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“We need to make a list.” Dreu pulled the paper his way, flipped it over, and started the bullet points.

“Wolf, I think I can handle it.”

His dark eyes lifted long enough for her to see how serious he was. She had enough on her plate as the heir to her branch of the Yakuza, she didn’t need to take on the back alley and underhanded shadows of his family business too. He had the scars, both mentally and physically, to prove it wasn’t easy.

Sighing at her too innocent smile, he reminded himself of how perfect she was for the job. Somebody had to take over the black market ring his father controlled. It wasn’t going to be him, he vowed that much years ago, so he needed someone competent. They had to be strong, adaptable, ruthless when needed and trustworthy.

“Any time, Wolf,” she cooed, fitting her chin into her upturned palm. Her elbow rested comfortably on the kitchen table. To her right stood the one other person he deemed capable enough to handle the load; his oldest and most head strong friend.

Oskar looked up from where Armin was happily poking at the cats. The kid managed to captivate everyone, animals included. Dreu glanced from his son to his friend. A bored, impatient expression met his gaze. Oskar’s brows inched up in a silent question of what. Dreu raised one of his own and shrugged. Friends were expected to fly thousands of miles when a friend in need called. They were also expected to be family every now and again.

“Wolf!” Rikku tapped her hands on the table, ending the boys’ stare down. “Are you going to trust me or not?”

“I don’t see why you need her. I can take care of everything. I know the business better than both of you.” Oskar ignored the glare shot up in his direction. Instead, he walked over to Armin and sat with him.

Dreu sighed. The decision was made weeks ago. He didn’t tell anybody or want to believe it at first, but he knew what was best. “I trust you both,” he looked at Rikku but his voice carried over to the seemingly indifferent Oskar, “and I want you both to take over when Senior steps down. Red, Oskar knows how things work. He knows the people, the base, and he can be useful underneath his raw charms.”

“I have great charm!”

A grape landed on the table. Dreu shifted so he could smirk openly over his shoulder. “He has raw aim too. I don’t advise letting him handle weapons.” It got a handful of grapes hurled his way but it was worth the laugh. Rikku joined in and was soon followed by a clueless baby giggle.

“Oskar, I need you to keep her safe. If she gets hurt,-“

“You’ll kill me, old friend?” Oskar chuckled. “Don’t worry. I like this one. She has fire.”

Rikku hummed her approval as Dreu shook his head and slid the list across the table. “You are to never go into a meeting. That will be his job.”

“I like that list so far,” Oskar chipped in in the middle of peek-a-boo.

“I don’t,” Rikku mumbled, “but go on.”

Her subtle pout gave her position away. She hated confinement but, for once, she needed it. She was a mother first, a wife second, and a daughter third; everything else fell nicely into place after that. He wouldn’t risk her life. Not even if she asked him to.

“No unnecessary risks. If it means going undercover, pick someone else.” Her eyes fell to the table. They shared the silence for a moment, each remembering the last time she did it. She went behind his back, worked with his family on it, and put herself in harms way. Shaking it off, he went on to mention that the Oskar and her had to maintain open communication. A week wasn’t to go by without them talking. They both needed to know what went on at any given time.

“But, the important part, neither one of you can die. Got it?”

“Yes, yes. No dying and keep your girl safe. I got it.”

“Red?” Dreu looked back to his wife expectantly. She hadn’t said much since he crossed off going undercover. It was fine while he finished up the list but he wanted to make sure she really understood where he was coming from.

Her hands came to rest over his, bringing him from his worries. “I promise, you won’t regret it. Now, about that list…”




Per M.J.’s request to read more Drikku.