Disclaimer is on the first page.

A Different Start

Chapter Thirty-six

Soft music played in the background, people chattering and laughing while tasting the various food and champagne. The place of the party was one of those classy halls where everything seems to sparkle.

Keitaro stood in one corner holding a glass in one hand and fidgeting with his tie with the other. Everyone in the party was old business men with their dolled up wives. The only people who were close to his age seemed to be more interested in getting with the good sides of Nanami's parents.

Keitaro sighed and he was having second thoughts on this plan of hers. One slip up and they'll be caught; he really should have read some magazines about hotels and inns. He will be in real trouble if Nanami's mother starts asking question about it.

Speaking of Nanami, the red headed heiress was still nowhere in sight. Keitaro had gone to the party alone and the receptionist gave him a look when he drove there in his motorcycle which he only returned with a sheepish smile.

A tapping of glass resounded in the hall and all the chatter died down and the music as well. A woman in a very beautiful jade dress a gorgeous pearl necklace adorned her neck and a smile that would put an man in his place stood atop of the staircase with an average looking man with glasses dressed in a white tuxedo.

The bright red tresses of hair had hinted Keitaro of who the woman was.

Isabella Kazuhira, the mother of Nanami, was standing atop the staircase looking around the hall and smiled at the guests.

"Welcome my friends; I'm delighted to see you all here. Everyone please enjoy the party." Everyone cheered and the music resumed. The host of the party came down and started to mingle with the crowd sharing laughs and a wee bit of business.

Keitaro felt a bit hot under all the layers he was wearing. Wearing a lab coat over a shirt under a hot sun was more comfortable than his suit was. He went to the table to get something to cool him down when he heard murmuring and looked to see people stopping to stare at something or someone.

Walking down towards him was Nanami, dressed in a fine red dress her hair dressed up and light make up to actuate her natural beauty.

People stared and murmured as she headed towards him. When Nanami reached Keitaro, it has seemed like time just stopped and they just stared at each other.

Someone cleared his throat, which broke the staring of the two and Keitaro thoughtlessly offered the drink he was holding to Nanami.

"Why, thank you." Nanami accepted the glass and took a sip. She then smiled and swiftly and gracefully planted a light peck on Keitaro's lips.

"Just what I needed." Nanami said and winked at him. Gasps and a new chain of murmurs started.

"Uh ah uhm..." Keitaro was lost for words and Nanami had to help him get his bearing. She quickly linked her arms to his and she started to walk with him around the hall.

The would-be suitors of her were unable to approach her and some was glaring at Keitaro. The young Inn manager, too absorbed at what just happened didn't particularly notice the glaring much.

"Keitaro-kun, hey, snap out of it." Nanami nudge her fake fiancé and Keitaro managed to regain some of his brain functions.

"Wah-what just happened?" Keitaro arms linked to the woman as they paraded around the hall to make sure everyone see that she was not available anymore.

"Quit spacing out and act happy, we need to make sure everyone thinks we're a couple remember." Nanami said and Keitaro took a deep breath to calm himself.

"Yes, right" Keitaro had composed himself and unhooked his arms with her and placed his hand on her hips and made sure they were very close to each other.

"That's the spirit." Nanami said smiling and enjoyed the body contact.

From across the room Isabella and her husband Takao were talking with potential clients and investors. Nanamai thought it would be good to introduce Keitaro early on than later. Nanami grabbed the young man and promptly dragged him towards her parents.

Keitaro managed not to trip or hit any of the other guests as he was being tugged by Nanami. But in the corner of his eye Keitaro saw something and he prayed deeply that he was just imagining things.

With all the time he had been out on an adventure with Seta he picked up a few things. One is to spot a concealed weapon, no matter how big or small it was he could tell if a person was hiding something on his person, which Seta thought him how to do so.

So far he saw 3 waiters that seemed to be sporting handguns under their aprons, and two cocktail waitresses that had knives.

Keitaro wanted to sum it up as just overreacting and nervousness of meeting Nanami's parents when suddenly the lights went out and Nanami was wrenched out of his grip with a short yelp came from her. Everyone didn't know what was happening when suddenly a crash echoed in the room and several silhouettes jumped out of the windows one having a distinct shape of someone carrying a person.

The door came crashing in and several armed men in suits rushed in handguns and flashlight swept the room and a minute later the lights were back on, everyone was confused as to what had happened.

