The Definition of Family

by The Unseen Watcher

Disclaimer: I do not own NightWalker. At the same time I haven't a clue who does. I've only seen three videos of it, so any differences with the plot line will just have to be viewed as an alterverse. This is also written partly for those who haven=t a clue what the series is about.

Chapter 1

Unexpected Introductions ---------------

Yukido walked casually down the crowded street, his hands in his pockets. There were few tourists in this part of town and so the pickings had been slim. His mother had that horrible cough again and needed the expensive medicine more than ever. These people were rich; they could afford to donate= a little money. He spotted a likely target, a young girl, literally bouncing down the street. He angled toward her, deliberately bumping into her as his hands worked fast.

*

Riho turned to scold the rude boy that had so thoughtlessly shoved her, but saw weaving fast through the crowd away from her. Her hand went automatically to her little wallet. It was missing! Her first instinct was to shout for the police, but then she stopped, a smile slowly growing on her face. She had other options. She started weaving through the throng at an remarkable rate.

*

Yukido paused, and moved into a small alley. There was no sign of pursuit. He had gotten away. Eagerly he pulled out the pilfered wallet, quickly searching it for money. To his disappointment there was very little, less than 500 yen. He was just about to toss the wallet away in disgust when a hand closed on his shoulder.

Yukido looked up into the sneering face of his captor. He silently cursed his own stupidity, increasing his silent self-recrimination as he saw the rest of the guys friends come out of the shadows. He had accidentally wandered into yakuza territory. He had been so preoccupied with getting away that he had not watched where he was going. He knew that the money he had would not be enough to appease them. He braced himself for the beating he knew would come.

AHey!@ a high voice cut through the silence. AWhere=s my wallet?@ Ignoring the encircling toughs the girl that Yukido recognized as the one he had just mugged walked into the alley, her feet stomping in a most unladylike fashion, her cute face drawn up in a scowl. She looked as threatening as a small kitten.

*

Riho spied her target, ignoring the others in the alley. AThere you are!@ She said, her face scrunching up even more. AThat was really rude of you, you know. If you wanted some money, I can think of lots of more honest ways to get it. What=s worse, you stole my favorite wallet. Give it back right now!@

*

Yukido eyed the crazy girl as she came toward him. He was now dangling in the thug=s grasp and in no position to fight, at least not physically. AAre you a complete moron?!@ he demanded, finally finding his voice. AYou come into yakuza territory and your big concern is a stupid wallet? You=re going to be killed! I don=t think a wallet is what you should be worried about right now!@

*

Riho huffed, her pale face reddening at the insults. They sounded a lot like a certain caustic tongued fairy's and immediately put her on the defensive. AI am not a moron! That wallet is important to me! It was one of the last things my mother gave me . . .@ She trailed off, realizing that these goons had no right to know about that. Returning her glare to the rude boy in front of her, she demanded. AGive it back right now. I=m already late getting home!@

AOh that=s too bad.@ A voice said from the shadows. Another tough stepped out. AWe were kind of hoping you could stay and play a while, little girl. Weren=t we boys?@ Rough chuckles and a few snickers greeted this pronouncement as they murmured their agreement, looking up and down Riho=s slim form. She flushed even more under their gazes, even more indignant. She had known where they all were even before she had stepped into the alleyway, but to actually confront them was another matter. She tensed as one of them started toward her, the rest having long since cut off her retreat.

The thug made a grab for her, one that to her startled gaze seemed incredibly slow. It dawned on her that SHE wasn't the one in danger here. With a feral grin she caught his arm and sent him over her shoulder to crash into some of his buddies. This was kind of fun! She was fighting Bad Guys! Dashing forward, her chestnut hair whipped behind her. She reached the thug that was holding the thief boy first and viciously kicked his knee, sending him crashing with a shriek of pain to the ground. Not pausing to even glance at the two of them, she moved on to her next target. He managed to grab her but she wrenched out of his grip and landed a somewhat wobbly punch at his face. It worked though as her unnatural strength was behind the blow. He went down with clutching a broken nose.

