Hey there all. You have been waiting so patiently for this chapter. I have to say when I wrote this fic I was not expecting to get almost three hundred reviews. I am amazed and very happy. To those reviewers who have stayed with me throughout the entire time I would like to say thanks. It has helped me a lot. Helped me to better approve myself and this story. Ok that's enough of the tears.

Ai no Kusabi does not belong to me.

Oh and just a warning there may be content in this chapter that may offend some people. If so stop now.

Thank you and enjoy.

Chapter 20

Guy hung there limply by the chain suspending him from the roof. Is it possible to be hot and cold at the same time? If so, Guy was defiently feeling it. Beads of cooling sweat dripping down his face, into his mouth. He spat onto the ground, rolling his tongue over his gums. He could still taste the copper from when he bit his tongue, almost in half, hours earlier. Not giving that fucking Blondie an inch of satisfaction of hearing him beg for mercy. He would rather swallow his own tongue then let Iason believe he had won. He may deserve everything he was getting in spades, but only Riki could deliver the finishing blow. It can't be any other way. He would hold on, no matter what, until then. After the first excruciating shock to his cock, he learnt to hold his screams inside, letting the electricity flow through his body. The more he did, the more Iason became enraged. To the point where Guy was sure Iason would end his pathetic life then and there, but the bastard had simply taken a breath and gotten himself together. A ruthless, cold smirk graced that beautiful face before he had grabbed Guy's chin hard and yanked his head back. His silky voice whispering in his ear, penetrating the darkness.

'Holding back the screams will only delay the inevitable. The pain must be excruciating.'

Guy laughed through a mouthful of blood. 'I would rather swallow my tongue before I give you the satisfaction, you son of a bitch.'

That earned him a nice health dose of electricity and a few whips of a cane across his bare legs. What felt like hours, when it was only minutes, Iason ceased his torturous game and Guy heard a faint shuffling but he couldn't pick up where. He turned his head, but he felt like he was underwater, his whole body feeling as if the pressure was crushing him. Suddenly a light from a lamp flicked on and Guy squinted from the sudden brightness. Once his eyes adjusted to the light he looked up and found Iason sitting a few feet away. His legs crossed and his chin resting on his palm. Blue glaciers peering at him as if he was an insect under his shoe. Dead of course.

'Do you know what my thoughts when I first saw Riki all those years ago?' He said, calmly, as if they were discussing the weather.

'Fuck you.'

'Such spirit, such fire, I thought.' Iason went on like he hadn't even heard him. 'A fire I wanted to possess, whatever the cost, even if it meant being the center of ridicule and mockery. I had something of my own. Mine. Something no one could take away. Until you came along. But I guess I should thank you.'

Guy laughed, it was crazy and bitter. 'Thank me? You have to be fucking kidding me.'

'If you hadn't tried to save Riki from me, thus cutting his cock off and trying to have me killed, I wouldn't be so fortunate to have this second chance.'

'Once he finds out what you did to Mimea, sweet, sweet Mimea who you disposed of to a whorehouse to be raped daily. And let's not forget Daryl, the furniture you had sent to prison to 'learn his lesson,' do you really think he will forgive you so easily?' Guy laughed again, which earned him a vicious jolt. He bit his lip so hard to stifle any sound that blood trickled down his chin.

'He may not forgive me for my past actions, but at least he is alive. That's all that matters.' Iason smiled devilishly and touched a single red rose sitting in a clear vase on the table next to him. 'Even through his amnesia, his body still knows who the master is. Still blooms like a flower under my touch.'

'He will find you repulsive.' Guy spat. 'Hate you, just like you deserve. You fucking son-of-a-bitch.'

'We shall see. We shall see. Now,' Iason got up and took a thin white cane in his hands, whacking it in his palm a few times, the smile turning devilish to ruthless in seconds. 'Where were we?'

Iason left and Guy wasn't sure how long it was before someone else came. Some guy, he couldn't get a look at him as he had been blind-folded, had come and given his chains a once over then left without a word. He had long ago given up supporting his broken-down body, so he just hung there like a wet noodle. A slab of meat ready for slaughter He wondered what time it was, or whether it was night or day. Whatever. It didn't matter. One way or another he was going to die. It was just a matter of when.

No. It must be by Riki's hands.

He sagged, putting his weight on the one metal cuff. The metal cut into his skin, tearing open wounds from earlier, but he felt no pain. He felt nothing. He was numb. It was a relief. No matter what Iason had in store for him he would take it, only if it would deliver him to the one who would truly deserved to end his miserable life. At least he looked my way. Guy sagged more, when he felt the chain connected to the ceiling, slacken slightly. Slightly, but Guy felt his arm drop an inch. Well, well, well, Iason had been careless. It would seem that all the pulling his body had been doing on the chain had loosened it. If he pulled and twisted the chain enough, it might just pop out. He tried it but this time the chain refused to budge. Shit. Sweat fell down his face as he tried again. Pulling, straining, using whatever energy he had left, which wasn't a lot.

