Hey everyone. This is my first Rurouni Kenshin fic, and the theory about vampires was inspired and taken from Aryanne's fic, 'Silver Cross'. Major thanks to her for letting me use this!
Of course, the characters save for Jay and Em do not belong to me. I wish it does, though.
Notes: In another branch of the MIB, they deal with demons, but they are part of the MIB all in all. And Jay is not a female version of the 'Will Smith J', by the way. They're very different people. Read and review, please! I realized that there are not many fics on Sagara Souzou, so I decided to write one for him.
You'll conform to the identity we give you, eat where we tell you, live where we
tell you, get approval for any expenditure over a hundred dollars. You will have no identifying marks of any kind.
You will not stand out in any way. Your entire image is carefully crafted to leave no lasting memory whatsoever with anyone you encounter. You're a rumor, recognizable only as deja vu and dismissed just as quickly.
You don't exist; you were never even born. Anonymity is your name. Silence your native tongue. You are no longer part of "the system."
We're above the system. Over it. Beyond it. We're "them." We're "they."
We are the Men in Black.
How can you fall in love with someone who doesn't exist?
He never knew her name. He'd seen her around for a week now, her in a black suit and a very short, crisp skirt, her sunshine gold hair swept up neatly in a bun, her features smooth and lips pink. There were no other accessories on her person, save for the occasional times where she would wear black Ray-Ban sunglasses.
She was definitely striking, all right. But what lured him to her was not that. Rather, it was the way no one paid attention to her that caught his attention. Humans, he knew, had an obsession with all things beautiful, and the way they seemed to look through her was interesting.
She walked with an innate grace, utterly sure of what she was doing and where she was going, as unmindful of the people around her as they were of her. Her head was held high, and she looked like she knew secrets that no one else knew and dealt with whatever it was on a regular basis. She always had another woman with her, dressed in the exact same way, only the woman was a brunette and was slightly taller than her. There was no one with her tonight. That was fine with him. He had only found the first woman fascinating; he didn't know why.
'What does she do for a living?' He wondered. 'Where does she go every night?'
He was very sure it was not any office, since he'd learned that offices only operated from nine am in the morning to at most ten at night. He'd tried following them, but they had always gone into the seedy pawnshop called Jeebs, and then a black car would come up to the curbside and pick them up before speeding away.
She intrigued him. She had striking blue eyes, and whenever he saw them, he felt as though he was looking into her soul. Like her facial emotions, it was placid on the surface, but he sensed that there was so much more to her.
Throughout the centuries, although he had been to many different countries and had learned about many different cultures, he had never bothered to really look at people or try to understand them, but she was different. It was as if she commanded his attention somewhat, and he was all too willing to give it to her, whether she knew it or not.
Tonight was different. Even as he watched, she entered the diner directly opposite his vantage point and sat down.
This was his chance. He would take this chance and get closer, somehow. There was always something about being physically close to somebody that he had never managed to get rid of despite his vampiric nature. He could see her all too clearly now, even as he made his way across the road, ignoring a particularly vulgar motorist who had screeched to a halt behind him.
The woman's gaze was on the menu, but he knew she wasn't paying much attention to it.
Entering the diner, he could feel the admiring gazes of most of the women falling on him. He ignored them, having been used to this kind of attention long ago, and took a seat in the booth that was diagonally across hers.
It was a little obvious, he knew, but he could not help it. She drew him to her like a moth toward the flame, and even though he knew that he could not possibly bring anything but pain and sorrow into her life, he just wanted to see her up close.
Well, as close as he could get without her getting suspicious, anyway.
She was a mystery, all right. What was she waiting for? She looked relaxed, but he was an expert warrior, experienced enough to know that she was inwardly tense and expectant.
"Anything for you, mister?" A heavily powdered waitress who looked no older than twenty smiled charmingly at him. He caught the admiring sweep of her eyes on him, but decided to pay no attention to that; she wasn't the one he wanted, after all. "Expresso. Single."
"Anything else for you?" she looked expectant. He shook his head.
"One expresso coming right up, handsome." She gave him a broad wink before sweeping away.
So far, the woman he'd been watching had not so much as glanced his way, considering his proximity to her in the small diner and the looks he'd been getting.
Her beverage had arrived—coffee, by the scent of it—and she thanked the waitress politely, her voice level and pleasant. He caught her watching the couple at the table near the window intently, five seats away from her.
Without taking her eyes off them, she raised the cup to her lips.
