Reasons and Excuses

Flux [Hiatus]

Night descends on the city of Tokyo, bringing along with it a light rain. Closer to the center of the city and the districts there is still the pollution of light and noise, but in the relatively far outskirts, it is quiet and serene.

 

Yuri quietly walks along the sidewalk. She listens to the light pitter-patter of the rain as she contemplates her mission.

 

Spying… to be honest, she enjoys doing it. This time however, feels different. Yuri frowns and slips her hands into her pockets. She should be fine, nothing should be wrong. So why is she feeling this… apprehension?

 

Just because her target is a master of martial arts doesn’t mean that she won’t be able to spy on her. And yet, Yuri’s instincts have never let her down before. Certainly, she trusts them more than her current employer. For all she knows about him, this could still be a trap, if an elaborate one. And yet her instincts are also telling her that that is false, that this is not a trap. What to do, what to do, what to do…

 

Yuri throws her hood off in frustration, allowing the rain to stream over her head. She stares up at the dark, cloudy night sky, rain drops falling all over her face, standing like that for a few minutes before shaking her hair from side to side and pulling the hood back up again. Then she continues walking, as water creeps down her cheeks to her chin.

 

With a startle, Yuri realizes that the water on her face is not just from the dark grey clouds up in the sky.

 

Furiously she wipes off all of the raindrops and tears from her face. Stopping, she stares at the ground for a while before suddenly dropping down onto the sidewalk. She sits on her rear and clutches her knees in front of her, burying her face in her legs and for whatever mysterious reason, she cries.

 

It is in this state that a calm voice intrudes on her solitary sobbing session.

 

“Hey. Something the matter?”

 

Yuri slowly allows her face to lift up and see who is talking to her. Her face a wet, dirty mess, she stares at the cute, calm and serene woman standing over her. She is wearing a kimono and holding a large umbrella, blocking out the rain from above.

 

Yuri stands up and wipes her face again. “Nothing. Don’t bother yourself with me.”

 

The woman smiles. “What’s your name?”

 

Yuri awkwardly looks away. She wants to walk away and leave, but the aura of calmness from this woman is drawing her in. That, and the fact that the umbrella is protecting her from the onslaught of rain — and sorrow. “I don’t divulge that information very easily.”

 

“Do you have somewhere to stay?”

 

“Yes, I do. Do I look homeless to you?”

 

If she is taken aback by Yuri’s menacing tone she does not show it. “I think you could use my help. And not—” She hastily continues before Yuri can cut her off, “—not because I think you are in need of a place to stay. But I can tell, there is something missing.”

 

“Something missing from what?” Yuri asks rather irritably.

 

The woman points at Yuri’s chest with her long and slim hand. “Your heart.”

 

Yuri is about to say something rude but the woman’s final statement stops her, leaving Yuri standing there with open.

 

“I’m Im Yoona. If you feel that you may need my help, come to my dojo. It’s just down the road, you can’t possibly miss it. Oh, and don’t come now, I’m going to sleep. It’s getting late, you should get home too.” And with that the mysterious woman, Yoona, turns around and disappears into the darkness and gloom of the rain.

 

Yuri closes her eyes and clenches her hands and teeth at the same time. “Damn it.” Opening her eyes, she stares up at the sky and the falling rain once more. “Damn it.”

 

-

 

There is a loud knock on the door. Yoona opens it, and standing there, in the glare of the sun, is the young woman that she met last night. “Hello! Come on in.”

 

Yuri steps inside and looks around. In front of her is a small hallway with a few doors on the sides and one big door at the end. Yoona is already walking towards the big door. Yuri calls out to her, “Wait! What about my shoes?”

 

Yoona waves a dismissive hand behind her as she continues to walk. “Just put them down there for now. Come here.”

 

Yuri jogs and catches up to Yoona just as she reaches the door. Gripping the large handles, she pulls it open.

 

“Wow…” Yuri sees dozens of students training in various martial arts, facing off against blocks, punching bags or each other.

 

“Are you a teacher?” Yuri says as she watches a student throw another student to the ground and throw his fist up in triumph.