He suddenly stopped when he heard a noise outside his room. Like footsteps. Had Iason returned for round two? He turned his head and listened to the footsteps. Iason had very distinct footsteps. Authoritive. A certain edge to them. Guy had lived on the streets of Ceres for years; he had learnt to listen to what was going on around him. It saved his life more than once. These were softer, the ones from the guy before. The footfalls stopped right outside his door and dull light appeared behind his blindfold. Whoever it was remained silent, but Gut could feel eyes on him. Probably noting the bruises and welts that covered his body. And probably here to add a few more.

'Either do what you gotta do or get the fuck out.'

'I've just come to bring you water.' Straight to the point. Devoid of all emotion. Sort of like how a Furniture is required to speak.

Water. How hospitable of Iason to provide his detainee with luxuries. 'No thanks. I don't want anything from you or that fucker.'

'It doesn't matter what you want. Sir Mink has requested that you remain alive. Drink the water or I'll hold your nose and force it down your throat.' The visitor threatened and Guy heard him step into the room. Ok maybe not a Furniture but he had heard Iason speak to someone quietly outside his prison. He called him…Daryl. Ah, so it has come down to this, Guy realized. Iason was getting one of his beaten dogs to look after another beaten dog. It made Guy laugh.

'Does your current situation amuse you?' Daryl, the Ex- Furniture asked.

'Not as much as your situation does. What has Iason promised you into becoming his doormat, Daryl?'

Daryl remained silent before he spoke. He was now right in front of Guy, tipping his head back with force. 'Iason has not promised me anything. I do this out of my own free will.' Water was poured down his throat and but he let the water run down his chin, refusing to open his throat. Fuck Iason and his handouts. He would die first before accepting anything that came from that fucker's hand. But Daryl had other ideas. He pinched his nose, forcing his throat to open. Water slithered down his esophagus and he coughed. Daryl stepped back and sounded as if he was making his way back to the door.

'Why doesn't Iason just kill me?' Guy asked quietly.

'If he did that, it would hurt the one he loves.' was all that was said before Daryl left the room.

Riki. Daryl was talking about Riki. Iason loved Riki? Guy laughed with such bitter hatred, his insides started to boil. Love. As if Iason was capable of such an emotion as love. As if he was capable of emotion at all. He then went to work on the chain.

Just a little longer and he would be free.


'Fuck this shit. Why do I always get sucked into doing people's dirty work? I'm a navigator for fuck sake. Oh, thanks Noel.'

Heath said when the Furniture placed a much need steaming cup of strong coffee beside him. He sighed and leant back in his desk chair, cracking his back, he rubbed his eye for the hundredth time. Cursing the asshat responsible for his frustration before throwing his long hair over his shoulder and getting back to the task at hand. His hands flew over the wireless keyboard. His eyes reading the lines of code his fingers were dishing out. Cursing and mumbling to himself. 'Fuck this. Just hack into the pet registration records, he says. Yeah, no problem. Find this girl I was probably banging but I don't remember. Ha. Come on, work some magic for me baby. Yes'

He had managed to find the first person on his 'find this person or I'll beat the crap out of you' list without too much fuss. Daryl had been Iason Mink's Furniture a few years ago. Until some altercation occurred regarding Riki- surprise, surprise, - Iason Mink had Daryl arrested and thrown out of Eos, but still kept him close it looked like. Just like Katze, Daryl, in some form or another, worked, or is still working for Mink. Doing what, Heath didn't know and didn't want to know, but he was still planet side. Iason Mink sure put the term 'keep your friends close and your enemies closer' to good use. Half the people who have betrayed him somewhere along the line are now on his payroll.

'Why do you have to be so bloody difficult?'

He took a sip of strong black coffee as his fingers worked there magic, feeling quite pleased with himself, despite feeling as if someone had taken a sledge hammer to his head then run over it with a car. Heath had managed to get past the first roadblock without too much fuss, but that was just the appetizer. Another four courses and he would be floating in a cyber-restaurant of pet records. That's when it gets delicate. All he had to do was get in and out and not get flagged. Piece of cake. He was hoping. He unloaded the first code-breaking disk and inserted the second one, as well as connecting his personal digital assistant before cracking his knuckles and getting back to work. His PDA helped him in the decoding and sorting through all the unwanted mess and clutter.