He watched, enraptured, as the smooth skin of her throat rippled slightly, swallowing the liquid. Her neck was slender and flawless, and oh-so-enticing. For a few good moments, he considered taking her and turning her then and there, making her his for eternity, enough time for him to unlock all the secrets she held within, to run his fingers over her soft skin, to rest his hands against those curves…
'Don't be stupid,' he snorted silently in bemusement. Nothing and no one had captured his attention after he'd been turned. Why should this be any different? It could merely be a passing fancy, and it would be gone like a wisp of cloud on a bright summer's day.
'Day…' he'd never seen proper sunlight in centuries, considering that he was especially combustible if he ever decided to do so. It was a sure way of death for his kind; the sun. He watched her again. What would she look like with the sun reflecting off that gold hair, the sunlight bathing her form?
For once, he held no disgust for the solar entity, simply a sense of musing.
The woman never took her gaze off the couple, and curious, he turned to see who they were. Maybe the man was her boyfriend or something. But she didn't look angry, though. She simply looked…patient.
It was then that he realized. The blood scent was coming off the man in strong waves; he was a vampire, but he had gone beyond that. He had succumbed to the crazed lust for human blood and was now a demon.
There was a difference between vampires and demons. Vampires had a general rule, only to feed on human blood once a month—without killing the human, which was called a contact—and consume animal blood every other day for sustenance. Human blood was an elixir, somewhat like a drug, for if you drank too much, the bloodlust would be upon you, and you had to be killed.
But could the woman possibly know what the man was? He watched her closely, not noticing that his expresso had arrived and sat, steaming, on his table.
The woman displayed no outward expression, something he had gotten used to coming from her, but something flickered in her eyes. Something unreadable.
The couple suddenly stood and went out the exit.
He counted five beats before the woman stood up smoothly and headed for the exit too, her hand already reaching into her suit. She moved soundlessly, and he, too, waited a few seconds before deciding to follow her, in case she did not know what she was getting herself into. He didn't normally bother himself with being the hero-type when he'd been turned after the Sekihoutai, but it would not sit well with him if his woman was killed by that demon, either.
The woman was striding toward the back alley, and he kept to the shadows, his vampiric nature boosting his natural stealth. His keen ears picked up a faint whimper; the man was sucking his victims' blood now. How would the woman react?
He didn't have long to wonder.
The woman had stopped barely a few meters away from the scene. She drew out a silver gun and held it behind her.
So she knew what she was dealing with. Wood killed vampires; silver killed the demons. His hold on his well-concealed sword relaxed.
"Well, well, well. Hey, Mack." She spoke. The victim was still whimpering piteously, but upon hearing the name, the demon turned, blood staining his fangs, his eyes grotesquely yellow in the minimal light.
The demon named Mack widened his grin, looking more like a ravenous beast. He shoved his victim against the wall, and she slumped there, looking somewhat dazed.
"Ah, Jessica. I should've known you'd follow me. What's with the suit? You never wore them before." He leered at her. "Decided that you want more now?"
The woman named Jessica smiled, never losing her agreeable tone. "I've always thought you were an arrogant asshole, Mack. What would I want from you?"
"How about a kiss?" he came closer to her lustily. "A kiss of eternal life? I'll give it to you, you know. You are always special."
"Really, now?" her voice was level. "I was with you for two months and already I couldn't stand you. What makes you think I want to be with you forever?"
"You don't have a choice in this, babe. I think I want you. Now."
"I think not." She whipped out the gun, level with where his dead heart was. She was calm. "You already defected, and I don't think the world wants anything more to do with you."
Mack stared disdainfully at her, realization dawning on his hideous features. "The MIB?" he snorted in disbelief. "What a load of shit. You are deluded, babe. Those are just rumors!"
"They're true, Mack. I'm in the branch of the MIB where we deal with sub-terrestrial scum like you. And as of now, you've violated Code 788, 789, and 800 of The Initiative, which automatically means you get disposed of, no questions asked."
Before he could react, she pulled the trigger, the only sound being silver bullet ripping into his chest.
With a death scream, Mack exploded into dust.
The victim, upon seeing the scene, snapped out of it and screamed.
"You'll be all right, ma'am," Jessica said as she helped the almost hysterical woman up. The woman clung to her helplessly, weeping and screaming at the same time.
"What have you done to Mack, you bitch?! He was kissing me and you-you—"
"I'm so sorry about that little incident."
Calmly, Jessica slipped her gun back and took out something else. A metal, dome-shaped rod with a thin red light strip near the top. From what he could see, there were many small buttons hidden under a small metal flap. She flicked it up and pressed a button, before brandishing her black Ray-Bans, slipping them over her eyes. "I suppose you want an explanation?"
