The Battle Never Ends
Disclaimer: Disclaimers are useless, but I would like to give accolades to Takahiro for writing, and Tetsuya Tashiro for drawing, Akame Ga Kill. It's a great series and if you haven't read the manga, go read the manga. Better yet, go buy it. I did (what's been translated anyways) and it's definitely worth it. It's one of the few mangas that actually has male protagonist you can really get behind. The anime is good too, but the ending is different from what the author intended due to the Anime reaching it before the manga did.
The same goes for Ichiei Ishibumi, the writer of High School DxD. I'm going to enjoy letting Tatsumi loose in your world.
x~X~x – If you see one of these, it means there's a significant jump in time (ie, more than 24 hours) or a significant scene change.
~o~ – This type of line break is reserved for minor shifts of time, or perspective of the same scene.
Genres: Assume all of them. The ones in the summary are just the most prevalent and obvious ones. I will use whatever is necessary to tell a good story. I don't believe in confining myself to a select few like this site seems to suggest.
Background Setting Information *Akame Ga Kill SPOILERS*: This is a crossover based on Akame Ga Kill and High School DxD and will be set in the High School DxD Universe. The point of intersection is just after Chapter 76 of Akame Ga Kill (with the assumption that the curse from Murasame kills both Tatsumi and the Tyrant) and 17 years before High School DxD. However, by the end of the prologue the story will be within a few weeks of the official beginning of High School DxD.
Impact on High School DxD Timeline: If you think this is just going to be a rehash of High School DxD story line with Tatsumi in it, think again. The major events in that story will be more like guide posts. Sometimes Tatsumi will be directly involved, sometimes it will be more peripheral (or not even involved at all), and sometimes it will be something completely new because of Tatsumi's existence. But don't worry, he will have heavy interaction with the High School DxD characters.
As for source materials. I'm primarily drawing upon the Light Novel and the manga (because I own this version). The anime will only be referenced for odds and ends. I find they're all mostly the same with the differences being primarily cosmetic.
Main Character/Point of View: The main character is Tatsumi, as was probably obvious from the summary. I will be writing in Third-Person Limited Omniscience. In layman's terms, you'll be seeing the world from the perspective of the character the scene revolves around. You won't be privy to every thought every character has. While most of the story will be written from Tatsumi's perspective, I will write from the perspective of other characters if the story calls for it.
Will there be a Harem? High School DxD is your typical harem anime. Akame Ga Kill, is also a harem anime, although more atypical where the relationships are more mature and less obvious. So in other words… yes, there will be a harem. Now, I'm going to try and create a harem that's more of a fusion of the two universes. Girl's won't just flop all over Tatsumi because he smiles in their direction like they do with Issei. He'll have to earn their affection before they'll be willing to rip their shirts off for him and have his babies (a few select scenes aside). There also won't be nearly as many as Issei who seems to have like 50 girls that all want his babies (Sometimes I think Ichiei just throws in whatever generic anime female character he's fascinated with at the time so he can make them fall in love with Issei). I'm going to try and restrain it as much as I can.
On that note… don't suggest pairings. It's Tatsumi and he's not going to just accept anyone with a pretty face, not after everything he's been through. However, the biggest reason I ask you not to submit suggestions is that a good story writes itself and while you and I may have our minds set on certain characters, the story and Tatsumi himself may end up choosing differently.
Now, without further ado, let's get going!
Prologue: Death and Rebirth
Pain. Chaos. Death.
It was everywhere around him. A cacophony of ragged emotions intertwined with the screams of the dying and the despairing. A million soldiers, dozens of Teigu users and Akame herself all led by the famed general Najenda and it still wasn't enough.
Esdeath was simply that powerful.
Tatsumi panted harshly as he laid splayed out across the cold, snow covered ground, his blood staining that snow red from a vicious wound in his torso, courtesy of Esdeath. The result of his failed attempt to stop that monster in human form. Ironic, as he was now a human in monster form. It wasn't a fatal wound, not for him, not as he was. That was part of the price he paid. Just like that distant attachment to his body was a price. He knew the pain was there, but couldn't feel it. He may be a human in a monster's body but not for much longer. He had pushed Incursio too far and now the Tyrant was taking over. Soon he would be a monster through and through.
"…sumi, hang in there!"
A voice, distant, muffled, as if he was hearing it through another's ears. It sounded familiar. Akame? It was her voice, but panicked and concerned. It seemed out of character. So much so Tatsumi thought he had misheard at first. Akame should be fighting Esdeath, not worrying over him. There was a gentle touch on his chest. He could feel the warmth, the emotion, pouring through it.
It stirred the tyrant inside him. Tatsumi could feel its anger, animosity. Imprisoned for a thousand years by that which it viewed as food had instilled a rage within it that could not be quelled. Emotions surged through his body, consuming every fiber of his being, every thought. Tatsumi couldn't control his own body as it surged upwards and forwards.
"GRROAAAAAAAR!" The Tyrant within him roared at the food that dared to lay a hand on it. Tatsumi watched with detachment as a massive, powerful fist was slammed into the ground, creating an explosion of snow, ice, and cobblestone.
Through the eyes of the Tyrant Tatsumi could see Akame jumping away. There was a look of shock and surprise on her face.
Panic seized him.
No! Not Akame! Sheele, Bulat, Chelsea, Susanoo, Lubbock, Mine… too many were gone. Too many lost. He wouldn't lose anyone else! With herculean effort Tatsumi wrenched control of his body back from the Tyrant, stopping the claws mere inches from tearing Akame apart.
"…Kill me…" Tatsumi forced out in a deep, guttural voice. He didn't even recognize his voice anymore. It wasn't his. He was too far gone to be saved. Even now the Tyrant clawed at him, tearing and ripping as it tried to take back control. Pain ripped across his mind as the Tyrant's assault grew in strength with each moment. "My… consciousness is already… fading away…" Tatsumi forced out painfully. "I can't… stop it any longer… You promised me… didn't you?" Pain and sorrow marred those beautiful, luminous eyes of hers. He tried to smile, he didn't like seeing Akame like that. "Hurry…"
She bowed her head, her long, beautiful black hair covered her eyes and hid the single tear that froze before it could roll down her cheek. "Yes… I promised." She whispered in a voice as firm hard as steel, and just as cold. She placed a hand on Murasame, the cursed teigu capable of killing anything with a single strike. "Very well, I shall kill you." She approached him, raising her eyes and gazing into his for the very last time.
There was nothing inside them save death. She killed her humanity even as she cut him down.
I'm sorry, Akame… and goodbye, Tatsumi whispered as the curse, black scrawling of some ancient language, raced across his body.
He felt his consciousness fade and slip, but that was alright. The curse would ensure that Incursio, the Tyrant, wouldn't rise and harm Akame. He had fought hard, he had killed the Emperor, and he trusted Akame to kill Esdeath. There would be peace in the Empire. Akame would live, Najenda would live, even Mine may someday awaken.
They would grieve, but they would live and eventually they may even be happy. That was enough for Tatsumi. What had started as an adventure to save his village, had become a mission to save the world. A duty he could confidently leave to Akame to finish.
Peace, so this is what peace feels like. Tatsumi mused as he slipped away. Memories of his time with Night Raid and all those that had gone before him flashed across his mind. Sheele and her comforting arms whenever he was down. Bulat and his steady presence and strength that pushed Tatsumi ever on. Lubbock and his perverted antics. Susanoo, Chelsea, Sayo, Ieyasu, and so many others.
Maybe I'll get to see them all.
The peace was shattered. Pain ripped across Tatsumi's mind and soul. The Tyrant! He couldn't see it, all about him was pure nothingness, no light, no darkness, no color. But even if he couldn't see, he could feel. It was still there, its soul inexplicable tied to his own. It thrashed like the wild danger beast it was. It refused to die. Tatsumi remembered that this wasn't like any of the other danger beasts. The Tyrant was one of the greatest, the strongest. A Super-Class danger beast capable of adapting to anything, everything. Even now it was trying to adapt and evolve to survive Murasame's curse.
It refused to die. Tatsumi refused to let it live.
