BY : Kimmimaru
Category: Gravitation > AU - Alternate Universe
Dragon prints: 814
Disclaimer: I do not own Gravitation, the characters or settings and of course i make no money from writing this.

Chapter two: Ryū no tsume (Dragons claws)

Tohma knelt on his cushion beside Tatsuha, Eiri and their father. The alter was before them, he found he was having difficulty looking at it. Nothing seemed real. She had looked so perfect, so peaceful, it was so hard to imagine that she had been brutally murdered. He clenched his hands on his knees as people knelt before the alter and offered their prayers. The scent of incense filled him and he closed his eyes briefly, taking a steadying breath to try and hold himself together. It was so hard. He could see it all in his mind's eye...

She puts down the phone with a small smile and reaches for a packet of cigarettes from the table, she lights it with a flick of the lighter in her hand before sighing out a stream of smoke. She smiles and leans back, her hand gently covering her abdomen. Her long hair catching the light and making it shimmer, her eyes close as she imagines her future...a baby. A baby boy. She was going to be a mother...Then, the lights go out, she sighs heavily as she stands and opens the shoji. She squints into the hall and calls out to her brother, but no one answers...a shadow moves and she steps back, her hands going to the tanto she keeps with her...something looms out of the darkness, she lifts her knife with a cry but the shadow grabs her by her long hair. She's forced to her knees and she drops the knife as something grips her wrist. Her scream echoes through the old house as something silver flashes through the air...blood spurts from her throat and her scream is cut short...she is dropped, falling into the crimson pool...she has enough strength left to pull hair from her murderers head before she dies...

Tohma squeezed his eyes shut. He couldn't fight it anymore. It was his fault she was dead...it was all his fault...He slowly lifted his hand to his face and felt hot tears slide down his cheeks...they fell into his lap silently. "M-Mika..." He gasped almost too quietly to hear.

The wake service seemed to go by in a drab grey blur, Tohma was in an odd state, he did little more than sit and stare into space. He barely even managed a small smile when people came to pay their respects to them. His face remained white, his black suite creating a stark contrast and his blond hair hanging limply by his face. He had no idea half the time who he was even speaking too, his body was numb, his mind blank. Then it was time to stay up with the body, each family member took their turn, and when it was Tohma's he simply sat there in silence, his head bowed as he tried to make the horrible mental image of his wife being murdered go away.

The next day Tohma was still in his daze, he was blind and numb to everything. Yuki had red eyes but wore a frown to hide the fact that he had been crying. Tatsuha hardly spoke a word, he kept his head down and his eyes averted from everyone. They all went to the last viewing of Mika's body before it was moved to the hearse. Tohma was helped into the car by someone, he didn't recognise their face, but he realised he didn't care. They followed the body to the crematorium. Watching the casket slide into the flames was the worst experience of Tohma's life, he felt his throat try and close over and very nearly lost his composure. He was forced to take a few deep, shuddery breaths before regaining his calm.

Finally it was over, Tohma felt an odd, almost cruel sense of detached relief at that. Now he could go back to his empty room and drown his grief in alcohol. He stepped out into the sunny courtyard and squinted up at the sky, he lifted his hand to block out the sunlight from his eyes so he could watch the clouds drift past. Suddenly he felt a hand on his shoulder and he was turned around to face Ryuichi, his deep blue eyes were slightly red and he looked worried. Slowly the singer slid his hand up Tohma's neck before embracing him tightly. "I'm sorry..." He muttered, his voice catching slightly. Tohma stood still while he was hugged. He didn't even react when Ryuichi kissed him gently on the cheek, his hand in Tohma's blond hair.

Suddenly Tohma blinked. "I came back..." He whispered hoarsely, his eyes slightly out of focus as he stared blindly at Ryuichi. The singer stared at him, his head cocked to one side. "I-I came back...early...I...was supposed to stay here...In Kyoto...with her...b-but I...I wanted..." he suddenly grabbed a handful of Ryuichi's hair and dragged him close, he closed his eyes and pressed his forehead against the brunets. "I wanted to be with you..." He breathed. "She died...because of my selfishness..."