Riho made fast work of the few that were left. She discovered that she was best at kicking and throwing. Some got back up but soon decided that it was best to stay down after repeatedly being thrown against the brick walls of the alley. The leader was the most stubborn of the lot. He whipped out a heavy chain and threw a length of it at her, aiming to crush bones. It glanced off her shoulder, instant numbing it and sending her spinning into a wall. The leader warily walked up to her, more cautious than before. Slowly, a triumphant grin spread across his face. He bent over the still form of the dangerous girl. She started to stir, and he raised his chain enwrapped fist for a blow.

Riho=s head whipped up, her mahogany brown eyes flared for an instant, replaced by one=s of slitted gold. She snarled, baring Very sharp teeth. The thug froze, his smirk twisting in a rictus of terror as incredibly strong hands seized his throat.

Riho fought with herself for a moment, her instincts screaming at her to rip out his throat with her teeth and feed. But she had fed not that long ago, and her will was strong. Her morality at that moment was the only thing that saved the now trembling punk from instant death. Instead she picked him up one-handed and slammed him, gently, against the wall. He slumped into unconsciousness, joining the rest of his crew.

She paused, realizing that she was not even breathing very hard. Though she had to admit that she didn't breathe much in the first place. Now that the adrenalin rush from the danger was fading, she felt kind of guilty for hurting them, but just a bit. *Serves them right for picking on people!* She thought stubbornly.

Riho looked up to see the boy that had stolen her wallet finally managing to wriggle himself out from under the still form of his former captor. He was dusting himself off as she came up to him. AI=ll have my wallet back now, please." She said quietly, her hand outstretched.

*

He looked up at her, a retort forming on his lips, and met her eyes. His own eyes widened as he met the gold gaze before him. Primal terror of the things that hunted in the darkness gripped him. Shaking slightly, he reached into his pocket and handed her the wallet. His mind screamed at him to run, but he resisted, knowing that he could never outpace this creature before him. If she chose to go after him he wouldn't make it three steps.

*

Riho rifled through the wallet, and sighed in relief as she found what she was looking for. Looking at the scruffy boy before her she opened it and pointed out her treasures. ASee?@ She said, oblivious to the look of horror he was giving her, AYou nearly took away the only pictures I have of my family and friends.@ There were two pictures in the wallet. One of her and her school friends, and the other of her parents.

*

Yukido could only gaze numbly at the revealed photos, his mind reeling in confusion at the contrast between the petulant tone as she reproved him, and the predator eyes that he knew belonged more to a blood-crazed monster out of legend than the girl in front of him. He flinched as she took his hand and placed something in it. He blinked and looked down to see the money that had been in the wallet placed there.

AAs I was saying before, there=s better, and easier ways to make money.@ She said, causing him to look up into eyes that had returned to brown. She winked at him and turned and walked toward the street. ATake care, and stay OUT of trouble.@ She called over her shoulder in her normal bubbly voice. With that she started to skip away but stopped, stifling a pained squeak at the sudden pain in her shoulder reminded her of her injury. She slowed to a careful walk, clutching her shoulder as she turned out of the alley.

Yukido blinked again and stared down at the money in his hand. He gazed after the weird girl, his thoughts confused. Finally giving up, he shrugged, unable to explain the bizarre event he had just been through. Survival instincts kicked in and he moved quickly out of the yakuza=s territory, intending to be far away from the place by the time they came to. He paused at the wall where his strange rescuer had fallen, picking up a limp object that fallen there. He mentally resolved not to take delicate looking girls for granted. You never knew much by looks, did you? Still, he was sure somehow that she had been a very unusual example of her kind, though he knew he was no expert on vampires.

****

Tastsuhiko Shido sighed, gazing around his office. All was quiet. There hadn=t been any of the types of cases lately that required his unique= expertise. No weird causes of death, animal sacrifice, or possessed people running around biting bystanders.

