Maldoror (maldoror_gw) wrote,

O-fic: Out, chapter 1

So, it's my birthday and I'm sick at home, naturally. This is a yearly event, and the reason why I always celebrate my birthday the week before or after. At least I'm sick at home alone this time. Last year I was at home with a sick baby, and that's much worse ^^;

(Thanks to some of my readers for the birthday greetings and gifts, by the way! Much appreciated since I'd pratically managed to forget about my birthday. It put a sense of occasion back into the date!)

So, to celebrate, here's the first chapter of an original fic that's going to be straggling onto my LJ in dribs and drabs whenever my inspiration and my free time coincide. This is not a complicated or a polished story, so I hope it'll cooperate and let me write it. Hopefully it'll be fun. Yaoi warning, too, so hopefully it'll also be fun *hentai grin*

Link to all chapters

Out, Chapter 1

In Tokyo's finance district and in Ujiie Securities & Trading co. in particular, a salaryman with any kind of ambition would never dream of leaving before his manager. Not even if one's manager was Ujiie Ryou, first born son of Ujiie Tsukasa, president of Ujiie S&T and an all-around workaholic.

Eight o'clock rolled around, and every tired eye in the room started ping-ponging between the clock on the wall and the back of Ryou's monitor. Ryou ignored the distraction out of habit. He finished reading the article on stock in Norway, noting down a few concepts he would have to research later if the new contract with that oil company's financial branch was signed. As if in answer to his thoughts, an email from the president popped up in his inbox. The old man was also working late, of course. There was a mention of the new contract, and a lunch meeting tomorrow. Ryou entered it into his planner, locked his station and switched off his screen.

When he glanced up through the glass walls of his office, the eyes of all his subordinates were once more riveted on their monitors. The wave of relief was nonetheless palpable. Only eight thirty; the heir apparent was making an early night of it.

Ryou walked out of the room without a word and no gesture apart from a nod in response to Sasaki's faint bow. Other than a few interchangeable interns, this department had been together for a couple of years now and it was established that there was no need for the rigmarole of 'thank you for your hard work', 'please give me your guidance tomorrow' or even 'goodnight'. Silence followed him out the door. It did not swing shut fast enough to block out the sounds of chairs hastily pushed back, chatter starting, a chuckle.

His cell rang halfway down the corridor. Ryou juggled briefcase, coat and scarf to get at it. Maybe the president needed some more numbers tonight. That chuckle might have been a trifle premature.

It wasn't the president. Ryou looked at the display for a second - the phone rang again, jarring in the silence of the corridor - then he flipped it open.

"Hello, mother. I don't have much time, I'm heading towards the elevator."

"I won't be long. I just wanted to know if you wanted me to contact Ayashima-san for..." She let it dangle there, since she would not presume to appear to put pressure on her eldest son.

"I will be very busy this week."

"This weekend is fine, I'm sure," said his mother in the voice she'd learned to use at the president's business dinners, polished to a fine degree until it slid past as smooth as silk, no roughness on which an objection could catch. She had fewer of those parties these days, both she and the president were getting older and leaving even the necessary customer socializing to their managers and the younger members of the board. She'd been calling him up more and more this past year as a result, often to say very little, and occasionally she'd been drunk. She hadn't done that for months now; this whole omiai affair was giving her some focus.

"I can make it this weekend," Ryou said, either prompted by the tone or the thought that had followed it.

"She is a very proper woman. Very intelligent too. This will be your third odeto now. Have you thought...? Ayashima-san said her family-"

"I'm at the elevator now." Ryou hit the button and it obligingly dinged open right on cue. The cleaners must have started the other offices on this floor.

"Your father will be eating at home this Friday evening. Yuki will be there too." His mother never asked him to come, never put herself forward, certainly never mentioned that it'd been nearly half a year since the two brothers had seen each other and that if marriage was in the air, family suppers would soon be all too rare. She was the president's wife; before that, she'd been some other president's daughter. She was all too good at this.

Through Ryou's mind flashed their last family supper all together, a rarity since he'd moved into his condo and Yuki had started his residency at Daisiki General. The four of them seated around the table for one of their mother's laboriously prepared dinners (she was old school; Ryou hoped his future wife would find better things to do with her time and get these things catered). Ryou and the president spoke frequently at business luncheons, so they'd had nothing to say; his mother had kept the conversation spinning for awhile, and then she and the president had concentrated on getting Yuki to accept uncle Hamano's help to get into an exclusive hospital with more reputed surgeons. Ryou remembered how the evening had finished.