Isabella franticly searched the room for her daughter and she called out when she couldn't find her.

"Nanami!, Nanami-chan, are you okay, where are you?" She called out and her husband quickly took on a serious look and shouted loudly at the armed men. He already knew what had happen; he had been Isabella's bodyguard before he became her husband. All the clues point to his daughter getting taken away and he remembered a young man with her earlier, he didn't know who Keitaro was and for all Takao understood he was one of the kidnappers meaning he will make them pay, All of them.

"WHAT ARE YOU DOING STANDING THERE FOR GET MY DAUGHTER BACK!" Takao then gave a reassuring hug and kiss to his wife and whispered .

"I'll get her back I promise" He then went off to his private armoury and suited up.

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"I have to admit this is the easiest job we have ever done Boss." One of the faux waiters said as he sat behind the van looking at Nanami's bound and gag glaring daggers at him.

"The rich will do anything to get richer, getting the daughter of the competitor and making him cancel a multimillion dollar venture is but a business strategy for them." A guy in the same waiter uniform but with a fedora and a cigar in the front seat said.

The last of the three male kidnappers sat behind the van and kept his eyes to see if anyone followed them. He didn't see anyone and turned towards the front of the vehicle. Running a hand on his bald head said to the leader of the group.

"So how much are we getting for this job sir?" the bald man asked and the man in the fedora puffed on his cigar and blew cooly.

"Each of you is getting two hundred and fifty thousand dollars when this is all done." Gin the man with fedora said.

"What about the girl?" the bald man Greg asked.

"Who cares let them take care of it." Fujita the other henchman said taking out his gun and cocked it.

Fumi the one driving the car kept quiet and Tenri also kept to herself behind the van next to Greg.

The two women were new recruits Gin scouted as bodyguards. He knew Takao's background and so he needed a little insurance to make sure to get the job done.

Fumi a year older of the two women, was a master of blades and martial arts. Tenri, specialized in various arms and explosive and proficient with hand to hand combat. The pair were renowned as the one of the best mercenaries, weather it was bodyguard duty or assignation the two gets the job done.

Glancing out at the side mirror Fumi saw a glimpse of someone following them and picked up the pace to their destination.

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Men spilled out the building covered in tactical armour and armed to the teeth. Takao followed equally heavily equipped and a look in his eyes that says someone was going to get hurt before the night was over.

"MOVE OUT!" he shouted and everyone climbed aboard armoured vans, Takao held a small device in his hand and an arrow pointed towards a direction in the electric map, it was a GPS tracer he had given Nanami disguised as an earring without her knowing .

"Wait for me..."

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Keitaro parked his bike in the bushes and he crept around the area looking from afar trying not to alert the kidnappers. The kidnappers had driven all the way to the mountains and there was an old cottage where they unloaded Nanami tied up and blindfolded.

Keitaro breathed a sigh of relief knowing she was somewhat okay. He just needed to figure out how to save her before anything worst happens.

Inside the cottage, everyone was spread out in the lounge relaxing. Gin came out of a room with a grin on his face.

"Alright everybody I just got off the phone with our employer and we'll get our payment as soon as we hear from the parents, then we can dump the girl."

Everyone cheered except for the two mercenaries. Fumi stood up and picked up a sword and proceeded to go out. Everyone looked at her go out and then looked at Tenri expecting some kind of explanation.

"Someone followed us, she is going to deal with the problem" She said calmly and continued cleaning the hand gun she had spread out on the table.

Everyone then grabbed their weapons and Gin checked on the hostage.

Fumi stood in the front of the cottage calmly surveying the area where only the moon acted as a source of light. Fumi was a tall woman, straight long hair sharp green eyes and her taste in clothing was mostly practical, wearing a fit form jeans and vest.

"You can come out now I know you're out there" The woman said. Keitaro stopped in his crawl and tried to keep as humanly quiet as possible and hope she would go away.

It didn't work obviously.

Three knives shot through the bush on where he was and it barely missed him. He scrambled out of the bush and landed forward in front of Fumi. Instantly the girl's eyes lit up and then fury washed all over her when she saw Keitaro.

"You" Fumi gripped her blade and Keitaro looked up at the girl.

"Ouch ouch" He looked up dumbly and then recognized the aura she was emitting and Keitaro jumped to his feet and tried to run away.

