Disclaimer: I do not own the characters mentioned within this fic. They belong to their creator who is, sadly, not me.
Keiko shivered as the cold air whispered over the exposed flesh of her legs, ruffling the hem of her skirt. She grimaced. The shortness of it was a forced tolerance because it was part of her work uniform, but still, that didn't mean she had to like it. Sighing, she picked up her pace, hugging her coat closer to her body in an attempt to keep the chill from entering her.
She had been late getting out of class, due to the fact that she had no car, not to mention having to stop by her house to change, she had been late for work. And because she was late, she had to work overtime. That delay had led her to the predicament she now found herself in. All alone, late at night in the deserted parking lot of her workplace. She shivered once more as she glanced around before quickly making her way across the street to come to stand beneath the dim streetlight.
Silently, she cursed herself. She'd known she should have taken Kurama's earlier offer to give her a ride home, but hadn't. It might have been because she found herself attracted to the devastatingly handsome redhead, or it might have been that even though she knew how dangerous it was to walk alone at night, there was a part of her that had always longed for the thrill of danger.
She would never actually admit this aloud to anyone though, not even to herself, but that was one of the reasons she had stayed with Yusuke for so long. The danger that was all around him, the darkness so close she could feel it. It had always caused a delicious jolt of pleasure deep down within her very core. Maybe that was why she'd developed her little crush on Kurama as well, but she didn't want to think about that too much.
At any rate, no one would know that sweet, innocent, little Keiko actually had a dark side. Oh, no. You couldn't see it, but it was there nonetheless. Whenever she was around Yusuke and the others it seemed to grow, mixing in with the fear of being caught, that she might be harmed, or worse yet, killed.
Another gust of wind pushed against her, whipping her long, brown hair around her face. It had grown in the past couple of years and was now well past her shoulder blades. She tucked the wayward strands behind her ear before slipping her hands back around her jacket collar. The heels of her sandals echoed with an eerie clicking sound as they made contact with the sidewalk. Her shadow stretched out before her, marking her path as she made her way down the block, pausing every now and then as a strange sound emerged from the darkness to give her pause as she made her way home.
The clouds shifted overhead, every now and then revealing the dark sky above, broken only by the small flecks of light. Letting her gaze travel around the deserted back lot, she jumped when a loud crash echoed behind her. Her body spun around as her brown eyes stared warily into the shadows.
Swallowing the lump forming in her throat she took a hesitant step forward, her sandals scuffing the black top. When she moved as close as she dared, a black blur sped between her legs causing her to cry out and stumble backwards before landing roughly on the ground.
Heart pounding in her chest while her breathing came out short and uneven, she sat there trying to figure out if she should be running or not, but before she could decide, another loud crash sounded causing her to jolt up and run in the other direction.
Or... she tried to. A dark, solid figure stopped her in her tracks as she collided with it, stumbling back from the impact and almost falling. Her descent to the ground was halted, however, by a pair of strong, wiry arms that wrapped themselves securely around her waist. Gasping, Keiko looked down as she steadied herself. Dark cloth encased the arms holding her and, curious, she allowed her gaze to run up their length only to find more black along the way. The entire chest area was covered in the same pitch black cloth and as Keiko's eyes journeyed higher, they took in the sight of long, midnight tresses that framed a face, partially masked and vampire pale.
"G-gomen, ne," Keiko began in means of apology for nearly running over the man who still held her and attempted to step back from the impromptu embrace... only to find out that she couldn't.
"Hello, fragile one." The dark figure said, voice filtered through the partial mask they wore. It was low and silky and dangerously seductive sounding to her ears.
Keiko felt her knees grow weak and her heart rate pick up a bit, a reaction that her body normally had whenever she heard Kurama's voice. This startled Keiko a bit and she wondered why this was. Surely, she couldn't be attracted to this stranger in the same way as she was attracted to the red haired kitsune?
Elegant hands traveled from her waist to her shoulders and she winced as they tightened a bit, holding her away from him slightly, but not allowing her the leeway to flee. The tall, intimidating figure leaned down, long ebony stands of hair sweeping forward to curtain both their heads as he brought his face close to her ear.