I won't let you! Tatsumi growled as he felt the Tyrant trying to rip its way from him, claw its way back to the surface. It was trying to tear Tatsumi's soul apart so that it could be free. He was its weakness. Through him the curse could kill it for good. I won't let you hurt Akame, Mine and all the others! Tatsumi roared back at the Tyrant We're going to hell together!
Peace, it seemed, wasn't something Tatsumi would be granted.
Tatsumi reached out and gripped the Tyrant's soul and pulled it back. The Tyrant fought, thrashed. Pain scorched Tatsumi's mind and threatened to tear his soul apart. But he wouldn't give up. It would die here, now, no matter the cost. That was the Night Raid's way. Too much and too many had already been sacrificed for Tatsumi to give up at the very end.
Oblivion trembled. The void he floated within with Incursio writhed as if in pain. All around them the curse of Murasame, the curse of death swirled and consumed.
The will to live.
The will to never give up.
The grip of death.
The Tyrant would not die, Tatsumi would not let it live, and Murasame would not release either.
There was an enormous, thunderous boom that shook every fiber of Tatsumi's being. It quaked across Oblivion, waves of will, ripples of desire. Pain and Pleasure in equal measures consumed Tatsumi's existence and…
The splintering of wood consumed Tatsumi's mind even as all the air was knocked from his lungs. Pain ripped across his body and he felt the familiar warmth of blood seep across his skin. He gasped painfully, breathing in unknown air. He let out a cry of pain, and in came out in a loud wail, a child's cry.
Tatsumi opened his eyes and stared up at the strange ceiling even as he wailed. It was painted white, with tiny little bumps all across it. Resting on his face was the shattered remains of a spinning toy of some kind. Shattered fragments of what was once a wooden crib lay scattered about the room, and more than a few of them had ripped into his torso, creating an injury identical to the one Akame had inflicted upon him with Murasame.
What was going on? It hurt, but he was dead, wasn't he? He had been fighting the Tyrant, struggling to keep it from leaving him, from evolving into something that could withstand and survive Murasame. The curse had been there as well. Had he succeeded? Or failed?
The thumping of feet drew has attention to the door. It banged open and a dark haired woman Tatsumi didn't recognize rushed into the room. Her eyes widened in horror and fear as they landed on him. Peaking around the edge of the door was another, a little girl who couldn't be any older than three, four at most.
"Tatsumi! Tatsumi!" The woman cried out as she rushed to his side faster than Akame could ever hope to be. She knocked away the broken remains of the crib and toys, picking him up gently into her arms. Fear dominated her features as she stared down at his injured stomach. She whipped her head back to the door. "Dear! Call an ambulance! HURRY!" the woman cried out in a panic. "Don't you worry Tatsumi, mommy is here." She said as she pulled the fragments of wood out of him and quickly wrapped the remains of his blanket around him.
Tatsumi only had one thought as he stared up into the eyes of a concerned mother.
Somehow, no matter how implausible it was, he had been reborn.
It had been eight months and Tatsumi was still getting used to the fact that he had been reborn. Death is supposed to be absolute but something had gone wrong with his. Thinking wasn't Tatsumi's strong point, but with little else to do while he waited for his motor skills to redevelop he'd had plenty of time to develop them. While he hadn't come up with any specific reasons on how this had happened, he knew why.
It was because of the Tyrant.
Tatsumi could feel it there, lurking beneath the surface. It felt different than before, dormant or asleep. Whatever happened before had exhausted it to the point where it wasn't even capable of stirring. For all intents and purposes, it might as well be dead. Its indomitable will to survive and ability to adapt had been the primary cause for Tatsumi's rebirth. There could be no other explanation.
However it happened, the life Tatsumi now lived was in a completely different world or a future so distant it might as well be a different world. Crawling around as a newborn child didn't really open up many avenues of exploration, but what he had seen had left him speechless. There were carriages that could move without horses, metal behemoths larger than danger beasts soaring through the air, light and heat without fire, moving paintings on screens that talked to you and so much more.
It wasn't difficult to act the part of a newborn child. Even if his mind was that of an adult, everything was so new and strange he felt like a child all over again. Still, eight months later and he was staring to put names to things: cars, planes, lights, stoves, TVs, and much more. He continued to act the part of a child, there was no need to alarm his new family. He had grown to love them just as he had his original parents. He found himself wanting to put smiles on their faces.
And if forced to admit it, he did like the warmth. It had been so long since he had been held by his mother that it was simply all too easy to just let go and enjoy it. Had he not deserved at least a little peace and happiness after everything had given to bring about the end of the corrupt Empire?
His family lived in the suburbs just outside Tokyo. It was a small compact three bedroom home, with one bath, a kitchen and a decent size living room. Even with both his parents working high paying jobs, they couldn't afford much due to the astronomical cost of housing. What could be constituted as a yard was small enough Tatsumi could crawl across it in about a minute.
All that aside however, it was time to expand his horizons a bit and to do that he needed to be able to walk. He had the advantage over most babies in that he already knew how to walk and how to balance and compensate for a head that really was much too large for the body it was on. All he really had to wait on was for the muscles in his lower body to be strong enough.
Tatsumi gripped the edge of couch in the living room and began to pull himself up to his feet. It was more difficult than he had expected but Tatsumi wasn't one to back down from a challenge.
"Mom! Mom! Come here quick!" A little girl nearby shouted across the living room. Tatsumi looked over at the little girl and smiled.
Mira, his big sister. She had just turned four and would be starting kindergarten soon. She drove their parents crazy at times, there was a wild streak inside her that was very similar of Leone and she was constantly encouraging Tatsumi to do things he really shouldn't be doing considering his age and all.
She had a heart of gold though. Tatsumi could see that right away. While she was constantly encouraging Tatsumi to be brave, she was always there to make sure he was never too brave.
"What is it?" Masako, Tatsumi's mother, asked as she stepped into the living room with a handcloth from the kitchen where she'd been preparing lunch. When her eyes fell upon him they lit up with joy. She quickly wiped her hands on the handcloth and tossed it behind her before rushing over to him. "Come on Tatsumi! You can do it! Come to mommy!"
"Go! Go! Go!" Mira cheered from the sidelines.
This was almost too embarrassing, but Tatsumi let go of the couch and took that first step. His over-weighted head almost threw him off balance but he caught himself by sliding his feet wider. Taking a deep breath, he looked up into his mother's smiling face and took that step forward, his first real step towards the rest of his new life.
Tatsumi enjoyed the park. These types of playgrounds never existed back in the Empire. There wasn't time for frivolous activities such as twirling around on a wheel, bouncing up and down on a seesaw, or crawling across a jungle gym. In the Empire from a young age children had been taught how to take care of themselves so they could take after their parents and survive on their own.
It was proof at how much better this place was than the Empire. For a place for children to gather and play to be out in the open like this, completely unprotected, was a testament to the peace that existed in this world.
A smile came unbidden to Tatsumi's lips as he carefully crossed the street and ran over to the park entrance. He knew now why children were so rambunctious. There was so much excess energy pent up inside this tiny little body you practically had to run or you'd never settle down.
The smile faltered a little when he noticed there were other children already at the park.
"Ah! It's smelly Tatsumi! Run away!" the kids laughed and jeered when they noticed him. The smile became more than a little strained.
Correction, Tatsumi enjoyed the park when it was empty.
Tatsumi ignored them as best he could as he made his way over to the jungle gym. He was used to this treatment. Kids could be very cruel, but they didn't realize they were. They just acted upon instinct. Flip-flopping in whatever directions their emotions and little desires decided to take them.
"Why don't you just go away smelly!" A young girl shouted at him from the
Instinct, that was what they were acting upon. Tatsumi loved his family vice-versa they loved him, but he quickly realized that love didn't extend very far out. None of the children in the neighbouring areas wanted anything to do with him. He didn't recall doing anything too out of place that would cause them to tease and insult him as they did. It had just always been that way from the very start.
Tatsumi climbed up the metal ladder and jumped for the metal bars spanning the two sides of the jungle gym. Even if this was meant to just be a place for kids to laugh and play, it was very useful for training. Even if there was no Empire, and no war to fight, that wasn't any reason for Tatsumi to be lack in his training. It would do a disservice to Bulat and his memory. Even if there was no war now, he needed to be strong enough to protect his sister and his parents should the need ever arise. It would be too late to cry about it when the time came.
