A fanfiction I have not quite gotten around to finishing but decided to post up anyways in the hopes of recieving some feedback. This scene in the manga was just one big wasted opportunity, so naturally I had to go back and make my own adjustments. And yes, I did remove Nicholas Premier because, well, I just don't like the guy. That, and he interrupts my (diabolical) plans. :)

M for future content. Hopefully very near future content. ( AKA: Inspire me with reviews! :D)

"Run away, you thief."

Breath hitching in exhaustion and eyes widening in a fear derived from helplessness, Akira felt himself stumbling backwards into the brick walls of the alleyway, his only weapon, a small dagger, having been knocked far out of reach. Blurring vision made out the features of his dark assailant: the ghostly smile playing across pale skin, the taunting, crimson irises glaring back through the shadows, and the thick mat of unruly black hair matched perfectly to the glimmering leather trench coat draped about his muscular yet slender form. Even more notable was the eerie glint of the lengthy metal katana positioned directly towards the pulsing junction at the base of Akira's throat, no more than a couple feet away from the vulnerable flesh.

"See if you can escape."

Akira wasted no time being told again, willing his aching joints to dislodge themselves from the support of the wall before he sprinted off, determined to live and see another day. Dying here would accomplish nothing, and his lone chance of freedom was dwindling…fast. But the only thing he could think about as raced through the dilapidated streets of Toshima was the primal need to survive. Nothing else mattered aside from that.

Spotting an entrance into one of the run-down buildings, he quickly ran over and tried the handle. It wouldn't budge. Panicked, he stole a brief glance backwards to find his hunter casually strolling into sight behind him, his steps slow and deliberate and the expression on his face one of sheer amusement. Akira felt a chill shoot down his spine at the sight of it and immediately returned his attention to the task at hand. Bracing himself for the impact, he delivered a sharp kick to the center of the door and sent it flying backwards on its hinges. Stumbling into the building, he spotted a metallic flight of stairs and lunged towards them, clambering up the rickety steps in the pitch darkness.

Clang. Clang. Clang. Clang. Clang.

The sound of hurried footsteps reverberated throughout the stairwell, contrasting greatly with the calm 'clink' of the ones following below. Though their pace was still unhurried, they now moved with more meaning, eager to give chase to the fleeing stray. Punishment would be served where punishment was due and the thrill of pursuit added all the more to the satisfaction of the kill. Hand clenching around the handle of the sword, he quickened his pace enough to where the silver-headed boy was visible just ahead as he stumbled off the steps and out of sight once again.

'Window…where's the window?' Akira thought frantically as he continued to run from room to room, keeping a watchful eye out for anything he could use as a weapon. A loud crash sounded a few rooms behind him just as he came across an abandoned corpse, bloodstained knife still held securely in its grasp. Biting back disgust, he lunged down to grab it, prying the sliver of metal free before spinning around to block the lunging dark form.

Blades clashed briefly before Akira stumbled backwards, scrambling over a rotting wooden desk before it was promptly sliced in two by the merciless katana. The blood pounding in his ears was enough to destroy any sense of hearing, yet he still winced at the low chuckle that escaped the man behind him as he continued to flee, feeling his endurance slowly fading with the trembling of the legs beneath him. He skidded into the closest doorway and froze, finding himself face to face with the blank tile walls of a shower room.

"A dead end," spoke the sinister voice behind him, and before Akira could react, a gloved hand clamped around his wrist so forcefully that he dropped his weapon in surprise.

Yanked around to face his enemy, Akira cringed and squeezed his eyes shut as he was slammed back into the mildewed tiles and another strong hand roughly found its way around his neck, smothering the windpipes beneath with unbelievable force.

"Ngh!" He raised his own hands to loosen the grip of the other to no avail, flailing in desperation. Somewhere amidst the struggle, the shower handle twisted, and a cascade of ice water rained down upon the two forms.

Akira's eyes flew open in surprise and found himself face-to-face with the brutal assailant. Violently red eyes stared back, a mixture of mirth and disgust within them, as if Akira was being looked down upon as a bug about to be crushed. It was downright disturbing, and he felt himself pressing back further into the wall behind him, still clawing desperately at the hand around his throat, his breath coming out as nothing more than a shallow wheeze, and fearing ever more that nothing could save him from death this time.

"Let…" he choked out as viciously as he could, "…me go!"

