Piro and Erika took the subway to Roppongi; the car was packed with well-dressed revelers. Piro ruefully glanced down at his clothes and wished that he had something fancier to wear.

<How did your little student's first lesson go, Piro? >

Piro looked up at Erika, looked into her eyes and smiled. <Pretty well, she has talent. >

Erika leaned forward, <That's not all she has, you should have heard her little friends! >

Piro blushed, <I heard enough from them, Sonoda-san got pretty mad at them and told them to go away. They acted like I was going to do something to her. Like I was going to start sprouting tentacles any minute. >

Erika laughed then covered her mouth and looked away.

<I'm sorry, Erika. I didn't mean to…>

She looked back at Piro, her eyes twinkling, <That's the first time you've ever made a joke. It was funny! >

Piro smiled, for the first time in a long time he was starting to relax.

<Where is Ping going tonight? >

<She said that one of her classmates had been hurt by a bad man and is in the hospital. She's going to visit her with her friend from school and then spend the night with her.

Erika nodded, <That's Tohya, right? >

<Yeah, that's her. >

They were silent for a little while, Piro was very conscious of Erika's warmth, He could smell her hair, the light scent of her perfume. The train rocked and he leaned against her then tensed. She looked at him and smiled then wrapped her free arm around his shoulders.

<Umm…Erika. Thank you. >

<For what, Piro? >

<For being there today. >

Erika squeezed him then leaned her head against his.

<You're welcome. >

As the train rolled to a stop and the doors slid open Erika drop her hand down and brushed Piro's hand. Her fin gertips lightly touch his palm. He hesitated then twined his fingers with hers as they left the train.

<What's the name of this place again, Piro? >

<The Blue Rose, that's all I know. Yanagisawa-san took the message while I was giving the art lesson. He didn't even get the callers name. I would think he'd recognize Largo's voice if that were who it was. >

Erika nodded, <I don't think Yanagisawa's English is that good anyway. >

The streets were crawling with a wild assortment of people all intent on having a good time.

<This place can be pretty rough if you're not careful. >

Piro nodded, <I've heard about it. Say, did you let Nanasawa-san know we'd be out late? >

Erika nodded, <Yes, I called her. The studio had setup a pre-release event in Osaka and she's going up tonight. She'll be home late tomorrow. > She smiled, <I remember those days, they're breaking her in early. She'll hav e fun though. >

Piro raised an eyebrow, <Looks like it's just the two of us then. >

Erika squeezed his hand, <Just the two of us…>

A huge Nigerian stood watch at the door of The Blue Rose, he turned his head toward Piro as they approached and crossed his arms.

<Name please. >

<Umm, Piro. >

The doorman spoke briefly on his throat mike then smiled broadly, <Welcome sir, your party is waiting for you. >

They were escorted to a table in the back, a jazz ensemble played up on the stage. Piro's eye's widened and Erika tightened her grip on his hand.


"Hello Piro."

Piro fumbled for a second then pulled out Erika's seat for her; she looked up and smiled her thanks then glared at Ed.

"I didn't know you liked jazz. "

Ed smiled, "You should try new things from time to time, you'll never know what you are missing if you don't. "

"I s that why you invited me here?"

"Of course not, though I do hope you enjoy yourself." He looked over at Erika; "I'm delighted to see that you've brought your friend. "

Piro smiled, "She wouldn't take no for an answer. When she found out I was going to be in Roppongi she insisted." Piro looked at Erika "I'm glad she did."

Erika continued to glare at Ed, "Does this have anything to do with Largo?"

Ed paled, "What do you know about Largo? "

"That he's being hunted, that his Mortal Kombat Vise was revoked"

Ed sighed and then relaxed, "No, it's not about Largo. Though if you ever see him again you should try to get away as fast as you can. It's about Dom. "

Piro groaned, "Now what? "

Ed considered just how much to tell Piro before continuing, "Dom thinks that I'm dead, he shot me yesterday. "

Erika and Piro both just stared and then in unison said, "Shot you?"

Ed nodded, "Sony has the best doctors on the planet working right her in Tokyo. I'm going to be taking a few days off to recuperate."

Piro was stunned, Ed and Dom had always been rivals but this was incredible. Ed continued, "I'm just telingl you to be careful."

Ed finished the drink setting in front of him and stood to leave. "It's good to see you again Piro, I'll try to stay in touch. Order anything you like, it will go on my tab."

They listened to the music for a while then Erika touched Piro's arm. <Do you think that he is telling the truth? >

Piro nodded, <I'd like to think that it's a prank but with everything else that has happened I don't think so. >

Erika slid her hand over Piro's, <Are you ready to leave? >

Piro looked at her, <Yes, let's go home. >

The train ride back seemed to take forever; they didn't speak as they prepared for bed. Piro stared into the dark trying to make sense of the days events. Finally he got up of f the folding bed and turned uncertainly to face the bedroom door. He took a step toward it and then it swung open. Erika crossed the room silently.

<Were you standing there all this time? >

Erika whispered into his ear, <Yes. >

Piro felt his hands wrapping around her waist, <Why did you come out? >

<I was afraid that you would lie back down. >

Erika tipped his chin up and her lips brushed his.

<What? >

Erika smiled, <I wanted to ask you to give me a goodnight kiss but I didn't know how. >

Piro felt himself blushing, <You saw? >

She nodded, <Now hush. >

Her lips parted as he kissed her deeply, they broke the kiss and just held each other for a while.

<Piro? >

<Hmm? >

She stroked his hair and looked into his eyes, <Don't go back. >

Piro smiled, <I've found everything I've ever wanted right here. >

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