He learned that the hard way when Ieyasu and Sayo died. Naivety, his and theirs, had killed them.
Stopping in the middle of the jungle gym he began to pull himself up until his chin was above the bar. He continued to do large sets of chin-ups on the jungle gym until his arms burned with exhaustion and sweat soaked his shirt. Amidst the workout the other kids had gone off to do whatever it is kids do, leaving Tatsumi alone just like he wanted.
"Still, it would be nice to know why they disliked me," Tatsumi grunted quietly as he pulled his chin up again. If this was going to be a problem that followed him throughout his entire life, it might make things difficult.
((You smell like death)) a young, girlish voice said from above.
Tatsumi blinked twice and tilted his head upwards. He blinked a few more times as he stared up at an impossibility. There, floating above him was a young girl about his own age with bright golden eyes seemingly stuck in a perpetually sleepy look. A cute little face was framed by long, deep purple hair, partially covered by a white hooded cloak with a black interior. The cloak partially covered a light blue dress that seemed far too provocative for a child her age.
"Hi, I'm Tatsumi."
Tatsumi felt a sweat drop roll down the back of his head even as he spoke those words. Really? A girl appears out of nowhere and just floats there upside down in midair and that's the best he could do?
The young girl giggled and smiled at him, ((I'm Bennia! What are you doing?))
Tatsumi glanced down at himself for a moment before returning his gaze to the young girl floating in the air above him. "Chin-ups?" Tatsumi offered politely. He didn't really know how else to respond to that. "But what did you mean by what you said earlier?" Now that his mind was working again, he recalled that she said he smelled like death.
((You smell like death)) Bennia said again. Her cute little faced scrunched up in confusion. ((I smelled death so I came here to reap a soul but… you look healthy. Papa didn't teach me what to do in this situation. Can I reap your soul anyways?))
"Ah, no?" Tatsumi answered hesitantly. As adorable a request as that was, he liked his soul right where it was. There were problems enough with it without some little girl sticking her hands into it.
((Awww, you're no fun.)) She tilted her head cutely and her brow furrowed in thought. ((But why does death cling to you?))
Death clings to him? Why would she say death clings to… Tatsumi gasped. It struck him like a bolt of lightning. He let go of the bar and dropped to the ground, landing agilely in a crouch. The little girl, Bennia, floated down to his level, albeit still upside down.
"Death… I see, that makes sense," Tatsumi murmured. Murasame had killed him, or tried to kill him. It had failed though because of the Tyrant. That was what Bennia was sensing, Murasame's curse. Tatsumi started to laugh. "Akame…" That actually made him smile. There was a piece of his old life apart from the Tyrant still with him. A piece of Akame.
Tatsumi smiled up at Bennia, "I know. Is that why the kids all avoid me? Because I smell like death?"
Bennia shrugged. ((Maybe? I smell death because I'm a Reaper.)) She grinned at him. ((Maybe they just don't like you?))
Maybe, but Tatsumi doubted it. Kids were very perceptive; they just didn't have the faculties to really understand what they were perceiving so they often lashed out in a very base, instinctual manner. Those kids could probably feel it on an instinctual level how different Tatsumi was to them.
Well at least he knew why now. That piece of Akame, even if it was the curse of her blade, was worth a little childish animosity. But what did its existence mean for him and his future? Hopefully he wouldn't just croak one day without warning. He didn't want to leave behind more sadness.
Wait a minute…
"Reaper?" Tatsumi asked as he looked up at the girl only to find that she was gone. "Did a cute little four-year old Grim Reaper just pay me a visit?" Just what sort of world did he end up in?
Tatsumi suddenly had a sinking feeling his life was going to be anything but normal.
A weak flash of pain lanced across Tatsumi's face as his head was knocked to the side. The blow made him bite the inside of his cheek, creating a sharp coppery taste. He rubbed his face and turned to stare back at the boy that had hit him. The boy was a large, overweight and pathetic excuse for a human with messy black hair that looked as if it hadn't been combed in a year, or even washed.
"Are you quite finished, Itsuki?" Tatsumi asked lazily. Itsuki was two years older than him, a grade four student at Karian Public School. The boy had poor grades from what Tatsumi had been able to gather, and went out of his way to pick a fight with over achievers to make himself feel better.
Tatsumi being far more worldly and knowledgeable than anyone not a teacher at this Public School had quickly become a target. He enjoyed school for the most part. Most students still avoided him because he smelled like death, but the teachers were nice. They appreciated the effort he put into his work.
It would be better if he didn't have to deal with stuff like this though.
Itsuki rubbed his sore knuckles as he grinned down at Tatsumi. "Oh, I'm just getting started!" He balled his fists and swung at Tatsumi's face again. Instead of just taking it this time Tatsumi darted out of the way. A hundred different ways to kill Itsuki came to mind.
He ignored them. He wasn't an assassin anymore. There was no need to kill an insecure child just because his parents didn't teach him how to handle disappointment better.
There was a sharp crack and Itsuki wailed in pain as his hand smacked off the brick wall behind Tatsumi's head. Tatsumi was careful to school his features so that his smile didn't show. Even if he wasn't going to kill the kid didn't mean he couldn't do anything at all.
((Want me to reap his soul?)) Bennia asked from where she floated upside down above him. She wore the same clothes she had that first day, albeit a slightly larger version of it to fit her growing form.
Tatsumi shook his head quickly. Bennia wasn't allowed to reap his soul, although Tatsumi was certain she only asked to tease him, at least he hoped that was the case.
Bennia had visited him often since that day in the park three years ago. Her father's interest in Tatsumi sufficiently peaked by his death like smell that he had encouraged his daughter to keep tabs on him. Bennia was a strange one, but Tatsumi was no stranger to strange people. Normal was abnormal at Night Raid. It was nice to have someone to talk to his own age that wasn't turned off by the aura of death he exuded, even if it was someone as strange and eccentric as Bennia.
Which meant Tatsumi had his own personal Grim Reaper following him around.
"You bastard!" Itsuki roared as he cradled his injured hand. From the way they were beginning to swell he probably broke several knuckles off the wall. "Get him!"
Ah, right, all of Itsuki's lackeys. Many of whom used to be boys he'd bullied in the past but had grovelled significantly enough for Itsuki to leave alone. Itsuki was going to be a true paragon of society when he got older, Tatsumi could tell.
((Want me to reap their souls?)) Bennia asked.
"No, don't reap anyone's souls," Tatsumi whispered quickly as he eyed the boys circling him. He could beat them with ease. Break their arms, snap their necks, shatter their rib cages. There was any number of ways he could break out of the encirclement or outright beat them all.
The issue was that he shouldn't be able to. If anyone saw him performing moves that could kill with the ease and skill of a professional, there would be questions asked. Questions he didn't want to answer. An assassin struck from the shadows, from the night. They didn't beat their opponents in straight up fights unless there was no other choice.
Besides, they were just kids.
Tatsumi evaded the first kid as he charged him and ducked beneath the swing of another. The first yelped as Tatsumi slid his foot out and tripped him as he tried to turn around to face him again. A side step put him around the third and a slide evaded the fourth. These kids were nothing compared to Akame. He could evade them all day without breaking a sweat.
It wasn't necessary for him to keep it up long however.
"Hey! Get away from my brother!" Mira's delicate voice pierced through the encircled bullies. Tatsumi could see his sister rushing towards him with a teacher in toe.
"Shit! Let's go!" Itsuki shouted and bolted away. The other kids scattered in all directions as well.
"Are you're alright, Tatsumi?" Mira asked as she came up to him, her eyes shimmering with concern.
Tatsumi dismissed her concern with a wave, "I'm fine. Itsuki and his gang of bullies are more of a nuisance than a real problem."
"Your cheek!" Her fingers came up to his face, lightly tracing across the small bruise that was starting to form.
"It's not a big deal, it doesn't hurt." It was nothing compared to what he suffered during the war against the Empire. Taking a single blow from Itsuki now meant he would take fewer later. Although now that Itsuki was nursing a broken hand it gave Tatsumi more of a reprieve.
