King of the Road

by Tenshi

I ain't got no cigarettes...

The wheels of the stolen jeep tore deep gouges in the muddy roadside, squealing for purchase a moment before they reached the blacktop road and left rubbery streaks on it. The thin whine of sirens was already audible, even over the engine's roar, and the night sky was orange with a towering, evidence-consuming pillar of fire in the distance. As a getaway driver, Aya was indifferent to his fellow passengers' comfort or lack thereof. He wrenched the jeep onto the road and between the white lines, putting the pedal to the floor in his haste to get them away from the messy remains of their last mission.

"Goddammit!" Yohji exploded, from the back seat. The rough turn had pulled the cigarette from his gloved fingers, whisking it away into the jeep's slipstream. "I'm trying to light up, here!"

"Sorry," Aya said, without sounding it at all, his violet eyes hard on he road, hair vivid in the distant firelight.

"If you wanted a light, you should have gotten it back there." Ken whistled as he twisted around in the back seat, admiring the destruction. "That place went up like a firecracker."

"Illegal explosives will do that," Omi said. He had his netbook wedged between his knees, his fingers pounding out a staccato of keystrokes as he hastily composed his report for Kritiker.

"I need a smoke after a mission, you know that," Yohji said, reaching into his coat. "Just like after a good--ah, fuck!" The last word was not the end of the sentence, but a noise of supreme annoyance.

"I really have to insist that you watch your language," Aya demurred.

"Watch this!" Yohji said, shoving his empty cigarette pack into Aya's vision, cellophane crackling futilely in his grip. "That was my last one!"

Aya leaned his head sideways to see around Yohji's hand. "Trying to drive here," he said.

"You should probably quit anyway," Omi piped in. "It's terrible for you."

"Getting shot is terrible for you," Yohji snapped. "And I do that twice a week."

"Look, Yohji," Ken began, in mollifying tones. "It's only a couple of hours' drive back home. You can last that long without a smoke, right?"

"Hell no," Yohji said. "There's a gas station up there, Aya, pull over."

"We are covered in blood," Aya said, reasonably, as the jeep streaked past the gas station without hesitation. "Wait."

"I can't work under these conditions." Yohji flung himself back against the seat. "You know, I don't ask for much in this outfit. No fancy bows or claws or swords or infra-red goggles, just a quiet smoke after a mission. But no, Mr. Fancy-Pants has a smudgie-wudgie of blood on his ikle coat, so we all have to suffer--"

"Shut him up or throw him out the side," Aya warned Ken, in tones that were no longer bland.

Omi and Ken exchanged a glance in the rear-view. Ken pursed his lips thoughtfully; Omi made a faint shrug.

"You just need to take your mind off it," Ken said, and there was something very deliberate about the way he took off his glove. Yohji lifted his eyebrows above the frames of his shades, and half a minute later he and Ken were in a groping tangle on the duct-tape patched back seat.

Aya made a soft noise of disgust, tilting up the rear-view so he wouldn't have to watch.

"Don't complain," Omi said, typing again. "It'll keep them quiet."

A minute later and the noises from the backseat were anything but quiet, a series of rhythmic thumps and escalating moans.

"Really," Aya said. "Will it, now."

Omi, blushing furiously, leaned over and turned up the radio as loud as it would go.

Ten minutes later, Yohji leaned forward between the two front seats, his sunglasses askew and his coat unzipped to the navel. His grin was lopsided, languorous. "Now I really need a cigarette," he drawled.

And Aya punched him.


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