The phone beside him gave a loud shrill. He took another sip of coffee and pressed the loud speaker button, hoping it was Riki so he could give the unhappy mongrel a nice dose of fuck off.

'I hope that's you Riki. If you are ringing to ask for another favor, you can shove it up your ass.'

'How colourful. I'll have to remember to never ask you for a favor.' Gideon's deep voice came over the speaker. He sounded almost amused. Heath paused, looked at the voice box of doom, and then went back to work. This kind of phone chat he could do. At least the Blondie couldn't see what he was doing. What could the Blondie possibly want, other than discussing the lip-locking session they snuck in during last night's party? Or was he ringing to cash in on his promise of making him pay for tempting him into committing evil, sexual deeds. He kind of hoped neither; it wasn't something he wanted to deal with at the mo. He cleared his throat, and continued on with his much more, sort of, important task. He started typing again as he talked.

'What can I do for you on this fine morning, Sir Lagot?' Was that hesitation he heard in his voice? Nah, he was probably just hearing shit thanks to being hung over.

'I apologize. I know it's still early but there is something that has been on my mind and I believe I won't be able to rest until I get it off my chest.' Gideon said with urgency as if he wouldn't be able to function until he had the problem sorted out.

Here we go. 'Well sugar, tell Doctor Heath all about it and I'll see what I can do to remedy the situation.'

Gideon coughed as if embarrassed. 'Yes, well. I would like to discuss last night's…activities with you, if you have the time? My actions were…. very unlike myself.'

Ding, ding, ding. Well, I guess I shouldn't leave him hanging. 'Do you regret it? Is that the reason for this lovely morning chat?' Cause he didn't. The man could kiss. 'Cause you were very good. Very…large.'

There was a pause then Gideon cleared his throat again. Oh, yeah, he was embarrassed. 'Your comments are appreciated but unnecessary. I do not know what came over me.'

Heath rolled his eyes. Blondies. They were such virtuous and immaculate beings sometimes. They don't even understand that it's normal to get aroused. 'I do. You said it yourself. I believe it was 'I just can't get you out of my thoughts.' Understandable. I usually have that effect on people. They don't however usually try and stick their tongue down my throat.' Heath said to lighten the mood. 'What was it you wanted to get off your chest, lover boy?'

'Well,' Gideon went quite for a moment, 'I was enquiring, if your schedule would allow it; if you wanted to, say accompany me for a liquid refreshment or a fare of some description or a simple turnaround of Mistral Park after dark. I would ask Sir Cassis for permission but he is unreachable at this present time.'

'Are you asking me out on a date, Sir Gideon Lagot?' Ok, he was no officially weirded out. He didn't do dates. Not because of his mongrel status. He especially didn't do turnarounds, which he presumed meant a walk. 'I'm not what you call 'date material.''

'It's a simple yes or no answer. I am hoping this way I can get you out of my thoughts. Once and for all.'

'Gee, Giddy. You really know how to make a guy feel special. Is this your way of paying me back for making you think of me?' Gideon told him that if he played with fire, he would end up getting burned. Well, poor little Giddy was about to get a whole raging inferno. If only to shake up the abashed man. Heath smirked. 'Or could this be my penance for the transgression forced upon you? Hanging out with you and you paying?'

'Hanging out? No. It's more of a way to move forward. Be ready by sundown. I will come and collect you.' He hung up, leaving only a dial tone. Heath looked at the box of innovation and raised an eyebrow. Typical. Didn't even care if he had other plans, not that he did, but still it would have been customary to at least let him answer. Move forward indeed. He shrugged. Oh, well. Gideon could stew for a while. The guy obviously never had feelings like these before and it was causing him to become high-strung. And downright rude.

Heath shrugged again and his eyes were then set upon the computer screen when there was a flash of red and a little window popped up telling him he had hit a firewall on the forth roadblock. Not good but, this, he was expecting. This he could bypass, with the right skills. He took out the third disc and quickly inserted the forth, typing more code onto his PDA, filtering it into the computer, which would, hopefully, quietly slip under the firewall undetected. It seemed to work as after a moment, the flash of red turned to green and the screen turned black, more complicated texted filling the black canvas. Heath smiled. Quite pleased with his work.

'Just one more. Show me some magic.'

'What are you doin'?' Seiren slurred tiredly from behind him. He didn't bother hiding what he was doing. The Amorian could be as tight lipped as a whore being paid to keep a secret. Although he didn't think Seiren would appreciate being in the same category as a whore.

'What does it look like?'

'It looks like you're doin' something you're not supposed to.'

'Gee, give the man a prize. I am running an errand for our resident blind man. That Mongrel could learn some manners.'