"I'm sorry you have to go through this, Tatsumi," Kira-sensei, the Grade six teacher, said. "I'll have a speak with Itsuki and his parents as soon as I can. A promising student such as yourself should have a peaceful and safe learning environment."
"It's fine, Kira-sensei," Tatsumi said, "Ituski will just come back with a bigger grudge next time." It wouldn't be the first time the teachers had spoken to Itsuki's parents on account of his bullying.
"That is no reason not to try," Kira-sensei said. "Come along, Tatsumi, let's have the nurse check that cheek of yours."
His sister gave him a cheerful smile she no doubt hoped would make him feel better before she grabbed his hand and pulled him along. "I'll talk to mom when we get home. She knows just the dinner to make you feel better."
Tatsumi let out a pleasant chuckle and allowed his sister to pull him along.
((Why didn't you just beat them up?)) Bennia asked as she followed along behind him.
Why was she asking him that? She knew he couldn't respond in front of the others. Apparently that death like aura he possessed gave him the ability to see Grim Reapers. His mother and sister thought he'd created an invisible friend due to his lack of friends when he'd first tried to introduce her to them.
Bennia had laughed for three days straight after that conversation.
((Is my Tatsumi growing soft? I think I saw a little bit of blubber on your stomach.))
His eyebrow twitched in irritation. Ever since that day she'd deliberately tried to get him to talk to her while others were present, knowing full well he couldn't say anything back. At first it hadn't been a problem, imaginary friends weren't really all that strange for children to have, especially for loners like him. He was a little old for that now and if the adults thought he still had an imaginary friend then it would become an issue.
Bennia suddenly zipped about in front of him and whipped her cloak back. She lifted her blue dress and patted her perfectly flat stomach. ((Are you jealous of my Abs of Steel!? I heard that in a show once.))
Tatsumi flushed and looked away. Whether knowingly or not, Bennia had exposed herself to him. That was truly a scandalous dress, especially since apparently Bennia didn't seem to believe in wearing anything underneath.
"What's wrong, Tatsumi, do you have a fever?" His sister asked, noticing his flushed face. She placed a hand against his forehead. "You're a little warm."
((Is Tatsumi blushing?)) Bennia giggled as she let her blue dress settle back in place. The look on her face suddenly became wicked. ((I know how to make Tatsumi blush!))
This was not good. Definitely not good. She was probably too young to understand the implications of her actions, which made his own reaction to it despicable on every level.
I am not a lolicon. I am not a lolicon. I am not a lolicon.
Tatsumi repeated that mantra over and over in his head for the rest of the day as he deliberately averted his eyes from Bennia and her repeated attempts to make him blush.
Crack! Clack! Crack!
The sound of shinai's smacking against each other echoed about the Kendo dojo as the students practiced with one another. Tatsumi held his shinai firm as his opponent struggled to overpower him. Seeing that it was useless his opponent let off and the two lowered their shinai's and stepped back.
The kid, Hikaru, was another student his age. He was quite skilled. In fact if Tatsumi wasn't here he most likely would have been the top student in his age group. Unfortunately for him, Tatsumi was here and he'd been taught by those far better than the experts of today.
Hikaru moved again, rushing forward this time striking for the head, a MEN strike. It was fast, quick, and against anyone else they would have completely fallen for the feint. However, Tatsumi noticed the way the grip shifted on the hilt and the way his arms dipped. He was going for a TSUKI, a throat thrust.
Tatsumi shifted his feet to the side and batted Hikaru's shinai away at the exact moment where he changed from the strike to a thrust. He was thrown off balance and Tatsumi struck, landing a solid blow against the body, a DO strike.
It was almost unfair for the kid, but Tatsumi didn't have the luxury of being fair. Kendo would provide the perfect excuse to explain why he was so good at handling a sword.
Hikaru, to his credit, didn't seem upset by the loss. Instead he positioned himself opposite Tatsumi once more, waiting for him to do the same. Tatsumi did just that and they exchanged another pair of strikes. The two continued to face off against one another, strike after strike after thrust after strike. Hikaru kept at it with a tenacity that reminded Tatsumi of himself when he trained with Akame. Facing against an opponent they had no hope of beating, but willing to lose over and over because they knew that within each loss was another piece of that key to victory.
Tatsumi began to smile as they traded strikes. It was good to be active like this again. Here people didn't care what he smelled like, or what sort of aura he exuded. Here everyone worked together to hone their skills with the shinai, to learn the ways of Kendo and the Japanese swordsman spirit of old. He never thought he'd find another sanctuary outside of home, but here he had.
"Enough!" Kurenai-sensei called out, bringing an end to their sparring session. "Everyone, good work, take a short break and we'll begin again. Remember to drink plenty of water."
Tatsumi bowed low to Hikaru who did the same in return. Turning he left the dojo floor and sat on the bench next to his bag. Pulling off his men he placed it beside him and pulled out a bottle of water from the bag. Even if he hadn't particularly exerted himself, the clothing was heavy and hot. You sweated just wearing it.
"I'm still amazed at how good you are, Tatsumi," his sister said as she sat beside him. Her brilliant smile always brought warmth to his heart. "I've been practicing for two years and you're already better than me."
Tatsumi scratched the back of his head and smiled at her sheepishly. "I guess I just have a natural talent for it." What else could he say? That he had spent a year training with most dangerous assassin in an Empire embroiled in a catastrophic civil war? That wouldn't go over well, if his sister even believed him.
"Talent, right," Hikaru said as he sat on Tatsumi's other side. His voice was light and quiet, as if he was afraid to speak too loudly. "Everyone told me I was gifted, but I can't even come close to hitting you."
"You're better than everyone else," Tatsumi assured him. "Trust me, I know. I actually have to pay attention when I'm against you. I can yawn my way through everyone else."
"You were bored?" his sister asked, "I thought you were just sleepy."
"I was so bored I was sleepy," Tatsumi said. He couldn't hold it too much against them though. It was unfair to put them on his level. Those that kept trying no matter how badly they were matched had Tatsumi's respect. "But I don't want to speak too ill of them. Trying is what matters. There's more to learn in a loss than there is in a victory." He said, remembering the words spoken to him long ago.
"I couldn't agree more," Kurenai-sensei said as she approached him. "And I'm glad your success hasn't inflated your ego overly much."
It wasn't that difficult. Tatsumi knew that no matter how long he lived he'd never match the likes of Akame with a blade, or even her sister, Kurome. Both of them stood so far above and beyond him that they seemed like insurmountable obstacles. "I've… had my fair share of losses in the past," Tatsumi said carefully.
The deaths of those he cared for in Night Raid, Bulat, Lubbock, Ieyasu, Sayo, and so many others. Dead because he wasn't good enough.
"I've been watching you two," Kurenai-sensei said, looking at both him and Hikaru. "Hikaru is definitely very skilled for his age, and you Tatsumi handle a shinai as if you were born with it in your hands. I can't rightly place either of you against your peers and you can only learn so much from facing the same opponent time and again." She gave the two of them a smile. "Do either of you have objections to being moved into a higher class?"
"Of course not!" Tatsumi said, excitedly. Despite knowing how to handle a blade, Kendo was a different form than what he was used to. Tatsumi was looking forward to being challenged. He wanted to win at Kendo using Kendo, not the gifts already possessed.
He noticed Hikaru throwing a sidelong glance at him before nodding. "I will too. I won't catch Tatsumi if I'm always in his shadow."
"Great!" Kurenai-sensei turned to Mira, "starting tomorrow your little brother and Hikaru will be joining you and the others."
Mira threw her arms around Tatsumi and hugged him tightly. "Isn't this great Tatsumi?" His sister asked excitedly. Tatsumi couldn't help but smile, caught up in his sister's exuberance. "I get to beat you with a shinai tomorrow!"
The smile faltered a little. Wait, what? He didn't like the sound of that. His sister may have 'said' he was better than her, but that was a flat out lie. She was easily as gifted as Hikaru, but had two years more experience than him. If it was strictly a Kendo battle, Tatsumi was quite certain he would lose against his sister.
She wasn't called Kurenai's Devil without good reason.
