"You need to go. And never come back."

The words still followed him, came to him in his sleep. Gojyo covered his ears, cowering by the dumpster. His stomach hurt so bad because he was hungry. He hadn't eaten since...

"Don't ever come back here. And don't ever talk to me again."

Jien...he wondered where he was. Gojyo opened his eyes, looking around the dark alley. His home for the night. He needed to eat, to survive. He needed to...

"You need to go."

NO! He needed to stop hearing those words, those awful words! He needed to stop seeing that blood, everywhere, on his face, his clothing. The stains still clung to his pants. The exact color of his hair and eyes. The ones she hated so much.

"Everytime I look at you I see that filthy, stinking human slut! Why couldn't you just die? Why won't you die! Just DIE ALREADY!"

Gojyo stumbled to his feet, pulling the lid off of a can. Food...He dove in greedily on the left overs thrown on top, the ones he'd just seen the butcher throw out. It was raw and fatty as hell, but it was food. His stomach rolled threateningly and he gagged a little on the thick, chewy texture in his throat. So hungry...

He looked up when he heard a sound. Someone was laughing at him? He froze very still, a piece of raw fat still in his fist.



A snicker of laughter again. Was he completely flipped from hunger? No, there it was again!

Someone stepped out of a shadowy doorway, face partially hidden in shadows, but not enough to hide the leer. "Oo, aren't you a pretty one! What lovely hair you have."

"Piss off," Gojyo snarled, backing away from the hand reaching for his hair. No, his hair wasn't lovely! It was a sin, a reminder of the mother he never knew, of the blood...the blood everywhere. And the sword in her chest. Mother...

"Why did he bring you back here? He should have drowned you in the river, just like they do with those impure mutts! I can't stand it, can't stand it, can't stand it..."

Always the tears, the constant flood of tears, and all because of him. The hand reaching for him again. He shied away. "Leave me alone!"

"I have something for you, pretty boy. I'll pay you good money, give you a warm meal."

Gojyo knew what the guy was asking. He wasn't stupid, and he'd already slept with a few girls his age. He was thirteen, he wasn't a kid any more! Food...and money for shelter. But...

"You're a waste, a stain upon this house! You piece of filth! Disgusting, dirty, filthy HALF BREED!"

Why wouldn't she shut up? She was dead, he saw her, her blood was on his pants...He took the pale hand held out to him and followed the stranger into the darkened doorway. And left an hour later with a full stomach and pocketful of money.

And she was quiet. He couldn't hear her. Maybe if he just kept...Gojyo kept to the shadows of the redlight district, watching the prostitutes. Maybe if he... And the next hand that reached for him, this time with broken nails and very tanned, he smiled at, tossing his hair back. Anything to stop the pain.