The woman was still hysterical, but she had calmed down slightly. Jessica nodded, and pointed to the red light strip that was now buzzing slightly. "Then I would suggest that you take a look in here."
"Who are you?" the woman said suspiciously, glowering at her, obviously not knowing what to expect.
Jessica simply smiled. It was enigmatic. "I'm just a figment of your imagination."
He closed his eyes as the red light flared a blinding white.
Even beneath his eyelids, he felt the sear of the powerful light; it stung slightly, but it was gone as quickly as it came.
He opened his eyes and heard her say to the now blank woman. "You just dumped Mack when you caught him necking with his ex-girlfriend here. Now you're a free woman; you're better off without the lug."
She tucked the curious object neatly into her suit and turned on her heel to walk out of the alley, her heels making crisp 'click click' sounds on the road, very different from the quiet way she had entered earlier.
He blended neatly into the shadows as she walked past, close enough for him to reach out and touch her. But he'd known enough. So she was with the Men In Black. He had heard rumors about the demon slaying branch of the organisation, but had never seen them in action before until tonight.
So this Jessica was a MIB agent.
He watched as the other woman made her way shakily out of the alley with her new memories. Jessica had even erased her memories of the attack. She was indeed no simple person all right.
For him, there was hope.
The Ishinshishi demons were hunting him ferociously even now. For two centuries he had eluded them, but they were crafty creatures, and so far, he had heard that they had increased by twenty five demons.
And now, all eighty-five were hunting him.
Of course, with their inferior hunting skills, he knew they would never be able to track him, but somehow, they had, and they had followed his trail to Los Angeles.
The Ishinshishi might be dumb, but a fool's blade was still deadly. And he knew he would never be able to deal with eighty-five ravenous demons.
"Mission accomplished, Zee," Jay spoke into the tiny receiver on her car's dashboard as she started up the car, a black Mercedes which she was particularly partial to. "Hostile sub-terrestrial 79 disposed of. Companion neuralyzed."
"Good work, Jay." Came Zee's crisp voice. "HST 79 was beginning to become a threat."
"It was pretty easy, considering what I was expecting."
"You're disappointed?" Her superior sounded amused.
"Yeah. I expected a fight. But then again, Mack was always a slave to his hormones." She smiled, ignoring a slight pang in her heart. "Anyway, is there any luck on deciphering the strange symbols that have been popping up on the radar? I noticed an increase in the popularity of the morgues lately. Kinda disturbing."
"The twins have been working on it, but we've got no headway. It seems like something's blocking the entire code from getting through, and our satellite feed picks up no sign of any sub-terrestrial on the affected areas." She could hear the frown in his voice, and knew that her boss was not satisfied with that answer. He was always a very curious man, and that curiosity had saved the world a lot of times.
"Want me to check it out, Zee?"
There went an additional hour of sleep. "Give me the coordinates then."
"Just off Sunset Boulevard, we have a batch there."
"All right. Sunset Boulevard it is."
There was nothing unusual about the place. She cruised the entire area a few times, following the instructions Zee had given to her, but nothing was out of the ordinary. Aliens and hostile sub-terrestrials had the ability to assume human form, but aside from a Venusian family and a couple of sub-terrestrials—vampires—, she'd done a good few sweeps of the area with her sunglasses—it had been equipped to scan for any aliens and sub-terrestrials—hostile or otherwise—there was nothing.
"Nice watch," she remarked, seeing a few rather raucous teenage kids walk past, shoving each other and laughing, identical black watches glinting dully in the moonlight. Another scan showed that nothing was wrong with any of them.
Hmm. Maybe a gang. But they didn't seem to belong in the rougher sides of the neighborhood. Just wannabe punks, maybe.
"All clear, Zee," she reported. "Maybe it's a glitch or something."
"A glitch." Zee sounded extremely disagreeable. "That's not acceptable at all."
"Hey, tell that to the internal branch. I'm just the one who gets out and kicks butt."
"Right. See anything even slightly out of the ordinary? I'm catching a couple of non-homosapiens around."
"Nah, just a family of Venusians out for their breakfast and the normal sub-terrestrials out just looking for a good time. Heading back home now, Zee."
"All right, Jay. Good night."
Jay barely stifled a yawn as the door to her apartment slid open smoothly. Stepping in, she shrugged out of her suit, hanging it in the walk-in closet near the door.
