Description: With Tairyu's sister saved, and the leverage against him removed, the heir of the Aizawa-gumi has to take the next steps in returning his Family to it's former state and honor his foster father's memory. But before he can do that, he has to complete the sign of conviction on his back.
=== TWO YEARS AGO ===
"Are you sure about this, Aizawa?"
The question is presented by an old, grey-haired and -bearded man seated by a design desk within a tattoo studio. The Tattoo Artist had worked with Sohei Aizawa for close to two decades, working ink over the backs of Yakuza who worked for the man. For a Yakuza of Aizawa's old-fashioned school, the hand-poked whole-back tattoo is an important affair, afterall. A work of art over their bodies that can take more than a year to complete, and displays both their devotion to the Yakuza lifestyle, and their own philosophy related to it. It's important to have a trustworthy artist handling them for the people in your Family.
The question The Tattoo Artist gives Aizawa, the man in a crisp black suit and a maroon dress shirt leaning against the wall lined with pictures of numerous tattoo designs, is an important one. One that Aizawa can't simply push aside.
"He's... what, just about to turn twenty?" The Tattoo Artist goes on, while he regards the Yakuza Boss. "He's still young. He could still turn away. He wouldn't have to live that life, walk that path. But once I put my ink on him... there won't be turning back. Not for him. We both know he's that kind of person." The words are spoken with the kind of tone that most people would not dare to speak to a crime boss with, but it is a tone that speaks of a long familiarity. The kind of familiarity that allows him to speak frankly now. And Aizawa takes all those words with solemn seriousness, too.
"Are you sure you want to let him go down that path?"
Aizawa considers that question with the same weight as considering wether or not to send one's son to war, before making his decision.
"He already took the Oath a few years ago. And with the look I see in his eyes every day, I can't bring myself to deny him this, either." Aizawa lets his words hover in the already-heavy-air, and lowers his head for a moment, eyes closed. "...He is ready."
The Tattoo Artist relents upon this, with a sigh.
"Come on back in, kid!" he calls out, with a turn in his chair to face the door.
The door opens, and in steps a young man, in jeans and a cheap button-up white shirt, sporting a bandaid patched onto the bridge of his nose.
"Off with the shirt, Tairyu-san," The Tattoo Artist tells the young man, while turning to open a drawer of his desk to dig through some paper. "Truth be told, I already had a design in mind for you..."
=== NOW ===
Tairyu's fingers work the buttons of his shirt closed, steadily, on The Tattooist's worktable, with a low grunt let out from the feel of the fabric dragging along the skin of his just-worked-on back.
"You don't want to get a look at it? Now that it's finally done?" The Tattoo Artist asks while placing his tools away.
"I don't need to," Tairyu rumbles with a shake of his head. "If I had any doubts on the result, I wouldn't have gone through all this."
The Tattoo Artist chuckles, giving the young Yakuza an amused look. "You're just like your old man, you know that?"
Tairyu's fingers halt, momentarily, right before hooking the middle button of his red shirt through it's hole. "... You think so?" He asks, uncertainly.
"How long do you think I worked with Aizawa? I if anyone can tell."
"...Right." Tairyu sighs heavily, before hooking the button in finally.
The Tattoo Artist frowns, and gives a kick at the floor to send himself, on his wheeled chair, towards Tairyu, so he can give a firm slap to the back of his shoulder. "Don't sound so down about that. Your old man wanted you to have that ink, so you better shine bright enough to be worthy of it."
Tairyu blinks once, twice, at the older man -- before giving an unusually warm smile to him. "Yeah. I won't let either of you down." He pulls himself up from the table, and moves on to recover his jacket.
"I would tell you to make sure you don't rough up your back for a day, but you have the look of a man on a mission on you."
Tairyu looks to The Tattoo Artist over his shoulder upon his words while he's slipping his arms through the sleeves of the jacket, and asks, "Are you going to tell me I shouldn't go?"
"Hardly." The Tattoo Artist gives a firm nod to the other man. "Go on. Make your old man proud."
A deep bow of respect and gratitude both is given to The Tattooist, before Tairyu steps out, and descends the stairs back to street level.
The Tattoo Artist was right, of course. Tairyu had a mission. Granted, the path he was about to step on wasn't something he necessarily needed to undergo anymore. He had saved his sister and taken away the leverage The Southside Syndicate had on him, to keep him working for them. Without that leverage, he could turn away. Take his sister, leave Southtown, forget about they Syndicate.
But. It never was just about The Syndicate. Southtown is his home. And so is Aizawa-gumi. One of the few bastions of old-school Yakuza in the city. The Family that his foster-father took care of, The Family he ran to give a place to people who don't have anywhere else to belong.
That's not a responsibility he can run away from. Nor is the memory of Sohei Aizawa something he can erase. Every step that Tairyu takes on the street that carry him towards the Aizawa-gumi office remind him of that. Every step weighed by purpose.
Perhaps this was a path he was meant to take from the very beginning. Since before the first drops of ink were imbued onto his back.
The tattoo is completed now. The Yakuza conviction of Tairyu imbued upon his back. It marks him taking the closing steps on this path. The path to break the chains of the Syndicate around himself and Aizawa-gumi.
The path to become like the dragon coiled aroudn the sun on his back.
Log created on 20:44:03 11/24/2020 by Tairyu, and last modified on 20:44:46 11/24/2020.