish to bring them to justice. I believe I can speak for the rest of the student council when I say that you have our full support," Kiyomaru knew this for a fact. He wasn't going to let them get away with their nefarious deeds, and he too, would fight or die trying.

"Well, that's settled. I still don't trust any of you." Taiga's words cut through the two as Tsukimi puffed up her cheeks in a pouty face and Kiyomaru glanced sorrowfully to the side, hurt by his comment. That guy sure knew how to ruin the moment of harmony and friendship.

"Hey Taiga," a brazen, masculine voice called out as the trio's sights were directed to another student who wore very distinct clothing. He had a long, biker's jacket, like members of the bosozoku bike tribes wore. It was embroidered with kanji formed into military slogans and phrases of Japanese patriotism. He wore his hair in a pointed pompadour that was shaved on the lower part of his head. It was Masato.

"Masato, what do you want?" This was an odd occurrence. Masato and Taiga had conflicting personalities and didn't speak much to each other as a result. The fact that the biker was coming to him in specific meant that something was off.

"Have y'seen Yuunatsu? I can't find him anywhere." It was odd that Yuunatsu hadn't been in their dorm room, and knowing his position as henchman to Taiga he thought his boss would surely have known where he was.

"We just woke up," Lamar brought that front and center. They hadn't even been to the lower level of the school, much less out of the dorm area.

"We haven't seen him," Taiga knew that Yuunatsu was a big boy. He could take care of himself.

"Who's that green-haired guy?" Now Masato was going to get drug into thier tangled web. Fuck everything.

"He's my best friend. That's all you need to know." The yakuza planned on choking this idea in the cradle before it had a chance to grow. He didn't need additional suspicion.

"I've looked everywhere for Yuunatsu and I haven't seen him. It's just odd that he'd disappear like that. He's my roommate and since people have been turnin' up dead, I'd rather not have him alone, y'know? I know what happens to lone men." Being a part of a bosozoku group, Masato knew that a lone man usually meant a dead man in the eyes of trouble. For Yuunatsu not to announce his departure made him uneasy. The two of them had decided to inform each other when they left and returned.

"You sure he's not in the cafeteria?" Tsukimi questioned. Usually the yakuza member would have been there or in the bathing room around that time. That's what his usual routine was.

"I looked and I didn't see him." In fact, Masato looked twice and didn't see him.

This caused worry to cross the girl's face. Tsukimi didn't like it when people came up missing. It was bad that it was Yuunatsu in particular that came up missing. "I hope nothing bad happened to him. Even if we did fight, I didn't want him to die," she wouldn't have been as cruel as to wish that on anyone.

"He was gone from the dorm when I came back t'tell him there was sea breeze salad in the cafeteria. He wasn't there and the room door was wide open. Even when he leaves, he doesn't leave the door open. That ain't him," Masato knew that for a fact. Yuunatsu wasn't that careless. Something was wrong. Something happened. He just knew it.

"Do you think something happened to him?" Kiyomaru wondered aloud.

Masato scratched the back of his head, "I'm not sure. I just wanna know he's alright so I cannot worry about his sorry ass."

Dire determination laced the yakuza's visage, "I've got to find him. All of you look through the school and meet back here in an hour. If anyone finds him before the allotted time, come and find me." This wasn't like Yuunatsu at all. Taiga knew his friend well, and he wasn't the type to be that careless, let alone randomly disappear without a word. Masato was right, something was up and he was going to find out what.

"I'll check outside," Tsukimi designated an area so that everyone would know where she was in case things happened.

"I'll check the indoor pool and the gym," Masato then designated himself an area.

"I'll check the east wing," Taiga replied.

"I'll take the west wing," Lamar nodded.

"I'll check the cafeteria and the central area," Kiyomaru was try the most populated areas first. If he were to be anywhere, then he would be able to sift through the student body and find him.

"Go!" They all called out before they separated into their separate directions and began their search for the blonde yakuza. Each one raced to their area of the school, hoping and praying that they would find him somewhere safe and unscathed. Their footsteps faded off as they spread out and began their investigation.

Masato ran through the gym. Eyeing the area, he saw a few students that were there. Some of them were in the weight lifting section. There were two girls on the treadmills and in the attached room; there was some type of aerobics class that was taking place. He scanned through all of the students in there, but Yuunatsu was nowhere to be found. "I don't see him around here."

The biker darted outside to the pool area and carefully scanned it. There were a couple of guys who were swimming in the pool, one guy with sunglasses floating around on a yellow inner tube with a glass of brightly colored liquid and a girl in a bikini, sunbathing in one of the lawn chairs. "Damn," he cursed under his breath.

