❯ The Serpent and the Rainbow – Chapter 1
Disclaimer: I don’t own Akira, and stuff. The actual guy that does is Katsuhiro Otomo. I just write about it in my spare time. The title is also not owned by me, it is courtesy Universal Pictures.
Author’s Note: This fic contains Tetsuo/Kaori and…a bit of a surprise pairing. If you’re not fond of surprises, it’s best to turn back now.
The Serpent and the Rainbow
Where was he?
Kaori sat by her window, staring at the street outside. She was waiting for Tetsuo. Today was her birthday, and he had promised to take her out to dinner tonight. However, he hadn’t showed up. It had been over an hour now. She kept staring outside, waiting to see him pull up on his motorcycle or walk by. Instead, she saw a lot of other people – none of which were him.
She was starting to worry now. Did something happen to him? Did he get in an accident? He was always driving too fast, either to impress her or his friends. What if he slammed into a car while speeding this time?
Or what if he got attacked by Clowns or some other gang? Tetsuo had gone off by himself; the rest of the Capsules were hanging out in the parking lot (she knew this because she had checked there a couple times). He would probably be alright if he came across only one Clown member. But if it was the entire gang, he’d be in a lot of trouble! Or maybe…
Had he found someone else? No, no, that was a silly idea. She knew Tetsuo too well – perhaps more than he or anybody thought she actually knew (maybe even better than he knew himself). He had a bit of an « image problem, » and therefore it took him forever to warm up to anybody. Sometimes, she was surprised he even warmed up to her. Thus, it was highly unlikely Tetsuo had been suddenly swept off his feet by some unknown stranger. And it couldn’t be any of the biker chicks from the Capsules’ entourage; Tetsuo never had any particularly kind words to say about them. He definitely wasn’t the type to badmouth people behind their backs but kiss up to them to their faces.
Unfortunately, that meant it was more likely that Tetsuo was in trouble. Maybe she should go look for him? That was probably a bad idea; it was nighttime, and definitely not safe for her to walk around by herself. But what if Tetsuo was badly hurt and really needed help? She couldn’t just sit around here and do nothing.
Maybe she could ask somebody to go with her. But who could she ask? There were always his fellow Capsule members, but Tetsuo wasn’t really close to any of them. They probably wouldn’t know where he was.
Wait! There was one person that might know! Kaneda and Tetsuo had been best friends since preschool. If there was anybody that would know where Tetsuo ran off to, he would!
She was a little nervous about that, though. She knew what a flirt Kaneda could be. Now, he didn’t seem to be an outright creep, however, she didn’t want to accidentally cause a fight between him and Tetsuo if Kaneda decided to hit on her. Still, he was her only lead; and so, down into the parking lot she went.
The Capsules were still there, hanging out by their bikes while drinking beer and having a few smokes. Kaori was pretty sure those weren’t the only substances they were taking, but that wasn’t important right now. She quickly checked to see if Tetsuo was among them, just in case. Nope, no sign of him. Looks like she’d have to ask Kaneda after all.
She approached cautiously. The other Capsules never tried anything funny with her before, but she still found herself intimidated by them. After all, she didn’t quite know them as well as she knew Tetsuo. That, and she usually wasn’t by herself when she hung around them. She was almost always with the other biker chicks or Tetsuo, who knew how to handle them.
She figured she’d make this as fast as possible. She’s sneak up to Kaneda, pull him aside, and ask where Tetsuo was. Then he’d tell her, and she’d could go find him. Yeah, that seemed simple enough.
Unfortunately, that’s not what was going to happen.
« Hey, ain’t that Tetsuo’s girl? » she heard one of the Capsules say.
The entire gang was staring at her now. A small gasp escaped her lips, and she felt her face turn red.
Kaneda was actually the first to speak. « Well, if it ain’t Kaori! What brings you out here? » He smiled smugly at her.
« Umm…, » she said shyly, « I was wondering if you knew where…Tetsuo was? »
« Tetsuo? Nah, he’s been gone all day. Haven’t seen him since this morning, » Kaneda answered. « How come? »
« Well, we were supposed to go out to dinner tonight but- »
« Oh, I get it. He stood you up, right? »
The other Capsules started snickering. Kaori felt embarrassed. She couldn’t tell if they were laughing at him or her.
« No, no! It’s not like that! » she protested. « I think something’s wrong. I think…he might be in trouble. »
« Eh, maybe, » Kaneda replied. « Lemme guess – you wanna go look for him? »
« Um…yeah. »
Kaneda had this wide smirk on his face and a look in his eye that made Kaori feel a little uncomfortable. « Y’know, it’s pretty dangerous to go out there by yourself. How ’bout I go with you? »
Kaori hesitated, That’s what she was wanting him to do, yes, but the way he was grinning at her was very unsettling. Still, she had to find out what happened to Tetsuo. « Okay, sure, » she said quietly.
