@nessazura @sarahstardom @nifty-nikki @chrissykinz @starstruckkspasms 



"What the bloody hell are you doing here?"

Miko, with her wounded arm stitched and wrapped up by her Russian saviour and host, pulled the metal cap off a soda bottle with her teeth and spat it out onto the floor. She took a long gulp to satisfy her thirst before turning to the handsome face staring at her.

"All that gritting and screaming while you were stitching me up is kinda tiring," she chuckled though she felt a slight pain as she tried to move her wounded arm. "You should stick to your day job, Niko dear."

Not many would dare to call the Russian by that name. But Miko had been one of the few exceptions, other than his wife. Nobody really knew why, but even if he had insisted that she do otherwise, she wouldn't listen anyway. 

"I think I did a fine job," Niko pointed out with a big smile plastered on his face. He watched as his guest settled herself on the couch, chugging down the soda.

"Slowly, princess. You'll choke yourself."

Miko rolled her eyes as she slammed the empty bottle on the coffee table, causing Niko to wince. 

"Careful or Sera's going to have a fit if you break her favorite table," he said, much to Miko's amusement. "Oh, you have not seen a woman's wrath..."

"Trust me, I know /everything/ about a woman's wrath," she spoke matter-of-factly as she sat back and crossed her legs. "Now, what was that question you asked?"

"Why are you here?"

"You brought me here, remember?" she replied with a shrug.

"That's because I was trying to save you and your brother's foreign as-es," he pointed out. Miko stifled a yawn and he had to stop himself from throwing something at her. 

She was like that annoying little sister he never really wanted. They were never related - never will, by blood anyway - but their relationship go far back since the days their fathers sealed a partnership. 

Now he can't help but play big brother to this little Tokyo brat. 

"Fine," Niko threw his hands in the air with an exasperated sigh. "Don't need to tell me about it. I'll just throw both you and your brother into a plane and back to Tokyo."

Miko looked up from her nails, watching Niko stood up and pacing around an open window. He continued to ramble on, though. 

"It doesn't even matter what you have done earlier. This part of town has been very quiet lately but that whole shootout is going to make their day. And it doesn't matter either that Cherry's dea-"

He cut himself off, and turned to Miko studying her expressions. He caught her wince - just a little - before turning back to fiddling with the jewels stacked on her frail arm.

"It's okay," she said calmly, looking up at him with a smile. "He's dead. That's a fact. And fine, superhero, I'll spill the deets. But Maru's not my brother... and can I have another soda?"

Niko nodded and called over one of his men, who rushed over with a bottle of soda almost immediately. He tossed it and she caught it easily, grinning like a kid given candy as she opened it.

"Ai wanted me to seal a deal with Viktor Tvardosky," she started explaining, but paused when she saw Niko's eyes widened at the mention of the name. "What's pulling your pants?"

"The Tvardosky are a bunch of ruffians," Niko almost spat out. "Why even bother working with them?"

"Our last dealer called it off between us after the big bust previously."

Niko nodded lightly, "I heard."

"Call it a gamble if you want, but we desperately needed a new dealer," she continued. "We were supposed to meet the end of the week but..."

"Guess they're not interested," Niko chuckled, causing Niko to slam her soda bottle on the coffee table again. He cursed under his breath before checking for cracks. 

"So what now, princess?" he asked, once he sat upright staring at Miko. "It's not like you to just leave matters unfinished. They did kill Cherry."

"Yeah, they did."

Niko continued staring at her, watching her fiddle nonchalantly on the jewels she adorned - a little more than usual this evening - and acting like she couldn't care less about the chaos that had happened earlier. 

Acting. At least that was what he convinced himself. Else she couldn't be more heartless.

"I heard Viktor's wife is expecting a baby soon," she suddenly spoke, a corner of her lips twisted. 

Niko sat up, and crossed his arms though he couldn't mask the smirk flashing across his face. "Why do I feel like I'm not going to like whatever you're going to say next?"

"You never liked anything I said, Niko," she said. 

"Am I interrupting you two?" a male voice cut in and they turned towards Maru approaching them, wearing dark circles under his eyes.

He took a spot next to Miko who suddenly ran her fingers into his dishevelled hair. He didn't push her off, though. 