Taiga ran down the hallways, checking several dorms. He knocked on various doors, questioning the students who were there on the whereabouts of his kobun. So far, he had no such luck. No one had seen Yuunatsu and the fact that he hadn't heard anything about his whereabouts worried him. 'Yuunatsu, I know something is wrong. I wonder what happened. I don't want to blame anyone but-'

"I don't know if I could deal with killing someone..." There was silence before Tsukimi's voice lowered and held an eerie and calm quality that made the temperature of the room drop. "Or do I? Maybe it'll be the perfect excuse...when you think about it," a twisted smile came to her features. It was a smile that made him feel uneasy. "I can always just kill them both when graduation comes. Then they'll feel my pain. It'll be fine then, won't it? After all, you can get away with murder."

Taiga's frown deepened. 'I can't ignore that. It's too well-placed. My bond with my men comes before everything. Before friendship and even before who I love. I took an oath and I plan on never breaking it.'

He could still recall the day that Yuunatsu had been inducted into the yakuza. He participated into the ceremony where his trigger finger was pricked. The blood welled to the surface as he ran it across the picture of a saint, smearing it over the figure's visage. Brightly colored flames consumed the blood-ridden portrait as Yuunatsu held it, swearing his undying loyalty to both Taiga and his family.

Afterwards, the oyabun, Taiga as face to face as their sake was prepared by the azukarinin. The sake was mixed with salt and fish scales, then poured into cups. Taiga's cup was filled to the brim, symbolizing his high status and Yuunatsu get much less. The two drank from their cups, then exchanged cups and drank from each other's cup. Yuunatsu sealed his commitment to him with that action. From that momebt on, Yuunatsu became a priority and Taiga's friends and lovers would take a back seat to him from that moment on.

'I will believe Yuunatsu before I will Tsukimi. He made a vow to me and I to him. As men, as yakuza, and he had pledged his undying alligience to me, accepting me as a father figure despite us being the same age. If he's been killed, then I have no choice but to actively seek out revenge or at least make the score even. One doesn't just get away with murdering a member of the Yamaguchi faction.'

Tsukimi rand own the concrete stairs that led outside. As she took one step after another, the girl felt her vision blur in and out at strange intervals. Her body glistened with sweat, even though she had not ran that much. It was as if she had run a marathon and she felt oddly fatigued. Her skin was blazing hot and an array of pains, as if knives had been plunged into her. The girl blinked a couple of times to readjust her vision. Come to think of it, she had felt bad ever since her break down but she merely blamed it on retaining anxiety and having spent most of her energy crying so hard.

'Ugh...Man, I felt sick since this morning. My whole body hurts. I feel like I'm running a fever, too.' Tsukimi shook her head. "Come on, Tsukimi! Pull yourself together!" Drawing her hand back, she delivered slap after slap to either side of her face in an attempt to knock herself back into reality, only to succeed in reddening her cheeks. "Okay, got to find Yuunatsu!"

With a defiant huff, the girl continued down the stairs. On the third step, she miscalculated and skipped the stair. Her feet struggled to awkwardly find some sense of balance as she jolted and stumbled down the stairs. Tsukimi's form crashed into the ground face first as her white cat ears flew off of her head and tumbled into the grass. Dirt and concrete dug into her flesh, causing searing pains to shoot through her body.

Tsukimi laid there in pain for a few minutes before she slowly pulled herself up off of the ground. She was in too much of a hurry. Panting a little, she wiped the sweat from her brow and turned to go, only to remember her cat ears fell off. Returning to the grass to retrieve the head peace. Now a days, she had been so used to wearing them that she had forgotten how it felt to go without them.

"Can't forget these," she picked them up and dusted the strands of grass from them. The fuzzy material in her hands reminded her of when she first received the precious keepsake.

Mishio handed her the gift, brand new and of the most pristine of white. The price tag dangled from the end of the cat-eared head band. Her scratched the back of his head and blushed a little. "I heard you like cats, so I thought you would look cute with them on."

Tsukimi took the gift, excitement was written on her face and a rush of adrenaline flowed through her veins. They were absolutely perfect. "I love them! How did you know that cats were my favorite animal?" She asked, holding them to her small bosom. Her smile couldn't have gotten any wider than it was in that moment.

"Zoen told me. I wanted to get you the perfect birthday present. It's nothing like a stuffed at but you always get so many stuffed cats. With this, you can actually be a cat." Mishio had remembered Tsukimi admiring the cats she had seen walking around the school grounds on occasion and wondering what it was like to be a cat and roam around without a care in the world.