"You will not get away again!" Fumi screamed and drew her sword and blocked Keitaro's path in one fluid motion.

"Okay, I suck at stealth." Keitaro said and raised his hands to fight.

"It must be destiny that we meet again. I will make sure to finish the job now." Fumi said and Keitaro slumped his shoulders a bit.

"Great another girl with a sword that doesn't like me... Wait a minute; again, what are you talking about?" Keitaro tried to ask but as soon as he blinked the woman was already in front of him ready to split him in half.

Keitaro dodge barely the very expensive suit Nanami had given him now had a long cut along the torso. "It was easier to dodge Motoko's attack, at least she yells when she's coming at me" Keitaro mumbled to himself and shook the thought out of his head; he needed to concentrate not getting gutted by this girl.

Dodging a horizontal swipe, Keitaro jumped back and the girl followed through with her attack with a few quick slashes aimed for the vitals. Keitaro now realizes that this was a lot more dangerous than he anticipated. In the corner of his eye a small glint got his attention and as fast as possible he spun his body to the ground and managed to avoid the bullets that tore some new holes in his suit.

"tsk..." Tenri growled as she held the smoking suppressed 9mm Beretta M9 in her hand.

"Great these guys are assassins... why do I have a feeling I met them before?" Keitaro asked himself as he crawled into the bushes for cover.

"Urashima Keitaro, this night will be your last, we promise you this." Fumi said as she advanced to where he was hiding her sword ready.

"What are you talking about, who are you people!? Keitaro replied and wracked his brain for the answer, also he needed a way to get away from these two and get Nanami.

"Do you really not remember us back in Bolivia" Fumi said and Keitaro had a small flashback of flames and two figures in the middle of it.

Keitaro shook the image out of his head and concentrated on the task of rescuing Nanami. He focused on remembering the things Seta had thought him when they inadxvertly come into contact with hostile forces or just land in a warzone because both got caught up following a trail from an excavation.

The first thing they needed to do was not be seen, unfortunately both bumbling idiots where no masters of the shadow and always ends up in the middle of things. Like in the current situation Keitaro was in now. Second thing Seta had thought him was if seen, run for your life. Keitaro had tried evading the two pursuers but they were relentless.

Tenri effectively guarded all of his escape routes and Fumi was strong with her sword he would be easily beaten if he tried to fight her head-on.

Third and last thing Seta had thought him was negotiation.

"Look I don't know who you two are, or what I did to make you so mad at me but, if you let the girl go I will surrender." Keitaro said. This was more of bravado and pride talking than actual thinking. His first priority was Nanami he wasn't giving any thought on what might happen to him.

"Valiant words, but afraid we are not in a position to do so. But we are grateful that we can finally settle the score with you." Fumi raised her sword to chest level pointed outward and lowered her body into a stance, feet apart and shoulders closed.

Keitaro sighed and thought about what Seta thought him. If ever all the steps fails then he fights, he fights to survive.

Fumi readying herself to dive into the bush was taken by surprise when a small rock went flying towards he face from the greenery and she deflected it with the blade. In blink of an eye Keitaro was already out of the bush hands cocked back a fiery determination in his eyes.

Tenri shot at him but Keitaro spun and effectively landed in the area where Fumi was blocking Tenri's line of fire. The sword master was quick to retaliate and made a trust for Keitaro. Hoping that he could still pull of the move he once did when he still practiced martial arts. Keitaro leaned back fast shifting his center of gravity and somersaulted back, kicking the sword upward. Keitaro managed to land upright and with his legs like spring boards, he launched himself towards Fumi twisted her arm disarming her and he placed his arm around her neck and kept her other hand secure in the back.

Fumi was now effectively a shield from Tenri and it was going to be standoff.

"Tsk... Even after 2 years your skills are still far better than ours." Fumi said.

"I wouldn't really say that" Keitaro said pain showing on his face. His white shirt was blotched with red. When he tried to get in close Tenri managed to hit him before he could disarm Fumi. Now that he was bleeding quite profusely and the situation has become a standoff Keitaro was in the end of his rope.

Suddenly the other kidnappers had stormed out of the cottage and had Nanami gagged and bound. He did not cry but fear showed in her eyes. She was very much shocked to see Keitaro there holding Fumi and Tenri trying to find an opening.

"Alright, finish this already and let's get going you two, if this guy managed to find us then this little girls' Father is right on our tail, I read about him and I'm sure he'll be bringing a truckload of firepower we don't want to be facing."