The door slid shut without so much as a sound, and she pressed a small button on the door. No one was going to come in unannounced tonight.
Of course, this was no ordinary apartment; it was on MIB grounds. But at least she had a say in how she furnished the place. No interior decorators, of course. Strictly personal. All furniture bought was sent to a mansion in Beverly Hills and sent via truck to headquarters, checked for any signs of abnormality, and sent to her.
The light on her answering machine blinked. Curious that she would have voice messages, she pressed the play button.
"Heyyo, Jay. How was the hunt today? Sorry I couldn't tag, partner. I've got a situation here with a couple of pushy sub-terrestrials." Her partner—also closest friend—Em, sounded unruffled despite the sounds of scuffles in the background. "Zee wants us to go squeeze out sources tomorrow. He thinks something's going on. See you tomorrow."
Jay sighed, unbuttoning her blouse as she headed into her bathroom. Squeezing out information from her sources would most likely mean that she would have to get dirty. For some of their snitches, proper pressure definitely had to be applied for best results.
She would have to count on another long day at work tomorrow.
"Morning," Em said calmly as Jay entered the car. Em was behind the wheel, tabloid in hand and a bagel in another.
"Yeah." Jay stifled a yawn. It was eight in the morning, and the bright sun was getting on her nerves. Especially since she only had less than four hours of sleep last night. "God, every day here is the same," she said, extreme loathing in her voice.
Em smirked and handed her a paper cup of coffee. "Yeah. Bright, sunny, beautiful. How can we ever escape this torment?"
Jay rolled her eyes. Em was calm, unflappable. It was in her nature. As for Jay herself, she only used that as a front to get things done. Calm and level never really worked for her, it was like a second skin, considering she was on the SWAT team before she was chosen to work for the MIB.
"All right, what's the story behind today's fun-filled activity?" she took a sip of the coffee and winced. "This coffee tastes like crap."
Em finished up her bagel. "Blame it on the worms. They woke up on the wrong side of their box today."
"Eurgh." Bad sleep, bad weather, bad coffee, it just kept on coming. Jay dumped the coffee cup into a dustbin outside before heading back to the car again, slamming it with a little more force than she'd intended to.
"Anyway, rumors say we've got new arrivals in L.A.. Less than friendly, considering the morgues these days. Problem is, we can't verify the rumors this time. So we'll have to get the information the old-fashioned way."
"It has something to do with the strange symbols on the Map?" The Map, for one was a huge screen listing the location of every sub-terrestrial and alien on earth at any given time. Red was for aliens, and green for sub-terrestrials. Lately, the Map had been showing a large cloud of strange yellow lights, blocking out the lights of other sub-terrestrials and aliens within a maximum of three-mile radius. What was baffling was that the large 'clouds' were spread out, but they were all in L.A.
"Yeah. They tried to pull up the surveillance cameras, but we always get blocked out. The twins couldn't figure out for once what went wrong." There was a slight frown on her face, then it was gone, her placid mask sliding back in place.
"Yeah. All of a sudden yellow lights just show up and we get blocked off. Surge in drained bodies in the morgue. Ring a bell?"
"Yellow lights may be demons?" Normally, blue lights meant demons.
"But demons always show up on the Map."
"So either we got a cult of sub-terrestrials on the brink of becoming demons, or we got a bunch of somethings capable of blocking our signals and satellite feeds."
Jay sighed. "Why am I not surprised?"
"Because this is L.A.? Maybe sub-terrestrial 90 might know something."
"You mean Angel?"
Angel was a vampire who had set up a detective agency in L.A. a little more than a year ago which dealt with demons, but only in a more personal way. The MIB dealt with demons who were bent on destroying the world. Big things.
They had worked with this vampire on a good few cases, mostly involving the demon law firm called Wolfram and Hart, but in order to keep their mystery, Jay had always erased his memory after that, letting him remember that he had defeated the demons himself. But they had learnt not to underestimate this vampire, he was one of the good ones, and had gotten the hero-schtick down pretty well, also getting some information about the MIB in the process, which was impressive, so to speak.
(A/N: Angel is not referred to as having a vampire with a soul here. It is not known whether vampires have souls or not, but as Angel was made by a blood-crazed demon, he is, of course, also a demon, but he was 'neutralized', thereby being the first demon in all of history to become just a vampire.)
"Yeah. The guy is well-known in many circles, and maybe he'd know something about our new friends." Em started the engine and pulled out, slipping the tabloid into the small compartment between them.
"Visiting him so early in the morning isn't going to make sense, you know. Besides, his companions might be there."