(If you=re coming in late, Shido is rather experienced with dealing with the paranormal, which makes sense because besides being a private detective, he=s also a vampire. One who=s lived enough centuries to know to appreciate a rare quiet moment while it lasts. His life, such as it was, was usually crammed full of chaotic events. He was wise enough to appreciate peace while it lasted, however briefly.) Shido closed his eyes, content. No one (or rather noTHING) was attacking him or anyone who would care to hire him. Guni, his little sprite friend, often berated him for being lazy, quite often in fact. And speaking of Guni, it was just about time for another . . . AShido, you look like a leftover lump of Jell-O!@ . . .Insult, he finished the thought. He cracked open one light-blue eye to look at the source of the irritated, high- pitched voice.

The tiny urban fairy was sitting lotus style in midair, her bat-like wings stretched out, keeping her petite body hovering just above the lamp on his desk. How she kept that position without moving her wings he would never know. Her small face was scrunched up in a scowl as her ruby eyes gazed at him in disapproval beneath a wave of yellow hair that fell past her waist.

Shido lifted a lazy eyebrow, amusement showing openly on his face. It never failed to secretly touch him that Guni cared enough about him to bug him. Underneath that impatient, scornful exterior was a friend that continually worried about him. Not that she would admit it, even under torture. Not even to herself.

Shido smiled. Friends were still a novel thing to him. He had lived so many centuries alone, or with his master, and there was no friendship lost in THAT relationship. He turned his darkening thoughts away from that direction and focused on answering Guni=s barb.

AGuni, you know as well as I do that I can=t work when there is no work to do. You know it won=t last, so just relax and enjoy it.@ Shido leaned back in his chair, covering his eyes with his top hat and absently shifting his long lavender hair out of the way.

If possible, the fairy=s frown deepened. It was nearly impossible to annoy Shido when he was this relaxed. Guni glanced around the office, seeking vainly for something to do. She was bored! Not only was business slow, there was no one to get into an insulting match with. Yayoi, the NOS agent that sometimes seemed to half Live at his office, hadn=t come in for a while, and to top off Guni=s problems Riho was out as well. The young secretary/vampire had gone out for a walk. She was always easy to goad into an argument, especially one about Shido.

The teenager had a terminal crush on the P.I., and had never really bothered to hide it. Shido=s exact feelings toward her were a mystery. He probably didn=t know them himself. He seemed to waver between a protective older friend and some actual genuine return affection.

Guni rolled her eyes as she thought about the two of them for the umpteenth time. *Wherever she is now I bet the little tramp is thinking about him,* she thought sourly.

****



As a matter of fact, Riho was thinking about Shido, but that=s not really much of a shock. Shido was a man she had admired since the first time she had met him, after the death of her parents. He had taken her in like she was family. Oh, he had tried to disguise it under the act of needing a secretary, but she easily saw through the pretense to the kind heart underneath. He genuinely cared about a grief-stricken orphan whose only family had been murdered by Nightbreeds, the insubstantial creatures of darkness that haunted the night shadows, yearning for bodies of their own. Her parents were had been killed, leaving their daughter behind.

Riho had been alone, and only the intervention of Shido-san in her life had kept her from completely withdrawing from reality. When she had found out that he was a vampire, a creature of the Nightbreeds, she had astonished him by accepting it rather calmly. Of course, the fact that he was saving her life when she made the discovery and her already firmly fixed affection might have been factors. To her, Shido-san could do no wrong.

Then a former mentor turned enemy had come from Shido=s past to reclaim him. But Shido had absolutely no desire to go back to a life of hunting humanity for food and fun. The older vampire, whom Shido called Cain, kidnapped Riho as a card to play against his former protegee. In the ensuing fight he had cut her up so badly that it was obvious that she would quickly bleed to death. Instead, she had entreated Shido to make her a vampire too so that she could always be with him. It took a lot of begging and tears but Shido had finally granted her request rather than see her die.

