The man who showed them through the hallways of Charlie's den had an annoying habit of allowing his thoughts to be broadcasted on the mental equivelent of a wide-band frequency. Legato put up with it for a few minutes with practiced ease, his shock at the mindspeak that had touched him so great that it distracted him from all other issues. After another five minutes of walking, Legato snapped. The thoughts of humankind were eternally dirty, endlessly disgusting, and often cruel. They made Legato feel sick with their constant petty worrying- it washed against his mind like waves against a pebble caught in a sea of madness… Without a second thought he dealt with Midvalley in the same way he handled any ignorant human… Legato closed his eyes for a moment, then drew up his ability and shoved a backlash of mental energy towards the figure-

Andante screamed shrilly as both her brother and the man before him seemed to buckle and fall, as if they were caught beneath some sort of great weight. "Legato!" she shrieked, falling to her knees and shaking him softly, the touch blocked by the tattered layers of clothing her brother constantly wore. "Legato?"

When the blue haired boy rolled over, he was grimacing, gritting his teeth and moaning softly through pursed lips. Knees tucked against his chest, knuckles colored the impatient white of suppressed agony, his eyes furious and wide with the burning sensation of another mind brushing with his. Was he really that weak? With a low groan, Legato narrowed his eyes and got to his hands and knees, breath hissing through his teeth as the effort of movement burnt his muscles. Of course, he had given the Being all of his energy without a second thought…

Offering a hand though she knew the offer would be ignored, Andante licked her lips nervously- Legato, helpless. Legato….

"Damn it, kid, you…don't do that. I'm on your side, alright?" The saxophone player grunted as he sat up, obviously not understanding what had just happened. With a glare he stood shakily, grabbing Legato by the wrist and yanking him upwards-

//annoyancefearmustworkfinishallbeautifulkidsshameforthemhellholegetup//

Legato screamed, the sound bitter and agonized, bursting from his throat before he could do anything to control it. The blue haired child was uncontrollably writhing and curling in on himself as waves of the most primitive emotions imaginable began swarming over his mind, endless, dark, tormenting. Skin to skin contact tended to drive Legato absolutely mad- it was the same with every telepath. For as long as Andante could remember her brother reacted to touch as if it was a burning brand of metal, a simple brush of skin was enough to shake his hold on reality and send him falling into the mind of another being, absorbing their thoughts and feelings and soul-

//painhungerendlessworkinghatredtalentmusicwantingneedhelphatredconfusion//

"What the hell?!" Midvalley recoiled from the screaming child, dropping Legato in a heartbeat and leaping back. It almost felt like they were sharing thoughts- the dividing line between the two seemed to blur and disappear, until Midvalley was looking down at himself, feeling the fear and anger and hatred and worship and power that made up the boy called Legato Bluesummers. He could see a woman, her hair blonde and curly as it fell over her shoulders, her eyes wide even in death- he could see his own life, his own childhood, the death of his brother and the hunger and starvation of the streets-

When Legato collapsed at his feet, he scarcely knew what to do. It was a moment before he could be sure his thoughts were his own, and even then they were shaky and echoing what he had felt only seconds before- telepathic, power that burned his veins, and there was white being with ice-blue eyes staring down at him, raising a hand, sending spirals of beautiful, beautiful pain through his stomach- "Hell… oh, hell. Shit, you…you just…."

Legato didn't move.

Focus, Midvalley, he's just a brat. Calm. He's like Charlie, just untrained and young. He's nothing, take a deep breath, close your eyes, count to ten and then take control of the situation… **I hate children,** he scowled furiously as Andante scrabbled to help her brother, terrified of touching him but too worried not to try. Legato shoved her away with his gloved palms and glared up at Midvalley. **He's a creepy little one, with those eyes…Charlie's got to be crazy, trying to use something like this…** "Look, kid, I dunno what just happened, but don't pull that again."

Legato's lips were firm and thin with antipathy, his eyes narrow and defiant- he reminded Midvalley of the starving dogs that roamed the back streets. Deprived of comfort, Legato was scrabbling for any kind of hold in the world, but ready to bite the hand that offered any sort of peace-

Midvalley shifted his weight as he regarded the beautiful child before him thoughtfully. With glowing amber eyes, dark hair and full lips, he knew what this boy's fate would be once word of his appearance got around… "Look, your room is right ahead. Let's just keep moving, okay? You can break down there."