Ryuichi sighed. "No." He muttered. "Don't blame yourself...you can't...none of it is your fault..."

"I-It is..." Tohma felt the tears he had been holding back suddenly break through his barriers. "It is...all my fault..." he slipped to his knees and Ryuichi knelt before him. "If I hadn't...If I had stayed...like she wanted me to...I could have protected her. Ryuichi..." He gripped his friends suit tightly, his knuckles white as he wiped the tears away. "Ryuichi...she was pregnant...I was...going to have a son..."

Ryuichi gasped and froze as Tohma collapsed onto him and began sobbing uncontrollably into his shoulder. "Tohma..." He muttered and wrapped the distraught man in his arms. "It's alright...I'm here now." He whispered as he closed his eyes. "Ane-san..." He muttered to himself as he fought his own tears.

Yuki stood by the doors as he watched Tohma shatter after having held on since they had been notified of her death. Tatsuha had gone to see to their father, leaving Yuki alone with his thoughts. He found he was struggling to really accept his sister's death, even after seeing her body cremated. He wasn't even sure he was even capable of feeling anything, maybe he would after he returned home to his Shuichi. He blew out a cloud of smoke from his cigarette before turning and going back inside.

Ryuichi sat with Tohma's head in his lap, he gently stroked hair from his face while he slept. His cheeks were still pink from where he had been crying and his hands clenched and unclenched as he dreamt. "Shh..." Ryuichi whispered and he began to hum softly, after a moment Tohma's muffled noises died away and he breathed deeply.

Yuki lay on his futon, his eyes glued to the ceiling, he knew he wouldn't be sleeping tonight. Suddenly he heard footsteps. He sat up as his door slid open, he saw Tatsuha standing there, his hair a mess around his pale face. "Aniki?" he muttered in a rough voice. "C-Can I?" Yuki nodded and Tatsuha stepped in and closed the door behind him, he lay down beside his brother and curled into a ball. "She's...really gone...isn't she?" he whispered with his back to Yuki.

"Yeah..." Yuki replied. "Get some sleep, father's going to need your support tomorrow." Yuki lay back down and listened to his brother weep softly. He lay in silence until Tatsuha finally fell asleep. "Good night, Mika-rin..."

The days turned into weeks and everyone returned to their normal daily routines. Shuichi tried hard to keep Yuki happy but the author was in a great depression, he slept very little and had nightmares when he did. At night he would cling to Shuichi as if he was a lifeline. The pink haired singer went to work as he was supposed to but he despised leaving Yuki behind, always afraid of what he might do.

Ryuichi sat on Tohma's desk while the blond worked, or appeared to work. He had one elbow resting on the desk with his hand in his hair while he stared blankly at a document before him. Finally Ryuichi put his hand over it making Tohma look up at him. "You should be resting." He said softly.

"I can't...I have so much work to do, I..."

"NG can be left in Sakano's hands for a while, take a break, Tohma...we need you to keep your health...what would we do without you?" He lifted his hand and ran fingers through Tohma's hair. "Come on, come back to mine, Noriko will be there and we can hang out...just the three of us."

Tohma looked like he was on the verge of agreeing when Sakano knocked on the door and entered. "Sir, we've just had a phone call from the detective in charge of your wife's murder..." he began slowly as if he was working up to a big revelation. "The hairs she was holding in her hand belong to a man called Sato Eita..."

Tohma stood suddenly, his hands clenched into fists on the table. He glared into the distance for a minute before speaking. "Mikadzuki-Gumi..." he hissed softly.

Ryuichi froze, Sakano stared at him in shock for a minute. "Uh...Sakuma-san?" He began slowly.

The singer smiled slowly, the expression was the most evil thing Sakano had ever seen on the assassins face. "Excellent." He muttered. "Tohma...give me permission..." he turned on his boss who watched him warily, Ryuichi slammed his hands on the desk and leaned forward, his determination glowing in his eyes. "Let me kill them! Let me kill them all for you!"

"Ryuichi, calm down." Tohma said softly, he put his hand on the assassins shoulder. "I understand how you feel, of course I want revenge too...more than anyone. But you cannot go in there being so emotional or you will get yourself killed. Understand?"