The girl plucked the tag off, placing it in her bra and put the ears on top of her head. "I'll be a cat everyday! You can call me Tsukitty!" Forming her hand into a clawing motion, she waved it as if scratching the air. "Meow, I am the cat princess of punk rock."

Mishio couldn't help but laugh at her, trying to pull off a menacing look," it fits you."

Suddenly, the boy had arms wrapped around him as his friend embraced him. "You're the best, Mishio."

From that moment on, she had always worn them just for him.

"Oh, Mishio..." Tilting her head down, she walked around the corner of the school and through the grass that surrounded it. There were a few trees on the other side that led away from the concrete paths.

Tsukimi wound around the trees and headed into a group of finely trimmed bushes. Nestled in a clearing of trees and bushes, Yuunatsu laid on his back unmoving. Blood was splattered all over the grass and on one of the tree trunks.

As bi-colored eyes stared in horror at the scene before her, the girl's blood ran cold. Her body was dripping with sweat. It saturated her yellow dress, creating dark spots around her neck, under the straps on her shoulders and on his midsection. Sharp breaths were inhaled with the anxiety she felt and her eyes stung with the threat of tears. "N-no...Yuunatsu..." Tsukimi stuttered and tried to turn to go back towards the school but she pivoted wrong and lost her footing, falling to the ground.

Her vision blurred, then everything faded to black. The cat ears tumbled from her head and rolled over to Yuunatsu's corpse, hitting his arm as they fell flat and laid there.


Everyone was gathered in their meeting place but Tsukimi. The group waited there for a long time, but she never showed up. The silence that passed in that near half-hour point in time was filled with tension. It seemed like the more that they waited there, the more everyone grew suspicious or bothered by her absence.

Kiyomaru pushed the sleeve up on his military uniform, checking the time. "It has been exactly an hour. Where is Tsukimi?" She should have been back by now.

"We don't need more people missin'," Masato grumbled as he sat his hands on his hips.

"Maybe she lost track of time," it was easy to do. Lamar admitted that he was guilty of doing the same thing.

"She was looking outside. Maybe she ran into trouble," Taiga wanted to attempt optimism, though in the back of his mind, he thought the whole thing sounded strange from the get-go.

"Maybe she found Yuunatsu," Kiyomaru wanted to be hopeful.

"She would have come back if she did. That's what we agreed on," Lamar knew that couldn't have been the case. This meant that none of them were successful in finding him at all.

"Man, I get this feelin' and I don't like it." The more that the biker thought about it, the more that he became unnerved by it. Masato didn't like this at all. It was bad enough that Yuunatsu was gone, but now they had two people missing.

"Follow me," Taiga took off down the hall. The remaining members of their search party followed him as they ran in a uniform line through the rows of dorm room doors. They headed outside and the yakuza took a flying leap down the stairs, landing on his feet at the bottom. Lamar followed, jumping gracefully and darting off, continued by Masato and Kiyomaru mimicking the actions.

They stood at the bottom of the stairs. Masato glanced towards Taiga. "Which way?"

"Let's go to the right. If we don't find anything we can go to the left," Lamar decided to devise a plan. Kiyomaru agreed as they all continued to run left, following along the foundation of the school building. The group rounded the corner and darted through the bushes and trees, stopping at the scene of the crime where Yuunatsu laid, covered in blood beside of a sweat-covered Tsukimi.

"Tsukimi!" Kiyomaru called out in shock as he darted over to the girl, kneeling beside of her and rolling her onto her back.

"Yuunatsu..." Taiga's voice was almost a whisper and his eyes went wide with shock. There, before him was his kobun, slaughtered in the grass.

"You know, I owe you a lot. You took me off of the street and you gave me a place to call home. You're the best person I've ever met. There's no one better I'd rather serve. You have my undying respect." Yuunatsu's words after the ceremony of induction ran through his mind as he recalled that gesture of kindness.

Tears stung at the yakuza's eyes as he darted over to his fallen man. Dropping to his knees, he shook the cold body, desperately trying to bring him out of whatever coma he believed him to be in. This couldn't be real! Yuunatsu was so much better than this! He couldn't be dead! He had to hang in here! "Yuunatsu! Yuunatsu, listen to me! Wake up, damn it!" Taiga barked as he continued to shake his dead friend.

"He's dead," Masato's words reached his ears, causing Taiga's body to seize up immediately. "Don't 'cha see all this blood? No one can bleed like that and live."