The elevator door. The opposite wall was all mirror. Ryou studied his expression with a habit born of half a lifetime. His face did not show the thought that had fleeted through his mind. Show them nothing.

"I will see if I can free my schedule. Goodnight, mother."

If the president had made the time, Ryou would certainly go too, unless the Noruma account went south late Thursday afternoon. Which wouldn’t be impossible to arrange, but Ryou did not consider it for a moment. Numbers could be made to do magic, but not for reasons that trivial. He'd go to the dinner. It would be no big deal since he'd already agreed to the third, and almost certainly final, odeto with Misuko-san. His parents were fully proud and content with the path Ryou had chosen both socially and professionally, so they'd spend their time working on Yuki. As long as Yuki managed to ignore the attempts and not say anything anyone would regret, Ryou would be able to get out of work early on Friday and enjoy a traditional Japanese meal the likes of which he'd not had for months now.

As the elevator hummed its way down to the underground parking, Ryou closed his eyes, resting them. He had to make time to go see an ophthalmologist. A different one who would not tell him to sit less in front of a screen, but would give him the exactly correct prescription for his glasses that would do away with this blurriness and ache, and all this without any superfluous comment. He'd ask Sasaki to find him one tomorrow. His assistant was good at that sort of thing. A serious young man who was going to go far. He was certainly not the one who'd chuckled back there.

Ryou opened his eyes to see his reflection staring back at him, impassive. His office workers called him the Ice Prince. The triteness of it annoyed him, but he approved of the sentiment.

The parking space beneath the building was the one privilege Ryou had gotten for being the president's son. Other than that, he'd started off at Ujiie S&T at the level his excellence in his accounting studies had merited. Not only had he not benefited from any favours, the president and the various 'uncles' from the board and management made doubly sure Ryou didn't screw up, and came down on him twice as hard if he did. Ryou had worked his way up the hard way to his current post as manager of Institutional Securities, Japanese Branch, but at least he'd not had to squeeze himself into a subway car every day to do so.

Only the president's Acura was left tonight in the section reserved for the board and upper management. The old man drove himself home half the time, other times he had Koga, Sasaki's equivalent, take him home and pick him up the next day. Home, or the rented apartment which was considerably closer. Ryou's Nissan, smaller and deferential, was a few stalls away.

Ryou drove it up the parking ramp into a night crushed by the looming buildings of the financial district. Workers were trickling out of the offices still, heading to eateries or bars before they started the long trudge home. Their flow across streets slowed traffic; it took him thirty minutes to get out of the core, heading past the turn that would take him to his condo. But he felt like driving tonight. The streets were emptier now; he was cruising through daylight shopping districts all but deserted apart from a few tourists wandering around. Ryou watched the streetlights flash by overhead, one by one by one, and thought of the Noruma account, which could well turn into a problem on Thursday anyway despite his very best efforts. He thought of his omiai with Misuko-san. He thought of the fat mole on the cheek of Ayashima-san, Ryou's go-between and his mother's long-time friend, older and uglier but just as deadly with a polite non-suggestion. He thought of Shore, then he forced himself to not think of Shore, but his car was halfway to the seedier part of the entertaining district by now. Ryou suspected he'd been heading there all evening, long before he'd gotten behind the wheel...

Some time later, he stopped at the usual place, a street away, and looked out the tinted window of his Nissan. There were two young men out there now, despite the cold of January. He didn't recognize either of them. It would have been easier to get out of the car if it'd been Keigo, or that half-blood who always wore dark glasses and teasingly refused to give his name...

Ryou shouldn't be here. He was going to get married soon.

Maybe that was a very good reason to be here.

Ryou's eyes twitched to the rear-view mirror, but he couldn't see his expression. The car was dark, anyway.

Maybe Keigo was inside Shore. The bar was down some steps, as discreet as it could be to cater to men like him. Men just like him. The thought really did not make him want to get out of the car.

He was meeting the president for lunch tomorrow, his mother had called him on the phone and he was going to see Yuki again on Friday. He was also meeting his future wife for the third time this weekend. He had no business here.

If anyone of the men he knew from previous visits had come out of Shore at that time, Ryou would have gotten out of the car. Instead, another car stopped near the two young men leaning against the railing beneath the blue neon waves of Shore. One of them walked over to see what the driver wanted. Ryou knew exactly what the driver wanted, and the thought made him switch on the ignition and drive away.

