Author: Cynthia Taz
Tara felt the anger boiling inside her getting hotter by seconds as she waited for the elevator to bring her to Willow's apartment - the one that was located at the top floor of highest apartment building in Torrington. The blond had an early meeting with Tony, and was being accursed of being incompetent, failing to contact Tony about the attack on Miyuki Kasen. It was not what Tony had said that upset her, but the fact that she was too busy conforming Willow to miss the out-blown war began right after the attack - the massacre Yakuza had exacted on anyone who looked remotely like Colombians, the one that was very likely to be started by the redhead Tara had spent hours with.
But once the blond stepped into the apartment, every threat of anger disappeared and replaced by curiosity. Willow's apartment was nothing she had imagined: not that Tara had thought about it a lot, no sir, but she never would have guessed Willow to be so... Japanese traditional-y. The whole apartment floor (at least from where Tara could see) was covered by tatami mat, all doors were sliding paper doors that she had only seen on television, and no furniture visible except the small wooden table in the middle of the front room.
Turning her eyes towards the redhead in question, who was sitting by the table in the dining room slowly drinking her miso soup, Tara could only think of one word:
"We need to get a bed in here." The beautiful world suddenly turned ugly when Tara heard Miyuki Kasen's voice echoed in the apartment. Tara signed quietly, her blue orbs refused to move away from the redhead who set down the small bowl of soup gracefully. "How can you sleep in that futon night after night?"
Willow looked at Miyuki calmly. "You will be able to go back to the condo tonight. They should have finished cleaning up by now."
"Then move in with me! We can buy a new king size bed and move into the master r-"
"That is Asuka's room." Willow answered quietly.
At the corner of her eyes, Tara could see sudden nervousness appeared on other Yakuzas' faces - a fact that had clearly escaped Miyuki. "She won't be needing it anymore. Besides, why would you want to keep the bed that she used to sleep with other people?"
Tara could hear a pin fell onto the tatami mat. The facial expression on the redhead's face did not change, but even Miyuki could see the storm within the green orbs, and everyone could feel the temperature in the room dropped almost at the same rate as Willow's voice.
"That is Asuka's room."
Tara turned towards the young Kasen, and for the first time since she met the waka-gashira, she saw fear in her eyes.
After breakfast, Willow surprised Tara by asking her to drive her to the casino, after 'telling' Miyuki to stay in the apartment until she came back. Miyuki looked about to protest, but had kept her mouth shut at the end, confirming Faith's command about Willow being the real 'Dom' of Yakuza. It was not what had made Tara frowned though... it was everything that had happened cause the frown to be stuck on the beautiful face.
"Do you want to say something?"
Tara shook her head, her eyes still focusing on the road as she drove Willow towards the casino.
"You look like you want to say something."
Tara parked the car at the casino's car park and turned off the engine, waiting for Willow to get out. Instead, the redhead pulled out her cell and quickly made a call, rumbling a stream of Japanese to the receiver. Once she finished, she turned off her cell and threw it onto the dashboard. Tara raised an eyebrow, but continued waiting in silence as the redhead turned her attention towards the busy street she could spot from where the car parked.
After almost a lifetime, the redhead finally turned towards Tara. "Drive me to the condo."
Tara found herself lack of words as she sat on the black boat that was parked at the dock just outside the condo, watching the redhead as she drove it towards the unknown - well, unknown to Tara, anyway. When the boat starting to slow down, Tara looked out, and found herself staring at the city that she could barely see.
"I thank you..." Willow turned off the engine of the boat and moved to stand next to the sitting blond, watching the city far ahead. "For not telling Tony about what happened in the condo."
"But Toni does know about the att- Oh." Tara paused when she noticed the sad look on Willow's face. "It's... I did say I won't tell him. But how did you know?"