Using the remainder of what little strength he had left, Akira kicked up and felt his foot make contact with one of the man's legs, regretting his rebellious actions the very next moment as he was spun around and slammed face-first back into the freezing tiles. The hand that had been securely fastened around his neck moments before was now tightly clenched in his hair, grinding his face further into the immovable wall, the other restraining both of Akira's hands easily behind his back.

"Are you done yet?" Hot breath tickled Akira's ear, and he felt another fearful shiver roll through his body. Peripherally glancing the abandoned katana a few feet away, he realized that if he wanted to get away alive, his only likely chance to do so would be now. Despite that, the hand locked around his wrists was steadfast. Whoever the hell this was seemed to be way stronger than any of the Igura participants he had fought before. And what was worse, this man was fully aware of Akira's harmless crime of cleaning up those abandoned dog tags; this harmless crime, unfortunately, was punishable by death if one of the executioners got word of it. Not that any of that would matter if he died here anyways, since a personal vendetta seemed to have been staked against him the moment those crimson orbs had spied him amidst the rubble and corpses.

"Just as I'd expect of a stray. All bark and no bite." The fingers entwined in Akira's drenched locks suddenly tightened, yanking his head away from the wall and back enough to lock glares with his prey. "And now those barks have called the wolves."

Akira grimaced, the fear slowly ebbing into a dull ache in the back of his head, the heavy exhales slowing their pace into a more natural rhythm, the feeling of the leather gloves restraining him almost surreal under the artificial rain. He struggled to put together what was left of his thoughts, muscles relaxing, waiting for the perfect moment to counter back with that tiny reserve of strength he still held on to. He needed to find a way to avoid being killed outright; a distraction…anything.

"Who…" he managed to breathe out, the words nearly lost under the splattering of water against the tiles, "…are you?"

The fingers entwined in his hair tightened noticeably and a cold smile found its way onto the lips of his captor. "I could ask you the same question. Unfortunately, I already know the answer: yet another Line-crazed scumbag among the filth of this city too doped up on drugs to play by the rules. The only question I have is this: do I kill you here, or let you live to bark another day?"

Akira ignored the arrogance in that final comment, still thinking at breakneck speed how to remove himself from this situation. "…You're wrong…"

An amused grunt broke the temporary silence that followed.

"I have…never used Line…"

The hand clenched around Akira's soaked locks loosened momentarily, the hand slinking around to grasp his chin and yank it sideways to stare into those blood red eyes yet again. A mild curiosity played within them this time as they examined the exhausted features of Akira's face, leaning in closer for more emphasis. "Then why would you throw your life away for a bunch of junk tags, hm?"

Akira met the assailant's gaze as steadily as he could, encouraged by the continued discarded state of the katana. "I need to challenge Il-Re."

"Not much of a chance of that now, is there?" Gloved fingers traced down Akira's neck, right along the pulsing vein of the jugular, reminding him just how vulnerable he was in his handicapped state, outlining the nature of his submission. "But 'need'…is an interesting word…"

'Shit.' Akira thought to himself, wishing he had been a little more generic with his response. The people he was working for behind the scenes required his utmost secrecy on the importance of his mission, the same one that, if he could accomplish, would ultimately lead to his promised freedom. That freedom was growing farther and farther away as death continued to inch closer, one of its messengers already here to greet him.

"I want to…defeat him." Akira corrected himself, feeling ridiculous as the words left his mouth. They sounded forced, fake, and the suspicious recognition in his opponent's eyes remained steadfast, knowing now that he had discovered something not meant to be identified. Akira averted his eyes to the wall beside him, and the fingers resting on his neck immediately flew up to jerk his face back towards the inquisitive stare.

"You're lying." The man stated plainly after another few seconds had gone by. 'There's someone behind you pulling the strings."

Akira felt himself noticeably stiffen at the sudden revelation, and blanched the moment he felt a loose hand roaming down the expanse of his jacket. The fingers worked their way down the soaked fabric, lightly grazing the tense muscles of Akira's abdomen before finding their target in a baggy front pocket: the cell phone they had given him as means of a tracking device. It could do nothing but receive calls, therefore had proven generally worthless during Akira's stay here in Toshima, but it would still serve as hard evidence to the already convinced man now examining it. Yet another satisfied smirk found its way onto the pale features before him.

"Care to explain?"

Holding the small device up to eyelevel with the still loose hand, Akira found himself making a swift decision to yank quickly out of the grasp of the other one and make a run for it, tracer be damned. What a good idea it seemed like turned out to be the opposite of reality when after the first subtle jolt, the phone was dropped to the floor and the free hand personally slammed Akira's face back into the clammy tiles. Despite himself, Akira yelped in pain, feeling a previous wound on his scalp re-open in the warm rush of blood that trickled down his forehead. The force of the impact was enough to send his mind reeling, and whatever coherent thoughts he had managed to maintain up until that moment vanished completely, leaving nothing but a bloody nose and a throbbing headache.

