Author: Cynthia Taz
Tara nodded at the bartender before turning her attention towards the entrance. She was now sitting at the closed bar in the casino, waiting for Willow to finish her meeting and gave her another 'assignment'. TJ had suggested her to go wait in the bar, as it would at least take half an hour before Willow could see her. Besides, it was going to be on the house, why waste the free drink?
"I just don't get it." Tara turned towards the only other two (except the bartender) who were sitting nearby with Ken. They all followed the dress code for Yakuza member, wearing red or blue silk shirt with black jacket and pants. "Why do we have to listen to Miyuki? She's just a woman." One completed loudly.
Ken snorted. "Asuka-san's woman. Willow-san too. Didn't see you complain then."
"Have you seen that two work?" The first one raised an eyebrow. "They are even better than Kenji-san when he was alive! I mean, what can Miyuki offer? An over-due credit card bill?"
One of the older ones frowned. "First, that's Miyuki-san. Do address her right." He told the others. "Besides, the kumicho want her to be here, to revenge her brother and sister's death."
The young one snorted. "Like she knows how to do things. Maybe if the shatei-gashira speak up Willow-san will get rid of Miyuki and take over... I really don't know how long I can stand that bitch."
The older one shook his head. "Miyuki-san is still our waka-gashira. You kids better show some respect."
"I'll have to disagree with you, old man." Ken countered. "That woman will have to earn the respect before she gets one."
The younger one turned towards Ken. "Can you at least send a good word for me so I don't have to baby-sit Miyuki?"
"Baby-sit?" Willow's voice bought everyone's attention towards the entrance. The redhead stood there with TJ and four other Yakuza. "Is that what you think it is?" The three Yakuza in question immediately stood and bowed at the redhead, but the redhead put her attention solely one the younger one who had been complaining. "Severing your waka-gashira, protecting her is an insignificant, baby-sitting job?"
"Willow-san... I..." The man knees hit the ground and he bowed. "I'm sorry."
Willow looked around quietly. A group of Yakuza were now standing nearby, watching. "Let me make this clear: okasama said Miyuki-san is the waka-gashira, then Miyuki-san is our waka-gashira. If you have problems, you may talk to me, but I will not have anyone disrespect her in any way." She turned back towards the younger one. "Understand?"
Willow turned towards TJ. "Give that kid other errands to run. I will not have someone so disrespectful to be working so closely with Miyuki-san." She then gestured Tara to follow her.
The blonde didn't need to be told the second time as she quickly stood and followed the redhead out of the bar.
Tara followed Willow to the casino parking lot towards one of the parked Mafia Sentinel (again, Tara had to wonder how the Yakuza could get their hands on it) when the redhead suddenly halted, causing Tara to almost ran into her back. "Leave us." The redhead ordered. The Yakuza that were accompanying them immediately walked away, leaving them in the empty lot. "TJ told me you did a good job. You should be proud. He doesn't usually praise women." Tara was about to say thank you when the redhead cut her off. "But he also told me you did not take out the Columbians that had spotted you."
"I didn't think it was necessary."
"What if I say it was?"
Tara looked down at the ground for a moment, before looking up, her blue orbs stared into Willow's green. "Then I'd ask you to find someone else to replace me."
Willow studied Tara for a moment, before turning around, and sighed loudly. "I don't even know if you're brave or just plain stupid." Shaking her head, she opened the trunk of the Sentinel and pulled out an Uzi submachine gun. "Do you know how to use this?"
"The Columbians're stupid enough to set up street stalls around the city to sell SPANK, again." She handed the gun to Tara. "I want you drive my men around and take them out. Every single one of them."
"I'm not going to kill anyone."
"Even if they're trying to kill you?"
Tara did not even bother to answer but just stared hard at the redhead.
"I expect everyone come back, safe and sound, in time for dinner." Willow's eyes hardened as she walked away. "And I will not tolerate failure."
Tara's eyes looked between the GPS in the car and the road, the deep frown refused to leave her face as she drove the three gun men towards the first Espresso-2-Go. It had been not long ago that rumors said the Columbian had used coffee stalls to sell the illegal drug SPANK, but all the street stalls were destroyed by Yakuza before the police department could investigate. Faith had cheered when she heard the news, but it made Tara felt sick in the stomach, knowing that the only way to clear the street from drugs were violence... even if the police department did investigate she doubted they would do anything about it anyway.
And the cold words coming from Willow only made her felt like frowning until her face was stuck. How could anyone so beautiful have so little regard on human lives?
"And when's dinner, anyway?" The blonde grumbled, not even realizing that she had said it out loud.
Tara almost lost the control of the car when TJ, who had once again sat beside her, suddenly voiced. "W-what?"
"Dinner's at six." TJ repeated, sounded almost bored, not at all like someone who was heading out to blow people up.
Tara took a peek at the digital clock on the car board and frowned harder. It should be fairly easy to travel through all the stalls within the time limit, but the problem was Tara did not want to make it on time... did not want to be part of something that would cost human lives. But she was not under any illusion that she could fail the mission either. Live was not something you could go back to certain saved point and replay it like playing video games... after all, she didn't even own a game console.
Sighing, Tara parked the car just behind the stall. The man behind the corner did not even look around as TJ and the other two Yakuza stepped out and gunned the man down. One of the Yakuza pulled out a Molotov Cocktail, throwing it towards the stall, before quickly ran back into the car. Tara did not wait around as she dumped the clutch and launched the car away from the scene... to the next stall.