'What errand would have you break into sealed pet records, hence possibly marking you as a criminal, thus possibly making us your accomplices?'

'I bloody good one, I hope. He asked me to find someone. Someone from his past.' Heath growled when the computer wasn't doing what he wanted. 'But the Ex-pet's records seems to be very well hidden.'

'Or someone made it that way.' Seiren suggested.

Heath looked at him, eyebrow raised. 'Who would want an Ex-pet's records sealed? A discarded pet's?'

'Obviously someone who didn't want certain information to get out regarding this particular pet. Something must have happened to them? And there are only certain individuals who have the kind of authority to seal a pet's records from being viewed.'

'Like who?'

'Think about it. Riki had some kind of connection to this pet whether it was sexual or otherwise. I'm guessing the former. Iason Mink would not have been a happy camper having Riki involved with anyone else. He would want all of Riki's attention focused on him. So, what does one do to achieve that but to-'

'-get rid of the competition.' Heath finished for him.

'Exactly. Want some help?' Seiren offered, reading the code Heath was typing.

'How good are you at hacking?'

'I know a thing or two.' Seiren drew up a seat and sat beside him. 'What do ya need?'

'I'm onto my last roadblock and it's being a bitch. Must be related to Luca.' He pushed his PDA towards Seiren. 'When I tell you to, type this code into the PDA, and then press enter.'

'That's it?'

'That's it.'

Heath unloaded the fourth disc, then placing the last disc into the CD-ROM drive. It uploaded and hundreds of code sequences littered the black screen. It was complex and hard to decipher, code zipping everywhere, meant to confuse but the disc he uploaded did its thing. It deciphered the text, placing it in correct order, hopefully creating the doorway he was looking for. The disc also had another hidden secret. He had programed this little beauty with its own cleanup crew, designed to remove any traces of his presences. He went to work and helped the CD-ROM along.

'So.' Seiren said after a couple of minutes.


'Are you going to go out with the Blondie?'

'Don't start.' Heath typed but he glared at the green haired Amorian out the corner of his eye. 'It's too early.'

'What? It's a simple question from a friend who is very curious. He is so into you man. If having his tongue down your throat was any indication.'

'I'm a mongrel. We're supposed to hate his kind.'

Seiren waved the evasive answer away. 'Oh that's just such a lame excuse man. Didn't know ya were such a pussy. Yesterday it looked like you wanted to climb him like a fireman's pole.'

'Yeah, Yeah. Thanks Luca. It's my business, so I'll deal with it my way. You ready for this, I'm almost there. If this works, the screen will go blank for a moment then the computer will reboot and the pet record should appear.'

'And if doesn't?'

'Get out as quick as we can.'

'Ok, tell me when.'

'Ok, type this in. 'E-ISP-ESN-PUK-FIREWALL-PNSS- B-29846 then press enter.'

Seiren quickly typed in the code then pressed enter. Both held their breath as the screen went fuzzy then froze. Remaining that way for a few too many moments. Shit. Double fucking shit. They both gave an 'oh shit' look, wondering how long it would take for authorities to come looking for them, before the screen finally went blank, the computer rebooting with a small beep, and a single pet record slowly revealed itself on the screen.

'And…We're in.' They high-fived each other and both began reading Mimea's records. Heath scrolled down, finding out she used to belong to belong to Raoul Am, and then she was passed from Elite to Elite before she was finally sold off to...Iason Mink. Holy shit. He kept reading until he got to the end of her file and once he read her very depressing and cruel fate, he turned to Seiren.

'Well this just fucking sucks.'

'You're telling me. Wait till Riki finds out his friend had been sold to a whore house in the red-light district by one Iason Mink.'


The car rolled to a stop and the door was opened for Riki to slowly get out. Ion must have had some lackey wait for him to arrive. He welcomed the warm sun on his back. Chased away the sudden chill he felt. As if something bad was going to happen and he didn't know what it was. He shook out his cane and it extended to the ground. It really was an interesting contraption. He would have to thank Iason for it. He wouldn't have to rely on people to get him around like an invalid. Didn't have to use his energy scoping out the place. And today wasn't the best day to use his echo location. He felt like shit and probably looked it too. A sudden memory of Guy popped into his head like a black and white movie. While before most memories that had assaulted him in the past were blurry and out of focus, this one was as clear as day. He was pleading with Riki. Pleading with him to leave with him, leave Iason. And he just wouldn't listen. Typical.

But, if he did, would things have turned out different?

Guy, you dumbass.

Riki scowled. Hating how his mind resorted to using the 'if' excuse. 'If' wouldn't change the fact that his cock was cut off. Or he almost died. The man who had opened the door for him touched his arm, trying to help him. It broke Riki from his trip down memory lane and he pushed the man aside.