"I have my ways." The redhead turned around and stared at Tara for a moment before turning back towards the city. "Do you know... what is 'Funayurei'?" When Tara did not answer, Willow continued. "'Funayurei' is a spirit in Japanese myth. They are ghosts of people who died at sea." Paused. "It is also the name of this boat."
Tara blinked. "Oh."
"I almost died... Maybe I did." The redhead's shoulder dropped as she stared at her own feet. "That day. When I fell from the bridge." Paused. "Maybe I'm just a Funayurei."
"You're not dead, Will."
A small smile lingered on the pale face as the redhead turned towards Tara. "You call me Will. No one call me Will before." The smile disappeared, leaving nothing but sadness. "Here..." Green orbs turned back towards the city far away. "I'm just the ghost of the past. Not the monster on the land." Long pause. "Tell me about your past?"
Tara stared into the green orbs, and she was not even aware of it when she started answering. "My father, he... he was a broker, but got arrested when he was found stealing money from companies he was working for. All our assets were frozen, so mama borrowed people money to get father bailed. But I guess... I guess the thought of going to jail is a bit difficult for him... so he ran, and left us with nothing.
"Mama tried to take care of us while paying off all the debts, but it just wasn't enough. My uncle worked as a mechanic here and he let us lived with him, so we moved. I was nine at the time."
"You learned how to fix cars from your uncle?"
Tara nodded. "I used to help him after school. It was okay. I never really had any problem with it. But Donny... my elder brother... he adored father so much... worshipped him... but got betrayed at the end. He became very angry, wouldn't go to school, hanging out with the wrong crowd, getting into trouble all the times... he even started selling drugs, and got expelled because of this.
"Mama tried to talk to him, to help him, but he just wouldn't listen. Things were getting worst when my uncle died in a car accident. Then..." Tara looked away, once again stared at the city. "It was my fifteen birthday. Donny was taking me out for Chinese... he might not be a modern citizen, but he did love me. We were walking towards the China Town when we saw him... our father, walking hand in hand with another woman. He walked pass us... didn't even recognize us.
"Donny exploded. I didn't know where he got the gun, but he just pulled it out from under his jacket and called out father's name. When father turned around and finally saw us... his children... he ran. And Donny... he opened fire... he..." Tara closed her eyes and single tear escaped from the corner of her eye.
"He killed him."
Tara nodded. "Donny took off. Father and the woman he was with died. That woman turned out to be a police's wife, wife of one of the captains in LCPD. He put a price on Donny's life... and we never heard from him again.
"Mama... losing her husband then her son... her broken heart couldn't take it anymore..." The blond closed her eyes, but it didn't help as more tears rolled down her cheeks. "A-a-and s-she d-d-di..." Warm arms embraced the blond, and Tara blindly reached forward, burying her face into the crook of the pale neck as her usual calm finally gave way to the shoulders of grief.
After a long time with nothing but the sound of waves and quiet sobbing, Willow's soft voice cut through the ebb of sadness as words whispered into Tara's hair. "I'm sorry."
"It's-s..." Tara rubbed her eyes dry and shook her head. "It hurts... goddess, it still hurts-s after all these years. But it hurts more to know that mama couldn't see her son one last time before she..." The blond turned towards the city far ahead. "Not even knowing if her son was death or alive... That's why I joined the p- gang. Maybe I can find him one day."
"Do you want revenge?"
"God no!" She turned towards Willow. "How could you think that?"
"He hurt your mother... he hurt you. He even killed your father, even if your father's... poop-head."
"Poop-head?" Tara giggle, but it only lasted until she remembered what Willow was talking about. "Whatever happens, he's still my brother. I guess I'm just looking for closure... to know what happens to him, to know that I'm not..." Tara could not help but turned away, her blue orbs staring at the city sadly. "Alone."
Warm figure reached out, slowly turning Tara's attention back towards the other side - towards Willow. "You'll never..."
Cool lips reached for the warmer one, and the two women shared the peace that they both thought had lost forever.