« Alright! » Kaneda hopped on his signature huge red bike, sitting on the edge of the seat to leave a space for her. « Hop on! »
« Ya need us to go with ya, Kaneda? » a tall Capsule member, Yamagata, asked. Though Kaori didn’t know the other Capsules as well, she easily recognized him by the description Tetsuo gave her. Of course, the description he gave her was from several angry rants; Tetsuo seemed to have a huge grudge against the guy.
« Nah, don’t worry, » Kaneda told him. « You guys can stay here. This probably ain’t gonna take long. »
Kaori cautiously approached the large motorcycle. It was so much different than Tetsuo’s. Could she get on it like a normal bike, or was there a trick to it? And then there was the having to hold on to Kaneda, which made her feel a bit nervous…
« Well c’mon, it ain’t gonna bite ya! » Kaneda reassured her. « It’s just like Tetsuo’s bike, just rides a lot smoother. Hell, it’s like almost like ridin’ in a car! »
Kaori gingerly climbed into the seat behind Kaneda and grabbed onto his red jacket. As he started the engine, green sparks suddenly shot out of his bike. It startled her, and on instinct she held onto Kaneda tighter. She thought she heard some of the other Capsules snickering. Again she felt embarrassed, thinking they were laughing at her. What she didn’t know is that they were more or less laughing at the huge grin on Kaneda’s face when she squeezed him.
Fortunately, Kaori didn’t have to feel embarrassed much longer, for then Kaneda pulled out of the parking lot and headed down the street.
Well, Kaneda was definitely right about one thing: it did feel like they were riding in a car rather than on a motorcycle. They didn’t need to move around much; the bike seemed to handle everything by itself. It even went in reverse! She still didn’t trust those green sparks, however. She made sure to keep her legs as far away from the back wheel as possible.
Kaneda turned onto a street with a bunch of shops and began to slow down. Kaori noticed he was looking around.
« Is he here? » she asked.
« I thought I heard him talkin’ about goin’ shoppin’ this morning, » he said. « Unless he’s got a lot more money he’s hidin’ somewhere, this is where he’d be! »
Kaneda pulled over to the curb and parked his bike. Kaori wasn’t sure if he was allowed to park there, but she’d worry about that later. Right now, she had to find Tetsuo.
The both of them climbed off the bike. Kaori stuck close to Kaneda as she scanned the streets, looking for Tetsuo’s signature blue sweatshirt. She made sure to look through store windows just in case he was inside. She saw a lot of other people wearing blue clothing, but no sign of Tetsuo.
Maybe he wasn’t here? Maybe he had been driving home and got into trouble? If that was the case, where was he now? Maybe he was in a hospital?
Or was he actually with someone else?
Or what if this was all a misunderstanding, and he was already home? What if he was just really late and was now hanging around her dorm room, wondering where she went? Sure it would be embarrassing, but it was a lot better than him lying lifeless in a ditch somewhere or cheating on her. And a lot more likely.
« Find ‘im yet? » Kaneda asked. Strangely enough, he didn’t sound impatient.
« No, not y- »
Suddenly, Kaori saw a flash of blue out of the corner of her eye. Across the street was a person walking out of a store wearing a blue sweatshirt. He looked short enough to be Tetsuo, but she couldn’t see his face clearly; it was too dark, and she was too far away.
« I think that’s him! » she cried, pointing.
« Ya sure? » Kaneda asked. He almost sounded a little nervous, like he hoped she was wrong. But then again, maybe it was just her imagination.
« I-I think so, » she replied. She turned back to the figure in blue. He was now walking down the street, his back turned to them. She stood on tiptoe, waved, and shouted out to him, « Tetsuo! TETSUO! Over here! »
Unfortunately, the figure didn’t seem to hear her; he just kept walking. Maybe it wasn’t him?
« Wait a sec, I think you’re goin’ about this the wrong way, » Kaneda said, talking Kaori’s hand. « If that’s really Tetsuo, I know what’ll get him over here instantly! »
« Really? » Kaori asked. « What? »
« THIS. »
And with that, Kaneda put his arms around her and gave her a long kiss on the lips.
Kaori was utterly shocked. Kaneda was kissing her? This wasn’t right! She knew Kaneda was a flirt, but she didn’t know he was this bad! She wanted to pull away from him, but…
But actually, this was kind of nice. It wasn’t like Kaneda was trying to jam his tongue in her mouth. And he was holding her so tenderly, she almost relaxed. Tetsuo had never held her like this before. But then again, Kaneda probably had a lot more experience with this than Tetsuo.