'I don't need help.'

Lifting his head, he moved his cane from side to side and walked towards Apatia. He had heard many interesting stories connected to this place, thanks to Heath's runaway mouth. He wondered if he went here for his 'training' also. Riki's brain gave him a mental kick to tell him what would happen if he pushed himself to remember and he didn't really want to go there. Feeling around for the door handle, he pushed it open; walking into what he assumed was the lobby or reception room. The coolness hit him, and he realized he rather be outside then stuck in here. He had never been claustrophobic but it was as if the walls were closing in on him. An inch at a time. He took of his sunnies and pocketed them.

'Can I help you?' A clipped, male voice said to his left. Obviously the guy thought he had wondered off the street like a mongrel dog and was hoping to get rid of him quickly. His aura was all about the muddy greens and yellows.

'Ion Cassis. He's expecting me.'

'And you are?'

Riki sighed but if he was going to get rid of this douche he would have to say it. 'I'm his…pet and I don't think he would appreciate you speaking to me like that.'

That defiently put the asshole in his place. Pet or not, he didn't appreciate getting spoken down to. 'Ah, yes. Please accept my terrible manners. I'll page him right away.'

'You do that.'

Riki waited as the guy rushed off. He absently moved his cane across the floor, putting his hand up to feel the texture of the walls. As he expected. Cold and smooth. Probably just like the rest of the place.

'Ah, Riki. You made it.' Ion said from behind him. Riki turned around and Ion gasped slightly. Did he really look that bad?

'What happened to you? You're eyes are a mess.'

'Gee, thanks. A lot happened last night, which I'm assure you're aware of.'

'We'll talk about it in my office.' Ion touched his back to guide him to walk forward. 'Nice cane. Present, I presume?'

'Maybe. What's it to ya?' Riki folded up the cane. Did he just get defensive? Boy, did it sound stupid to his ears.

'Playing coy, hey. Ok I'll play along.' Ion sounded amused and a ding fell on his ears. Sounded like an elevator. Ion gently pushed him forward and Riki heard the doors close and the elevator shook slightly before making its accent. The feeling of the walls closing in on him came back and he had to remind himself that it was just his imagination. Just his fucked up brain doing what it always does- being fucked.

'How's your head this morning?' Ion asked.

'Fine.' Riki lied. His head had been killing him since this morning. He really should ask Ion for an accelerant or at least a something to stop his head from splitting in two.

'It's pointless to lie to me Riki.' Ion said mentally. 'I can feel it.'

'Do you have to?' Riki hated when he did that. He had never gotten used to having Ion poking around in his brain like a mouse in maze.

'I do it with the best intentions. You may not think this headache is nothing but considering what your mind has gone through, it's best we hit it now before it turns into something irreversible.'

'Yeah, yeah. It's not that bad.'

Ion wanted to say more. Was dying to but he was smart enough to zip his lip; neither did he do his mind connection thing again. The elevator dinged and when the doors opened, Riki was guided forward. The air was cold and sterile. Probably just like the rest of the building. They went straight, then left, then right. Like a giant maze, and he was the mouse.

'Here we are.' Ion led him into what was most probably his office. It smelt hundred times better then what it did out in the hall. Ion closed the door and took Riki to a chair for him to sit down. He heard Ion shuffle around for a moment before he placed a glass in his hand.

'Here. Some water and pain medication.' Ion placed two pills into Riki's other hand. He popped them into his mouth and flushed them down with the water, realizing how parched he was. He drank the entire glass and handed it back to Ion.

'What about your eyes? I have some ointment that would clear those scratches right up.'

Riki waved him away. 'I'm fine.'

'Ok' Ion moved away and Riki heard him sit down. 'You must have many questions?'

'No just one. Why?'

Ion knew exactly what Riki was talking about. Riki didn't have to be blind to know that. The change in his aura spoke for him. Ion sighed, the one he did when he knew he had a lot of explaining to do. 'I don't have to tell you why, Riki. You can figure it out.'

'I'm not some damsel in distress.'

'No but trouble seems to follow you wherever you go. Let us not forget the debacle with that poor sap from Ciconia. I still sleep with one eye open.' Ion chuckled lightly then said. 'Do you want to talk about it?'



Riki sighed and touched his forehead. He hated when Ion used that Ion. He tried to piece together the shit storm that was last night. 'He was so broken, Ion. His aura was filled with so much loathing and despair. One strong gust of air would blow him over. And, I may have been reading his aura wrong but, I think he may be dying.'

Ion remained silent for a few moments. 'Have you told Iason this?'