"No, Ryuichi...we will come up with a plan." Tohma tightened his grip on Ryuichi's shoulder. "I understand how you're feeling, "Hanako-san's death was a loss to us all...but please, don't be reckless. I can't lose you too..."

Ryuichi tensed at the mention of the woman's name, he looked away. "As you wish." He muttered. "But...when you do come up with a plan, please let me have the pleasure of torturing that bastard!"

"I will allow you that, as long as you let me deal the final blow." Tohma smiled coldly. "We will finally have revenge..."


"Ah! Endo-san...how are you?" Ryuichi smiled at the pretty young girl. She was dressed in a simple Kimono, her long hair loose so it flowed down her shoulders, she smiled.

"I'm fine, grandfather's been asking for you..."

"I know, I'm just on my way there now." Ryuichi replied, he felt a small blush creep onto his cheeks as she moved close and looked into his eyes.

"Are you alright? You look like you're coming down with a fever..."

"No, I'm fine. I'm just..."


Ryuichi turned at the voice and saw his sensei walking towards him, his suit as impeccable as ever. When he reached the pair he bowed low to the girl. "Endo-san, it's good to see you."

"And you, Sato-san." She said courteously with a polite bow of her own.

"Sakuma-kun, the boss wants you." Sato put his hand on Ryuichi's shoulder and gripped it tightly. "I apologise for my student, he hasn't learned any manners..."

"Oh no, he's not bothering me! We were just talking." She smiled and Ryuichi felt himself flush again, he looked away as he felt his sensei's fingers dig into his shoulder so hard it hurt. "Anyway, I must be off now, tell my father I'll be back in the afternoon." She bowed once again before moving off.


The boy turned and looked up at his sensei. "Yes?"

"Stay away from the boss's Granddaughter...if you so much as touch her, the boss will have your head. Now come, you're late."

Ryuichi looked away. "Yes sir..." he muttered to the floor.

But, no matter how hard he tried it was impossible to avoid the girl completely. They kept bumping into each other in the Boss's house. Ryuichi enjoyed her company, her laughter was bright and her smile enchanting. They would walk through the gardens together, talking softly. He never talked much about himself, but he loved hearing her speak. She was intelligent and vivacious, she could hold her own against all the men of the family and she was a talented poet. They had so much in common, they grew close rapidly.

Endo Hideki stood in the porch, a small smile on his lips as he watched his granddaughter laughing with the young man at her side. "They make a good couple." He mused softly to the man at his side.

"You think so, sir?" Sato replied stonily.

"Of course, she is such a good girl but she is lonely, there aren't many men her own age here...Tohma-kun isn't really her type..." Endo watched as Ryuichi plucked a flower from a nearby bush and put it into the girls hair, she blushed vibrantly and turned her face away when he said something. "Yes, she does seem to like him...I think I would be happy to see that smile on her face all the time."

Sato stared at Ryuichi as he laughed happily, his fingers brushing strands of hair from the girls face. Suddenly they both blushed and looked away from each other. "I don't know sir...if I may be so bold, but Ryuichi isn't the best candidate for a potential husband for her. He is...weak."

"Weak you say?" Endo muttered. "In what way? I have watched you two train and he shows great potential, he is determined..."

"He is in love with another." Sato said suddenly. "I'm so sorry, I apologise for being so blunt."

"No, no...please continue, I value your thoughts on this matter."

"Then, he is in love with Seguchi-kun..."

Endo stared at the boy as he spoke quietly to his granddaughter, he frowned slightly. "I know." He muttered. "But he has a big heart, who's to say that he can only love one person? It looks to me like he is willing to give a piece of that love to Hana-chan."

Sato remained silent. He couldn't have his precious student consorting with whoever he wished. Not only would it prove distracting to the young man, but it would break the chains of control that Sato was slowly binding the child in. "I believe that they are much too young any way." He said finally. "With all due respect, sir."