 

“Yes, I suppose. But I’m the headmaster of this dojo, so not just a teacher.” Yoona steps forward and spreads her arms out. Immediately every single person in the room stops and looks at her. “We have a new pupil.” She steps aside and gestures at Yuri. “She wishes to keep her name a secret for now, but I’m sure she’ll open up soon enough. Please welcome her.” All of the students bow or wave before returning back to whatever they were doing before. Yuri politely waves back.

 

After everyone else has stopped looking, Yuri spins roughly and grabs Yoona by the arm. “I never said I wanted to join your school!”

 

Yoona nudges Yuri’s hand off of her. “Yes you did. You came here.”

 

“That doesn’t mean I wanted to join! I only came because—” Yuri hesitates and searches for a reason. “—because—”

 

Yoona shakes her head disappointedly. “You can’t hide it from me, you know.”

 

“Hide what?”

 

“Don’t feign ignorance.”

 

“W-what?! What are you talking about?”

 

Yoona gives her a small smile. “I could tell right away by the way you looked at me.”

 

“What?” But Yoona has already turned and is walking away. Yuri hurries to catch up to her. “Wait!”

 

Realization suddenly dawns on Yuri. No way…! she thinks I’m in love with her?

 

“Come here!” Yoona has reached a separate room off to the side of the main hall, and is beckoning Yuri to come follow. Yuri hastens to do so, a little relieved. I thought she’d figured me out… oh well, I can use this to my advantage. She enters into the room and sees Yoona standing on top of a mat just in front of her. She steps onto it. Yoona closes her eyes and clasps her hands in front of her. Yuri does the same.

 

Yoona smiles and raises an eyebrow. “So you do have a secondary reason for being here. You’re quite well at hiding your feelings and thoughts, though. I can’t seem to see what it is. …Of course, I don’t need to.”

 

She opens her eyes and gazes at Yuri. “I only have one question. Truly, why are you here? Are you here in order to find the missing piece of your heart, in order to complete yourself — or is that only an excuse to cover for your second reason?” She holds her hands in front of her and tenses her body. “I want you to show me. Show me your reasons — and if they are really reasons, or just excuses.”

 

Yuri steps back, slightly surprised. “Huh? But…”

 

“But what?” Yoona challenges. “I can tell that you know at least one type of martial art. Don’t try lying to me.”

 

“But I don’t feel like fighting—”

 

Yoona kicks out at her with lightning speed. Yuri sidesteps and pulls at Yoona’s leg, causing her to tumble to the floor. She leaps up and swings a fist, which Yuri blocks with her arm. “Ouch.” She grabs Yoona’s arm and bends over, flipping her over her body.

 

Yoona flips nimbly so that she lands on her feet behind Yuri. “Not bad.”

 

Yuri turns around to face her. “You think so?” She clenches her fists and grins, facing Yoona. “I haven’t had a good fight in a while now.”

 

Yoona smiles back and launches herself at Yuri. Yuri charges at Yoona, and the two meet in the middle in a clash of fists, and a clash of determinations.

 

Yuri leaps backwards and smiles, her left eye swelling and blood dripping from the corner of . Yoona shakes her hands and exhales loudly. Her ear is scratched and bloody, and there is a large bruise on her cheek. She steps forward and the two girls circle around each other, looking for an opening. Suddenly Yoona swings her foot at Yuri’s legs, too fast for her to dodge, and Yuri trips and falls to the floor.

 

Yoona is about to leap on top of her and finish the battle when the air is invaded by a loud ding. Both girls freeze for a few seconds before Yuri realizes where it came from and fumbles at her pocket for her phone. She pulls it out and checks the message that she received, mumbling it to herself.

 

Yoona watches her, waiting. “What is it? Anything important?”

 

Yuri bites her lip and sits up. “It is. Seems like there’s been a change of plan.”

 

Yoona stares at her impatiently, uncomprehending. “What are you talking about? Change of plan for what?”

 

Yuri slips her phone into her pocket. “I need to show you something.”

 

“What?”

 

“Just follow me.”

 

“Where?” Yoona pauses. “Wait. You’re going to show me, aren’t you? Your reasons?”

 

Yuri shrugs in response. “Just come.” She exits the room and walks through the main training room, Yoona just behind her. She throws the doors open and steps outside.