'Of course not. We didn't particularly have time to have the 'Guy is dying' chat. I didn't even know what I saw was right. It wouldn't have mattered one way or other in his eyes. To him, he's dead anyway.'

'How did you feel when you met Guy?' Ion asked quietly.

Riki scowled. 'How did I feel? What do you think? Confused. Shocked. Pissed off. At you. At him. At Iason. Hell, the world. The whole situation is fucked up, Ion. I pitied him and it made me sick.'

'He doesn't deserve your pity, Riki. He deserves nothing.' Ion's voice was hard and cold.

'That is not for you, or Iason, to decided. I'm not so blind as to know Iason will torture and likely kill him for his revenge. No one deserves to die like that. Even Guy.' Riki got up and using his senses, walked around Ion's desk, touching the hard surface and towards the window where Riki could feel the slight breeze. It tickled his hair and face. 'I wanted to save him, that day at Dana Burn. I begged Iason to save him. I was responsible for pushing Guy so far into a corner that he had no choice but to lash out.'

'There is always a choice, Riki. In everything we do, nothing is more important than free will.'

'Well he must have run out of free will. He is nothing but a dying husk now.' Riki paused. 'Where did Iason take Guy too?'

'I don't know.'

Ion was a master at fudging the facts but this time he was actually telling the truth. Damn. Riki wondered if Ion knew about Mimea, but he decided it would probably be best if he kept his question to himself. Ion was a good guy, most of the time, but when it came to some things; Riki had learnt to keep closed remained silent before Riki heard him move and felt him at his back. 'I believe I may have found a way to get your sight back.' Ion said. His tone annoyingly gentle and just a little bit excited.

'What?' Riki turned towards Ion's aura. It pulsated with excited energy.

'I've had several engineers working on modifying the healing chamber for the last couple of weeks now. It's a long shot and your sight won't be hundred percent but you'll be able to see again.'

Riki closed his eyes and turned back to the breeze. Ion had been busy. Now that he thought about it, he had been working a lot later than usual. Obviously hadn't taken any notice of anybody else's comings and goings save his own. Whatever. It wasn't like they had a curfew. To be able to see again. After being in the darkness for so long. 'What would happen to my ability to see auras or my location trick if I got my sight back?'

'It's a possibility you may lose these abilities, or you may not. It's a matter of how your mind goes about it. You don't have to decided right now, sleep on it. Two years in the dark then suddenly being able to see would put strain on anyone. And your mind is still healing. We'll have to take this slow.'

'Do you think, if my sight returns, so might my memories.'

'There may be a link. Memories are fickle things. Show up when we least expect them too. Won't know until we try.'

Mikhail blinked. Once. Twice. Three times, before giving up trying to figure out what he was witnessing. What is she doing?' Alkina kept staring at him. Her intelligent eyes moving over his face, just like he was doing, as if she was the one studying him. Her tiny little white eyebrows scrunched up in what looked like confusion. Confusion? A month old baby being confused. Is that even possible. He continued to stare, just as she did the same, her eyes focusing more on him. It was just a game, but for a second he had the insane thought that Alkina was trying to read his mind. His eyes narrowed. Impossible. Laughable. Not completely outside the realm of absurdity.

She is a Faeierian. A race of mysterious beings.

'Silly.' Mikhail shook his head and touched Alkina on the chin. It broke the contact she had on his face. She gurgled and tried to grab his finger when he pulled it away. Not happy with that, she began to squirm and little whimpers left her mouth, before she started to cry, her piercing screams filling the room. Mikhail winced. For one so tiny, Alkina sure had a pair of lungs on her.

'Ok. Ok. Here.' He gave her his finger and she quieted instantly. She stuck the digit in her mouth and babbled happily. Pleased as bunch. She obviously had mastered the trick of getting what she wants with efficient results. He smiled and lifted his head.

'Blane. Where is that bottle?' Mikhail called out.

'Sorry, master. Here.' Blane handed him the bottle of milk. Mikhail pulled the sleeve from his wrist and tried a few drops on his skin. It felt right. Not too hot, not too cold. He put it on the table in front of him.

'Get me a towel.' Mikhail ordered. Blane disappeared quickly before coming back with a white towel, probably from the bathroom. Mikhail took it and hung it over his shoulder and brought Alkina more securely to his chest.

'You're excused, Blane.'

His Furniture bowed and Mikhail noted the confused look on his face from the corner of his eye before he retreated from the room. At least his Furniture had enough self-preservation not to question him. He felt like something like this should be private. Something that only he should witness. He took the bottle from the table and carefully brought it to Alkina's mouth. She opened and he slowly tipped the bottle up so she could suckle. She did contently, sighing, her eyes never leaving his and if she was able to, she would probably be playing with her hair as she fed. Mikhail tipped his head and took this opportunity to study her. She had the most usual colouring. Soft, white hair. The colour of snow. And light, grey eyes, with, as he really looked, had flecks of silver in them. When she closed her eyes, her black eyelashes fell like half-moons on her cheeks. No not black, but black tipped with blue. Fascinating.

