For some reason, the first time I submitted this story it kept giving me an "Unable to find story with ID ########" error. o_O

Just an FYI, in case you didn't know: In Chinese, hei means "black," huang means "yellow," mao means "cat," and yin means "silver." Pai is close enough to bai, which means "white," that I took liberties with it.

Takes place sometime between seasons one and two. Extremely drabble-esque in the beginning, but the stuff happens in the second half, I promise.

Please enjoy.

Hei sometimes thinks that the way she dresses is a little strange.

Their whole team had been strange. They had been a mismatched collection of eccentric characters. In a way, though, they had fit together perfectly – the caustic Huang, the rational Mao, the deadly Hei, the quiet Yin. Except for Kirsi, their aliases were the only personal information they knew about each other.

In the same way the pieces of their team clicked together, their individual monikers matched each one of them. For the most part, anyway.

Hei was the epitome of darkness. Everything about him, from his nickname to his clothes to his past, was black. The Black Reaper dealt death like the entity he was named for, covering his victims with a blanket of eternal night. His alias fit him like a glove.

Huang wasn't quite the bright ray of sunshine his name implied. Hei sometimes thought of him as brown, but that was almost just a dark shade of yellow anyway. He was like coffee with the slightest trace of cream: bitter, with a bite, but not as bitter as he could be.

As for Mao… well, Mao was Mao. You really couldn't get any better than that.

Yin, however, was something of an anomaly. The only thing silver about her was her hair, and maybe her love of the moonlight. Neither her personality nor her dress was shiny or bright. She was silent, emotionless, with barely a speck of life within her. Whoever it was in the Syndicate who had come up with her alias had a twisted sense of humor.

It is her manner of dress that Hei finds most strange. He knows she doesn't have much of a say in what she wears, but almost everything that is given to her is black and purple, or some variation thereof. It's not that it doesn't fit her, exactly – she has the most stunning violet eyes – but he finds it weird that her clothes don't suit her name, like the rest of them. At least Huang's vest was yellow.

Sometimes she reminds him of his sister. Pai had been innocent and pure, even when she was doing the Syndicate's dirty work in South America. She had been untainted, like fluffy clouds on a sunny day, up until she had disappeared. She had been everything that Hei was not, yin to his yang, white to his black.

Yin was similar in that she was a blank slate, but it was a different kind of blank from Pai. Pai had always been blank; Yin had been wiped clean. Pai was the white of newly fallen snow; Yin was silver – gray – white that had been stained with black, snow and ink. No matter their similarities, this difference would forever set them apart in Hei's mind.

"Yin, what's your favorite color?" Hei asks out of the blue one day.

He doesn't know what prompts him to ask her. He doesn't even know if it's a valid question. Do colors mean anything to her? He knows she can see through her observation spirit, but does it interpret colors the same way humans do? He shakes off his internal questions and focuses on the one he asked Yin.

"Color," she repeats, almost absently. It is a question, yet it is not. Not one that he has to answer, but he does anyway.

"Yeah. Color. Which one do you like best?" When she fails to respond, he presses on blindly, suggesting the first thing that comes to mind. "Silver, maybe? Like the moonlight."

"Silver?" She shakes her head slowly. "No."

"I thought you liked the moonlight."

"I do." She shakes her head again, as if puzzling it through. "I… like the moonlight. But moonlight is not… a color." She frowns, unable to give a better explanation.

"If not silver, then what?"

She stares at the wall, silent.

Hei can tell she is thinking about it. There's a focus in her gaze that most dolls don't have, that most dolls aren't capable of. He lets her be and goes back to cleaning his knife.

"Black," she says suddenly.

He is surprised, both at her answer and the tone of lucidity with which she spoke. Like she was absolutely sure.

"Why?" he manages.

She closes her eyes, though it doesn't make a difference to what she can and can't see. "In my world, it is always there," she says simply. "It is my world."

He thinks – and maybe he's delusional for doing so – that she is smiling, the faintest of curves adorning her face. When he looks again, it's gone.

Hei doesn't bring the subject up again.

I once went on an extremely long mindtrip thinking about how we humans perceive colors. How do we know that everyone sees colors the same way? Is the blue that I see the same as the blue that you see? Or do all people see things slightly differently? Does that affect our preferences? In the end, the only answer I could come up with is that I'll never know.

I go on these pointless mindtrips fairly regularly.

As an aside, the "black" that Yin is referring to can be interpreted however you want. :] Did you squint hard enough?