Kurenai-sensei seemed to sense his distress and gave him an encouraging smile. Then she turned from him and walked back into the center of the dojo. She clapped her hands twice, gathering everyone's attention. "That's enough rest, everyone, I want a thousand swings out of each of you. A strong arm is the basis of a strong strike and good posture necessary to deliver a clean strike."
Tatsumi grabbed his Shinai and stepped back out onto the dojo floor. A thousand strikes wasn't something he was a stranger to either. It was nice to get back into the rhythm of things.
The shouting was deafening, a cacophony of cheers and cries of excitement. The arena shook with the thunderous vigor. Ten thousand men and women filled every seat. A million more watched from their living rooms across the country. Countless lights hung suspended from the steel rafters, illuminating the spotless floor with their brilliance, leaving not a sliver of shadow to mar the judgement of the referees.
Sweat poured down Tatsumi's face as he faced off against Hikaru, his shinai held at the ready. Every step Hikaru took, Tatsumi matched it in the opposite direction, never letting him get to his side. The strike or thrust was only that final element of Kendo, positioning and footwork were far more important.
"You can do it Tatsumi! You just need one more point!" Mira shouted from the sidelines. Her excitement so palpable Tatsumi could feel it in the air, electrifying it, urging him on. His parents sat beside her, their hands clasped tightly as they cheered him on just as excitedly. Even Bennia was here, peering down at him from the ceiling, upside down as usual.
One more point. It was easier said than done.
Hikaru had improved immensely over the past few years. For every time Tatsumi swung his shinai, Hikaru had swung twice. For every mile Tatsumi ran, Hikaru ran four. Natural talent combined with a mountain of hard work and a determination that would not have looked out of place in Night Raid, had forged someone Tatsumi's equal in the world of Kendo.
Tatsumi was faster was Hikaru, and his kinetic vision many times better, honed from tracking the movements of those capable of shattering the sound barrier. But Hikaru's skill in Kendo surpassed Tatsumi's own, his mastery of the techniques absolute while Tatsumi still had some rough edges. When it came strictly to Kendo, Tatsumi was not afraid to admit that Hikaru was his better.
Tatsumi would also grudgingly admit that he was more enduring as well. There was no fear of dying at any moment to push Tatsumi to the ragged edge, so his body was not as tough as it had been during his time in Night Raid.
So as he sweated here, and slowed, Hikaru continued on as strong as ever. His stamina might as well be limitless compared to Tatsumi himself. He couldn't count on the time limit saving him. Not here, not in this place.
Not at the All Japan National Kendo Competition Middle School Finals. Not when it pit the two greatest Middle School Kendo stars in Japan against each other. Two individuals hailed as genius talent the likes of which only comes around once every few decades. No one would accept a tie. No one would accept a determination. This would continue until one of them had two points, until one of them was proven better than the other.
Tatsumi shifted his foot to the left, sliding it across the smooth floor. Hikaru did the same in the reverse direction, only he lifted instead. It was only a split second, a tiny little hop that no one would think to exploit. Tatsumi wasn't just anyone though.
With a speed honed in the fires of revolution, Tatsumi halted his sideways movement midway and surged forward. "HAH!" Tatsumi roared as he slipped within reach before Hikaru could plant his foot. The air roared as Tatsumi's shinai came down upon Hikaru's head for a MEN.
Hikaru proved right then that he was better. Even off balanced he managed to meet Tatsumi's shinai with his own. The two bamboo sticks cracked loudly off each other. Tatsumi was stronger and had the force of momentum with him, which meant a whole lot of nothing to Hikaru as he impossibly spun out of danger on the ball of his planted foot and placed himself in the perfect position to go for a strike.
A loud crack echoed across the arena as Tatsumi quickly deflected the perfect follow-up with his shinai, relying entirely on his superior speed and reflects to get him out of harm's way. The two quickly separated from each other and went back to circling.
The thunderous roar of the arena grew ever louder after that exchange.
Groarrarrar… a deep, guttural rumble suddenly echoed up from the vaults of Tatsumi's mind as something shifted inside him, something familiar. He froze, his mind gripped for the briefest of moments by overwhelming fear. Incursio lived. The Tyrant lived. It was awake and still inside him. Tatsumi could feel it shifting, moving. A haunted memory consumed him, overwhelming his mind. That feeling of Incursio slipping into every fiber of his being, shifting him, changing him to fit its desire. To be reincarnated through Tatsumi.
He couldn't let the Tyrant live. It had to be killed, but before that, before his consciousness faded away, Esdeath needed to be defeated.
Tatsumi was no longer in the arena, he was in the Capital. A frozen hellish landscape filled with the corpses of millions. Rivers of frozen blood wound their way through the snow covered streets. Mountains of ice taller than the city walls had destroyed what little had been standing.
Leone was dead. Najenda was dead. The revolutionary army was destroyed. Only Esdeath still lived, exulting over a mountain of frozen corpses.
She peered down at him and smiled. "Welcome back Tatsumi, shall we finish what these worthless insects interrupted?"
Where was Akame?
"Looking for Akame?" Esdeath asked. She kicked, sending a body tumbling down the mountain of corpses. When the body rolled to a stop before him Akame's lifeless eyes stared up at him. The cursed teigu, Murasame, still clutched in her hand. It's blade broken at the hilt. Her naked, ruined body was covered in countless injuries.
Akame was dead. Everyone was dead.
"Let's end this, Tatsumi, my love," Esdeath whispered seductively.
Overwhelming rage consumed Tatsumi. If everyone was dead it didn't matter if Incursio was released. Power was all he needed, power enough to destroy Esdeath.
"Esdeath!" Tatsumi's thunderous roar shattered the mountain of corpses and the city around him. The world shifted and warped. Tatsumi didn't care. All that mattered was Esdeath's death. Old forgotten strength surged through him. The sound barrier shattered a dozen times over as Tatsumi surged forward. Reality ripped to shreds around him and…
Suddenly he was back in the arena standing beneath the lights and amidst the shouting fans. Esdeath was nowhere to be seen, in her place was Hikaru with his back to him and shinai extended as if he was thrusting for Tatsumi's throat. Tatsumi's own shinai was descending upon Hikaru with a force great enough to sheer his body in half. He could literally see the waves of force rippling around the edges of the bamboo, threatening to tear it apart.
He couldn't let his delusion kill a friend. Tatsumi focused, funneled all of his will and strength into halting the strike. The ground cracked beneath him as he absorbed the force of the strike back into himself. It was all he could do.
Tatsumi could only watch as his shinai slammed into Hikaru's head with a loud crack that pierced the roar of the crowd. The bamboo of the shinai cracked, the helmet gave way and Hikaru was driven to one knee, but he lived.
Silence descended upon the arena. Tatsumi dared not look at the crowd, his eyes were on Hikaru. He lived, but was he alright? The last thing he wanted was to truly hurt his friend and rival in Kendo. His fears were quickly dispelled as Hikaru climbed slowly back to his feet. It was shaky, but that his friend was able to stand under his own power was a good sign.
Three red flags were raised simultaneously, giving Tatsumi that final point.
The thunderous roar returned, accompanied by loud clapping. Tatsumi let out a sigh of relief as he made his way to his side of the floor. He turned and held his shinai up to Hikaru who did the same in return. They kneeled together and sheathed their shinai at their hips as if they were real katanas before slowly backing to the end of the main floor. Tatsumi bowed to Hikaru and then to the crowd, before finally making his way to the sideline.
His sister was waiting for him alongside Kurenai-sensei, his Kendo master. She had a smile for him as he arrived and offered him a bottle of water. "I'm so proud of you, Tatsumi! You've inherited your big sis's title as the Kendo Champion!"
He had at that. His sister had been the Champion when she was in Middle School, but now that she was in Highschool she was aiming for a more prestigious title. "Thanks," Tatsumi said as he took the water and set the shinai carefully on the wooden bench. He pulled off his protective face covering and cracked the bottle of water. It felt refreshing. It was really stuffy beneath the men, but it was a necessity for the sport. He wouldn't even consider wearing something so bulky in real battle.
"You did very well, Tatsumi," Kurenai-sensei said politely. The strange look in her eyes contradicted the smile on her face.
"More than well!" Mira laughed as she threw an arm around his shoulders and hugged him. "Did you see how quickly he moved there at the end? I was certain Hikaru had him with a TSUKI, but then Tatsumi was behind him and it struck a solid, clean MEN that can't be disputed!"
