All characters © Kubo Tite

Summary: While out shopping, Shinji and Hiyori almost get robbed by an unfortunate pair of muggers who mistake them for ordinary high school students.

The Wrong Face

Mental note, Hirako Shinji thought to himself. Never, ever offer to take Hiyori shopping again.

It couldn't be helped; May on earth was a hot, humid month and their gigais were only equipped with one outfit. Human comfort was considered inconsequential before a mission, so those using the Sekai gate rarely took things like these into consideration.

Only now, the comfort of the gigai didn't seem so inconsequential. With the exception of Kensei, who was alright since he seldom wore sleeves anyway, the vizard were downright miserable. The others had purchased a summer wardrobe immediately…all except for Sarugaki Hiyori, who insisted that she couldn't be bothered with such trifle accommodations.

And naturally the task fell to Shinji, by decree of popular vote, to be the one to take her clothes shopping. Honestly, she could sweat like a pig all summer for all he cared. He was doing her a favor.

But boy, they owed him bigtime. Shinji tried not to remember the highlights of their trip this afternoon, but they kept replaying like a record in his head:

"What are all these numbers on the tags? Are those in YEN?"

"Oi, dickface, hold this for me."

"What do we say, Hiyori?"


"What? 'The hell do we have to wait on a line for?"

"Shinji! I can't get this *#*% shirt off, it's too tight! Come help me!"

At least security hadn't needed to be called. In the end Hiyori had finally purchased some cooler clothes—a great deal, in fact. And of course, Shinji was the bag-mule. Things could hardly get any worse for him (though, whenever this is said, they usually do).

"Which way is it, Shinji?"

He blanched and dropped a few shopping bags. Splendid. "I thought ya knew how to get home!" he protested, picking them up before she could deliver a hefty smack with her sandal. "I can't see a thing over these freaking bags—"Shinji broke off and looked around.

"Hiyori…" he began, "where are we?"

Hiyori's footfalls stopped dead in their tracks. "Are you telling me we're lost?" her voice was soft, like a snake's slither right before it strikes. "Can't we fly?"

Shinji snorted. "With all these bags? Even if we each carried half we can't risk dropping any," he replied. "Thanks to you, on foot it is—OW!"

Hiyori removed her sandal from his shin and sighed. "Let's go, dickface. I'm hot, and it's getting dark."


"I think this is the right way, at least," Shinji mused, "but this was one hell of a way to get home."

"Shut it. At least we're getting there. I can sense the others' reiatsu."

They had taken the back roads of Karakura, through the little alcoves and alleyways since Hiyori proclaimed them 'shortcuts.'

"Oi, oi, what do we have here?"

Shinji and Hiyori turned around at the sound of new voices, eyes coming to rest on two young men in the alleyway. They weren't raggedly dressed, but their clothes suggested that they weren't of the upper class either.

"Just some high-schoolers," one of them said, smiling faintly as he approached. "You kids lost?"

Hiyori opened her mouth to speak, but Shinji held out his arm to stop her. "Yea," he answered sheepishly. "We were hopin' to find home soon. We'll be on our way."

The men seemed to disregard this once they caught a glimpse of the bags Shinji was holding. "You two must have some pretty good money in order to buy all of those clothes," one remarked. "I'd say you have a little bit more on you, no?"

Shinji almost rolled his eyes as the other one drew a switchblade. Oh, brother.

"And if you both don't want to get hurt, you'll give us that little bit more," they said. "Drop your bags, and empty your pockets."

"Heh, I guess we don't have a choice," Shinji chuckled as he set his things down on the ground and held up his hands. Hiyori's features twisted with outrage and impatience as she glared up at him. Why don't we kill them now and stop wasting time? That look asked.

Because I want to play with them, Shinji's returning look answered. Just wait.

One of the men gestured to Hiyori, who was failing to stifle a smirk. "What's wrong with that one? You should be scared, missy." He raised the knife.

"Please don't hurt us," Shinji begged the muggers, reaching into his pockets. "Look, I'm givin' you my wallet."

And just like that, he was gone.

The muggers blinked for a minute, trying to register what had happened. The kid had been there one moment, and the other there was only air.

"'the hell?" The men looked around and saw no one but the little blonde girl, who was definitely smirking now. They started toward her until a voice at their necks stopped them cold.

"Careful," Shinji murmured, his tie dangling beside his ear as he stood upside-down behind the two men. The men jumped, whipped around, but no one was there. Shinji grinned and floated back down behind them, eyes sparkling in the light of the rising moon.

"She'll kill you."

They must have been unobservant muggers indeed, to have not noticed the katana strapped around the blonde girl's torso all this time. Or maybe it had been invisible before, for some strange reason.

The girl unsheathed it slowly and ran a tongue over a tooth in her upper row that was pointed. "I almost feel sorry for you boys," she drawled, "but you definitely chose the wrong people to rob. Oi Shinji, can I kill them now?"

And as Shinji returned, appearing to sit cross-legged in the air on nothing at all, the trembling men saw that he had a sword of his own.

"I don't know about kill, but make sure their pilfering days are over," Hirako Shinji leered, grinning toothily at them and flopping out a tongue which held a circular ring in the center.

The moon had risen, and it was full tonight.