As he began moving again, he could feel those ever-so-amber eyes burning into his back with a disconcertingly cruel expression… The girl, too, would be put to good use by the older men, but more often than not a pretty boy was abused awfully… Somehow he knew that if the boy was taken now, he would never quite recover from the shock, the violation and guilt. **It doesn't matter,** Midvalley reminded himself sharply before reminders of his own experiences could bring back painful memories. After all, it wasn't as if he was any better than the other thieves and lackeys in the building when it came to any sort of morals….not to mention that he was being paid to obey, not warn and protect the first children he was told to show the ropes.

Shoving open their door, Midvalley checked his saxophone absently as the two kids nervously stood back in the hallway. "You have to enter the room to put it to any use, you know," the man glowered at the two. "You're even getting double quarters, you should be grateful they're giving you that much."

Legato threw himself past the musician and found his way to the bed- he didn't dare show another sign of weakness to the black-haired man, and the contact they had previously shared was still burning in his mind, although by now it was fainter and much more coherent.

**If I warn them, that'll be enough,** Midvalley shifted. "What are your names? I'm Midvalley. Musician. Charlie's told me to show you how things work around here, so if you have any questions…"

Neither offered their name, making the saxophone player scowl in grim annoyance. "Okay. Fine. I don't care what you're called, I don't give a damn about you two- and I promise no one else will, either. A word to the wise, though… You're younger than we usually catch, and you're…just…"

Legato could feel the slippery nervousness and knew that Midvalley, despite his obvious lack of telepathic control of any sort, could feel the power that Legato had the ability to wield. His thoughts were unsettled and slightly confused- "Nobody in this building can be trusted. Cover your ass or someone else will, and I promise you won't enjoy it," the horn player added grimly before half-turning and glancing at Legato over his shoulder. Eerie eyes dusted with light, thin bangs, a pale skin tone and slim fingers- beautiful for all his unused though certainly not innocent youth….

"I don't let those who touch me survive," Legato whispered, his voice as disturbing as his features. It was soft and silky and low for a boy of six, who was untouched by any throes of adulthood.

The musician swallowed and escaped from those eyes before he could be tempted any further by the pale faced demon behind him. Whoever did take that boy for their own…he rather pitied them. Nothing would be worth the death that would surely meet them- not even a night with a thin, willowy, pretty-faced child beneath you.

Ever.

Shifting his saxophone over his shoulder in the hallway, Midvalley froze. Had that been a warning? A promise? When he had snatched Legato's wrist up in a moment of panic, that ribbon-thin connection had sent both of them reeling in a heartbeat… Licking his lips, Midvalley pushed back the crushing realization with a wave of ineffective denial- It was true, it had to be, it could be read in the glowing eyes he had finally escaped from. Midvalley, soon to be called Hornfreak, had forfeited his life the moment he had touched that boy's fevered skin.

**

"The best places to hit are the ones where there's a crowd," Midvalley gestured towards the crowded square before them. There seemed to be people everywhere, their minds as fast-paced and bubbling as the pace of the street itself. Legato shifted uncomfortably and tried to block out the multiple minds- everything had been much more difficult for him since he had met the Being.

"I was a pickpocket when they first picked me up," Midvalley explained, running a hand across his ebony hair. "Usually you can get away with it until you're ten or so. Once you get to big for that Charlie will give you another Job, and you can earn your keep that way."

As Midvalley's voice went on, Andante looked over to her brother and swallowed nervously. Legato's eyes were unfocused as he regarded the swarming humans with something in his expression that reeked of annoyed disdain crossed with disgust. The last few days had changed her brother so much that she was almost afraid of him, now…almost unconsciously, she slipped her hand into Midvalley's grasp and leaned against him for comfort.

The saxophone player raised his brows in surprise as the light contact sent a shiver through his spine- Andante was telepathic, though her power was not at her brother's level- or perhaps she had more control over it? It was hard to tell with those two… At any rate, he let her hold his hand. It reminded him of the brother he had once had…

Legato turned to look at them, one of his eyes hidden under the shaggy hair that fell past his shoulders in a grimy, uncombed mess. If he noticed the contact his sister and the man were sharing, he said nothing at all on it, instead shifted his weight and waited.

"Legato doesn't like crowds," Andante said quietly.

"Can you get used to them, Legato?"

No answer.

"Hm…" A smirk. "You could beg…"

"No," Legato growled swiftly, the one word feral and foreign on his lips.

After a long pause in which the three observed the daily grind of December city, Andante spoke up again. "What do ya do, mista' Midvalley?"

"I play my horn, of course. I make an honest living…well, during the day, at least."

"Do you kill people?" The young voice was quivering, and Midvalley frowned slightly, wondering which answer would please the child more.