"You look like you'd just stepped out from a war," she chuckled. 

Maru turned to her with a blank gaze. "If what happened earlier wasn't war, then what was it?" he questioned, but didn't bother to listen to her explanation. 

"How's your arm?" he suddenly asked, his eyes darted towards the bandage wrapped around her arm. Then he looked at Niko. "Heard you played doctor."

"And a bad one he was," she scoffed as Niko laughed aloud. "I'm hungry. Aren't you going to feed us, dear Niko?"

"Of course, I'm never going to let you starve, my dear princess," Niko stood up and walked out calling his men to prepare for a feast. 

Maru, still nursing a headache despite popping aspirins since the shootout, tugged Miko's arm gently as Niko continued on. She looked at him with wide eyes. 

"What were you guys talking about?" he quizzed. 

"You know what we always talk about," she smiled. "And don't worry... I'm not gonna do something stupid again."

He stared down at her for a moment, hoping he could read her thoughts but then relented. "Okay."


"I thought you were starving!" Niko bellowed from the hallway. 

"I thought you shouldn't shout at your guests!" Miko replied back as she pulled Maru along. "You'd better serve me something good, Niko..."


the next day

It was solemn.

Every man who greeted them both at the airport were dressed in sombre black and as they stepped outside, rain started pouring. 

"Go on ahead," Maru told Miko as one of the men pulled out an umbrella for her. "I'm meeting Ai."

She simply replied with a nonchalant nod before getting into the back of the car. She was tugging onto her jacket, the cold biting on her bare skin and the wound on her arm pounded so suddenly. 

As she turned towards the driver to start the car, she almost called out his name. She bit back her tongue and coldly said, "Drive."

A long and lonely drive it was. She didn't even notice herself sobbing quietly till she caught her reflection in the rear view mirror. 

"Do you need a handkerchief, my lady?" the driver asked. She gave him a flat no, before brushing away the tears with the back of her hand. She didn't like how he was concerned over her. 

"This conversation never happened and you should just look straight," she spoke. "And drive."

Then her cellphone buzzed, and she picked it up calmly. She listened to the other end, occasionally nodding and giving a simple yes or no. Then she suddenly lit up.

"So it's a baby boy," she was practically beaming. "How adorable ... he would've grown up to be a fine man. Pity. Send my regards to Viktor, though. Hope he liked my early baby shower gift..."


On the other side of Tokyo, at an upscale restaurant Maru was sitting down for a quiet lunch with the woman he had tried to run from for years. He felt uncomfortable at the way she studied him with the sudden motherly affection.

"You like sashimi, don't you?" she asked, grinning widely as she looked down at the menu. "You used to finish a whole plate of them when you were little..."

"Ai-san, I'm only staying for the funeral," he cut her off. "I've got to finish my classes for the semester."

Ai's expression changed drastically, but she tried her best to mask her disappointment with an awkward smile. 

"At least have some sashimi..."

Maru didn't decline her suggestion, though. "Why did you send Miko to Russia? You know how dangerous it would be," he asked gently. 

"She's the only one who could bring you back home," she answered without looking at him. "I didn't think it would turn out this way."

They fell silent. 

Ai's cellphone suddenly went off and she excused herself before answering. "Speak."

Her eyes suddenly widened, before darting towards Maru. As she hung up the call, Maru noticed that something was amiss.

"What happened?" he asked, expecting her to bolt up and leave for another one of the 'business matters' as always. But today she didn't. 

"I think Miko might have done something," she spoke, sipping her tea slowly before continuing. "Viktor Tvardosky..."

Maru winced at the mention of the name he had tried hard to erase. 

"... They said that he received a gift from Miko this morning. A baby shower gift."

"Really?" Maru stared at her confused. "Why would she send him a gift after what he did to us? What did she give him anyway?"

Without batting an eyelid, Ai continued, "A head. His wife's head in a Tiffany box. Sliced with a Samurai sword."

An eye for an eye.

Maru stared at her in disbelief, and as ladies in kimono started serving a plate of freshly cut tuna head in front of him, he felt his stomach did a flip.

"Suddenly I hate sashimi..."
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