Most of the bottle was gone before she pulled her head away, telling him she's had enough and a tiny bit of milk dribbled from her mouth, down her chin. Mikhail chuckled and took the towel from shoulder to clean her up. She gurgled and babbled. Obviously finding it hilarious as well. He placed the towel back on his shoulder and brought Alkina up to rest her head on the towel. He slowly stood up and gently, so gently began patting her on the back, bobbing her up and down. Being careful of his strength. She was so light. Her weight barely registered. When nothing happened, he wondered if he was doing it right when he heard the tiny burp leave her body.

'Good girl.' He said quietly. 'You're not scary, are you. What do you say to a nap?'

As if she understood him, Alkina buried her head in his shoulder and yawned cutely. It amazed him how someone so small could be so fascinating, yet reduce him to an uncertain mess. It wasn't a bad feeling, just something he doesn't come by very often. He decided the best place for her would be his bedroom where he could watch her as he worked. He had Blane lay out her blanket earlier so he gently placed her upon it. She didn't protest, just yawned again. Aya had said something about music so he went to his stereo. He picked something soothing, meant to relax. It came through the speakers and he turned it down so the music was quite enough to send Alkina to sleep.

But she refused.

It started as small whimpers before she let out a loud wail. The music wasn't helping. Aya said she would be out like a light. Well, she was very much awake. And crying. Mikhail was at a loss at what to do. Her face had gone red from crying and she scrunched up her little fists. Obviously Mikhail had missed something down the line. He did a mental checklist. She didn't need changing. She had her bottle and had been burped. Music and a soft bed. What was he missing?

She likes her rattle. It's the pink bell looking thing.

As if she could hear the voice replaying the words in his head, Alkina began to quieten and held out her hand, waiting for something. Her rattle. Mikhail quickly went to retrieve it, digging through each bag, until he found it and returned, afraid she might roll of the bed. But no, she was right where he left her. Waiting for him.

'Is this what you wanted?'

He gave her the rattle and she swung it around a few times, the chimes inside producing a soft jingle. She liked the noise. Making sure his door was closed, he went back to the bed and simply watched her with her rattle swinging it around like a club. He tickled her feet and she babbled, spit dribbling from her mouth. 'You're a messy one.' He had enough sense to bring the used towel in with him and used it to clean her chin. She yawned as he pulled back and smiled when she brought the rattle to her chest and watched as her eyelids began to droop and her breaths evened out.

He wondered, as he worked and watched her, if her mother knew that it was possible Alkina could be a mind reader.

Riki tiredly stepped into the apartment and instantly felt Noel at his side. The Furniture wordlessly took his jacket and Riki walked into the apartment, touching the walls lightly, his fingertips just brushing the surface, feeling the hardness. It seemed to be the only thing that kept him anchored at the moment. He was so fucking tired. His mind felt like an unfinished jigsaw puzzle, with pieces that didn't quite fit together. Now, Ion might have found a way to get his eyesight back, might. It was risky but he was confident that it would work. He rubbed his eye and went in search of heath, hoping the mongrel would have some useful information for him.

He wasn't in the living room, so Riki went in search of him. He found Heath in his bedroom.

'I wasn't able to get a precise location on your homeboy Daryl but I might have found were he used to be staying.' Heath said.

'Is he off world?' Riki sat on the mongrel's bed.

'No. he's still planet side as far as I know.'

'And Mimea?

Heath hesitated and when he didn't get answer, Riki turned around and found Heath's troubled aura. 'What?'

'Yeah I found her.'


'It doesn't look pretty.'

'Is she still here, on Amoi?'

'Yeah, she's still here, in Midas. But, Riki….' Heath hesitated again. Heath never hesitated. But when he did, some serious shit was about to hit the fan. 'You might want to rethink this. You could be opening a whole can of worms here.'

'Take me there. Now.'

'Ah, Riki, buddy. I kind of have a thing tonight. And, I don't really think that's a good idea. Ion would be one very unhappy Blondie if I take you there.'

'Find. I'll just go on my own. Give me the address.' Riki was often called stubborn and pig-headed, well what better way to cash in on those traits then right now. He refused to be wrapped up in cotton wool any longer. He heard a long relenting sigh from Heath and knew he had won.

'You're a real fucking pain in the ass. Just give me a minute; I have to give Seiren a message to pass on to my social engagement. He is so going to be pissed I blew him off.'