The next couple of stops were as easy as the first one, but it did not make Tara felt any better. She had known from the moment she accepted Angel's assignment as an undercover cop that she might have to stain her own hands with blood, but knowledge that it was for greater good did not help with Tara's conscience, the guilt adding onto her shoulders as she drove the Yakuza stall after stall. Sighing for almost like the hundred times, Tara stopped the car opposite the last stall, watching as the three Yakuza opened the doors and stepped out. TJ, without so much a second of hesitation, threw the Molotov cocktail at the stall.
Then, all hell broke loose.
Tara turned towards the window on her side, her eyes widened when a Colombian appeared from no where with an AK-47. Without a second though, Tara leaned back while changing the gear to reverse and stepped onto the accelerator, hard. The car shot back, barely avoided the deadly bullets from the powerful assault rifle. Changing the gear, Tara drove towards the Colombian, knocking him down before he could shoot again.
Turning towards the other side, Tara could see the Yakuza were now under-fire by four other Colombians. She dumped the clutch and launched the car, position itself in front of the three Yakuza towards the Colombians, protecting them - only the Sentinel could not handle the multiple bullets, and a fire started at the engine.
Knowing that it would be only seconds before the car exploded, Tara jumped out of the moving car, watching as it knocked down the Colombians before exploding into flame. She pushed herself up, and immediately fell back onto the ground again when the Colombian she had knocked down earlier shot at her. She could felt bullets hitting her, tearing holes on her flesh, and heard the returning fire from TJ.
One of the Yakuza moved towards Tara and helped her up when a Cartel Cruiser appeared around the corner, driving towards them in a high speed. The blond looked around, but there was no even one parked car that Tara could steal for them to get away.
"If we are to die, then we'll die with honor." TJ announced, and started firing his M16 at the approaching Cruiser, quickly followed by the other two Yakuza. In other situation, Tara might have raised an eyebrow at TJ announcement, but right now all she could think was they were all going to die.
Then, the Cruiser exploded.
Tara turned around, and found Willow standing in front of a Yakuza Stinger, a rocket launcher hanging heavily on her shoulder. "Too bad it's not your time yet."
After being drove back to the casino, Tara and the others were led to one of the office at the top floor of the casino, where a doctor and nurse were waiting. Being the one who got hitted most, she was lied onto the coach while the others sat around, none of them say a word as the doctor cleaned and bandage their wounds.
"WILLOW-SAN!" Suddenly, the door to the room swung opened, revealing an Asian woman with a red tank top and black dress that was way too short to be wear. Other Yakuza immediately stood and bowed at the woman, but without even acknowledge their existence she threw herself towards Willow, hugging her as if Willow was a human-size doll. "I've been missing you allllll day. Where have you been? You said you're going shopping with me!" She asked, one of her leg hanging onto Willow's hip.
"Miyuki-san." Willow pushed the woman's leg back down, and slowly detached herself from the woman in question. "Why don't you go with Johnny-"
"But you said you'll go with me!"
Three things popped up in Tara's brain: first, this sluttish woman, God forbidden, was the one who was supposed to be the boss of the Yakuza Liberty City; second, this sluttish woman was wearing way too much make up; third, Tara was three seconds away from punching this sluttish woman for touching Willow.
"I'm sorry." Willow explained. "The Colombians started selling SPANK around the city-"
"Did you blow them up?"
"Great." Miyuki beamed. "You got time now?"
Willow shook her head. "There's still something I need to do. I'll join you later?"
Miyuki thought for a moment. "Fine." She pouted, and stormed out of the room.
Watching Miyuki disappeared from the doorway, TJ sighed loudly, causing everyone included Willow spun towards him. "Sorry, Willow-san." TJ saw the glare from Willow and immediately apologized.
Willow shook her head. "Go home. We'll talk tomorrow." She then turned around and stared out at the window. "Tara, a moment."
Tara watched as the others left the room and closed the door. Once there was only the two of them left, the blond turned back towards the redhead, only to find Willow turning around and staring at her angrily. "How dare you!"
"Do you think I don't know? Huh? Do you honestly think I won't find out?!" Tara swallowed. She pushed herself up, her thoughts running wide at the implication of Willow's word. But any speculation was thrown out of the window when Willow suddenly pulled out a handgun from under her robe.
Tara held her breath.
"Didn't I make it clear earlier? I told you I want everyone to come back safe and sound! You didn't even think of picking up the Uzi when the damn Colombians shot at you, did you?" Willow growled. "I should have killed you for getting yourself hurt!" She shoved the gun into Tara's hand. "From now on you'll keep this with you at all times. I've already told Ken prepare a body armor for you. He'll drive you back later."
Tara blinked, looking dumbly in between the gun in her hand and the furious redhead in front of her. "Um... thanks?"
"Stupid woman." The redhead looked away, and Tara could not help but wonder if it was tears that she saw in the redhead's eyes. Willow did not give Tara a chance to find out though as she stormed out of the room and shut the door with enough force to break it off its hanger.
1: Kumicho, or oyabun, is the name for the head of the crime organization (kinda like the Godfather). In Japanese crime organization, under the boss are 'children' (wakashu) and 'brothers' (kyodai / shatei) (sorta like Caporegime/Capo in Mafia).
2: The head of the 'brothers' is shatei-gashira.
3: The head of the 'children' is waka-gashira, basically, the second in command. The real relationship between the 'father', 'children' and 'brother' are actually a bit more complicated than that but for the purpose of simplification (ie. I'm lazy) I'll just leave it like this.
4: okasama = (formal address of) father, and so in this case, Asuka and Miyuki's father, the kumicho (dom) of Yakuza