He focused on the Noruma account. The problem was their CFO. There was nothing wrong with Ryou's numbers; the CFO just couldn't believe them because he did not realize how much numbers could be made to do.

Ryou stopped at a red light. He'd driven off in the wrong direction to get away from Shore without going along the same street as that other car, but he knew roughly where he was, an area where the high-stake Mah-jong parlours were the classiest venue. There were four young men in leather jackets and jeans outside a building that bore no sign to announce its business. They were shoving each other and laughing too loud, just looking at them was irritating in some way. Ryou checked his car door was locked and went back to his numbers.

Numbers were more real than this place. They could level this entire block and replace it with condos in a month. Numbers could drive Noruma into bankruptcy or into a higher sphere of trading. Numbers were what those yakuza and high-stake losers were grasping for in those Mah-jong parlours, but the numbers Ryou had in his head turned their innings and this entire section of the metropolis into a joke, a wisp of smoke, a blossom falling.

The president and the board had asked him to produce the numbers that would convince Noruma. If that request didn't include an intrinsic human factor, it would be easy to do. There was nothing even remotely illegal in Ryou's proposals and figures, and they represented an adequate margin of risk which he'd already calculated. The necessity to deal with people made this sort of affair slow and difficult; by themselves, numbers could change the world.


Ryou slammed on the brakes. He hadn't been driving fast, but the Nissan slithered over the paving, wheels locking helplessly until the car thudded into the sidewalk. It jumped the curb, sideswiped a mailbox and ran into the wall with a crunch of crumpled metal.

Ryou gasped, then tore away from the deployed air bag. He fought it to open his door and took a shaky step out of the car to lean against the side.

There was snow beneath his feet.

This was very wrong. The fact that he'd suddenly found himself running into a wall while he was crossing a clearly marked and empty intersection was much wronger, but that was so wrong that it didn't fit into his mind right now. The snow was something he could perceive. Why was there snow on the ground? It hardly ever snowed in Tokyo, and the winter up until now had been mild. More to the point, there hadn't been any snow before.

Ryou automatically checked his glasses, found a bruise near his ear where the airbag had pushed the stem into his skin.

The mailbox was destroyed, caved in and ripped from its grounding. No letters scattered about, though. It was empty. In fact, looking closer, it was rusty and the paint was peeling. But it was very definitely destroyed now. Would his insurance pay for that? He'd never been in an accident before.

Ryou chased away the disorientation. Self-control was as old a habit as checking for any betraying expression on his face. Ryou prosaically reached for his phone, trying to decide who to call. Would the car still run? It didn't look that badly damaged. The front was totalled, but would the engine still turn over? Better call a towing company to start with.

No signal.

This evening was just getting better and better.

Ryou pushed up his glasses and looked around. What a great place to have an accident in. Fortunately he was a dozen blocks away from those young men laughing and shoving at each other.

The young men weren't here, but neither were the Mah-jong parlours, cheap bars, cheaper motels and pawn shops. The buildings looked the same, but there were no neons, no lights; doors were hanging open and all the windows he could see were broken.

No lights. Ryou looked up, almost reluctantly. A round fat moon was shining overhead. Otherwise all the streetlights were out. But the sky had been cloudy grey a minute before. Ryou had been distracted by the Noruma account but he distinctly remembered thinking to himself that the sky looked like the slate table around which his mother arranged the dishes of their family meals together. Slate inserted into dark wood.

No sound of traffic, but some noise like a thump and a clang nearby-

Someone shouted off to Ryou's left. Ryou dropped his cell-phone. He quickly leaned down and picked it up, eyes scanning the wall he'd run into. A loud thud had come from behind it, a scuffle and another clang. And a grunt. Someone was fighting.

The fact that he'd fished his phone out of snow that hadn't been there a moment before, and that he'd crashed into a sudden wall that had also been conspicuous by its absence previously, had dulled Ryou's Tokyo-dweller reflexes. Instead of getting into the car, locking the door and calling the police, he stumbled to where a part of the wall had crumbled and broken into slabs of concrete. The rubble was like a ramp leading to what turned out to be a construction site, in all appearances abandoned after the workers had reduced the previous building to stubs of walls and no more.