"Yes, he did," Kurenai-sensei said. The smile was gone now, replace by a deep frown. "You moved very well there at the end, almost too well and certainly too quickly. Strange." The frown disappeared and the smile came back. "No matter, you've won and become the Middle School Kendo Champion this year. Congratulations, Tatsumi."
"Congratulations!" His sister added as well.
"Yes, congratulations, Tatsumi."
He turned to find Hikaru staring at him intently. His shinai and face mask were left behind on the other side with his own personal trainer and he a bottle of water in his hands just like Tatsumi.
"Thanks Hikaru, it was close."
"You've never moved that quickly before," Hikaru said. His gaze became accusing. "Have you been holding back on me?"
"No," Tatsumi said, serious. "I came at you with everything I had every time. What happened there at the end was a mistake." It had been Tatsumi the Assassin, Tatsumi of Night Raid, that had beaten Hikaru there at the end. "A mistake that makes my victory hollow to me."
"But you can move that quickly."
It was an accusation Tatsumi couldn't deny.
He could move that quickly and even faster if he had to with Incursio, once he ever figured out how to tap into it. He had simply assumed it would sit there inside him, dormant for the rest of his life just like Murasame's curse. That wasn't the case anymore. The Tyrant was alive and well, which meant there was a means of accessing Incursio. He didn't know what just yet, he didn't have the key here like he had back in the Empire.
Even still, Tatsumi wasn't going to risk a takeover. This world of peace had no means of killing it that he knew of.
Tatsumi stepped forward and whispered into Hikaru's ears. "Yes, I can, and even faster if I must but… never against my friends. I never want to have to move that quickly against the people I care about." Because if he had to, it meant he was in a life or death situation.
Hikaru was blushing for some reason as Tatsumi stepped away. Did Tatsumi say something wrong? That wasn't an expression he was used to seeing on his face. His rival shook his head and roughly cleared his throat. "One more thing," Hikaru asked.
Tatsumi closed his eyes and let out a long sigh. "A nightmare I wish I could forget." He turned his back to Hikaru and made his way back over to his sister and Kurenai-sensei. He could see the curiosity dancing in their eyes, but Tatsumi said nothing. It really was hard to find any joy in this victory. Just when he had started to put all those painful memories of the past behind him, they come rushing to the surface once more.
"Cheer up Tatsumi," Mira said, giving him a wide smile. "You're the champion! This should be a happy, joyous time! Now come, the referees are approaching. Get ready to receive your reward and remember to smile!" Tatsumi chuckled and smiled. That was his sister, always capable of bringing a smile to his face. "And just think of all the food we get to scarf down afterward!"
Tatsumi laughed for real. That was true wasn't it? His parents had promised to take him to his favorite restaurant if he won the competition, which just so happened to be dinner at the Kozue. It was going to cost his parents half their paycheck, but from their smiling faces Tatsumi had a feeling they weren't going to mind much.
"Just be sure not to eat my portion," Tatsumi said to Mira as he started for the referees.
"No promises!" She called after him.
Tatsumi leaned back in the chair with a luxurious sigh. The meal was every bit as good as Tatsumi had dreamed it would be. His parents had despaired over the price a little, Tatsumi was certain they were exaggerating a little, but their complaints died not long after that first bite.
You got what you paid for here. The food was good, the service impeccable, and the view breathtaking. A 40th floor restaurant overlooking Tokyo at night. The city was far enough away that one couldn't make out the ugliness that existed at street level, and instead was treated to the beautiful display of lights. There were no noisy conversations, loud laughter, or crying children to interrupt the fine evening. It was just Tatsumi, his close family, and food to die for.
Tatsumi smiled. There was that as well. Bennia for once wasn't hanging from the ceiling upside down. Instead she crouched beside his chair like a petulant child, drawing circles along the floor. She had wanted to taste some of his food but Tatsumi had used all the skills honed in the Empire to fight her off. The finishing blow came when he reminded her that no one else could see her and there would be trouble if his food just randomly started to float in mid-air.
Ah, it was so satisfying to see the Bennia that always teased him finally getting just a little bit of what she deserved.
((Not even one tiny little bite...))
"Nope," Tatsumi whispered, "and it was gooood."
((Fine! Be that way!)) Bennia pouted and slipped through the floor, disappearing to wherever it was she went when she wasn't bothering him.
"Your sister is taking a while," his mother, Misako said worriedly as she glanced from Mira's plate of half eaten food to the washroom where she'd gone. "Her dinner is growing cold. We paid too much for her to waste it."
((I'll eat it!)) Bennia said, quickly poking her head up through the floor.
"I'm sure she's fine," Tatsumi said. His sister wasn't some frail girl that needed to be saved from the toilet monster. She was more than capable of going to the bathroom without someone holding her hand. "See there she is!" he added as his sister appeared from the washroom.
The smile on Tatsumi's face died. Something was wrong. His normally upbeat and cheerful sister had a glazed look on her face. Tatsumi had seen that before, with Kurome's puppets. The worry turned to fear as his sister completely ignored them and left the restaurant, walking straight out the door without even taking her jacket.
"Where is Mira going?" Misako asked, confused.
"I'll get her," Tatsumi said quickly.
He got up and weaved his way across the room, around tables and out the door. Down the hallway the emergency exit door leading to a set of staircases swung shut with a bang. Tatsumi quickly hurried down the hallway and pushed his way into the stairwell. Below he heard the sound of another door shutting. He quickly rushed down the stairs, dropping to the thirty eighth floor. He pulled the door open and stepped out into a beautiful carpeted hallway with doors at regular intervals.
He saw his sister stop at a pair of double doors further down. They opened for her as she reached them and she stepped inside. Tatsumi rushed down the hallway to the same set of doors. Something had a hold of his sister, he knew that beyond a shadow of a doubt. His sister would not just randomly leave them without a word and enter some unknown room on a seemingly random floor of a sky scrapper they've never been to before today.
He tested the handle and found it to be locked. "Sorry about this, but I don't have time to be gentle," Tatsumi murmured before he hopped a step back and kicked the door with all his might. The doors here were designed for style and comfort, not strength. It splintered and cracked, the lock on the door sheering off in the process. Tatsumi lowered his foot and slammed his shoulder into the door, tearing it open.
"Mira!" Tatsumi called out as he stepped into the room. He froze at what he saw before him.
It was a large, elegant office obviously used by some important executive at a one company or another. An expensive U-shaped wooden desk, covered with papers and a pair of computer monitors dominated the center of the room. Just to Tatsumi's left was a fake fireplace inset in the wall with a pair of ornamental katanas put on display above it. A pair of chairs sat on this side of the desk, facing the back of the room, a glass wall that provided a majestic view of Tokyo.
It wasn't the room that gave Tatsumi reason to pause, but who were in it. A large, powerfully built and well-dressed man stood on the other side of the desk with his sister, Mira, in his grasp. One of his hands had slipped beneath her shirt and the other up her skirt.
"What are you doing to my sister!?" Tatsumi demanded as he stepped forward. Before he could take a second he was surrounded by five others. Three men and two women, all dressed in fancy archaic clothes that wouldn't look out of place in the dark ages.
His sister, Mira, jerked and blinked, the glazed look disappearing from her eyes. Tatsumi's voice seemed to have snapped Mira out of whatever trance had come over her. It took her all of a single heart beat to realize what was going on.
"Pervert!" Mira screamed as she rammed her elbow into the man's stomach, doubling the man over in a coughing fit. She whirled around to hit him again but he recovered impossibly fast and caught her fist before it could land.
"You bitch!" He roared and back handed her, sending her sprawling backwards over the desk. Papers went scattered all over the room. "I was going to be gentle with you but no longer!" he roared as he ripped at his sister's clothes, tear them from her body.
His sister struggled against the other man but her strength availed her little. Tatsumi knew his sister wasn't weak by any means. She was stronger and could be more vicious than most just about anyone Tatsumi knew, and yet that man didn't even notice. It was like he was holding down a child, an insect.
