Vale tandem, non immemor mei
(Farewell, then, and do not forget me)

Chapter 1: Zernebock (Dungeon)

Heikiro was no gambler. As nearly everyone's senior he was above such things, but that did not mean he discouraged it. He was the bookkeeper, the mediator, the one who kept track of all bets placed on the table. He was the only one trust-worthy enough for the job. When the blonde kid first came, most messages within their cluster, one of many that formed a large organization, turned his way. The wager was set: How long would it be before the newcomer either die from the harsh training or kill himself to escape a hellish existence? The shortest period bet was 4 days, and most littered the following weeks, even months, but overall it was not very flattering. It was clear that no one expected the poor kid to last long. One did place down a bet for a year but it came with a note that said, "Humor me."

Not that Heikiro could really blame any of them. The newbie was tasked to his trainee-group so was one of the first ones to see the flaxen-haired teenager when they brought him in. Unconscious and slung over the shoulder of a delivery specialist, his soon to be subordinate did look like a weakling who would fall over with one solid punch. Certainly not promising.

"What task am I train him for?" he had asked them as he inspected the slight bump where the kid had taken a hit, unable to think of any that would fit. He had gone as far as to wonder why the organization even took interest in the frail-looking child in the first place, though he had never done so before and knowm well he was in no position to do so.

"Elimination expert." When the smaller of the pair of specislists had answered him with that, he was more than a little incredulous. The golden-haired youth hadn't looked capable of hurting a fly, much less of assassination. There had to be a mistake.

They had assured him there wasn't and that the head of the taskmasters himself had watched over this one's abduction and given the order. Well, there was no way he could argue with that. It had been night when the specialists left the blonde to his care. When the kid woke up the following morning, he was willing to give him the benefit of doubt. Most woke up after a few days, 3 at the least, and delivery specialists were never incompetent, nor were they ever compassionate.

"Shonen."

Boy. That was what they called him. The single thing they allowed him to keep of his life before the organization was his first name-- Kuroudo-- but he would rather be called by his pet name nonetheless. It was given to him by his master, who was more or less the closest person he had to a father figure, out of the childish looks he used to sport. He had matured and hardened considerably since then but the name had stuck. It was a part of who he was, or at least, who the last four years had made him to be. And those years were all that he had. His entire life before the organization was a complete blur, and memories came to him like scenes seen behind a frosted glass pane on a deep winter night. There were only varying shades of gray and white. Only the past four long years remained. Nothing more, nothing less.

"Hai?" he said into the receiver of his headset, ridding his sword of fresh blood that gleamed in the dark with a quick flick through the air before sheathing it. He took a step back from the slowly largening pool of blood before him, unwilling to let his black leather boots get stained, much as his soul already was.

He had forgotten, but he no longer cared. He didn't even bother to try and remember. What was the point, even if he did? He wouldn't be able to go back to them, not with his blood-stained hands. He had already become a part of this world.

"Body count?" the voice from the other side asked. It wasn't essential for assassins to know who their partner was back at headquarters, but he knew anyway. He could recognize the voice easily with a pair of ears that impressed even the members of the reconnaisance division, consisted of spies with the sharpest senses in the orgnaization.

"Wait. One, two...nine," he answered, checking to see if he had not missed any. With the exception of the targets, he had not really been paying attention who and how many he had cut down. Some of them were fighters so it was for the better he had not worried about it and risked getting his head bashed in.

"Nine? That's seven more people...you're getting better at keeping it clean." The other sounded pleased and he did his best to keep the smile off his face. A commendation from his master was not something rare for him but the number he took out on his missions was always an issue with Heikiro. He was not a blood-thirsty killer but often given big targets, he couldn't help but face the number of bodyguards they had. It was mostly their kind that made the casualites in his reports so high.

"Thank you, sir," he replied, unusually careless. There was a pause in the other end during which he was able to hear the panting of a person within the room. Someone was still alive? Unbelievable. No one had ever survived his assaults before.

"Very well. Pack up and return to HQ, shonen." Heikiro didn't sound the least bit ruffled, much as one could expect from one of the Elites. The Elites. Skilled veterans of the organization, they were second only to the Elders. Though he was still to beat his own own master, he was considered by many to be the level of an Elite. None of the other elimination experts could stand past a minute of combat with him. The only thing that kept him at his level was the fact that he had only been with the organization for four years, seen by most as too short a time to have proven his loyalty and trustworthiness.

He cut the connection off and heaved a sigh. Now, to take care of the mouse he had heard earlier...

To be continued...


Author's Notes: First real chapter up! Not that there's much in it. Please excuse the poor English. My computer broke and I had to do most of this on pen and paper.


Disclaimers: I do not own Crush Gear Turbo, its characters, storyline, etc. No money had been made in the writing of this fic. It was created only for the sheer entertainment of the author and her readers and contents did not necessarily occur within the series.