Cutscene: stage two - A Tract of Great Price
A Tract of Great Price
Characters: Hideo Matsuda
Date: Various dates; December 29th, 2012
"This place is a fucking pig sty."
Nostrils widened in a flare as a teenaged Hideo Matsuda took in the stench in the air with the disgusted inward crunch of brows. Alcohol vapors mixed with tobacco smoke and various other scents he did not even want to begin to try to identify. The stale air alone left an impression that will last a lifetime for the disgruntled-looking teenager.
To his right, an older man wearing a custom-tailored red suit silently settled into a seat in the bar. Matsuda fixed a scrutinizing stare at the man for several long, silent seconds before he gave up with a sigh, and leaned his back into the bar countertop.
"Why'd you pick this place, anyway?" groused the youth.
Hideo Matsuda spared exactly five seconds to squint at his red-suited companion before his face simply curdled in a lack of comprehension. "Whatever. I don't get you sometimes, you know that?" Rubbing at the long scar running down his otherwise bare jaw, the green-eyed youth turned his gaze back to the countertop. "So what did you wanna talk to me about--"
"Get a drink."
"The owner serves non-alcoholic beverages. I've asked him to. If you want, you can order one of those."
"That ain't the poi-- is this why you asked me to walk all the way out here?? To buy a shitty drink in a shitty bar in a shitty neighborhood?? Stop fuckin' messin' with me, you know how goddamn hot it was outside, I got shit to do--"
"Hideo," began the man; despite the even tone of his voice, it more than adequately cut through the beginning of his younger companion's tirade like a hot knife through butter. "You need to learn to foster relationships better. The owner of this bar has allowed us to operate here for years without complaint and without a word to the authorities. He's given us valuable information and services throughout those years without asking much in return.
"He is doing the courtesy of allowing us here to speak our business. The least we can do is allow him the courtesy of supporting him as legitimate customers." The man cradled a glass of scotch; his gaze fixed upon Matsuda.
"Loyalty must go both ways, Hideo."
The young man stared in silence for exactly six seconds before he abruptly tore his gaze away and ordered a simple beer. The bartender stoically went to retrieve his drink, even as the young man stared, almost ashamed, down at his arms, at the first stretch of irezumi imprinted onto his forearm. Tentatively, he repeated, "So... what did you wanna talk about?"
"I have been asked to represent the Yamaguchi-gumi's interests in a negotiation with the Sumiyoshi-kai. I want you to join me." Something more fierce, more violent crept into Hideo's eyes. The red-suited man shook his head. "This is a diplomatic meeting. I want you to attend in order to observe and learn from this side of things."
The man sipped from his drink. His gaze focused forward, unblinking. "You have great potential, and I want to see you achieve it. But you must learn something important: not everything can be achieved with force.
"There is a time and a place for violence, Hideo. Learn how to apply it appropriately."
Hideo Matsuda stares out at the charred out wreckage of the former hovel of a bar.
It is close to a week after he caused the fire that burned down the hole of an establishment and several of the surrounding buildings. Something like disappointment mingles with his simmering anger as he watches the wreckage from an alley further afield. Vibrant green eyes track the Department agents as they scour the landscape, slowly and carefully drawing out a blackened, metallic object from the rubble.
Rubbing at the scar marring his bearded jaw, Hideo scowls. After Kyo had dropped him off -- and /after/ Hideo had gotten done angrily cursing out everything to do with Personas and Kyo's 'smelly-ass fucking foot, jesus goddamn christ,' the man had wasted no time in cutting off any loose ends and trails that could lead the police towards finding him, and almost as an afterthought, getting his wounds treated. It isn't hard, in a city this size, hiding from authorities for as long as one needed. That was never the problem. One only had to be careful.
Which makes what Hideo is doing at the scene of his crime a mystery to anyone other than the man himself.
Eyes linger on the charred safe the Department 4 investigation team draw out from the gutted remains of the bar for several long seconds before he grouses. "Guess they ain't all shitbirds," he mutters in a way completely and utterly unflattering. Somehow it just comes naturally to him. His gaze falls to the remains of the bar. He stares there, expression unreadable as he takes in the wreckage, the ashes of what was once a bartop, tables. Memories.