A boiling anger bubbled within Tatsumi. He wasn't going to stand by and let his sister get raped. No matter who stood in his way! "Leave my sister alone!" he shouted, rushing forward. One of the women pulled out a sword and swung at him, forcing Tatsumi to jump back, away from Mira.
"Kill the kid, I'm not interested in someone without a sacred gear," the well-dress man said. As one they all drew their weapons on him. A spear, two swords, a pair of steel gauntlets and the last stepped back to put some distance between her and Tatsumi.
"Leave Tatsumi alone!" Mira shouted.
"No." The man said. Tatsumi heard his sister cry out in pain and he threw a sharp look her way. The large man was buried deeply inside Tatsumi's sister with a satisfied expression on his face. "Ah, yes, that's it. Stealing a woman's purity never gets old."
Tatsumi saw red. It was happening again! He wouldn't lose the people he cared about again. A switch triggered inside his mind and Tatsumi the young boy disappeared. When he leveled his gaze upon the five that surrounded him all that was left was Tatsumi the Assassin.
"You're all dead," Tatsumi bit out viciously.
Tatsumi charged the swordswoman, the one that had swung at him first. Her blade whistled through the air, its owner intent on burying the blade deep inside his flesh. Tatsumi, even amidst his anger and rage, kept a cool, calculating mind. The woman was an amateur by his standards. Relying on brute strength and speed to kill her opponents. She had no skill. Against a regular human it would have been enough.
Against Tatsumi it was laughable at best.
With practiced ease Tatsumi side stepped around the strike, allowing the blade to cut past him harmlessly. Her elbow was locked and her arm over-extended. A rank amateur, not even worth a second thought. Tatsumi grabbed her wrist with one hand and slammed his fist into the elbow. There was a sharp crack as the joint snapped and broke. Tatsumi continued on, sliding behind the swordswoman, twisting her arm back with him. With a sharp twist her tore it from her socket. The sword fell limply from her grasp.
It never hit the ground.
Tatsumi kicked it up into the air and grabbed it himself. An instant later he had it rammed through her heart. The woman gasped and gurgled as she died but Tatsumi paid her no heed. An assassin did not admire his work, it was simply a job that needed to be done. He ripped the sword from her body and before the dying woman hit the floor he was onto the next target.
The spearman's surprise at Tatsumi's skill lasted only a few moments, but those few moments was all someone like Tatsumi needed. He surged across the office faster than the untrained eye could follow. The spearman had just enough time to raise his weapon protectively across his chest before Tatsumi was upon him.
An assassin did not strike from the front. For the second time that night, Tatsumi killed. The blade of his sword cutting easily through the spearman's neck, serving the spine just beneath the cerebral cortex, and erupting out through his throat on the other side.
"What are you doing?! Kill him! It's just a single kid!" The well-dressed man demanded impatiently.
"I am not a kid. I am Tatsumi of Night Raid."
He raced towards the man on his sister only to be intercepted by the second swordsman and the man with the heavy gauntlets. Like the woman before him, this guy had no true experience with the blade. He used it as simply a tool to kill the weak with brute force like the other.
Tatsumi scoffed as he swung his blade like a barbarian. He surged forward, knocking the blade to the side. A slash across the throat left the man gurgling. A sliding-side step taught to him by Akame put him behind him in an instant and the next his blade found his liver. Using the man's body as a shield he blocked the first strike of the gauntleted warrior. A martial artist of some skill
It was nothing compared to Leone and she had stated all she really did was beat someone until they stopped moving. With a roar Tatsumi heaved the dead man onto the other, momentarily throwing him off balance. That was all Tatsumi needed. He disappeared in a blistering display of speed and when he appeared on the other side of the man, the martial artist erupted in blood, a dozen fatal wounds appearing all over his body.
There was some ominous chanting and then… "Devil's Flame!" The ground beneath Tatsumi suddenly erupted into a firestorm, consuming him and everything around him.
"Tatsumi!" His sister cried out in horror. That was his sister, caring about him even when her own predicament was worse.
"Don't worry," Tatsumi said as he calmly stepped out of the pillar of flames. He leveled a steady gaze upon the final woman who could only gape at him in disbelief. "I've burned myself worse in the fire place at home." Tatsumi rushed forward faster than before. The woman didn't even have time to scream before he opened her throat up. "And it's nothing compared to the flames of Incursio."
Now there was only one left.
"Well, that was surprising. I never suspected my servants would be this useless, but at least they bought me enough time to finish," the well-dressed man grunted as he quivered inside Mira. Tatsumi could see the shame and mortification on his sister's face.
"And now you get to die," Tatsumi said.
"Ah, ah, ah!" The well-dressed man said quickly. He ripped himself from Tatsumi's sister and quickly grabbed her by the throat. Lifting her up into the easily with a single hand he started to squeeze. "Unless you want to see your sister die, I suggest you drop that sword and back away."
Tatsumi gritted his teeth angrily but did as he was told. The sword clattered on the floor. "You've had you fun, now let my sister go!"
"Let your sister go? Not likely! You have no idea what she has inside her do you? What she's used all her life to elevate herself above her peers?"
"Shut up!" Mira coughed out.
The well-dressed man laughed uproariously. "She has a sacred gear inside her! And a very special one at that! It can see all there is in the future and the past! She's too weak to truly utilize it what with her being human and all. All she can probably see is a few days, maybe weeks, in to the future or past, but I intend to fix that."
"I don't care what she has!" Tatsumi shouted at the man. "She's my sister!"
"Not anymore, because you see… I lied about not killing her." With a twist of his wrist he broke her neck and with another tore her throat out. It all happened so quick. Tatsumi could only watch on in horror as his sister dropped to the floor with a thump, dead, her life blood spilling across the floor from the gaping wound in her throat.
Before Tatsumi could even begin to process the death of his sister the floor beneath her suddenly glowed brightly. A complicated runic construct of some kind appeared around her. It elevated his sister, enveloping her in a soft, red light. Before his eyes the gaping wound in her throat closed and her neck righted itself.
Then a pair of black wings erupted from her back.
"Ah! Welcome back, Mira!" The man exalted. "Rejoice for you have become the newest Pawn of the High-Class Devil, Gregorious Abaddon!" And then, like his sister, a pair of jet black wings erupted from his back.
What the hell was going on here?! His sister had just been killed and then… resurrected as a devil? By another devil? "What did you do to my sister?!" Tatsumi demanded.
"I've blessed her with strength and immortality, that's what!" Gregorious laughed joyously. "She will live eternally as my pawn and shall share my bed along with all my other wives! She is now a devil! My devil! With her ability to see into the future and the past, my dominance of the Rating Games is all but assured! I won't be laughed at any longer Bedeze, your time at the top is over!" His laughter trailed off and the smile on his face turned wicked as he leveled his gaze on Tatsumi. "But first, I need to show you how much I appreciate your killing of my servants." He pointed at Tatsumi. "Mira, kill him."
Mira stepped back and shook her head violently from side to side, as if struggling against some kind of compulsion. There was a look of horror and revulsion on her face. "No! I won't!"
"Tsk, familial bonds. How annoying," Gregorious muttered. He placed his hand, blazing with a powerful red light, upon Mira's head. "I, Gregorious Abaddon, as your king, command you to love and adore me above all others!"
Mira stiffened as if shocked. Tatsumi could see the horror and revulsion in her eyes get consumed by Gregorious's magic. It consumed her personality, dominated it, twisted it to his desire. When it was over the sister Tatsumi had known was gone.
"What is your command, my love?" Mira asked as she gazed lovingly up at Gregorious.
"Kill your brother."
Her smile was sick and twisted. "Anything for you." She turned that twisted smile on him. "It was fun, Tatsumi, but I need you to die for my master."
Using her wings, she lifted off the ground and rushed him. Tatsumi cursed. She was faster than any of the servants he'd killed before her. Tatsumi had just enough time to kick his sword up into his hand and leap to the side before she was upon him. The room shook as she smashed her fist into the ground where Tatsumi had just been.
"I want to see how good you really are, brother," Mira said as she picked up the other sword and held it at the ready, her stance reminiscent of the Kendo she had spent half her life practicing. "You've always held back. I could tell. I could see it. At the tournament and again, here, in this room, I saw a glimpse of your real strength. Show me! Show me!"