**Wait, wait, I don't want to please her. I just train her and brag about it if she doesn't die off on her first real job…** Clearing his throat he and answered outloud. "Yeah, if I can get them alone. A saxophone is tough to take care of…especially a custom built one, like mine." He allowed a wry grin to slip across his face.

Legato's face had taken on the most thoughtful expression Midvalley had ever seen him wear. "May I kill people?"

"At your age?"

"Humans are stupid. I would like to make them die," the words were soft and toneless as he waited for an answer.

"How? You got any ideas?"

"We c'n do what we's always done…" Andante suggested nervously, glancing from Midvalley to her brother with suppressed fear- or was it surprise? "I jus' act lost and have the dumber ones take me somewhere…Legato fixes 'em good." It was a plan that had served them many times in the past when they had desperately needed to eat... But that was back when Legato actually spoke, when he asked her things, when he always gave her first pick of the dumpster scraps…

The saxophone player looked surprised. "I didn't know you two had conned before…if you know how to do it, do it. But don't let yourself get caught- and above all, never give Charlie away. Is that understood?"

Andante nodded and winced slightly as Midvalley removed her hand from his grasp. "I work the street next to this, I play on the corner in the morning and in the 'Cat Scratch Club' in the evening. After eleven I hit the 'private parties,' so to speak. If you need me go there, but try to avoid being seen with me at any time."

Nervously the girl watched him leave, then turned to her brother. "What're we gonna start with?"

Legato regarded his sister thoughtfully, then let his gaze slip down to her legs, half-covered by overly large, tattered brown breeches. "We need blood." For a moment Andante thought he was going to hit her- he raised one hand, but didn't advance on her- instead he just turned and picked an alley, heading into it without hesitating. Minutes later Andante was smearing warm cat's blood across her legs and smudging a bit on her cheekbone and temple with practiced ease.

When she hobbled out into the street she received the normal reactions to such a plight- some people shied away from her injuries, but there was always someone who would stick an arm out and catch her shoulders.


"Little girl, are you alright?"


"M…m'leg…fell…"


"Where do you live?"


"By the old church…on…on Eym Circle.."


"Are your parents home?"


"Mum works…"


"Let's get you cleaned up, then."


Legato was waiting for them in the rafters of the half-built church's steeple, his short legs dangling off the thick beam and his hair fluttering slightly in the wind. Amber eyes studied his sibling as she led a middle aged man down the street- pausing to bawl a bit in relief and point out 'her house' with a grubby finger. The man grinned at her and promised to help her call her mother home.


It was easy to wrap his fingers around the length of metal pipe he had chosen, and even simpler to leap from the steeple and bring the rod down against the skull before him. As the skull crunched up and bits of slimy gray-pink brain splattered across the sidewalk, Legato reached down and rolled him over, staring thoughtfully into wide, half-smashed eyes. "He's still warm," the boy purred softly, giving the man a swift kick in the stomach and sending another mess across the pavement.


"I'll get his wallet," Andante immediately offered, knowing how her brother hated touching flesh.


"No," Legato ordered without raising his voice. Somehow the lack of any sort of enthusiasm in his tone managed to make it all the more threatening… "I will."


He reached down and pressed his palm to the side of the man's cheek, fascinated by the cooling skin- he had never touched a human before, even the ones he killed… Bodies were something to be avoided, lest you soil the bottom of your boots with red… But surely dead things couldn't share thoughts! Legato smiled serenely as he traced his finger through the blood on the man's lips, dragging it across his face into a streaking, smiling arc across the man's cheeks and chin.


"Legato-" Andante started, taking two steps backwards.


"Shh."


Another finger found a break in the skin, pressed itself inwards into the dying heat, returned to it's body coated in blood. Legato curiously raised it to his nose and sniffed once, then tentatively licked at his fingers-


Warm, salty-sour, metallic and tangy, the taste of sweat and the taste of pain. The smile he wore widened with the new taste, and Legato quickly cleaned his hand of the liquid, pleased with himself.


The next kill was much the same, Andante leading a woman away, tempting the redhead into a low-level apartment complex and distracting her while Legato attacked from behind. This time, however, his exploration didn't cease with her blood. The boy unbuttoned the blouse, stared at her breasts with a slight frown creasing his lips, then swung his weapon of choice - a brick, now - and sullying the pure white flesh of the woman's torso.


He played with her blood then, steeping his fingers in it and pressing them into her mouth, feeling the sharp outlines of her slightly crooked teeth and the roof of her mouth with curious fingers, his touch leaving trails of small, bloody handprints against her skin.


Legato Bluesummers decided that he liked this new game.