"Still defiant, I see." The voice hissed coldly into Akira's ear, and the restraint on his hands twisting the wrists considerably behind his back. "I'll have to see what I can do about that."

Lightheaded, Akira was only vaguely aware of the sharp pain at the junction of his neck and shoulder as teeth tore into the soft flesh there, clamping down on the pulsing veins beneath until the skin broke and warm liquid seeped beneath into his already drenched clothes. A tongue flicked out momentarily to taste the salty fluid before biting down again, this time even harder than the last.

Snapped out of his reverie, Akira gasped at the feeling of teeth digging into the sinewy muscle beneath, a mix of confusion and fear creeping back into his awareness. It hurt, badly, but to complain was to surrender and Akira was growing tired of this dreadful anticipation of to-live-or-not-to-live. He repressed a shutter as the free hand continued to roam across his collarbone, repeating its path down the drenched t-shirt until it reached the waistband of his pants, pulling back up just enough to bring the edge of the shirt with it, gloved fingers slipping under the side to press directly on where blood had begun to drench the cloth. Akira groaned as the wound he had been capable of ignoring only moments before began to reopen under the harsh handling, feeling the bandages relieved of their purpose as they were torn off forcefully. He suddenly felt like screaming, now realized how badly the wound stung, especially under the mercilessly cold water raining down upon it.

Instead, he gritted his teeth and pressed his forehead back into the tile wall, trying to concentrate instead on the intense pain resulting from his twisted wrists, blocking out the unnerving form of torture his captor was trying to put him through now.

The teeth retracted slowly, but not without one final assertation of dominance in the form of a throaty chuckle and a languid lick across Akira's jawbone, leaving a trail of blood and saliva to degrade the boy further into frightened submission.

The crimson eyes smirked, pulling Akira back to face the icy water head on before casually tossing him out of the range of spray, his aching form skidding onto the hard floor with an 'oomph' and a hiss of pain. Before he had even reopened his eyes, the sharpened tip of the katana was pointed directly at the base of his throat yet again, and he looked up incredulously at the dark form before him.

"I don't like repeating myself. Who are you working for?"

Akira scowled, brazen with the knowledge of the forgotten dagger lying just out of his reach. "None of your goddamn business."

"Is that so?" The edge of the sword made a slight but forceful jab into the dampened flesh at Akira's sternum, earning an outward cringe from the silver-haired boy still locked in an exchange of challenging glares with the expert swordsman inflicting it. The blade had barely moved, but the pain was excruciating, and continued to be so as the wound was guided downwards, ripping through the drenched cloth of his exposed shirt. Akira shuddered as the icy metal found itself hovering above the clenched muscles of his abdomen. The shirt, no longer connected, hung loosely in two on either side of his tense form, divided by a distinct trail of blood seeping languidly from the scarred flesh.

It was a challenge; Akira knew that, saw it in the cold eyes of the beast, to see how far he'd be willing to go to preserve his secrecy, his pride, his very life. There was no wavering in that brutal glare that suggested he would hesitate to shed blood where it had been threatened. No hesitation whatsoever. But Akira felt his fingers crawling slowly, blindly out behind him in search of the knife he knew was there, and he realized all too soon that his actions hadn't gone unnoticed.

Maybe it was his pride over-doing it. Maybe he should have surrendered the moment he had been discovered. Maybe, just maybe, without the arrogance of his persistent and futile attempts to redeem his lost dignity, this encounter could have ended differently, not with a gleaming blade ripping through the already bruised skin of Akira's shoulder, scraping into the floor beneath with one swift stroke.

The scream had left him before he could stifle it, echoing off the walls until the last of the pain had numbed him, until he felt his eyelids droop and his consciousness fade. He wanted to sleep so badly, close his eyes and ignore the world, slip off into sweet ignorance and not have to worry about the fucked-up state his life had been in these last few years. Death would almost be mercy at this point. Yet Akira still recognized that the wound inflicted upon him was not a fatal one, and that he still very much needed to live, if not for himself then for those supporting him, the ones that had helped him make it this far in the first place, and because he still wouldn't let the disgusting smirk hovering above him be the last thing he'd ever see.

So yeah, unfinished. Part two will be up once I figure out how to continue this (laughs). Reviews are greatly appreciated.