"Isn't it a bit late for a pretty thing such as yourself to be out, all alone?" The silky voice whispered, filtering out from the mask and sending another wave of shivers along her spine. "There's no telling what sort of creatures you could run into, you know."
Keiko nodded slowly. "I know, my friends are forever warning me about working late, but this is the first time I've ever seen anyone else out here." she whispered a bit breathlessly due to the dark stranger's close proximity.
"Not seeing it doesn't mean it isn't there..." his voice was almost a purr, causing her to shudder against him. "In fact, it's much more amusing for the hunter to stalk the prey unawares..."
Keiko leaned her head back in order to meet his dark eyes, so deep and mysterious. Not knowing what to expect from this individual, the purely dangerous aura she felt surrounding him caused her more daring side, the one she kept secretly hidden, to emerge.
"Is that what you are? ...a hunter?" she murmured, her voice taking on a surprisingly husky tone.
Unseen beneath the mask, his mouth curved into a dangerously glinting smile. Oh, this one had promise, didn't she? No wonder Kurama kept an eye on her...
"Sometimes," he noted, silkily. "You want to be hunted, fragile one? Better yet, are you prepared to be captured and submit?"
Keiko shuddered and for the moment lost the ability to speak. Did she really want to continue flirting this way with a complete stranger? She knew she didn't have a chance with Kurama, he'd never shown her any interest except in a platonic way. The thrill that she so loved when being near the kitsune was present here, with this seductive stranger, so why not have a bit of the dangerous fun she found oh so alluring? Only a second's hesitation and she had made her choice.
"Maybe..." she allowed a smirk to form on her lips. "If you catch me. But then, the question becomes, do you think you can?"
"Oh, I can catch you..." he lifted a hand from her shoulder to turn her chin up, the points of his fine nails pressing into her flesh. He could feel her pulse against his fingertips, noted its racing beat. "But there's more than running and being caught involved in this little game." his eyes narrowed dangerously at her, intent in their meaning.
Keiko's tongue darted out to moisten her lips, which had suddenly gone dry. The reasonable voice in the back of her mind began to rant and rave, asking her what she thought she was doing and why she was putting herself into this situation. But for some reason, she ignored the more practical side of her conscience and focused on the hidden desires that she normally buried so deep within her soul.
"Is there?" she replied softly, "Then you wouldn't mind going over the rules for me then, would you."
His body tingled with excitement. "One rule: Always obey your master. Still want to play, fragile one?"
Keiko's eyes widened, surprised by the words. "But you haven't caught me, so you're not my master yet."
He backed off a pace cautiously, not wanting to scare away his promising little prey. "You haven't agreed to be chased, either."
"Well, then..." Keiko leaned in slowly, drawing herself up so that she could look him in the eyes. "...consider this my acceptance." And with that she darted off, fleeing into the night whilst adrenaline raced through her body in anticipation of being pursued.
He waited, watching her go, hearing her footsteps, her breaths coming in hitches. Excitement bubbled and simmered deep and then boiled along his nerves as he held himself purposefully still, holding himself back. Impatience finally spilled over from the insides and he tore off after her, bounding and graceful, his form a blur synonymous with the night shadows.
He found her quickly, running as though for her very life, panting and breathless. He admired her a moment before nearing, making noise purposefully. What would the little human do? Was she afraid?
He felt himself becoming intoxicated on the rush - this was going to be far more fun than he'd had in a very long time.
His agile body blended in with the night's surroundings, giving him an unfair advantage over his prey. He was dressed in black from head to foot; his skin was the only thing that could give him away. He followed the sound of her pulse; the fear was like a trail of breadcrumbs. But there was something else behind the fear, it wasn't the fear of death, it was more like the fear of a child losing at a game of hide and seek.
Keiko rounded the first corner and placed her back tight to a brick building. She was excited, but fearful at the same time. Her eyes shifted from side to side, unsure of where to go next. Running was becoming difficult. Sandals and short skirts were not made for certain physical activities, and this was one of them.
She peered around the corner, spying a dark shadow drifting along a fence. It was slow and sure, it had to be him. The thought caused her heart to leap, her adrenaline pumped. Keiko darted down the street at a faster pace.