No, no, she shouldn’t be thinking like that. And she shouldn’t be letting Kaneda kiss her like this, either. It may not be outright cheating on Tetsuo, but it was still wrong!
Speaking of Tetsuo, where was-?
« KAAANEEEDAAA! »
No sooner did they hear the familiar voice shouting at them than a pair of hands forcefully shoved them apart. An angry Tetsuo was now standing between them. A very angry Tetsuo.
« What the hell you think you’re doin’, Kaneda?! » he demanded, furiously. But before Kaneda could say anything, Tetsuo turned to Kaori, his face changing from angry to concerned. « Kaori, are you alright? He didn’t hurt you, did he? »
« N-no, no, of course not! » Kaori stammered.
Kaneda snickered. « Toldja he’d come, » he said.
Tetsuo whipped his head around, « What the hell are you talkin’ about?! » he snapped at Kaneda.
« According to your girlfriend here, you were supposed to be takin’ her out to dinner tonight, » Kaneda explained, keeping calm. « She got worried when ya never showed and went out lookin’ for ya! »
Tetsuo’s anger suddenly disappeared and his eyes widened. « Oh my god, what time is it now? »
« About seven-thirty, » Kaori replied quietly.
« Holy shit, it’s that late?! » Tetsuo cried. He took Kaori by the hand. « Kaori, I’m so sorry. I was over here tryin’ to get your present, but the bastards sold out of it. I tried to find you something else, but…I couldn’t find anything I thought you’d like… »
Kaori smiled a bit. « That’s okay, Tetsuo, » she said softly. « Just as long as you’re not hurt. »
« Hurt? Nah, you don’t hafta worry about me! » Tetsuo said, trying to sound tough in order to impress Kaori. Kaneda rolled his eyes at him behind his back. « Anyway, how ’bout we go get dinner now? I’ll try and get your present as soon as I can, okay? I promise. »
« Uh, okay, » she replied. She then turned to Kaneda. « Thanks for helping me find him, Kaneda. »
« No problem, » Kaneda said simply.
« Yeah, thanks, » Tetsuo grumbled. « But next time you wanna get my attention, do it without makin’ out with my girlfriend, got it?! »
« Yeah, whatever, » Kaneda snickered. « Next time, get a watch! »
Tetsuo wanted to curse him out, but Kaori was trying to pull him away. He just made a few threatening gestures at Kaneda before following after her. Kaneda just laughed.
They headed down the street to where Tetsuo had parked his motorcycle. As they climbed on the bike, Kaori asked him, « What were you trying to buy, Tetsuo? »
« Well, um…, » Tetsuo started sheepishly.
Kaneda leaned on his bike, watching them leave. Once they were far enough away, he let out a noise somewhere between a sigh and a grunt.
Tetsuo was lucky. Kaori was a very sweet girl. She seemed to honestly care about him – she did go looking for him when she thought he was in trouble, after all. He had a good feeling she would have gone looking for Tetsuo on her own had he not offered to go with her. That was half the reason he even made the offer in the first place – so she wouldn’t get herself into big trouble trying to find him all by herself.
The other half of the reason is that secretly, he had some feelings for her too. He would never admit that openly, of course; Tetsuo would have a conniption fit. Sure, Kaneda had lots of fun with the biker chicks, but they weren’t like Kaori. She was sweet and caring; the biker chicks most likely didn’t give a rat’s ass about him. That was what made Kaori so special. Caring people like her were hard to come by nowadays. Just being around one was a breath of fresh air – the fact that she was a cute girl didn’t hurt, either. That’s why he jumped at the chance to have some alone time with her. Sure not much happened, but it was better than nothing which was what he had originally expected. He was pretty disappointed that Tetsuo had been found so fast; maybe a little more would have happened if he hadn’t?
But he was fairly certain it would never work out between them, anyway. Even if Tetsuo was not in the picture, he was pretty sure she wouldn’t go for a guy like him. Besides, he really wasn’t ready to settle down; in fact, he wasn’t sure if he ever wanted to settle down.
Well, no use hanging around here and thinking about what might have been. People might start staring. Or call the cops on him.
With that, Kaneda hopped back on his bike and started to make his way home. He idly wondered if he’d be lucky enough to meet that special someone – when and if he was actually ready to settle down, that is. He mentally scoffed at himself. Yeah, right! He’d win the lottery or get struck by lightning before that ever happened.
On the other hand, sometimes strange things did happen. However, he wouldn’t bet any money on a miracle happening anytime soon. Knowing this place, he’d probably get hit by the lightning instead.