"They will, but we're working down from her. He doesn't know anything about it, we zap them. Him, too. This mission doesn't involve the guy. What are neuralyzers for?"
"Hey," Jay frowned. "We already zapped them a good few times. Don't you think an overload would give them brain cancer or something?"
"Angel's technically already dead, and no, it's harmless. We ran several checks on it. The Figanian aliens swore that it would not have any adverse side effects on the human brain."
"Huh. They got hooks for heads. How well do they know?"
"Their brains are in their spines, Jay. Ever notice their huge hunchbacks?"
Cordelia was just about to arrange the messy files on her desk—which was originally the reception's desk, but the Hyperion was the base of their operations now instead of a hotel—when the double doors to the hotel opened. In stepped two professional looking women, dressed in identical black suits and looked as if they were sizing up the situation, whatever it was. There was something strange about them, something vaguely familiar…but she dismissed it quickly.
"Hi, Angel Investigations. This isn't a hotel, by the way."
"I know," the taller brunette said coolly, flashing a badge. They walked in slowly, taking in her surroundings with a casual air. Even Wesley, who was arranging his beloved books, was curious and now coming over. "How do you do, ma'am. I am Special Agent Sanchez and this is Agent Street, FBI."
Cordelia caught the strange look that the second agent gave to Agent Sanchez.
"Good Lord," Wesley raised an eyebrow, surprised. "The FBI?" They never had visits from the FBI before. This probably meant trouble.
"We have a few questions for a Mr. Angel?" The one named Agent Street said levelly, her expression mild.
"Angel?" Cordelia's mind raced. What would they want Angel for? He was a vampire, what if they wanted to take him back for questioning? It would mean that he would have to go into the sun…Then she tried to look as calm as possible. She had to know why these people were looking for Angel. "I'm his associate, and he's not in at the moment. May I know why you're searching for him? You can talk to me if you like. There's nothing about him that I don't know." She flashed them her brightest, winning smile.
Agent Sanchez looked totally unflappable. "We have a few questions for Mr. Angel. Strictly confidential."
"It's all right, Cordy," Angel said from upstairs. He had obviously heard the noise and had come down to check. He fixed his gaze on the two agents and looked completely casual. "Ladies. We can have a word up in my office."
"What is the trouble?" Angel asked as soon as he shut the door behind him. The MIB had never paid him social calls, and this was no time to think that it was.
"Word has it that there are new arrivals in LA, namely around here. Do you know anything about it?" Em took a seat opposite him, beside the already seated Jay.
Angel looked them over for a moment. The two had helped him a few times, and they fully expected him to return the favor. Despite that, however, he still didn't know anything about them, save for their names. MIB Agents Em and Jay. Not even Cordy or the others knew who they were.
"I thought the MIB would be fully capable of detecting them?" he asked, slightly surprised.
"This time it's different. They seemed to have acquired some kind of contraption that masks their presence. All we can pick up in a three-mile radius is a kind of yellow cloud. We thought you might know something." Jay spoke this time. She was the friendlier one.
He frowned, remembering…there were a bunch of demons he'd killed just last night around Sunset Boulevard. They were cleverly hidden beneath their human guises and looked like normal teenage kids. It wasn't until they attacked him that he realized that they weren't human, which was already weird, considering that he, as a vampire, could sense other non-humans from a mile away.
They proved to be rather formidable indeed, speaking of hunting some false army commander and executing him and whatnot. It was not until he accidentally smashed one of the watches they wore that they revealed their demonic form.
They weren't too smart, but all in all, they proved to be very dangerous. Heck, he still had some scars to show from dealing with them last night.
"I breezed there last night." Jay looked interested. "You've seen something?"
"Yeah, I went, I saw, I killed. There were this bunch of kids who were actually demons, but you won't know that until you smashed the watches on their wrists. My guess is that if it prevented me from knowing that they were non-human, that was most likely a device that would mess your signals up too."
He saw Jay exchange a look with Em, who looked as calm as ever.
"Do you know who they are?" Jay asked.
"No. I didn't really get to have a question and answer session with them."
"All right." Em rose. "Thank you for your time, Mr. Angel."
"Wait. Is there some kind of trouble?" his guard was up. They would never come here and ask questions if there was nothing going on.
"Nothing you should trouble yourself with," she replied without any inflection in her voice.
"Yeah," Jay added with a shrug. "It's all cool. Just a couple of questions. Thanks, man." Her smile was genuine as she pulled on her sunglasses.