"I don't like this." growled Junichi.
"She should be waking up soon," said Chain, "She'll have a nasty headache. She'll be thirsty, too." He rummaged through a cupboard in the houseboat's tiny galley, and came up with a small pill bottle that evidently satisfied him. The lanky, sleepy-eyed man then pulled a bottle of mineral water from a cooler on the floor.
Junichi said nothing, his mouth set in a thin, angry line. Chain sighed, realizing that they were going to have to go through this. Again.
"Alright, Chub, spit it out."
Junichi bristled. It was a sight which had shut down a lot of bar fights before they'd started over the years. He was not a small man, and had a hard, mean look about him. His bald dome carried several ominous scars and dents, proof that he could absorb punishment and survive. Another man might have paid dearly for dragging out his old nickname at a time like that, but Junichi and Chain had been partnered for a long time, and it suited each of them well enough to put up with the other.
"This whole job stinks, that's what."
"You're telling me?" Chain snarled, evidently deciding that rather than listen to Junichi's rather unimaginative griping, he'd do a better job of it himself. "First we gotta nab some kid"—he paused to spit into the wastebasket in the corner—"but not just any kid, oh no. It's gotta be a kid whose dad's a cop and mom's a former magic girl."
"It ain't like we're going to hurt her." Junichi said, a little defensively. It never occurred to him to wonder how he suddenly ended up in the conciliatory role when he'd been the one complaining in the first place. The big man's specialties were muscle and mayhem; beyond those parameters he was not generally considered employable based on his intellect.
"Yeah, right. You go tell that to her folks when they catch up with us. Hey, we didn't hurt your girl any, we just kind of…kidnapped her a little."
"Can't be helped," Junichi growled, "Haruki said so."
"And he'd better be able to cover us when the heat comes down. I'm having my doubts just like you are."
Normally it was not a smart thing to doubt Yoshi Haruki's capabilities any more than it was to question or balk when he gave an order. A respected and feared crime boss, he had called on a favor (it seemed half the players in Tokyo's seedy underworld owed Haruki a favor or two) to hire the pair for this job. Kidnapping a school kid was normally the kind of gig that Chain and Junichi would have turned down flat—violently, if necessary--but the Haruki had not been willing to take no for an answer, and that was that.
"At least we got backup." Chain reasoned.
Junichi just snorted. Backup which probably wouldn't bolt at the first sign of trouble. Haruki's guns were normally capable guys, but in this particular case all bets were off. Besides, it was a little unsettling that Haruki had hired out the actual kidnapping itself, using his own people only for the second-tier stuff. The two couldn't be tied directly to Haruki in any way, and they had no hard proof that it really was him that had hired them. If things went wrong, it would be far better for them to keep their mouths shut and take the heat themselves. Assuming they survived, of course. Neither man could be blamed for feeling just a little bit edgy at that moment.
"It's bad business." Junichi finally announced. "We were screwed no matter what we did. I'm not going to forget that."
"Me either, buddy. If we get out of this in one piece, someone's gonna owe us."
At the moment a low moan came from the bedroom. Chain gathered up the pills and water. There was no question which of them would be dealing directly with their captive. Junichi, who weighed 130 kilos, and had nothing that even remotely resembled a neck, could make babies cry just by smiling at them. Chain, on the other hand, could be tactful, and even charming when he had to. As much as he would have preferred to just go in and tell the little brat to keep quiet and behave or he'd let the big scary man hurt her, there was no way he was going to play it that way. Not on a job that could so easily go sour.