She turned, her feet pounding against the ground. Her body seemed to throb from head to foot, her lungs achingly exhilarating her. She sprinted around a corner, onto a sidewalk and down a side street, the darkness casting deep shadows. She ran blindly and looking backward she didn't see the puddle until she was in it, splashing water high up her legs. She gasped, loudly, startled at the cold spray of water, her wet shoes skidded and she couldn't stop the fall.
She reached out blindly to stop the impact, her palms scraping hard against the pavement. She hissed in pain, but forced herself to her feet. She didn't see him... but something in her knew he wasn't far away. She had to keep going. Her hands burned, but she kept going, rubbing them against the cloth of her skirt, turning down yet another street. Casting her eyes behind her once more she didn't see the wall until it was too late. She was already halfway down the alley. She continued on, plastering herself back against the solid surface, panting...
Would he find her?
She turned startled eyes up when she noticed a long shadow stretching out before her and her breath caught.
He was here... There, in front of her...
She couldn't see his mouth, but she didn't need to. She could feel the satisfied smirk on his lips. She was willing to bet he had beautiful lips...
She trembled faintly.
"Caught, aren't you, fragile one." His voice was a deceptive murmur in the small alleyway. Her heart thudded almost painfully as the space between them became smaller and smaller. "Like a trembling little bunny..." There was a caustic edge to his voice, something sharp and quick, dangerous in its very intensity.
As he moved toward her, he paused slightly, his head lifting just a bit, the gesture reminding her of a black cat scenting the air. She watched in fascination as bone white, elegant hands rose to his face, slipping beneath the cascade of onyx hair to unclasp the mask before removing it, leaving his features completely bare. Keiko felt as if her breath had been stolen from her as she took in the lower portion of her dark stranger's face. Straight, almost regal nose. Lips just as full and as tempting as she could have ever imagined. His face was almost a work of art, at that moment nearly rivaling Kurama's in Keiko's mind. She remained unmoving, not able to utter a sound as he dropped the mask to the ground beside him before continuing to close the distance between them.
He leaned in, his arms coming up to rest his palms against the wall behind her, one on each side of her head, effectively trapping her between his body and the dead end alley wall.
"I-I..." Keiko found herself speechless, trapped as she was. All she could do was stare up into those mesmerizing eyes and wondering what on earth he planned on doing to her. For the first time since this had all begun, Keiko began to feel the tingles of true fear creeping up her spine.
Emerging from the shadows, the red head approached the building at a hurried pace. The figure took note of the darkened interior, not a light was on and inwardly cursed. Damn, he had missed her! Heaving a sigh, Kurama turned in the direction that he knew Keiko normally took in order to go home. He knew the path by heart now, having followed her every night for the past two weeks, making sure she made it home safely.
She didn't know that he followed her, of course. That was something he kept secret, knowing she thought that she didn't need constant supervision. It wasn't as though he thought that of her, it simply wasn't the case.
It was simply a matter of her being young and female and alone at night and, naturally, he worried about her. He tucked his hands into his pockets and headed down the path. He worried about her, especially now, since she and Yusuke were no longer dating. He wasn't sure Yusuke would have come to walk her home had they still been dating, but he didn't spend much time thinking about it either.
The night was breezy and the trees swayed with a soft, gentle air. It was peaceful and Kurama regretted that he hadn't been able to walk with her instead of following in her path. As he reached a certain place upon the sidewalk the wind shifted just slightly and a scent caught him unawares. He straightened, the muscles in his back tensing, his kitsune senses flaring.
That scent... it was so... familiar. But who...
Kurama's eyes widened when the scent finally matched up with a face within his mind.
'No! It couldn't be!'
He resumed walking, his feet quickening as an image came to mind of endless threads of dark hair and narrowed, cruel eyes. He hadn't seen...
No, it just wasn't possible.
He came to a dead halt when Keiko's scent seemed to converge with the same familiar scent that was picking at his memory. He moved forward again, his step quickening into a jog.
Many thoughts ran through the red head's mind as he tracked the scents, becoming more and more alarmed as time passed and he began to pick up the sharp spike Keiko's scent had taken on.