The scene was framed in the V of the broken down section of wall as if it were on display. It was quite clear beneath the light of the moon and the reflected light of the metropolis around them, suffusing the sky above with yellow. The scene was too clear for Ryou to try to deny it, even if it had no business being in Tokyo, or anywhere other than a TV screen.

The edges of Ryou's vision trembled and darkened. But Ryou had been through moments like these - not like this, but moments when the body and the mind wanted to hide, to deny this was happening. He knew the price one paid for that momentary lapse. His hand automatically reached up for his glasses, shoving them up, fingers ran down his cheeks to make sure. Show them nothing. Good, now he had to decide what to do about this.

The thing flat on its back stirred, further marring the crust of snow it'd fallen in. It was going to get up any second now and this once more proved what a good idea it was not to let surprise and shock get in the way; Ryou wanted to have his thoughts clear in case he had to run away from this thing very quickly. But for now he stared. He couldn’t understand it. It looked like a robot; the kind he'd seen on TV when he'd visited his friends' houses when he was younger, before they'd grown up and life had gotten complicated. But it was a robot made out of trash, not metal; bits of concrete, bones made of rebar, a wooden half-beam for a spine, chicken wire wrapped around stones and an empty tin can where a head should be. The head, if that's what it was, was pinned to the ground with a sword.

It stirred again. Slower this time. The thing wasn't in any way human, but it seemed that the sword meant that it wasn't a danger anymore, if it ever had been. It looked like it was dying. Ryou looked away from the sword sticking through the chicken-wire-trash-head to the man standing over the creature and reaching for the weapon. The man jerked the sword out and moved back warily, eyes on the thing. He was hunched over in a way that suggested he was in pain. He leaned against the sword like a cane, breathed out with a hiss, and then looked up at Ryou.

They stared at each other. The man made no hostile gesture towards Ryou. He looked surprised to see him.

He was not dressed like some yankee, much less like a yakuza. He was wearing a knee-length tunic with metal plates sewn on it. Some of the plates were dented, blood seeping through the cloth. The man was holding his side beneath the injury. He was a foreigner, strong features around a beak of a nose; a short, well-kept beard, brown hair to his shoulders with small disks tied into the ends. He was quite the most extraordinary thing Ryou had ever seen in his life, and he belonged in Tokyo far less than something like Godzilla did.

The thing at the man's feet made a cracking sound. Their attention leaped back to it, but it was only settling into the garbage-strewn ground and the muddied snow. Dying? Could one say that? Ryou watched a half-brick fall off a 'leg'. Then he glanced back at the foreigner just as the other man did the same. They stared at each other some more. The stranger appeared to be puzzled at the lack reaction. Ryou was busy thinking along practical lines. With the dearth of signal, he wasn't going to be able to call an ambulance, though the man sure looked like he could use one. Assuming an ambulance could find them in the first place...

"Do you know where we are? Are we..." Ryou glanced around at the low-rise buildings which looked familiar, yet alien in their deserted state, the streets totally empty without a single light shining. "Are we still in Tokyo?"

A small wrinkle appeared between the foreigner's brow. Ah, of course. Why would he speak Japanese? Ryou pushed his glasses up and was about to repeat the question in his best English when-

It hurt. It hurt him in a way he couldn't begin to comprehend, deep inside and along every inch of his being. Whatever it was, it was ten times wronger than the snow, the broken, deserted streets and the jump-out-of-nowhere wall. And it was materializing thirty feet away from him. He couldn't see it, but he knew it was there. Its presence made Ryou's head ache, it made him want to throw up.

The foreigner made an interrogative noise. Ryou could feel the way the blood had drained from his own face. He must look like someone had stuck him with something sharp too.

"There's- there's something-"

The air ripped apart on the other end of the construction zone with a soft noise and a wash of putrid air. The stranger spun to face it.

The air puckered and darkened beneath the moonlight, turning into some kind of tube that was hideously organic in look. Ryou had seen the same shape on a nature program, the short, pulsing laying tube of a wasp queen. It shuddered, bunched and squeezed out a pale ball - the image of an egg-laying duct was more than an image now, it was the only reality in Ryou's view of the world which was wobbling again in time with his heartbeat.

"Fuck," said the foreigner, or something like it. Ryou wasn't sure he'd heard the word right but the tone was unmistakable.