The two did not answer and Keitaro looked at Nanami, he breathed a sigh of relief to see his friend realatively safe. Keitaro having been pushed into a corner quickly took a knife from Fumi's vest and placed it on her neck. Not something he wanted to do but needed to be done

"Let go of Nanami-san and I let her go." Keitaro said. Fumi snarled at him and tried to struggle but Keitaro managed to keep her in place despite his condition. Tenri tightened her grip on her weapon.

Gin with his fedora concealing much of his face with only his mouth visible, grinned and then smiled widely.

"I have a better Idea." Gin then pulled out a revolver magnum from his jacket and shot Fumi and fired two shots at Tenri disarming her then shot her in the arm.

Keitaro then was thrown back with Fumi. Nanami screamed through her gag, tears welled up in her eyes seeing Keitaro dropped back thinking he was shot. Nanami lost the strength in her legs and dropped to the ground.

"More money for us eh... Three-way-split." Gin smiled wickedly and motioned for Greg to pick Nanami up and they scrambled away.

As the three remaining kidnappers headed away from the cottage Keitaro under the woman pushed her off and laid her down gently and checked her pulse. She was shot in the chest the Kevlar she had on managed to save her from the worst case scenario. It did however manage to knock the wind out of her and knocked her unconscious.

Tenri was also alright, Gin, only managed to graze her arm and not actually hit her limb. Keitaro looked Tenri in the eyes as she came closer to where he was a gun pointed at his head.

"Look I don't remember what I did to make you two hate me so much, but please, just let me go now. My friend needs me, I would gladly settle whatever that is that you want with me when I know Nanami is safe." Keitaro pleaded standing beside Fumi's sleeping body.

Tenri looked at Keitaro's shirt which was already red with his blood and his bleeding arm where the bullet from Gin grazed him. Tenri without a word gestured with a nod to the direction where the other kidnappers had escaped to and let Keitaro go.

Keitaro without a second thought rush away but screamed back.

"I Promise I will settle whatever that is you have against me." Keitaro then disappeared into the woods in fast pursuit of the kidnappers.

Tenri knelt down to her sister and poked her cheek.

"He's gone now sister." Tenri said with a bored look. "He has beaten us again." She sighed. Fumi opened her eyes and sat up. She patted the area where she was shot and took the flattened bullet from the vest.

"This was supposed to hit my head; if he didn't twisted our body in the right angle I could be dead now."

Keitaro indeed saw where Gin was aiming for and in a split second reacted by lifting Fumi up and let her Kevlar catch the bullet, unfortunately his arms was in the way and got grazed by the projectile, the force knocked the two over before anyone could see what had happened. But to Tenri, who's trained to see in a split second in order to shoot her target saw how he had saved Fumi.

"This is our second lost sister" Tenri said offering her hand to her sister.

"Third times the charm sister, we'll get him next time for sure." Fumi replied and took her sister's offered hand.

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Gin and his buddies where far away from their hideout. They were headed for the backup vehicle they had prepared in earlier time.

The three thugs came out of the woods and climbed in the jeep and quickly sped off the highway. Nanami was in a state of shock, tears in her eyes and slight shivers from her body. She just saw Keitaro drop dead, and she was responsible for it. If she didn't forced him to come with her he wouldn't have come after her and got killed was the thought that kept running though her head.

"It's my fault... my fault... my ... fault" a new streak of tear flooded her eyes and she quietly wept for Keitaro.

"Hey Gin-san, was it really smart to screw over those two chicks?" Fujita glanced at the leader from the rear view mirror. Gin was lighting a cig and smiled at the driver.

"Don't worry they might be real scary mercenaries, but I'm no lousy shot either. Even if their alive they won't be able to follow us nor would be able to find us." Gin said confidently blowing a cloud of smoke.

Greg kept silent at the front passenger seat his arms crossed over his chest when suddenly he saw something land in front of their path.

Fujita panicked and avoided collision from whatever blocked their path and crashed into a tree. The three scrambled out of the jeep and drag Nanami out of the vehicle. She was not crying anymore but she was very much pissed off. She was struggling violently and head butted Gin in the chin.

This angered the leader and pistol whipped her, Nanami dropped to the cold stone a bruise on her head.