She had never regretted that decision. She was now truly a part of his family, forever. But despite her repeated assurances, he still felt guilty for caving in and giving her immortality. He believed that one day (or rather one night) she would come to her senses and realize that he had cursed her with an eternity of nights. This only made her more stubborn to prove him wrong.

She respected his opinion greatly, but he was a man after all and they believed such silly things sometimes. Whyever would she regret spending eternity with him as her family?

As she happily skipped down a street she was so lost in thought that she failed to see the shadows closing in on her.

****

The Chief Inspector of the NOS [I have no idea what that stands for] sat in a dark room, waiting patiently. His men should be back soon with their catch. Then his vindication in the eyes of his superiors would begin.

When it was first discovered that Agent Matsunaga was working with a vampire, one of the very creatures the NOS had been formed to protect humanity against, knowing full well what he was. Well, he had expected Central to at the very least throw her out of the agency and track down the dangerous thing.

Instead, the higher-ups seemed to see some value in a vampire as an ally. They even allowed Matsunaga to retain her post, with extra attention given to her because of her most unusual ally.

He had protested, of course. But his objections had been swept aside because Central thought the vampire could be of great use. Of use! The creature should have been destroyed as soon as its true nature was revealed. He didn=t buy any of Matsunaga=s bull about him wanting to protect humanity. Either she was a fool or was being controlled, which made her doubly a fool in his eyes. The only way to get rid of the monsters at that detective agency was to prove their true evil natures once and for all. He had a plan to do that.

He smiled coldly as he anticipated his victory, waiting in the dark silence of the hidden lab.

****

Riho looked up at a clock she was passing along the busy street. It was time to go home. She didn=t want Shido-san to worry. *No, not -San, just Shido* she mentally scolded herself. Since Cain had come back from the grave Shido had been almost fanatical about protecting her. He liked to keep her close nowadays. VERY close, she remembered with a small blush and a smile. She was kind of surprised that he had made little fuss about her going out tonight. She hoped he was beginning to relax a bit. She had missed her nightly walks through the city. She turned into an alley she knew to be a shortcut back to the office. Walking unconcerned, into the shadows. It wasn=t as though she had anything to fear from the muggers and murderers anymore . . .

She caught a movement out of the corner of her eye and turned her head just in time to catch the sound of the gas canister hitting the alley floor at her feet. They it exploded, knocking her against the wall and into unconsciousness even before the fumes took effect.

****

Shido frowned, his good mood dispelling as he caught a glimpse of the clock. Riho should have been back by now. He slowly brought his mounting anxiety under control. She was a big girl and could take care of herself. He actually rather pitied any human lowlife who tried to take advantage of her. But it wasn=t the human refuse of the city he was worried about.

Shaking his head, Shido tried to return to his relaxing contemplation of the ceiling, trying to ignore a nagging feeling that something was wrong.

****

Men clad in riot gear and masked came into a building, dragging a limp bundle in the middle of their formation. They came to a room that had been specially prepared, all sides made of reinforced steel with a barred door that had only a small window in it. The first in the group opened that door and his comrades tossed their burden into the chamber, where it rolled drunkenly until it hit the opposite wall. They left as silently as they came, bolting the door and activating the room=s security system behind them.

After a while the lump stirred and moaned. It suddenly seemed to become aware because it was suddenly ripped down the side and a young girl climbed out. Looking around her, yellow-slitted eyes narrowed in anger at her abduction, she snarled at the walls she found encasing her.

AWelcome Miss Yamazaki.@ A speaker echoed from the ceiling. AWelcome to your new home.@ Riho ran to the door, pounding on it futilely. She was trapped.

--------------- If you're reading this now, that means someone finally got a Nightwalker site going. This one's been on the back burner for a long time. I've been concentrating on other fics, so please stand by (a lot) on this one.