Yo yo. Wassup, punks. Guess who just got out of prison?

With his head buried deep within his hoodie, Kuroha followed Shintaro into the department store. He checked his watch, restraining a groan as he saw that the action wouldn't start for another thirty minutes.

"Master, Master!" He heard Ene chime. "Look, they have new games out! Let's go look at those!"

Though Shintaro had his earphones plugged into his phone, Kuroha could still hear Ene due to his altered headphones that allowed him to hear the cyber girl's voice.

Shrugging, Shin headed towards the game section, where a few other customers were already browsing around. Ene badgered Shintaro to check out the newest edition of Final Fantasy while Kuroha idly glanced about the department store, glancing up at the many floors of the company.

"This place is pretty big." He commented, glancing around at the many customers inside. "Pretty popular, too. I guess that means more money for us, right, Shinshin?"

Shintaro glanced over irritably. "Idiot, don't talk about that out loud!" He hissed, grabbing Kuroha's wrist and dragging him away from where he'd been standing. "And don't call me Shinshin!"

Kuroha chuckled, allowing Shin to lead him along. Of course, if he wanted to, he could resist. He could even toss the boy out the window if he felt like it. But that would be inconvenient.

As Ene and Shintaro began to bicker about something trivial, Kuroha tilted his head to the side as a tint of green appeared in his peripheral vision.

Green hair spilled out of the front of a purple hoodie, drifting back slightly as the girl paced along, her hands shoved in her pockets. None of the surrounding people seemed to notice the girl - their eyes seeming to glaze right over her.

That was one of the rare talents of Tsubomi Kido. She could become almost invisible when she wanted to; keeping those around her from noticing her presence. One time, she'd walked into a grocery store, picked up a carton of eggs, and simply walked out without paying. Stealing from right under their noses, and nobody noticed.

Kuroha was able to see through the façade with his sharp eyes, but he knew it was hard for most of his other companions to see her when she wanted to be hidden.

Kido passed out of his line of vision, and Kuroha returned his gaze to his companion.

"Master," Ene's voice came through his headphones, "It's just about time to get into position."

Shintaro placed the game he was looking at back on the shelf and nodded. "Alright." He looked to Kuroha, who was trying to hide a grin. "Let's go."

Kuroha turned to go, but Shintaro stopped him.

"Change back." He said.

Not sure if he understood him correctly, Kuroha grit his teeth. "What?"

He sighed. "Listen, it's Tateyama's orders, not mine. He wants you to change back to Konoha before it begins. You're supposed to wait for my signal to go back – "

Kuroha grabbed Shintaro's sweater collar, lifting him off his feet to bare his sharp teeth in his face. "And why," he snarled, "Is this necessary?"

He wasn't as afraid of him as most were, but he had the decency to show a little fear. "I don't know. Talk to him about it."

Kuroha held his gaze for a few moments.

"You're attracting attention."

He didn't need to glance around to see that it was true.

Sighing, he dropped the shorter teen back onto the ground.

"Fine." He hissed. "But we'll discuss this later."

He strolled away from Shintaro, his countenance changing. His eye were a dull red again, and his mind operated at a fraction of the speed.

It was infuriating.

Konoha struggled to calm the writhing snakes as they lashed against the cage of his mind. They hated being cooped up on short notice.

"We're approaching the top level." Ene's voice entered his headphones, distracting him from his anger. "Get ready!"

"Let me out, you fool, let me out…." The voice hissed in Konoha's mind.

Not yet. He responded. A little longer.

Ene's voice came through the headphones. "Get ready, Konoha! Master's just about to plug me in! It's all a go from there!"

The voices hissed in approval, ready to be let out. Ready to reign free.

"In three seconds!" Ene called.

Konoha took a deep breath and glanced around, making sure no one was watching.


He closed his eye, feeling Kuroha straining against him. Almost. Wait.


As soon as that first word was uttered, he tuned the cyber girl out, ignoring her odd cheers in favor of the change.

Konoha's hair faded to black, followed by the rest of him. His birthmark changed, his eyes turned an intense yellow, and he felt power ripple through his veins as he assured the unity of the snakes.

Immediately he shot out from his corner, a wicked grin overtaking his face. Yes!

He heard several bangs as gas canisters were released, and the store quickly filled with smoke.

Take out security first.

The first two appeared from around the corner. His smile widened, and he immediately leapt into action. They drew their guns, but he was too fast for them. Knocking aside one of the guard's arms, he delivered a swift blow to the jaw that sent the man to the ground immediately. With a swift turn, he lifted his foot and kicked the second man in the face. The guard fell to the ground, blood flying from his busted mouth.

Kuroha quickly stooped down, grabbing the guns from the men. He tossed them without any particular direction over his shoulder, knowing they would be caught.