"I don't agree, I'm afraid Sato-kun. Hana-chan is nearing her twentieth birthday and Ryuichi is nineteen this coming month. Maybe marrying him into this family would not be such a bad thing after all...I will speak with my granddaughter, after her parents death's she is need of some real love in her life...after all, I will not be around forever to spoil her." He smiled indulgently as Hanako looked up, her smile lit up the sky as she gently touched Ryuichi's shoulder and they both began making their way over.

"Grandfather!" Hanako said as she ran towards him, her sandals kicking up dust from the parched ground. She flung her arms around Endo's neck and kissed him on the cheek. "How are you feeling today?" She asked when she had pulled away.

"I'm fine as always, Hana-chan, you know me...built like an ox!"

Ryuichi bowed low to his boss and his Sensei, greeting them politely. He met his sensei's gaze as he straightened and saw the man's dark eyes boring into him, he swallowed nervously and looked away. Hanako frowned at the odd atmosphere, her eyes moving from Sato to Ryuichi and back again. She had always suspected that something was happing between the two of them but she had never been certain until now.

A few weeks later Endo Hideki called Ryuichi to his room. When Ryuichi entered he bowed low. "You wanted to see me?" he asked softly.

"Ah, yes...please, sit down."Ryuichi did as instructed and sat still, awaiting his boss. Endo sat in his own seat, his legs crossed as he watched the young man. Ryuichi was indeed extreamly pretty, his large eyes filled with an innocence that was misleading, Endo was fully aware of the origin of the horrible bruises that covered the boy's body. Sato had been against this meeting but Endo had overruled him, he only wanted his granddaughter to be happy and if she was in love with Ryuichi (which he highly suspected she was) then he would give her what she desired most. "You and Hana-chan seem to be getting along rather well lately." He said softly, he watched Ryuichi's eyes widen suddenly in fear. "No, no, calm down!" He said with a gentle laugh. "I'm not displeased...in fact quite the opposite...I know Hanako likes you very much, I called you here to speak to you about your relationship..."

"I'm sorry!" Ryuichi said suddenly, pressing his forehead to the floor. "I'm so sorry, sir! I had no intention of touching her...I would never..."

"Calm down..." Endo leaned forward with a badly concealed wince and lifted the boys head back up. "I'm not going to punish you for falling in Love with her. You make her happy and by proxy that makes me happy, do you understand?"

"B-Boss...does that mean...You're giving me permission to..." Ryuichi's eyes slowly widened as he came to the realisation. Slowly that amazingly beautiful smile spread across his face. "Thank you, sir...I'm forever in your debt."

"No, no...I'm doing this for Hanako, she is the most important thing to me and I hope you keep her well."

"I'd die to protect her, sir." Ryuichi said in a voice full of emotion.

From that moment on Ryuichi spent as much time with Hanako as he could, every minute of his spare time, when not with Tohma and Noriko, he spent with her. However, he failed to notice that Sato was following him. Everywhere Ryuichi went Sato followed, he watched the boy become closer to Hanako. One evening beneath the cherry blossom tree that stood in the mansions garden he spotted them together, tiny pink leaves falling softly to the floor around them. Ryuichi held Hanako's hands in his own and although Sato couldn't hear what was being said, the way Hanako was reacting he guessed Ryuichi had finally plucked up the courage to confess his feelings. Sato felt jealousy and rage fill him until he was shaking...Ryuichi was his. Ryuichi belonged to no one else! Suddenly soft footsteps interrupted his evil thoughts and he turned to see Seguchi Tohma watching the romantic scene, a small smile curled his lips. He was wearing a casual kimono in a pale blue colour that set off his strange eyes, over his shoulders was a haori of a darker blue. "They look cute together, don't you think, Sato-san?" Tohma asked softly, those icy eyes meeting the older mans. Tohma's smile was infuriating, Sato hated the fact that Endo held Tohma's opinion higher than his own and it enraged him further when the boy looked at him with eyes that seemed to know far too much of what he was thinking and yet expressed nothing of Tohma's own thoughts. The child was impossible to read, hiding his emotions behind a polite, sometimes blank, mask. He was an expert in manipulation and spotted the tiniest details. "Oh, look..." Tohma's smile widened as he saw Ryuichi lean in and kiss Hanako gently on the lips. "So sweet, isn't it nice to know people are still capable of love even after going through so much agonising hardship?"

