A/N: No beta. And short, again. Why is it that the chapters just keep getting shorter the closer I get to the end?
Fuji lowered his arm and stepped to the edge of the roof, his eyes following after the retreating figures of Atobe and Kirihara, but soon all he could see was the thick smoke that coiled its tendrils around the building and began to rise. Briefly Fuji wondered how the human standing behind him would survive amongst all that smoke and destruction.
Yet what did he care? Live or die, it mattered not to him.
"Fuji," Sanada called out and he turned to look at him and noticed they were alone.
"You let them leave?" Fuji asked. "Was that wise? Letting them go without reprisal, after all, all this," he waved his hand to indicate the destruction that surrounded them. "Is because of them. They are at fault, it is because of Niou that-"
"Atobe," Sanada only spoke the name and remained silent, as if expecting Fuji to somehow react to it. Yet when Fuji remained silent, he spoke more. "You know how he is."
"I know, but I can't help but wish it would be different this time, that he's changed, that I-" Fuji cut his own words and drew in a breath he did not need, feeling the toxic smoke and the ash lingering in the air make its way to his lungs. "It is not just him, they all grow to either hate, fear or despise me, everyone I love. They all run from me."
"He did not think of you."
Fuji tried to laugh, but somehow the sound that escaped him was more like the cry of a wounded animal than anything else. "You think that makes it all the better?" Fuji asked. "That I never even entered his mind, that he would rather be alone than accept my comfort?"
Fuji looked at Sanada, expecting to find his face the same as always, stoic and unmoved by the anguish and pain of others, uncaring of anyone, least of all Fuji, the vampire he had made at his master's bidding. Yet in the dark pools that were Sanada's eyes, that always reminded Fuji of the well in his hometown, there was compassion, such endless compassion and understanding for his pain that Fuji found it almost impossible to believe in, and found impossible to look at.
He turned away and fixed his gaze on the thick smoke that was slowly clearing, allowing him to see that the fire was finally beginning to die, and that the destruction was not as wide spread as he had believed. The explosion, the shock of it even occurring had made it seem bigger, but it was only the hospital and the few buildings surrounding it that had been affected.
"We should go," Sanada said. "Yukimura, he…"
"You know how to find him?" Fuji asked, surprised, and kept his eyes still diverted from Sanada's face. He did not wish to see if there would be more surprises to be found in Sanada's eyes.
"I have always been able to find my master," Sanada answered and Fuji smiled bitterly. The words were almost the same as those he had spoken to Atobe when he had asked how Fuji knew Sanada would come, on the night he had found Ryoma again.
"The boy," Fuji began, and the hesitated. "You think it is possible that we could still, that he is…" he could not continue, even thinking of something happening to the boy frightened Fuji.
"You ask it because of Atobe?"
"Not only for him," Fuji answered. "The boy, he deserves more than to be the plaything of monsters."
Sanada's deep laugh, something completely unexpected finally made Fuji turn around and face his maker.
"The same could have been said of you, Fuji," Sanada spoke and took Fuji's face between his hands. "But we monsters, we do not care much for the feelings of our toys."
"You speak such cruel words," Fuji replied and placed his own hands above Sanada's. "Why is it then that I see such sadness on your face?"
Sanada did not reply, and soon released Fuji's face, only to pull him into an embrace, holding him tightly, as if one would hold a child or a sibling when it was the only way to convey your affection, when you could not find the words.
There was no warmth on Sanada's skin, no heartbeat you could listen, not even the sound of breathing, nothing that even resembled the embraces that Fuji's parents and sister had given him when the world had still been filled with sunlight and love, not endless pain and anguish, yet it brought him comfort in ways no other embrace ever had. Perhaps it was because he had only ached without any comfort since being turned into a vampire, and when alive, there had been no real suffering in his life, only the worries of a human, that paled in comparison to those of an immortal.
