A/N – My excuse: Begun at 11.47pm. Finished at 1.11am. I'm going to post it immediately, before I think twice and lose my nerve.

Disclaimer – I don't own. Don't sue.


Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow

T S Eliot, 'The Hollow Men'


Someone was following her.

Rin felt a chill trickle down her spine, knew, with age-old feminine instinct, that there was something very wrong –

Footsteps, echoing discordantly in the cold, deserted alley.

Nervously, she drew her bag higher up on her shoulder, quickening her steps, her eyes searching desperately for help. But the dim, scattered streetlights flickered, and then went out so suddenly that she flinched.

The footsteps behind her grew closer, more confident.

Then, in the darkness before her, she saw him.

What is it, someone had once asked, that separates men from animals?

There was blood in his white, shining hair, and staining his hand and the sleeves of his haori. She stood, frozen to the spot, and watched him lick the blood from his fingers, his every movement precise, delicate, and so terribly, absurdly civilised.

"They were going to rape and kill you," he said. "Why should their deaths shock you?"

She could only stare at him.

"They were men," she whispered, her voice shaking. "They were human."

"They were scum," he answered dismissively. "Animals, not worth your time or concern." She could see it in his eyes: he had forgotten about the men he had so brutally, efficiently slaughtered.

His attention, now, was focused entirely on her. He moved towards her, and she moved automatically backwards, retreating, until the dim, ghostly moonlight illuminated her face.

He stilled.


A/N – There are three parts to this story. I posted them all at once, so go through and read them all.