Sato clenched his hands into fists as he looked away from the disgusting scene. "I guess so." He muttered. He had the distinct feeling that the boy knew exactly what he did to Ryuichi every training session, he was sure that he had been spied on. He turned away. "I must be getting back..." he said and began moving off.

"Oh, Sato-san, Endo-san called for you a while ago, I forgot to mention it." Tohma smiled smugly as Sato sent him a glare, unable to do more as Tohma was under the direct protection of the boss.

Over the next month or so Ryuichi was in a dream world. Even his sensei's increased violence towards him didn't erase the glow that surrounded him. Noriko was so happy to hear that Ryuichi was now with Hanako, the two girls were very good friends even though Noriko was younger. Tohma was also happy to see Ryuichi doing little else but smile and sing. His beautiful voice would often be heard drifting through the large mansion during the day, Ryuichi sang for Hanako, songs filled with love and affection. They spent their time holding hands and speaking softly to each other, their fingers entwined tightly, as if they never wanted to let go. Ryuichi would go everywhere Hanako did, acting as an unofficial body guard on the Boss's request. Endo was delighted with the new couple, giving them his blessings and treating Ryuichi like a son. However, Sato began to become ever more violent, determined to shatter Ryuichi completely for his love of the girl. Ryuichi was tortured, abused and he came away with ever more severe wounds. Hanako would tend to him, asking over and over where he received the injuries but Ryuichi refused to answer.

Then, one evening at the height of summer Hanako came to Ryuichi's room. He was woken by something pressed against his lips, slowly his eyes opened and he found himself looking up into a pair deepest brown. He smiled and deepened the kiss, his arms surrounding her and his hands plunging into her soft hair...

Later they lay in each other's arms, Hanako's head resting on Ryuichi's chest while they both fell into a deep sleep...

Ryuichi was woken again. A sudden, ear splitting scream...He sat bolt upright but felt someone grab him and hold him down. His head was yanked back and his throat exposed, a knife was pressed to it and someone hissed into his ear. "Watch...watch and regret every second you spent with her...because this is your fault..."

Ryuichi's eyes landed on Hanako, her robe was open revealing her body and she was screaming, she lashed out in any way she could but three men pinned her down and forced her legs open. She screamed again, tears flowing down her cheeks. "NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" Ryuichi screamed finally. He struggled and tried to get free but the man holding him was much too strong.

"Heh, she's quite the little slut isn't she?" The man hissed in Ryuichi's ear. Ryuichi kept up his struggles, but he was tiring rapidly.

"No...No...please...not her...I'll do anything! Just...just don't hurt her! Hanako! Hanako..." he felt the vicious sting of tears and kicked out with his legs, his foot connected with the man's thigh and he relaxed his grip. Ryuichi wrenched himself free and dived towards the men attacking Hanako, he grabbed the man raping her and dragged him off, his hand went for the man's gun and he grabbed it, he took aim and with a single shot the man died. Rage engulfed him. He couldn't see anything, his arm and finger moved of its own accord as he shot as many men as he could until he was subdued again. He was pinned to the floor and forced to look at Hanako who was curled up in a ball, crying into her hands. "Hana...ko..." Ryuichi muttered, blood dripped from the side of his mouth from where he'd been hit. He was covered in bruises and blood. His body ached but he still tried to free himself until a shadow loomed over him, he was held still as the shadow turned into Sato's other apprentice, a boy the same age as Tohma by the name of Sato Eita. As well as being Sato's apprentice he was also his nephew by blood. Ryuichi hissed air through his teeth feeling tears of helplessness leave tracks down his cheeks. "Hmm...i've always thought that you were pretty...a bit like a girl really." Eita muttered, he lifted his hand and opened Ryuichi's robe revealing his bandaged chest, he ran his fingers over the scars and smirked. "My uncle did this, didn't he? I've seen him do it...I've never been able to egt your face out of my head...the way you would look covered in semen...your beautiful voice raised as he fucked you senseless...He's even let me have a look at you while you were unconscious once. You know, you're very precious to him...very precious indeed. He wanted to break you so he could remould you into his personal slave, he wanted to use you until there was nothing left of you. He was so close to doing it as well, that is, until she turned up." Eita grinned maliciously, he held a knife in one hand and grabbed Ryuichi's face with the other. Ryuichi glared at him defiantly.