Taiga's pupils were the size of pin pricks as he held up his shaking fist. The yakuza's voice was steeping with livid anger. "Who did this? Who the fuck did it? I'm gonna tear their limbs off joint by joint, then I'll rip out their spine and play jump rope with the son of a bitch! They're gonna pay for this!"

"There's nothing we can do, Taiga," Masato stood behind him, looking away from the body. He'd never seen Taiga break down like this. He really cared about Yuunatsu and it hurt him as well, to see his roommate in such a state made him want to vomit but he forced the feeling out of his mind.

"Are you alright, Tsukimi?" Kiyomaru asked as the sweaty girl slowly came to in his arms.

"What happened?" Lamar asked, hoping that she would have some sense of what might have happened.

"You...he..." Tsukimi tried to speak, but she felt herself fading again. Everything was searing hot and she felt zapped of all of her energy. Even breathing took a considerable amount of strain and the pain was so great that she couldn't focus. It was as if everyone was speaking to her underwater.

Taiga held the cold body close to him. Yuunatsu was cold and his blood crusted against his hands and he squeezed the blonde tightly. Tears streamed down his face as he closed his eyes. "I'm going to find out who killed you. Your life will not be a loss," the yakuza's words trembled, and in a fit of rage and sorrow, he screamed the blonde's name at the top of his lungs.

'Taiga...' Lamar could feel the pain in his voice. He felt an inward acute pain in his chest as a result. Walking over, he sat a hand on the weeping yakuza leader's shoulder. "Come on, Taiga. There's nothing that can be done. The least we can do is lay him to rest in our own way."

Rising, Taiga took off his black coat from his suit and knelt down, placing it over the boy's body. He laid a hand on Yuunatsu's chest, "I'll make sure I find your killer. Rest now, you've done well. You don't have to worry about anything anymore."

"There is something wrong with Tsukimi. She's burning hot and sweaty as if she'd run the whole way here," Kiyomaru placed a hand to her forehead, and he swore it would have lit him on fire.

Lamar glanced at the girl. Her skin was flushed and she looked as if she was in pain. "She looks sick."

"We should get her back to her dorm," Masato thought that would be the safest place to bring her.

Kiyomaru lifted the girl bride and groom style. Tsukimi was very light and small so she was easy to carry. "I'll assist you, and then I'll report this murder to the authorities." He then glanced to Taiga, who stood there with his head down, tears streaming down his face. He looked sympathetic and his words reflected his visage. "My condolences, Daifumi-san."

Taiga was unresponsive.

Lamar placed a hand on the yakuza's shoulder, hoping to comfort him in some way. "I'll take care of Taiga. The two of you get Tsukimi to her dorm room."

Masato and Kiyomaru responded in unison and took off towards the direction of the dorm rooms. Their footsteps disappeared into the foliage, leaving the two standing there at the bloody murder scene. Taiga was still silent and stood there, unmoving with tears streaming down his cheeks.

"I know there's nothing I can say," Lamar's voice was low as he reached up to wipe his friend's tears, but his wrist was snatched with such a swift movement that it made him flinch. The iron grip that Taiga had caused his wrist to tremble. "Huh?"

Steely, aqua eyes bore into his soul. "Do you think that girl did this? Don't fucking sugar coat it. I need to know." His voice was cold as ice and it shook Lamar to the core.

"I didn't see blood on her. I'm not sure who killed him, so I can't tell you that. I'm sorry." It hurt him to say it, but Lamar didn't want to make judgment calls like that. He had made ones that he had regretted in the past, so it was better to keep his foot away from his mouth.

"Lamar...God, it's so weird calling you that. Why are you using an alias?" Now that they were alone, they could talk a little to themselves.

"I'm playing secret agent."

"Shit. I gotta pull myself together," Taiga's voice was laced with annoyance. He hated being so weak. Releasing his friend's wrist only earned him a tender embrace. Pausing, Taiga's body tense for a few moments then loosened as he wrapped his arms around the smaller-framed male. "This feels like old times." He said as he rested the side of his face into the bundles of spikes on the side of his head.

"It does," Lamar smiled slightly. The hug was so warm. He didn't want to let him go. However, Taiga pulled away after five minutes.

"I don't need to be saved by you anymore, though."


"This time, I want to be the one to save you."

...To Be Continued

A/N: Sorry that this was so short. Things are getting worse and plunging into new levels of despair for our main cast. Feel free to tell me your opinions and thoughts and I'll return your review with one of my own.