'It's ok Noel. I got it.'

Seiren heard the doorbell and steeled himself for what he was about to encounter. He opened the door and raised an eyebrow when not only was Gideon at his door but Iason Mink was as well. He did not look pleased. Well fuck. This just got a whole lot more complicated. Those two idiots so owe me for dealing with their problems.

Seiren leant a hip against the door frame and crossed his arms. 'What can I do for you gentlemen?'

'I am here to collect…Heath.' Gideon said as if saying Heath's name seemed foreign to him. 'We have an engagement.'

And I'm going to have to break the poor man's heart. 'I'm sorry, sugar. But Heath is indisposed at the moment. Would you like to try another time?'

'Indisposed?' Gideon repeated. Unable to believe it.

Believe it bucko.

'I demand to know where he is.' He said and Seiren wasn't surprised if the Blondie bowled him over to get inside. He probably would have if there wasn't something clearing their throat behind them.

'Iason. Gideon. What brings you to my door?' Ion said from behind the two. He looked tired but he tried to look cheerful at his guests, totally missing the looks of animosity of each of their faces. He strode past them and Seiren moved out of the way so he could walk into the lobby. Gideon and Iason followed him inside without even an invitation to come in. Noel helped Ion out of his jacket and he rotated his shoulders, obviously stiff from the day's work.

'I was to collect heath for our…date; he called it, to find he is indisposed.'

Ion turned and laughed. 'Heath? On a date? With you? Well I'll be. Guess when you live long enough you see everything. Well where is he? And Riki for that matter? I figured he would come straight here after our meeting.' Ion turned to Seiren who felt like a deer caught in headlights. Ion's eyebrows lowered in concern when Seiren failed to answer. He knew something was up. So did Mink. The guy hadn't said a word yet. Which was quite unnerving.

'Seiren. What is going on? Where are Riki and Heath?'

Seiren rubbed his neck, feeling quite small being over towered by not two, but three Blondies. It was quite confining. Good thing he wasn't claustrophobic. 'Ah well you see, they kind of had this thing they needed to take care of.'

'What thing?' Ion asked. 'Seiren, just tell me.'

'I think I know where they have gone to?' Iason said and he looked a mixture of pissed, forlorn and tormented. Seiren knew then that Iason Mink knew what they had done.

'It was bound to come out. It was only a matter of time before he remembered her.' Seiren said directly at Iason who narrowed his eyes to tiny slits.

'Remembered? Remembered who?' Ion said with concern.

Iason spoke up before Seiren could even open his mouth. 'It would seem that Riki had found Mimea.'


The creaky, wooden door to Mimea's room opened behind her just as she pulled her tattered shawl around her half naked body, not quite covering her stain chemise. The smell of stale liquor and heavy BO saturated the room and Mimea knew her 'boss' was the one at the door. 'Whore. You have customers. Make sure you get a decent tip this time if you want to eat tonight.'

Two? Great. She had just finished with a brute of a client looking for a quick fuck, now her master wanted her to comfort some other fucking assholes. She slowly sat up off the soiled sheets and cringed when the wounds on her breasts and arms pulled. What a disgusting sight she must be. The only reason she was still alive was because her pimp liked to fuck her himself and Iason's 'patronage' kept the fucker in business so if his prized mule died, so would his meal ticket. It didn't matter. Nothing did. She was a used up whore. Dirty. Filthy. Only good enough to have some parasite's dick inside her, soiling the memory of the only one who had ever given two shits about her. But he's dead so it didn't matter anymore. Rock bottom wasn't so bad. Guess the punishment fit the crime. Riki had been off limits. Yet she couldn't stay away.

Her pimp closed the door and she heard her two clients behind her. She wanted to pull her shawl more tightly around her, concealing her ugly scars and bruises but she had to eat. Not bothering to hide the hideous scar on her face with make-up, they always have her facing the wall anyway, she stood up and began unbutton her chemise. 'One at a time, Yeah. You know the rules.'


Mimea head snapped up and she swung around, hoping the voice she heard at her door was real and she gasped in shock, her knees almost giving way.


To be continued.

OH MY GOD. They finally meet. I just had to leave it there cause I'm a bitch and I know everyone loves a good cliffhanger. Check out my new story for those who haven't. It's called 'Brothers in Arms.' I am so excited about this story. Anyway I am getting ready for my trip to Adelaide, then Bali. Only a week to go. I might try and squeeze in a chapter on one of my stories. See how I go. I know I'm defiantly coming back with a tan. I would have had this chapter out sooner but because of the wonderful new man in my life, I have been a bit distracted, if you now what I mean. Hope you enjoy this chapter and remember to review.