'What the hell is going on? How could Karasu still be alive and why is he following Keiko? Is it possible he figured out how I felt for Keiko during the Dark Tournament?'
The jog became a run and he darted after the scents in the air, discerning the spiky scent he'd picked up some feet back.
It was fear he smelled.
Thick and bitter and sharp.
It was Keiko's fear.
The realization raised the hairs on his body as he moved, running after her, following her blindly on the breeze.
The trail led him to an alleyway and Kurama came to a stop at its entrance, peering into the darkness and used his enhanced vision as well as his ability to sense aura in hopes of locating Keiko and Karasu's exact locations. He stifled a gasp when he indeed spotted them. The tall, dark haired figure leaning intimately close to the smaller form. His body instantly tensing to do battle, Kurama stepped into the alley, calling out to catch the raven youkai's attention.
"I know not the dark power that allowed a twisted soul such as yours to return, but I will make sure that I send you back to where you belong. Karasu. Turn and face me!"
Keiko gasped. He could hear her uneven, unsteady breathing.
Karasu half turned, just enough for Kurama to see half his face, uncovered. His lips were pulled back, a smirk stretched upon them.
"Kurama...?" Karasu turned his back to Kurama and looked back toward Keiko. "Expecting your lover, were you?"
Keiko was unable to respond and Kurama simply ignored it. "Leave her be!" he hissed and with a swift movement of one hand, the kitsune suddenly held a fully bloomed rose.
Karasu did not turn, but simply continued to stare at Keiko, though it did not mean that he was totally unaware of Kurama's actions. With a soft, taunting laugh, he said, "My, my, I can definitely tell what you see in her, my dear fox. She is most delightfully innocent, is she not?" A thin, pale finger traced slowly down Keiko's pert nose to brush her full lips before traveling down the length of her throat, coming to stop at the collar of her blouse. "And yet, sinfully dark at the same time."
Keiko told herself to calm down and to not panic. The rose whip snapped dangerously close as Kurama seemed to emit a low growl, but Karasu merely chuckled.
"Such a sweet toy... I think, Kurama, I'd like to borrow her a bit..."
He leaned forward toward the trembling girl and lapped his tongue against her cheek.
"Not while I live, Karasu!" Kurama growled menacingly, charging forward in hopes of whisking Keiko from the dark haired demon and away to safety.
Kurama slid to a halt when in a fluid move Karasu left Keiko's side, leaping into the air and somersaulting, coming to land a safe distance away. "Tsk, tsk. Naughty kitsune, I didn't say you could join us yet." The crow smirked. "This is not the Dark Tournament, Kurama, so why fight? There are so many more...enjoyable things we could be doing together... with our little toy here."
"Agreed, this is not the Dark Tournament and who says that Keiko is our toy?"
Karasu's smirk dimmed only slightly, frowning just so at his companion. He glanced beyond him to cast another smirk at the girl and Kurama pushed her completely behind him.
"You never were one to share, were you?" he murmured, his voice soft but with a clear cut as though he resented Kurama's supposed selfishness.
"Share? Who says she's mine in the first place? I am simply protecting her."
"Puh-lease. Do you take me for a fool? I've known since the first time I laid eyes on you that you were taken with someone. That's what made our little talks all the more fun. I'll admit, I didn't know who it was at first, but then, all it took was a bit of watching and waiting, and just a bit of intuition." Karasu's smile widened as realization dawned on the red head's face.
"You... you are empathic as well?"
Kurama's inquiry was answered by a single nod. "So I've found your little toy, Kurama." He swept his slender fingers through his hair. "But I'm tired of watching now, I want to play..." His lips again slid into a smirk and he caught Keiko's eyes as she peered around Kurama to stare at him. "You want to play with me, don't you, fragile one?"
"Keiko stay back," Kurama urged. "Karasu is dangerous."
"Oh, but she liked it," Karasu purred. "She loved every second of it, her pulse racing with excitement. She wanted to be prey, Kurama." His eyes narrowed on the kitsune. "You found a good one. A human that would take joy in the hunt, to be tracked down and mated in the wild, such a perfect match for a fox... But you haven't done her yet... Is she reluctant? Are you afraid to approach this human?" Karasu's voice was caught between teasing and mocking and Kurama tensed at the sharp edge of the words.