 

To Yoona’s surprise, there is a black Porsche Carrera GT waiting outside. She points at it, skeptical. “That’s not yours, is it?”

 

“Of course it isn’t.” Yuri walks up to it and finding the door unlocked, opens it and climbs into the driver’s seat. “C’mon, get in.”

 

Yoona gingerly slips into the passenger side. “Where in the hell did you get the money for this?”

 

Yuri starts the car up, and with a rather loud rev of the engine, accelerates. “I told you, it isn’t mine.” The powerful V10 engine effortlessly carries them through the streets.

 

“Then whose is it?”

 

Yuri shrugs and gives a vague response. “A friend of mine.”

 

“Who exactly?”

 

“You’ll see him soon, don’t worry.”

 

Yoona sighs and accepts the answer for the time being. Suspicions are rising in her mind, but she decides to play along for now.

 

The supercar stops in front of a small house. Yuri parks on the side of the road and gets out. Yoona follows suit, and walks up to the door behind Yuri, who rings the doorbell.

 

A man opens the door and nods at Yuri. “Come in, please.”

 

Yuri complies but Yoona doesn’t move. “You expect me to just walk into a random person’s house?”


The man returns inside, but Yuri turns around and faces Yoona. “I had my doubts at first too. But come in and you’ll see, it’s worth it.” And with that she disappears into the house.

 

Yoona stands outside, unable to decide what to do. “Oh, what the hell…” Clenching her fists, she steps inside and shuts the door behind her.

 

Yuri looks up from sitting on the couch. “About time.” She stands up and walks to a closed door, possibly leading to the basement. “Lock the door, then come here.”

 

Yoona looks at the door and sees a switch labelled ‘Locking mechanism’. She flips the switch and hears a few gears moving and a click. Assuming this means it is locked, she turns around and opening the door to the basement, descends the stairs. Waiting at the bottom are both Yuri and the mysterious man.

 

Yoona reaches the bottom and looking up, studies both of them. “Why am I here?”

 

The man answers. “It’s better if I show you something first.” He strolls over to the corner and the wall swings open to reveal the secret entrance. Yoona raises an eyebrow and walks inside.

 

She has the same reaction as Yuri did when she first saw it. gaping, she stares all around her. “W…” It takes a while for her to find her voice. “What is all of this for?”

 

“This,” The man raises his arms and addresses both of the girls. “this is the start of a new, revolutionary movement. The greatest movement ever in the history of mankind, even greater than the Russian and French Revolutions, even greater than the American Revolution. And you two,” He points both of his index fingers at Yuri and Yoona, “are the beginning.”

 

The two girls stare at him like he is crazy. Yuri scratches her head. “Well, he never mentioned this before…” She glances at Yoona, who she can tell is getting second thoughts. She nudges Yoona on the shoulder. “Still, you have to admit that this place is awesome.”

 

Yoona sighs and grudgingly nods. “It is. But this guy is clearly out of his mind.”

 

“I’m listening, you know.” The man sighs loudly. “I knew that you would think I am crazy. But let me tell you this: Whenever a great person came up with something amazing and revolutionary, his ideas were almost always dismissed as crazy. Now, I’m not saying that I am a great person — what I am saying is that I will make you great people.”

 

Skeptically, Yuri asks, “And how, exactly?”

 

You don’t worry about the ‘how’. It’ll happen, just trust me. And anyways, I’m not even close. I haven’t even gathered everyone yet. You both are just two of them. I’ve already found all of the members.”

 

“Members?” Yoona asks confusedly.

 

He smiles. “You’ll see soon enough. I promise, you’ll love it.”

 

“We’ll hold you to that.” Yoona looks him over critically. “But still, who are you?” When he looks at her questionably, she adds, “Like, I mean what’s your name?”

 

“Me?” He points to himself and smiles boastfully. “My real name doesn’t matter. Just call me Chief.”

 

“Chief?” Yuri looks at him weirdly. “Why should we call you Chief?”

 

“Has a nice ring to it.”

 

Yoona sighs and grabs Yuri by the arm. “C’mon let’s go. We need to finish our fight.” Yuri sighs and allows herself to be dragged out of the house.

