Takatori Reiji was hard-headed and stubborn, and in the end he always got what he wanted. As a child growing up, his father would discipline him in ways unimaginable ; there were always threats of tying him up and leaving him in the closet hanging upside down, or having to baby-sit his freak-of-a-younger-brother Shuuichi, or repotting all the trees in his mother's gardens after chasing out the snakes that regularly infested the mole-holes. Looking back on it now, however, Takatori could see what his father had been trying to introduce into his life—the concept of making others feel like shit to try and cheer yourself up.

That could probably explain why he had just told his bodyguard to find his deceased wife's father and kill him.

He wasn't as cold-hearted as others saw him to be—five minutes after the words left his mouth, he had turned his head upwards, clasped his hands together and asked his deceased wife for her forgiveness, and that he hoped she wouldn't condemn him to the fiery pits of hell. As an afterthought, he requested for her to give Saint Peter an extra little push in leading him through the pearly gates to reunite with her.

With his conscience clear, Takatori sat back in his black leather chair, picked up the phone and barked to his secretary, "Get me my files!" It seemed, however, that his secretary was dealing with some trouble at the front desk, for as soon as Takatori had demanded for said files, he heard a livid voice through the other line:

"Is that him? Tell him he'd better have explanations or I'm going to the police! I'm going up now—"

"I won't ask you one more time! Leave the premises at once! Securi–"

Takatori Reiji was amused. "Let her in."

"—ty! Securi—let her in?" His secretary hesitated for a moment before clearing her throat uneasily. "Right away, sir."

Three minutes later, the young woman was sitting in the seat across from him, her head tilted back defiantly as she studied him with furious eyes.

Takatori had his back to her, gazing out instead at the glass wall behind his desk, hands clamped behind his desk. He could see literally everything the city offered at midnight—its bright lights, the headlights of nocturnal drivers speeding down the highways, the local bars and pubs with their flashing neon signs, the Tokyo radio tower with its blinking signal…

It felt like he could also see the blood spilling down the stone steps of the pathway, descending like a red carpet unrolling to welcome his unwelcome bodyguard.


"I haven't seen you for nearly four years and that is all you can say to me?"

He was playing with her and she knew it.


"You've grown into a beautiful young woman – like your mother."

"Why did you try to—"

"Why did you come and see me at such a late time?" Takatori glanced at her, eyebrows raised. "I would imagine that you would have wanted to stay with him at the hospital. Or do you not care about him as much as you would like everything to think?"

"How dare you," she said, standing up. She stalked around his desk and grabbed his shoulder, turning him to fully face her. "How dare you even—"

Takatori caught the hand that had been aiming to slap him; he twisted her wrist and dragged her close. "You raise your hand at your own blood?"

"You're no blood of mine—"

"Be quiet, child." Takatori couldn't help but feel a small sense of satisfaction when she actually closed her mouth. There was no containing the anger in her gaze, however. "You want to renounce me? Go ahead. But think carefully—who is it that funds the shrine?"

"Don't act like you have anything to do with the shrine!"

Takatori raised his eyebrows again. "If I pull my funding, then who will support it? Especially since your grandfather is in the hospital now—the police just called. It's such a shame."

"How dare you," she repeated, and this time Takatori believed every ounce of rage in her words. She wrenched her hand away from him. "How dare you pretend like you had nothing to do with it—"

"You're implying I somehow sent someone to attack my own father-in-law?"

She grabbed onto his suit jacket, pulling him close. Takatori was hardly affected, even when she suddenly shoved him far from her. He brushed off his suit, turning his eyes to Schuldig, who was watching from the corner. Schuldig didn't even bat an eyelash as he made his way towards her.

"Don't touch me," she snapped. Her eyes were still fixed on Takatori. "I will burn you."

"You can't get close enough to," Takatori responded cordially. He smiled when her hands clenched into fists; when she struck forward, Schuldig stepped in-between them and caught her fist. The bodyguard winked at her; she let out a noise of anger, trying to throw him off, but to no avail. She struggled weakly against her captor. Takatori watched all of this with nonchalance.

She was a pitiful sight, and it almost hurt him to think so.

"Get her out of here," he demanded of the bodyguard. Shrugging, Schuldig effortlessly knocked her out. He hoisted her up by her underarms, literally dragging her towards the door. "Leave her in one of the rooms. Make sure she doesn't try to go back to the shrine."

Once the door closed behind them, Takatori sat back in front of his desk, sighing.

At least his daughter was entertaining.


Kitada Hanae was not, at the moment, a happy woman.

She had been woken up at 8 in the AM by the perky ring tone of her phone, one she attached to her colleagues. Apparently the other secretary had gotten shot in the process of a reconnaissance mission gone wrong. And apparently, Kitada Hanae was the only person available to substitute in while the injured recovered.

A half hour after the call (she had spent a good twenty minutes of it yelling at the coffee maker, and the next ten minutes cursing Birman for getting shot), she floored the accelerator, cutting off a dark van as her fingers dialed subconsciously the number of her employer. The light in front turned red; in a swift moment of thought, she ignored it, causing two other cars to swerve around her. "Damn," she muttered as she checked the rearview mirror. Well, as long as they weren't hurt.

"Manx," the voice on the other side of the phone called her pseudonym, and Manx sighed.

"Hold on," she replied and slowed down, pulling the car into a parking space. She climbed out, shutting the door with her stiletto-heeled foot. "Okay, Persia."

"You're across from them."

"Yeah," the red-headed secretary said, mentally reminding herself not to blow up at her employer. "I'm across from them; they look fine and dandy. Can we get back to business?"

"Good," Persia said, and then he was quiet.

Manx pulled the phone from her ear, giving it a dirty glare.

"Manx," Persia said, "Don't do that."

She rolled her eyes and put the phone back to her ear. "Persia. Business."

"Yes, right. My brother has a daughter."

"We know that." Manx grit her teeth. "Ouka Sakaki. Bombay's little friend."

"No," Persia stressed, "another one."

Manx raised an eyebrow, giving the phone an incredulous look. "Are you serious?"

"Yes." A pause. "He left her to her grandfather nearly fifteen years ago – the elderly man that Balinese found last night. She's gone missing; I can't get a hold of her."

"So then you think her father has her," Manx concluded, checking her nails in the light. Huh, there was a chip in one.

"Precisely. There's nothing more that would boost his name than finding his long-lost daughter and taking her in." Persia paused again, and Manx patiently waited. "Back then. I thought she had gone under the same fate as Bombay."

"What, you mean you slept with his wife again and—"

"Manx," Persia cautioned, his voice lowering. She sighed.

"Sorry. It's been a bad start to the day."

"Why not get some flowers to cheer you up?" her employer suggested, and she couldn't help but tug up the corners of her lips wryly.

"Yeah," Manx said, glancing in her bag for the videotape. It sat snug against her wallet. "What kind do you suggest?"

notes aw i've actually had this idea for. awhile. as in. i actually don't remember but yeah. i've left the chick nameless, but i'm sure you can guess as to who it is; it's pretty obvious. and i like manx.

as for my wk knowledge... most of the things (living arrangements, aya's past, schuldig's personality) will be based on An Assassin and White Shaman. so youji's hair is brown. and ken's eyes are brown. and ouka is a cute little rich girl. um i like gluhen. and side b. a lot.

rei is anime-based (bc let's be honest, manga rei would never be caught in this kind of situation, ever). And for those of you confused, kitada hanae = manx's real name.

what else am i missing?

OH don't expect.. really quick updates. i'm teh suck at that.

rated for language and violence later on. and youji.

and i apologize for the weird ass summary.

thanks for reading!