Kurama wondered, because despite his twisted view on things, the crow usually did not seem to pick completely unwilling victims. The Dark Tournament had forced him to choose, and kill, one of the team, and he was the only one on their team to catch his eye. But there had been a certain thrill involved, even if it was fear driven. He turned to Keiko, "Is he correct? Do you truly enjoy these kinds of games?"
She flushed straight to the roots of her hair, her embarrassment answering for her reflexively before she could stop it. "N-n-no!"
But Kurama didn't look away; he studied her as though knowing that she had not answered truthfully.
When he spoke again, his voice was soft and earnest as though pleading with a child to tell the truth about a misdeed they'd committed. "Keiko? Do you truly feel this way?"
She opened her mouth, but couldn't say anything. Instead, she dry swallowed and turned fearful eyes toward Karasu.
He was smirking. Silently, she cursed him. She shifted uncomfortably beneath both demons' gazes, not sure what she should do or say. Karasu had been right. Now that she knew his name, she could vaguely recall him from when Yusuke and the others had been forced to fight in the Dark Tournament. How Kurama had faced off against him and the bloody and violent conclusion. He was the same youkai, wasn't he? But... hadn't he died?
Then again, Yusuke had died twice and it hadn't stopped him from coming back from the dead, so...
And she had been enjoying herself earlier, before the intensity had really kicked in that is. But even then, Keiko was a bit ashamed to admit that she'd still been a bit excited, turned on even, by it all. By the dark, imposing figure that she now knew to be Karasu.
And now that Kurama was here... Well, his presence had always caused a delightful throbbing sensation to ignite throughout her body, especially in more... private areas.
She opened her mouth to speak, to answer, to try to give some life to her feelings through words, but the sight of Kurama running his tongue over his teeth stopped her.
His eyes were bright and gleaming at her, his body still. His normal, friendly emerald gaze was laced in gold. She felt like she should turn and flee from both of them.
Would they chase her?
Her heart beat sped up, pounding in her ears; she could feel it pulsing with excitement in her chest.
They would. They would chase her.
She licked her lips and stole a glance at Karasu, still grinning, but the expression seemed more intense now. More focused.
She wanted to get away.
"She's going to run..." Karasu murmured, and Kurama tensed, ready, waiting.
The words bypassed Keiko's hearing, too low for her to discern, and a moment later she spun on her heel and took off. The chase was on, both predators simultaneously taking off in pursuit of their prey.
Like a game animal, Keiko ran, her heart pounding, blood thrumming though her veins. And all the while, that throbbing was growing, intensifying, her breathing coming in sharp gasps that had little to do with exhaustion and everything to do with anticipation.
Her hunters pursued, their strides long and graceful, nearly silent. She had cast several looks over her shoulder, but they were no longer in sight.
Fear and excitement bit along her skin, her feet pounding hard against the ground as she ran. Endlessly ran. She didn't know where to go and instinctively turned for home. For safety.
She reached her front door, slamming her hands against the panel. Anxious fingers fumbled for the knob, twisting it ruthlessly, but found it to be in vain.
Her keys! She'd locked the door!
She patted her pockets and frantically looked around, no one was in sight, but they were near. She could feel them. They were probably waiting to -
She slipped the key into the lock and the door was seconds from pushing open when a body slammed into hers from behind.
The front door slammed open and she hit the entryway floor hard, her breath knocked out of her.
Hot, gusting breath bore down on the nape of her neck, exposed by the parting of her hair as she lay in her face down and prone position. A pair of silken lips graced the sensitive skin next, brushing against it lightly and sending shivers down her spine. The ghostly kiss was followed up by a familiar and yet not so familiar voice whispering huskily into her ear.
"So nice of you to invite us in, sweet Keiko."
Currently there are two more chapters to this story and I am working on the final one. Due to mature content I am merely putting a link here to the other posted chapters. Please leave a review either here or at the other site. Thanks.
http/ www. adultfanfiction. net/ aff /story. php?no 544180230& chapter 2