It was just a whisper to his ears, faint and far away, but even as he revelled in the taste of Kirihara's blood, his fingers buried in the other vampire's silky smooth hair he heard it, his name spoken, followed by yet another voice speaking the name Echizen, with desperation and worry deeply ingrained to it.
He tore Kirihara from his neck, pushed him away and hurried towards the voices, soon seeing the blue blinking lights of the police-cars and an ambulance passed him. A crowd of on-lookers had gathered around and Atobe soon found the man that had spoken his name, his gaze locking onto the sketch of Fuji the man was holding. He recognized the man and the one standing beside him, yet the third police officer by their side was unfamiliar, as was the man now speaking.
Atobe moved closer to them, yet stayed away from their line of sight, knowing that if they had an accurate sketch of Fuji, they would be able to recognise him.
"Atobe," Kirihara's annoyed hiss sounded from behind him, but Atobe paid no attention to the brat, his whole attention focused on hearing every single word and nuance in the voice of the of the man's, Oshitari's account on what had happened. "What the hell was so important that you had to-"
Atobe glanced at Kirihara when he stopped speaking, and noticed that he too had seen the sketch.
"Shit, fuck, hell, fucking hell, fuck you and the fucking-"
"Shut up," Atobe ordered, and waved his hand towards the police officers. "Just shut up and listen," he said, but the men were already done and Oshitari was being escorted to a police car.
"We have to get that sketch away from them," Kirihara said.
"There's no point," Atobe stated, his eyes narrowed on Oshitari as he walked towards the car. For a fraction of a second their eyes connected and Atobe saw and experienced what Oshitari had, a red-head flying through the air and landing on the table, then a glimpse of the boy, then Yanagi, pain and then nothing until he woke and found a paramedic leaning over him, his thoughts revolving around the red-head. "They know his, and my name, taking that sketch would mean nothing."
"We have to do something," Kirihara snarled and made a move to ran towards the officer, Oishi. Atobe grabbed his arm and held him back easily. He had not lost any of his strength, un-like Kirihara who had freely given everything to Atobe without any reservations. Still foolish and rash, as he had always been. Impulsive and never taking the future, the next moment into consideration in his actions, so very unlike Atobe, who never forgot.
"Yanagi was here," Atobe said and it was enough to stay Kirihara. "He took the boy."
"And that's all that matters to you?" Kirihara asked, frowning. "Leave it. Let him have the damn kid!" he screamed, managing to gain attention from the police officers still there, and Atobe quickly turned his back to them and released his hold in Kirihara's arm.
He began to make his way through the crowd and left Kirihara where he was, hoping that would be enough to dissuade the police's interest, that no one had seen him. He could not afford their interest, especially not now when he needed to find them, Yanagi, the boy and…
Atobe shook his head, refused to allow himself to even think of the name. For so many years he had thought him dead, had been happy, content, elated when he remembered that agonizing scream, the scorching heat and intense pain he had felt projected into his mind and finally the blessed absence of a presence that had always haunted and pressured him. He had been free, they had all been. Why it was only him that saw it as a blessing, Atobe had never understood.
Finally away from the crowd Atobe glanced around the street and noticed one of the police officers that wore uniforms kneeling on the street, his eyes intent on something on the ground. The officer pulled out a plastic bag from his pocket and with it covering his hand picked up a shard of glass that's edge was tinted crimson.
In a flash Atobe was standing over him, the shard of glass in his hand and the man unconscious on the ground. He spared no glance towards the worried and angry shouts of the man's companions, his attention fixed on the blood decorating the clear glass. Even dried and mixed with the other smells on the glass, alcohol and something sweet and sugary, he recognised the scent of the boy's blood.
He smiled and placed the shard and the plastic bag in his pocket, eyes already searching for the next red stain on the dark asphalt, something that would be impossible if he were still human, what would take the police hours, if not days to find. A bread crumb trail that led to the evil witch's house where little Hansel was kept.