"Do whatever you want with me...but if you touch the Boss's granddaughter you'll regret it! He'll..."

"He'll what?"

"Ah, Uncle, you got here just in time...can I take him now?"

"No. The boy is mine, have the woman. Ryu-chan..." he knelt down so he was level with Ryuichi, it had taken three men to hold him still and they tightened their grip on him as he tried to get away from Sato's hands. "You have always looked so divine...it's so true what they whisper about you...you have definitely been touched by god. It can be the only reason you look like an angel and sing like an angel...But if you are an angel then I am the devil, because I have corrupted this pure flesh..." he slid his hand down Ryuichi's body making him flinch and try and wiggle away. "I have turned your body into a toy, I will make sure it will only ever react to me."

"No! Stop!" Hanako's scream sliced through the air like a scythe and made Ryuichi look at her, his eyes wide. "Don't you dare touch him!" She was on her feet, her robe falling off her shoulders and revealing her body, gripped in her fist was a knife. Her hair was in disarray but Ryuichi felt his heart skip a beat, she was beautiful. While Ryuichi was distracted by his lover, Sato suddenly grabbed his crotch making him gasp and arch his back. He bared his teeth in pain.

"Don't come any closer...if you do I'll rip it off..."

Ryuichi winced as pain rocketed straight into his stomach, like a lance it sent roiling waves of agony through his body. He shook his head slightly. "H-Hanako...Run..." He gasped. "G-Get your...f-father..."

Hanako shook her head. "No. Ryuichi...I'm not leaving you! I'll never leave your side!"

Ryuichi was suddenly released and he gasped in air, his eyes watering. He blinked away the tears and saw Sato laughing. "Girl, your fathers dead! Murakami-gumi is dead! We've even killed that little brat who Endo wanted to succeed him!" he laughed when Ryuichi froze. "See, now no one will save you...you're all mine now, Ryu-chan..." Ryuichi closed his eyes, he felt those horribly familiar hands move across his body but he couldn't move. Pain held him frozen. Then, a scream shattered his paralysis his eyes flew open and he stared at Hanako as her blade plunged towards Sato, she dug it right into the flesh of his cheek and gouged away half of his face before his son grabbed her and yanked her away. He grabbed her throat and pinned her to the floor.

"You bitch! You stupid, useless woman! How dare you lay a hand on my uncle!" He raged as his hands tightened on her throat. Ryuichi tried again to free himself but was unable to, the men bound him tightly before going to tend to their boss. Hanako's fingers scratched at the man who was throttling her, the sounds of her choking filled Ryuichi head and he tried desperately to free himself. He could no longer see properly through his tears but he watched in sick horror as her hands fell to the floor, there was a sickening crack as Eita broke her neck...Ryuichi screamed. A sound that tore at his throat as he felt his heart shatter...

Ryuichi woke with a start, his hands reaching for the girl in his dreams. His chest heaved and his body was slicked with sweat. Slowly he let his hands fall back to his side as he remembered that it had already happened...Hanako was dead...and now he had the chance for revenge...

End Note: Ok, you'll notice that I called Endo Hideki's group Murakami-gumi, this is my dedication to the author of gravitation! Hehe. Now, as you may know, Japanese funerals are not like ours! We bury our dead but the majority of the Japanese are Buddhists so they have different customs to us of the Christianised west! I didn't want to write too much detail about the funeral however, so I skimmed it, although I think this adds to the overall sense of loss and grief that Tohma is feeling...I have been to many funerals in my time and when you lose someone close to you it does feel like as if everything is passing you by, like your not even real anymore...I tried to convey that feeling with Tohma's POV...please tell me if I did a good job! Thanks!

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