The pale sphere was the size of a large beach ball. It was wiggling as it rolled on the ground, a leathery pouch which caught on a projection, broke and oozed open. Trickles of transparent fluid and a white shape in the middle. It looked like a baby, hideously swollen belly and head along with dead-white limbs that were an unfinished parody, like something that'd been aborted and flushed down a sewer. Ryou's stomach lurched, but it was a distant feeling. Things had gotten even more impossible, and a limit had been reached. His mind and his reflexes were now focusing on survival.

...He did not know where the knowledge that he was in mortal peril was coming from. The thing looked as harmless as a newborn, it was flapping its useless appendages in the dirt, getting them encrusted with stones and mud as it wiggled and squawled. The only thing dangerous here was the laying tube that had spawned it, still formed of nothing but air and space twisted on itself like an umbilical cord from another dimension. It was whipping around and scoring the ground blindly. The thing's efforts seemed directionless, even counterproductive; a slash against the remains of a wall caved in what was left of it and buried half of its spawn in rubble.

The foreigner took an intent step forward, sword gripped tight - but the tube burst into a frenzy, digging into hard concrete effortlessly and hurling it at them. He took a step back as a chunk of concrete the size of his head rolled towards him and Ryou. Garbage clattered left and right. Ryou felt a rock hit him on the shoulder, leaving a smudge of mud, and then a sharp pain made him gasp and try to shelter his injured head with his arms. When he glanced up again, the cuff of his suit was red with blood.

What he saw made him forget his injury. The rubble that had fallen onto the 'baby' now gripped the weak lower body and useless legs and started to move with a purpose, a blunt stump of debris thumping the ground as if trying to get purchase.

It's the same, Ryou realized, mouth dry. It's the same thing as the other creature, it's going to become another garbage-robot or whatever- The thing lying at the foreigner's feet was nearly six foot of concrete chunks, broken glass, stone and metal. If it wasn't dead already, Ryou would have said it was unbeatable, unkillable.

The tube was writhing more and more frantically. It was dwindling, sucked back into wherever it'd come from. But the spawn was still there. It already had a torso of corrugated steel, two legs and one arm, and its head was already covered in debris.

The foreigner hefted his sword with a grimace. Then he let it fall back onto his shoulder and turned towards Ryou.

"Hey, Inlander. If you run now, it'll leave you alone. Go." Then he turned back towards the thing, which was already struggling to its 'feet'.

Still in that sense of calm hovering above panic, Ryou looked from the nearly-completed monster to the one that was dead, to the man's wounded side. The stranger had gotten injured killing the first. Now that he was facing a new one, he was almost certainly going to die.

"You should run away too."

The foreigner glanced back like he couldn't believe Ryou was still there. Then he grinned. It was fierce and free and it went right through Ryou's soul in a way the sight of the monsters had failed to.

"It'll follow until I collapse. They're persistent. Bugger off, Inlander, and forget about all this." Then he walked towards his death as if he hadn't a regret in the world.

Ryou turned and ran, feet slipping in the snow.

The monster was ludicrous standing up, short thick legs of garbage, the bent lid of a metal trashcan sticking out of its thigh, a short thick body and long unarticulated arms like clubs. But it trudged forward with the fast, ever-falling tread of a tank. The foreigner stood his ground, a little crouched, body loose, until the last minute, and then he dodged the left arm and struck at the head, a foot above his own. The sword glanced off garbage, failing to pierce. The monster's arms spun with no care as to the direction of shoulders and, despite its human opponent ducking, it managed to catch him and buffet him to the ground. The man rolled and got to his knees, shaking his head-

At which point the Nissan hit the creature at as full a speed as it could manage across a broken-down construction site.

Ryou gunned the motor and thanked his countrymen for making such sturdy cars when the engine still turned over. It was making the sound of a Nissan which was going to die in a few minutes, but if it could get them away- Ryou threw himself over to the passenger door, shoved it open and shouted, "Get in!"

The foreigner was staring as if he found the car a harder concept to grasp than the monsters. But when Ryou shouted, he surged to his feet and half fell into the car. Ryou grabbed his hand and hit the accelerator with his foot without looking, because from the way the car was juddering, the thing was still alive and trying to get out from under his front wheels. He'd put the car into reverse the moment he'd knocked the creature down. The vehicle shot back. The foreigner gasped, his hand on Ryou's closing with a deathgrip that would leave bruises, but he managed to haul himself up with Ryou's help into the seat. The door crashed against a concrete outcropping and ripped off, causing the car to slew. Then a club of detritus hit the ground where the hood had been a split second before.