Gregorious laughed happily. "Oh, familial love. Isn't it a wonderful thing? As much as I'd love to watch my new wife murder her own brother, I have business elsewhere. Another beautiful sacred gear I must possess." Gregorious said as he turned his back on them. "Once you finish with him, come to the station." With a surge of magical power Gregorious destroyed the glass wall and took off into the night.
"Die!" Mira shouted as she blistered across the floor. Tatsumi met her half way, their blades clashing against one another.
A flurry of exchanges took place in the span of a few moments filling the room with the screech of metal on metal. Mira's blade was guided with all the skill she had developed over her life as a Kendo practitioner and further bolstered by the newfound strength and speed her reincarnation granted her.
It was all Tatsumi could do to stay alive. It wasn't like she was faster than him, he could step it up and beat her in speed. Her kendo knowledge and ability, while surpassing his own, was little more than a hollow imitation of what he'd learned through blood and tears while hunting danger beasts in his youth or fighting as part of Night Raid. Even her strength, while now greater than his, would normally only be an inconvenience at best.
He just couldn't see properly through the tears. With every swing of his blade, another memory of his sister haunted his vision. Times they'd played together, bathed together, went to the park, watched movies and shows. Every time she stuck up for him. Every time she was there to cheer him up or on.
This was Mira! His sister, his family, someone he wanted to protect more than his own life. To kill her was to go against everything he fought for.
"This can't be all!" Mira hissed as she pushed against him, forcing Tatsumi back a step. "I know you're better than this!"
"Please, Mira, stop this! I can't fight you!" Tatsumi pleaded with her. He couldn't cut her down, she was family. He had trained and trained for the sole reason of protecting her and their parents! Killing her wasn't something he could do.
"Yes you can! You can and you will! You will… kill me."
What? Tatsumi blinked back the tears and stared at his sister in shock. Even as she pushed against him, straining to bring her sword across his neck, her eyes pleaded for him to kill her. A desire to kill whirled alongside the desire to die. She didn't want to kill him, but she couldn't disobey her desire to please her master.
She was begging him for death.
"No!" Tatsumi roared back. Faster than before he slipped to the side and slammed his shoulder into his sister's chest, throwing her off balance. Before she could regain it Tatsumi tripped her carried her to the ground. "I won't kill you!" he declared as he rammed his sword into Mira's shoulder, effectively crippling her ability to use her sword. "I'll find a way to free you, I swear it!" He wasn't going to lose anyone else!
"Tatsumi…" With her good hand, Mira took his and placed them around her neck. "Please… Tatsumi… kill me." There were tears in her eyes. "I… I don't want to love him." She choked out a sob. "I don't want to feel his touch." Tears streamed down her cheeks as she wept. "I don't want to live my life as his… slave… please…. Tatsumi… kill me…" No! She couldn't ask this of him! She let out a coughing, choking sob. "Please… my conscious is already… fading away…"
No… not those words. Anything but those words. His chest hurt as his heart railed against what his sister was begging for him to do. His eyes grew hot with unshed tears.
Oh please, God, don't make me do this!
"I can't… stop the compulsion… any longer…" Mira forced out painfully through her tears. "Please… if you love me, Tatsumi…. hurry…" No, no, no that wasn't fair! How could she ask this of him! Pain and sorrow ripped through Tatsumi like a hurricane, shredding his emotions and sanity. Was this what Akame felt when he had begged her to kill him? It hurt so much… so much he couldn't stand it. "Hurry…"
With a soul shattering wail Tatsumi squeezed his hands around his sister's neck.
"Yes… just… like… that…" she whispered hoarsely.
What was he doing!? Stop! He couldn't kill her! His own sister! Why did he have to do this?
His grip strengthened.
His sister smiled up at him even as her eyes started to glaze over, "take… care... of… Tatsumi… Bennia…" Mira whispered.
A gentle weight settled on his back and a pair of small arms wrapped themselves around his chest. ((I will… forever and ever.))
Mira died with a smile on her face.
Dead. His sister was dead. Tatsumi raised his face to the ceiling and howled in anguish. Tears of sorrow rolled down his face as knelt above the dead body of his sister. The sister he loved. The sister he had killed with his own two hands.
"Why!? WHY!" Tatsumi roared impotently to the unhearing and uncaring heavens.
((I'm sorry, Tatsumi)) Bennia whispered quietly. The Grim Reaper had tears in her eyes. ((I'm so sorry. I… have to take her now. Take her to the other side.))
"Why?" He had killed his own sister. What kind of fucked up world was he in where it forced him to do something like this? "Why is the world like this?"
((I wish I knew…)) Bennia whispered as she left his side. She reached into his sister and pulled something out of her. A small wispy ball of light. ((Tatsumi, I'm sorry)) and with that Bennia left, taking Mira's soul with her.
That was it. It was over. Mira was dead. There was no bringing her back. No reincarnation for her like there had been for Tatsumi. She was gone, forever. Tatsumi had killed his own sister and for that he knew he would never find forgiveness. Even if others forgave him, he would never forgive himself.
"Gregorious Abaddon." Anger and rage joined the sorrow, creating a maelstrom of negative emotion. It was all his fault. That worthless piece of shit devil was responsible for this! Tatsumi would bear the weight of his sister's death. But Gregorious would bear the consequence of forcing Tatsumi to kill her in the first place.
"Gregorious Abaddon, devils, and this worthless Rating Game of theirs…" Tatsumi spat out as he slowly stood. "I'll destroy them all!"
Tatsumi let out a bitter laugh as a newfound resolve surged through him. "I should have known. The battle never ends." Peace wasn't something he was allowed to have. Peace was something he fought for others to have. He bent down and closed his sister's eyes. "Don't worry, Mira, I will pay back the one responsible for all this, or die trying."
He stood and turned to stare out into the night through the shattered window. Gregorious Abaddon was out there somewhere and Tatsumi would make him pay. Him and everyone like him. There may not be a corrupt Empire here in this world, but the powerful still preyed upon the innocent.
Night Raid was still needed.
Author's Note: So, what do you think? This is my latest fanfiction. Let me know how you feel about it in a review. The next chapter Tatsumi starts at Kuoh Academy!
I wanted to create a story centered around a protagonist that was capable, knew what he wanted in life and was willing to do anything to achieve it. I also wanted to create a story that didn't follow the same ol' cookie-cutter plot that they all do. Every single one I've read, without exception, starts with (Insert Random Anime/Game Character) into the DxD world, steal half of Issei's harem, and goes on an adventure side-by-side with him and his crew.
This one is going to be different. It's going to have feel good moments, but it's also going to have dark ones too.
If you can't handle a mature story, I suggest you stop reading here. It's not going to be a Disney fairy-tale Mary/Gary-stu type of story like many of those that dominate this site. There will be parts that will make you laugh, cheer, cry, and curse my name but I hope that by the end, you will feel satisfied by the journey.
Note of Chapter Structure: I know it feels fragmented, but that's only because I'm trying to cover such a long span of Tatsumi's new life without writing up 100,000 words properly express it. I only wanted to use a single chapter to introduce this story so I jumped a lot, focusing on important details and events in Tatsumi's early life creating the foundation upon which to launch the story. From here on out each chapter will flow more smoothly since there won't be several years' worth of time skip between each small section.
Note on Bennia: First, yes, she actually is a real Highschool DxD character. She's introduced much later in the Light Novels, Volume 14 I believe? The Anime only reached Volume 8.
As for her abilities - Flight and Presence Concealment. Grim Reapers in the DxD universe were shown to be able to fly. Whether this was due to their scythe or simply their nature is never explained. I'm going with the assumption that it's due to their nature as a Grim Reaper. Presence Concealment is something I'm making up because I feel it makes sense as they sort of need it to do their job. Grim Reapers are naturally invisible to the average human. Only mystical creatures (devils, demons, gods, angels, fallen angels, etc.,), or those that have awakened to their Sacred Gears, can see a Grim Reaper. Tatsumi is unique in that the curse of death from Murasame still clings to him giving him the ability to see Grim Reapers even though he has no awakened Sacred Gear.
Finally, I'm making her the same age as Tatsumi and Issei which I believe differs from her actual age in the Light Novels which her two years younger.