Disclaimer: Characters do not belong to me.

Note: Written for Cyn for the 2007 Yuletide challenge, who asked for Yankumi, Sawada Shin, Shin being adopted into Yankumi’s family, and/or Sawada/Yankumi romance.

Making One’s Plans
by Estirose
c 2007

Sawada Shin was pretty sure of what he was doing. When he’d made the declaration to the police detectives and the Yakuza declaring their intentions to pursue his teacher, he was serious about it. Very serious.

After all, Yankumi wasn’t that much older than he was. And he wasn’t her student anymore. And she believed in him, more than anybody had dared to do for a long time. Sure, she was Yakuza, or at least part of a Yakuza family, but what did it matter? Yankumi was Yankumi. That was all that mattered.

Yankumi was someone he wouldn’t mind spending his time with for the rest of his life, living with someone who cared, who felt that people – at least her students – were worthwhile. And she could beat the tar out of anyone who would hurt them. Sawada supposed that as her students, they’d all come under her protection. But to him, it was more.

It was her willingness to believe in him, in all of them, along with when he met her family. Sure, he didn’t know which ones were related to her, execept possibly her grandfather. But Yakuza made new families anyway.

It was a family he was willing to become a part of, willing to adopt and be adopted by. He wondered if it was better to join first and get her to notice him as a suitor later, or become a suitor first and then join the family.

His mouth quirked into a half-grin. Imagine him, making plans to date a girl, put thought into it, and on top of that, his teacher who was a Yakuza!

Yeah, not what he was planning, at all. If he’d planned… well, who knows what he would have planned had Yankumi not wandered into his life.

He examined his rivals covertly. The Yakuza might or might not be his biggest rival. Yankumi hadn’t talked much about her past – for good reason – but she hadn’t spared more than a glance at the man. On the other hand, he was Family, and didn’t they marry Family? That’ what he’d heard, anyway.

The other two? One of the cops made him laugh. He didn’t have a chance at Yankumi’s heart, and it was obvious to anybody but the damn fool. The other? Well, he and Yankumi had exchanged a few glances, but what could he offer Yankumi? A life outside the Yakuza, outside the world she had grown up with and was a part of? At least Sawada could become Yakuza, be family, be a good husband – though what his place would be, he wasn’t sure, since he only knew rumors about the Yakuza, besides what little he’d seen of those around Yankumi. Husband of the Oedo heir? Yankumi could be running the place in a few years if she gave up teaching. If she didn’t? Well, he’d probably be a good Yakuza and do… well, whatever they did. Part of their income would be legal, some illegal. He could live with that easily, really easily.

That bothered Sawada a lot less than it would one of the two cops. They’d try to reform her, try to make her something she wasn’t. Even if they seemed cool with being shoulder to shoulder with a Yakuza, he bet that they’d try to reform her, make her less Yankumi, more plain and less interesting. Less the person they’d fallen in love with.

Less the person he’d fallen in love with, who had cared and stayed stubborn and was not afraid to hit whoever threatened those in her care. Heck, not afraid to hit those in her care if they deserved it, which sometimes he had to admit that they did. That was probably a Yakuza thing, something he’d have to get used to when he joined the family. Because he would, one way or another. He intended it to be by marriage; he’d take by joining the family. Yakuza might be doing illegal things, but who didn’t nowadays? The rest of the world just didn’t do much more than avert its eyes.

Yeah, not a good career path for the son of a senator, but after all, everybody, everything had failed him but his Yakuza teacher. Sure, his father might not be too keen on him marrying a Yakuza, but he was willing to disown his family to become a part of a better one, if a more ruthless one. And after all, was being a Yakuza any less moral than being in politics?

Those Yakuza beliefs had saved his life and made him believe. Yankumi had cared more than his father and his mother. There had to be some value in them, and if it meant disowning his family, it might be worth it. After all, scandals had to die down eventually, and his father had always tried to teach him humility. But after seeing his father, he only had a sense of what false humility was, not true humility.

No, Yankumi’s people were that path, that way to how he should be. The light at the end of what had been a very dim tunnel.

He resolved that moment to do something with his life that was useful, that would do someone some good. The first step would be approaching Yankumi’s protectors, the two men with the stand that sold food and kept an eye on her. They would make the best sources of information, even if they were potential rivals for her hand. They could at least tell him how to join, seeing as how he kept his mouth shut and done everything he’d promised to do. If he could learn, if he could make it in, he’d have a better chance at getting Yankumi’s attention.

He do it. He knew he could do it. He’d survived school, he’d survived fights, and he’d survive graduation. Living through his father’s disappointment would be easy, finding a new family might be a bit harder, but he’d do it. He’d do it.

Because he was Sawada Shin, and he’d met Yankumi.

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