Ryou, with an iron grasp on his panic, stopped flooring the accelerator before he drowned the motor. The car stopped ploughing the mud and leapt back as it got a grip - his passenger clung to the back of the seat he'd grabbed for dear life - and shot back through the wire gate that Ryou had fortunately found to be half open and unlocked when he'd driven around the construction lot.

The monster was broken, he realized with one glance back, scythed at the middle. But until it was dead, it could presumably rebuild itself. Ryou felt the fleeting temptation to go back and roll over it some more until it stopped moving for good, but he didn't think the Nissan would hold out very long, and he didn't want to be on foot anywhere near the creature if it wasn't dead. Besides, the tube-thing could come back and lay more, presumably.

The Nissan's wheels made a pitiful screeching noise as Ryou pulled the car around and ran.

Desperately empty streets flashed by on either side. Nobody around to help, no policeman in efficient and crisp uniform, no cars that weren't on their last legs, no safe condo with multiple locks on the door.

The stranger made an involuntary noise of pain as he slumped into the seat. Ryou glanced over at him. The man was sweating despite the cold air blowing in through the gap left by the door, his face was pale. The blood had spread so far that his tunic looked more red than pale brown now. That was a lot of blood to lose. Ryou blinked as more blood trickled into his own eye. He glanced automatically at the rear-view mirror. His bangs were stuck so firmly in the bloody gash on his forehead, spearing towards his left temple, that it wasn't even blowing around in the wind. It looked obscene, something that- that red and messy and revealing on his own face. Ryou returned his eyes to the road, a fixed stare. The Nissan sounded more and more unhappy, and it was staggering all over the street like a drunk; one or several of the wheels must be punctured.

What they needed, Ryou decided with a clarity that went down to the bottom of his being, what they needed was a way out of these weird empty streets and away from that ugly egg-laying rift in reality. They needed back to where there were people, and they needed medical care. Ryou was not going to get killed in this strange area of what was certainly not Tokyo by some dirt-born monster. Neither was he going to let a man who'd smiled like the foreigner had back there die in the passenger seat of his Nissan. It was not going to be.

A car horn suddenly blared.

Ryou shouted in shock and jerked the wheel. A car in the opposite lane screeched at them in a voice of brakes and turning wheels. The Nissan shot past it, missing it by half a foot, and wound up alongside the curb of a side street, at the edges of the parking lot of a shopping center.

They were back in the Tokyo Ryou knew. Not where he'd been before, though. Several miles of metropolis separated them from that neighbourhood of mah-jong parlours and small-time hoods. Ryou had the feeling he'd been here before, but he couldn't situate it immediately. He didn't waste the effort to try. His head ached, a feeling of nausea was distantly plaguing him, but his thoughts were on another plane, the one where they operated when dealing in higher mathematics and statistics.

He looked at his passenger. The man was staring out the gap in the car at a nearby shop, the display still lit by streetlights, headless mannequins posing for them. Then he turned the same stunned look on Ryou.

"Magian," he said.

"My phone's working again." Ryou knew it before he even flicked it open, and was not in any way surprised to see the No Service sign gone. "I'm calling an ambulance. Pull yourself together, it won't be long."

The foreigner said something that came out in an incomprehensible mumble, and slumped in the seat. Ryou dropped the phone to catch him. The man was heavier than Ryou anticipated. He'd looked tall standing in the rubble back there, a fierce, free, animalistic presence, the kind of man who could drive a sharp piece of metal through a head-sized lump of compacted trash as if it was a day at the office. But this was really not the time to get distracted, thought Ryou distantly, still thinking hard. His hand had touched those metal disks sowed onto the blood-soaked tunic as he steadied the stranger against him. There were other complications as well. Data, in a way. Data that needed to be slotted into an equation. In human terms, there were multiple ways to work the numbers to achieve something, but there was also the best route, the best figures to get to the desired result with an acceptable minimum of risk and possible snags...

Fortunately nobody had stopped in the busy road beyond them, every driver assuming that someone else would stop and help if Ryou had had an accident, if he wasn't simply drunk and cutting corners. This gave Ryou a little leeway, a little extra time to nudge things in the direction they needed to go.

The next chapters will probably be very short, or else long to come out, since I'm writing this as I go along. I do know where it's going, I just hope it doesn't bore me by the time I get to writing all the chapters ^^; Reading, poking and prodding might keep my interest up.

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