 

Chief watches them go. “When I call you here again, I will have more proof to show you my plans. Just you wait.”

 

 

Taeyeon taps her fingers on the counter impatiently as the cashier scans all of the items in her basket.

 

“That’ll be… 25 euros, please.”

 

Taeyeon hands over a few bills and picking up the plastic bag containing her items, walks to the entrance of the store. She opens the door and steps out — right into the path of a figure speeding by. The two collide violently and she is thrown to the floor, the figure dressed completely in black falling over her. The figure abruptly stands up, muttering an apology. In her haste to stand up, her hood slips over her head, revealing a pretty face and long waves of hair.

 

Taeyeon struggles up to her feet. “You should watch where you’re going…” She studies the girl’s face for a little while.

 

The girl hastily throws her hood on again, obscuring her face. “I’ve gotta go. I hope whatever you bought isn’t ruined.” She turns around and dashes away.

 

Taeyeon watches her go before opening her bag and looking inside. “Dammit, my muffins are all squished now…”

 

-

 

That was a close call. I should be more careful. Seohyun thinks as she runs along the sidewalks, dodging people and other obstacles. Something clicks in the back of her mind and she spins around. Her eyes scan the large crowd of people behind her. Unable to locate the girl she just crashed into, she sighs with relief and continues running.

 

-

 

Taeyeon just barely ducked in time. She crouches behind a bench on the sidewalk, and taking an image out of her pocket, she compares it with Seohyun’s anxious face. When she turns around and continues running, Taeyeon slips out of her hiding place and follows her.

 

A bus pulls up at the bus station just ahead and Seohyun climbs in, entering at the last moment before the door closes to ensure she isn’t being followed. Seeing this, Taeyeon hastily tries the doors on the cars parked on the road beside her. After a few cars, she finds a Subaru WRX left unlocked by some forgetful commuter and jumps in. Pulling a screwdriver out of her pocket she hastily hotwires the care, finishing in 30 seconds. Just as she is pulling out of the parking spot she hears an angry shout. “Hey!”

 

“Sorry.” She mutters as she speeds up and tails the bus, watching all of the stops to see if Seohyun gets off. Finally after following the bus for 15 minutes she sees Seohyun leave the bus and start walking leisurely down the street. She parks the car on the side of the street and leaps out. Watching Seohyun walking down the road ahead of her, she runs into the building just to her right and dashes to the stairs, taking them three at a time.

 

She reaches the roof and rushes to the edge. Looking over she sees Seohyun still walking down the street, easily in reach. Taking a deep breath, she pulls her back-up sniper rifle off of it’s holster on her back. She hadn’t thought it would be necessary to bring her best rifle, not knowing that this would happen. Now she wishes that she had.

 

She lies on her stomach just at the edge and readies the rifle on her shoulder, putting her eye against the scope and training the crosshairs on the back of Seohyun’s head. She breathes deeply in and out, and her finger pulls lightly on the trigger.

 

Seohyun freezes, then throws herself sideways at the wall. A bullet rips into the concrete just beside her, and she is up and running again.

 

Taeyeon swears and leans farther out off of the roof. She sweeps the scope across the whole street, and sees nothing. Seohyun has disappeared. She swears again and scrambles up to her feet. She turns around and is about to replace the sniper rifle in its holster when the door to the roof opens, and Seohyun walks out.

 

Taeyeon’s arm and leg muscles freeze for a few seconds before feeling and sense comes back to her. Her sniper arm swings to fire at Seohyun, but she is too slow and before she can do anything there is already a knife at .

 

Seohyun firmly holds the knife, gazing at Taeyeon with malice. “Who are you?”

 

Taeyeon glances at the knife and gulps, but provides no answer.

 

Seohyun pushes the knife deeper and a bead of blood emerges onto the tip. “Let me rephrase that. Who sent you?”

 

Taeyeon suddenly lashes her fist outwards, catching Seohyun on the chin. Seohyun stumbles backwards and Taeyeon quickly levels her rifle and fires.

 

This time Seohyun has little to no space for movement, and her reflexes only barely save her life. She flips over to the side and the bullet crashes into her left leg, throwing her backwards and face-first to the floor. Taeyeon smiles and points the gun at Seohyun’s still body.