He was right. Instead of hearing the clatter of the weapons falling to the floor, he was greeted with two armed Mekakushi Dan members when he turned.

"You're not getting a gun?" Kido spoke, raising her eyebrow in question.

He smirked. "I don't need one."

She shrugged. "You know what to do. Make sure you tie up those guys while we round up the hostages." She turned quickly and dashed off, followed by Kano, who turned to grin at him.

"Brilliant as ever, Kuroha!"

And because he was one for theatrics, and because he had so much excess energy to waste, Kuroha followed that compliment up by leaping over one of the high shelves, clearing it in a single bound. He scanned the area, ignoring the screams of the shoppers as he searched for the security guards. There were only supposed to be two, but he didn't want to take any chances.

He hummed a cheerful tune as he pulled zip ties out of his pocket, securing the guard's arms and feet behind them.

The floor was deserted now, all customers having either fled the scene or gotten taken as hostages. He could see remains of the gas floating about, obscuring his vision of the upper levels.

He checked his watch.

The cops should be arriving soon.

Dragging the guards behind a shelf so that they were unseen, Kuroha stood and headed towards the stairs, his footsteps the only noises as he ascended to the highest floor, where the fun was happening.

Kido and Kano wore masks covering their faces, keeping a close eye on the hostages. They were all tied up and huddled in a corner of the dark room. His sharp gaze swept over them, and the few that were unlucky enough to meet his serpentine eyes flinched away, huddling closer towards their other fellow prisoners.


He languidly strolled towards Shintaro, who had his laptop plugged into the network. His hands flew across the keys as characters popped up on the screen, cryptic code Kuroha didn't bother trying to decipher.

"How's progress, Shinshin?"

"Good. I'm getting into the system while Tateyama is interrogating the owner. Also don't call me that."

He glances towards a side door that was closed; Kido stood guard while faint noises could be heard from within.

"Think he'll break?"

Shintaro snorted. "Of course. Like most men who have dealings with the gang, he's a coward when it comes down to it." He glanced at the clock in the corner of his screen. "They should be wrapping it up now."

A sudden noise drew their attention, and they turned to where one of the hostages had leapt at Kano, trying to tackle him and get his gun.

Shintaro was on them in seconds. He kicked the man in the face, knocking him off his fellow gang member while snagging Kano's gun and aiming it at the man, glaring.

"You, shut up."

The man glared. "This is illegal You can't keep us here, you monsters – "

Twisting his arm behind his back, Shintaro forced the man to the floor and put the gun to his head.

"You have family here?" He asked quietly, dangerously.

The man didn't respond, but a feeble glance towards a girl nearby was all the answer Shintaro needed.

"You want to know how long it'd take me to put a bullet through her head?" He continued in the same deadly tone. "Not long. Less than a second. So unless you want her blood on your hands, shut up, sit down, and stop trying to be the hero."

With that, he quickly got off of him, tossing the gun back to Kano. Continuing back to his seat, he left the hostage shaking in his wake.

He sat down without another word.

For a few more minutes there was silence, save for the heavy breathing of the hostages and the tapping of laptop keys. Kido glanced towards them for a moment but quickly looked back at the hostages again, her mask concealing her expression.

"Wow, Shinshin, that was harsh, even for you."

The teen in question rolled his eyes, casting an unamused glance at Kuroha. "Hardly. I'm just doing my job."

"Still, I imagined you'd be more…. Nice to them."

"Nice? We're robbing a store, Kuroha. We're in an armed gang. There's nothing "nice" about this. I'm not going to pretend."

The Snake's lips spread into a grin. "Is that guilt I detect?"

Shintaro glared at him. "Of course not. I do this because I'm bored. I rob stores because I'm bored. Pure boredom and depression lead me to joining a street gang. That's pretty depraved if we're being honest. I'm not going to sugarcoat it by sparing a few bystanders five seconds of fear."

Kuroha cackled. "What will you do when your sister finds out? What about Ayano?"

He shrugged in response.

"What will you do when Mary finds out?"

Kuroha paused, not having expected that. He glanced back at Shin, who only kept his eyes focused on his screen and concentrated on his task.

He sighed through his nose.

"She won't."

The side door opened, and Dr. Kenjirō stepped through, a grin on his face. A faint collapsed figure could be seen in the darkness beyond the doorway.

He waved his hands, signaling to wrap things up. Kido and Kano began rousing the hostages to their feet.

"Status on the cops, Shintaro?"

"They're all on the first floor, working their way up."

"Very well then. To the roof."

Shintaro closed his laptop, standing up and shoving it in his bag. Together they all headed towards the exit at a brisk pace, ready to flee the scene.

"She will eventually." The male spoke back up as they exited the door to the roof, the bright sunlight threatening to blind them.

Kuroha didn't bother responding.