Thoughts of what once was flight through the man's mind before he simply sneers in something resembling contempt. It's hard to say who, exactly, it is reserved for.
"... Piece of shit--gh." With a wince, the man turns to leave. One hand presses against his abdomen where reddened bandages lie under his shirt; he makes one limping step--
"Grrrrrrr. Woof! Woof woof!"
--Only to stop just in front of the mangy, dirt-covered akita dog blocking his path down the alleyway, bearing fangs at him with the most aggressive of snarls. Patches of fur have gone missing on the dog; signs of abuse and neglect all too obvious in the exceptionally gaunt body those shaggy stretches of fur actually manage to cover. Hideo Matsuda stares on at the animal in front of him for several thick seconds of silence with an expression best described as long-suffering. His lips part.
"Get the fuck outta my way, you dumbass mutt."
And with all the care and courtesy one might expect, he sweeps his right leg forward, using the sole of his boot to try to shove the thin creature's entire body out of the way.
He reacts equally as well as one might expect when he tries to pull back his foot, only to find the dog angrily biting into the toes of his boot.
"Agh -- christ, you stupid bastard! Get the fuck offa me! I swear to goddamned god!!" It takes a few violent shakes of his foot to finally free himself. With a curse of something about "fucking crotch-licking fleaboats" he starts to walk again.
He gets five steps before he stops. Looks behind him. And stares at the dog, following intently behind him and growling. The second he looks, the animal barks. Loudly. His lips pull into a frown best described as 'intensely annoyed.' His gaze flicks back towards the bar, and the government agents still there. To the loud, irritating, stupid dog. To the bar. To the dog.
"I ain't got time for this shit, you understand me?" growls out the man. The dog barks in response. "'course you don't, you got a fuckin' pea for a brain. Shut up. Get the fuck away. Or I swear to god." Another step. The dog follows after, barking.
Hideo can feel blood rushing angrily to his face. And so his rational, level-headed solution to his problem is to pivot around, crouch down until he is as close to eye level with his pursuer as a man of his sheer size can be.
And then he shoves the barrel of his large silver revolver into the stray's face. Calmly.
"This is what's gonna happen, you shit-eating asshole. You bark one more time - ONE more fuckin' time - I'm gonna shoot you in the face. I don't fuckin' care who hears it. Ain't gonna be the worst thing I've ever done."
The dog's lips peel back.
A low snarl rumbles from its lips.
It opens its maw.
The hammer cocks.
"Shove it already! Christ!"
Hideo Matsuda rifles through papers with a definitive sense of irritability that extends all the way to how he fills the room he is currently staying in with a definitive haze of smoke from every angry puff of his cigar.
Behind him, an akita dog missing patches of fur but looking freshly cleaned barks enthusiastically and loudly as it bolts throughout the apartment eagerly.
"Stupid-ass mutt. I see one fuckin' flea in here and I'm gonna eat you. You got that?"
Left to sneer distastefully as the dog blissfully ignores him, Matsuda returns to his work. Green eyes skim over a series of papers, copied from originals no longer in his possession. Information, names. Photos. The apartment he finds himself in is not his own -- any place he might have claimed to have come close to owning was infested with police and gutted out long before now. But it'll do.
He's never needed a home.
Beyond him, Hideo ambivalently only half-listens to news blaring on the television as it plasters his own face up for an entire city to see and declares a city-wide manhunt for "the Cintamani ringleader."
A derisive snort escapes him as he organizes his files -- only to pause as he hears the ding of his cellphone. Without a word, he pulls out his archaic, pre-paid flip-phone. Stares at the text message sent to him. Expression unreadable, he types out his response.
'On ur own for now like i told you
'Got prsnl bsns to take care of
'Will be back after its all finished
'So calm the fuck down'
The phone flips shut with an irritated grunt. The sound of the dog tearing into something food-related behind him brings an irritated scrunch to his brows. "All a buncha smartasses," mutters the man to himself, rifling through his files. Files with names, information, photos. Of Sumiyoshi-kai members.
The pile slaps down on his desk as he stands, grabs his gun, and walks off, the name 'TATSUYA SUDOU' glaring upward, prominent in its position at the top of the pile.