 

Suddenly a barrage of bullets explodes over the edge of the building. Taeyeon cries out as a bullet grazes her forehead, then loses her footing and crashes to the floor.

 

A voice blares out from below. “Whoever you are! Stand and put your hands up! Don’t try anything funny!”

 

Taeyeon grits her teeth and drags herself across the floor on her belly. She just reaches the door to the stairs that led to the roof when she hears footsteps echoing up the staircase. Quickly, she closes the door and bars it with her sniper rifle.

 

Angry voices and fists beat against the blockade. Taeyeon knows that it won’t hold for very long. She also knows that she needs to get out of here as soon as possible. Crawling to the back edge of the roof, she peers over the edge. Not too far down is a balcony, close enough to drop down to without getting hurt. She is about to climb over when she remembers the girl.

 

Glancing back, she sees Seohyun still on the floor, a pool of blood surrounding her injured leg. Her eyes flicker open and catch Taeyeon’s gaze, pleading with her.

 

Taeyeon stares back, frozen with indecision. Should she help or should she go? She was supposed to kill Seohyun anyways… A sudden break in the beatings against the door causes her to make a split second decision. If they’ve stopped attacking the door the only possibility is that they’ve laid explosive against it. Swiftly she leaps up and runs to Seohyun. She lifts her up and loops her arm around the tall girl, supporting her weight. Quickly they run while crouching to the edge Taeyeon was at seconds ago.

 

Taeyeon judges the distance of the drop. “Here, lift your injured leg and grab onto me with your arms. We’ll jump at the same time and land on my two legs and your right leg. Got it?”

 

Seohyun nods and hastily wraps herself around Taeyeon. With a deep intake of air, they steady themselves, then leap off of the edge.

 

Seohyun closes her eyes as the air and noise rushes past her ears. She winces as her leg crashes against the floor, but there isn’t much pain. They quickly brush it off, and immediately run into the building and down the stairs. At the bottom is a fire exit which Taeyeon barges through dragging Seohyun behind her, setting off an alarm just as the door at the roof explodes.

 

The officers pour through the now destroyed door — and are dismayed to find nothing on the other side but the remains of a sniper rifle and a pool of blood.

 

-

 

Taeyeon and Seohyun lean against the wall, panting. Taeyeon slides down the wall to the floor. “Whew. That was a close one.”

 

Seohyun nods and averts her gaze. “Yeah. ...Thanks, by the way.”

 

“Huh?” Taeyeon looks up, then remembers. “Oh. Right. ...No problem.”

 

Seohyun awkwardly looks at the floor and scratches her leg. Her leg is killing her, but she isn’t going to admit that. She bites her lips and holds it in. “Well, it’s gotten dark enough now, I’d better be going.”

 

“You’ve got to be kidding me. With that leg, you aren’t gonna get anywhere.”

 

“Well what am I supposed to do then? Sit here and wait to bleed out?”

 

Taeyeon flinches as she recalls who exactly did that to her leg. She directs her mind away from that thought, and decides to think about what to do about it instead. “Here, let me…” She scooches forward and tightly wraps a piece of cloth around the wound. Immediately it turns deep red with blood.

 

Seohyun winces and shakes her leg. “It’s fine. I’ll survive.” She gingerly places some weight on her leg, then turns around and limps a little distance away. Then she stops and faces Taeyeon again. “Thank you. ...You know, for not killing me. I know it was probably your assignment and now you’re not going to get your pay… so I just wanna say thanks.” With that she limps off into the darkness.

 

When she disappears Taeyeon leans against the wall and tilts her head up, looking at the stars in the sky. “Really… what am I thinking? How am I going to buy supplies and a replacement for my replacement sniper now?” She sighs and drops her head to her knees. “The pay for this job was awesome too… and I let my emotions get in the way.” She clenches her teeth and beats her fist against the wall multiple times.

 

Pulling her fist away she looks at it and studies the new scratches and bruise marks. “Sure feels good, though. Just think about it. Me, an assassin, saving someone’s life!” She laughs to herself and looking up, watches a shooting star burn across the sky.

 
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Yuyuriri
Chapter 5 is out :3
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