"I am not taking shit from you girly, either you behave or we kill you right here right now." Gin said with a manic look on his face. Fujita and Greg looked at each other a little frightened. They have been working alongside each other for years now; they were nothing but two-bit criminals. Scamming some money or jacking a car or two. They never did anything big until now with this kidnapping.

Gin always had something to prove to himself and to others and when that company man came to them for this job, Gin knew that it was his ticket to the big leagues and he started to get real crazy about it. They think it's because of the thing with his daughter and child services. The three of them had tried to go straight but it always ended up badly for them because of their past.

"This jobs gonna give me my kid back you see. After this I'm taking my little girl far away and I'm going get a real good job and it will be me and her only. I only need you until I get my money so be a good girl and stay still." Gin growled at Nanami gun gripped tightly in his hand and then he quickly raised it to where the sudden roadblock was. Keitaro stood in the middle of the road bleeding and out of breath.

"You're still alive?!" Gin having an incredulous look on his face gun aimed for Keitaro. The manager of Hinata Inn managed to cu through the woods and block them off. Although he wasn't so sure now if he can still save Nanami from these guys.

"Please...let her go..." Keitaro shouted with all his might. Nanami's eyes widened when she heard his voice and tried to look to where Keitaro was. When her gaze fell over him she knew it was him bloody but alive! Understandably she was happy to see him alive but she didn't want to see him get hurt anymore. She tried to cry out to him but the gag was tightly wrapped around her mouth with only a whimper managed to escape her lips.

"Not a chance I need this money and I'm not about to let you stop me." Gin aimed and squeezed the trigger. Keitaro with not much strength left in him let his body fall forward. The bullet whizzed pass his head and with the last amount of strength he had stomped on the ground and jumped up un the air and did a forward somersault landing the back of his leg at Gin's head knocking him unconscious. Keitaro dropped to the ground not having enough strength to catch himself and he wheezed breathing shallowly.

He moved his head to look at Nanami bounded near the vehicle and with a sad look in his eyes he mouthed the words:

"Im sorry…"

Nanami tried to scream to him but with no avail. The two thugs still in awe of what just happened slowly managed to get their composure back. Fujita rushed to Gin to see if he was alright Greg checked up on Keitaro.

"He's okay." Fujita said to Greg where the bald man nodded and checked Keitaro if he was still breathing.

"I don't like this anymore let's quit while we're ahead." Fujita said and Greg nodded.

"We'll think of something to get Kaoru-chan back." Gred said and hefted up Gin on his shoulder.

"Come on let's go… Those two would probably be found by a passerby or something." Fujita said and started to ran away with Greg following behind.

But before they could get anywhere a helicopter appeared in the sky and a spotlight beamed at them halting them in their escape.

"Don't move." A loud voice said from a speaker and both knew that it was the end for them. They stopped, Greg laid Gin down and both men who were able to, raised their arms to the back of their heads to surrender.

Several vehicles arrived on the spot a second later and men poured out from each machine. They rushed to where Nanami was and unbounded her.

"Nanami, you're okay, I'm so glad." Her father embraced her tightly and Nanami embraced him back.

"Keitaro..Ke-Keitaro.. he needs help…" Nanami said between sobs and looked at Keitaro's form on the ground.

"Get the EMT's out here quickly, help that kid, hurry up!" Takao barked out the orders and two men with a stretcher jumped out the jeep and checked Keitaro. They heaved him up on the stretcher and into one of the vehicles and rushed to the nearest medical facility.

"Please… be okay." Nanami prayed and cold wind whipped her face as she watched the vehicle rush off.

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Authors note:

Hey there guys still alive and kicking here.

Well you might have thought that I have abandoned this story. No, I didn't, I was just in a very long very excruciating writer's block. I somehow again ended up writing myself into a dead end and had a hard time thinking up of a way to dig myself out of it.

Another reason is that my inspiration for writing diminished, most of the fanfics I read, where I take my inspiration from have ceased updating and the challenge to make something as good as the story I have read was gone. With that my attentions shifted to comics, mainstream media and the likes which never did inspire me much to continue this story.

But because I told myself when I started writing this fanfiction that I will finish it. No matter what I will finish this story, because I needed to prove to myself that I can finish something that I started.

I thank you all, my readers for the support over the years and I hope you will see this story to the end.

Ps. I haven't been able to write much this pass few months, so I'm a bit rusty so yeah sorry if you get confused with the grammar and tenses and what not.