A/N: Thanks for the reviews~ I wouldn't have updated if it weren't for them, so... yeah, thanks. :)

Not too much happening, but I don't want to rush anything... either way, enjoy. :D

chapter two

When Shizuo deems they're far away enough from the bar and closer to his house, he gradually slows down his run and begins to set the girl down - but then he remembers she doesn't have any shoes on, and he hoists her back up with an irritated sigh.

The girl just tightens her arms around his neck and glances around fearfully, and he continues walking through the empty streets as he tries to discreetly study her face. Anyone who saw them right now would probably think he was kidnapping her, she looks so young. That makes him speed up his pace a little more.

"Are we going somewhere safe?" She asks him quietly, and she cranes her head up to look at him. He can't help but find it strange that this girl is so trusting of a complete stranger; her open face, it screams of naivety and being far too sheltered.

He supposes that his apartment is safe enough, even though he's not entirely sure what the girl is running from. "Yeah." Shizuo mutters. The rest of the short walk is silent between them, though Shizuo plans on asking the girl what the hell is going on once he gets to his place.

They reach his apartment complex, and he trudges up the stairs, shifting her to one arm so he can dig in his pocket for his keys. Once he unlocks the door, he sets her down as she gives his apartment a furtive scan.

"This is your home?"

Shizuo ignores what he considers a dumb question and begins to ask some of his own. "What are you running from?" Is the first one, and then, "And what's your name?" He doesn't really feel like referring to her as girl for whatever duration of time he'll be around her.

At that thought, he freezes a bit. Shizuo has not really taken into account what he could be getting himself into when he grabbed her and started running; and how long, exactly, she would stick around for. Of course, he could always kick her out at some point, but he has a feeling he would be unable to do it, should it really come down to that.

"You might not believe me, but... Someone's trying to kill me," She blinks and says plainly, for lack of anything else about this night to say. It's the only thing that she knows has happened. Everything else she has no idea about, though her mind has been churning through questions and possible answers on their way here. "Akane. My name's Akane."

Shizuo himself blinks at the bluntness of her statement. "Akane." He rubs at the wrinkles that are beginning to appear on his forehead, and frowns. "Why would someone be trying to kill you?" There has to be some grain of truth in her statement, though, because someone had certainly been looking for her.

"Are you sure I can trust you? Ah..." She looks up at him with furrowed brows. He dryly thinks that's a question she should've asked a while ago, but he nods anyway. "What's your name?"

"... Shizuo." He grabs his pack of cigarettes out of his pocket and lights one up. "Now," he exhales a long stream of smoke, "Why is someone trying to off you?"

She fiddles with the strap of the bag she's still wearing. "I'm not exactly sure why, but..." Her hands stop. "Even my bodyguards were given orders to..." Akane trails off, and Shizuo is deep in thought until he registers her statement.

"...Bodyguards?" Was she someone important? She looked pretty average to him, but appearances could be deceiving.

"Well, Nobu..." She says this like he knows who this Nobu is, "He almost-" She stops. "He almost did it, but he helped me run away from the estate instead."

"Estate?" He mutters, then runs a hand over his face. So it was a rich girl of some sort. It certainly would explain the naive, sheltered bit.

Akane remembers the gunshot she heard before fleeing the vicinity, and her eyes stare at the floor sullenly. "I do hope he's alright..." She mumbles more to herself than to the blond man in front of her with scrutinizing eyes.

She seems to eventually remember he's standing there, and looks back up at him shyly. "Thank you for helping me. If you hadn't, I might not be here right now." Her eyes grow somewhat distant. "If you let me stay until morning, I'll leave then... I can pay you, too." She digs around in her bag, taking out the same wad of bills she had pulled out earlier.

"Put your money away." No doubt about it; she must be some wealthy, most likely spoiled girl. Bodyguards? Estate? He gives her a once over again. But even if she is spoiled and wealthy, he still can't take the money she offers him. It's only until morning, which is only a couple of hours away. Shizuo thinks he can deal with her until then.


"Just put the damn money away and go get some sleep, or something. Bedroom's that way." He jerks a thumb towards the general direction of his room before putting out his cigarette and lounging on his worn couch with an arm over his eyes.

"But shouldn't you sleep in your bedroom?" She questions from her new spot where she peers at him from over the edge of the couch. "Shizuo-san?" Akane pokes him unsurely.

"You're a girl. Girls shouldn't have to sleep on the couch if there's a perfectly good bed in the next room, so why the hell are you complaining?" He grumbles, trying to roll over and block her out. He's giving her a place to stay for the night; can't she just be grateful? Quiet? Asleep? Besides, if she's a rich girl like he's sure she is, he would think she'd simply take the offer.

"I'm not complaining," She whispers indignantly, and crosses her arms over her chest even though he can't see her childish motion. "I just thought you'd like to sleep in your own bed, that's all..."

"Go. Oh, and don't touch anything, either." He waves a hand at her lazily, voice muffled from where his head is shoved into one of the couch pillows.

"Shizuo-san... goodnight."

Akane assumes she won't win, so she just shuffles to the direction he had pointed at and throws him one last curious look over her shoulder. He was a little grumpy - but he was letting her have his bed, even though his feet and ankles were hanging off the side. Not to mention he had most likely saved her life back in that alley.

She thinks he can't be that grumpy if he's clearly doing her a favor; but she doesn't want to test out her theory. Not tonight. Too much has happened, and Akane finds herself magnetically pulled to the bed with tired feet. She crawls in under the covers, and settles under blankets that smell like smoke and cologne. Her head rubs against the pillow, and her mind races with a flurry of thoughts. Why would someone want to kill her? Was her father okay? Did Shiki-san and Akabayashi-san know? Were they okay?

There's no way Akane can fall asleep with these thoughts in her head, but there's nothing else she can think about; then her eyes land on a picture next to the bed.

It's Shizuo and someone else, someone a bit shorter with darker, longer hair. While they don't look anything like each other, she can still notice some kind of resemblance; he even looks a bit familiar. Thinking about something, anything other than tonight helps her regain some kind of sanity and peace. She wonders who he is, and it's her last thought before she drifts off to sleep.

Morning comes in the blink of an eye for Akane, due to a dreamless sleep. She rubs her eyes and stares at the unfamiliar ceiling before everything comes back to her, and her eyes start to water. Blinking rapidly, she tells herself to just be strong - it's what she's sure her father would want, so she steels herself and swings her legs out of the bed.

She knows she has to leave, but she's scared - terrified, actually. The notion that nothing last night was a dream sinks in, just like the sunshine beaming in through the slatted shades. First thing she'll do once she gets out of here, she decides, is to buy sunglasses, big ones to cover her face. She wiggles her cold toes, still sitting on the bed. Shoes, too, unless she wants to run around for her life barefoot. Maybe a wig, too, she thinks glumly.

Akane finally motivates herself to get out of the bed, and folds the covers back before meandering back into the living room where the blond man - Shizuo, she recalls - is. If he's still sleeping, she figures she'll just leave a wad of cash on his table and leave. Sure enough, he's still on the couch, legs still hanging off the end of the arm.

She takes a crumpled pile of money out and leaves it on the coffee table, idly wondering and hoping there was a store nearby where she could at least buy shoes first. Akane stands there for a moment and stares at the sleeping man; "Thanks, Shizuo-san," she whispers quietly, as not to wake him. She heads for the door and takes a deep breath, hand on the knob.

"Where are you going, kid?" Comes a sleepy grumble from behind her, and she lets out a squeak in surprise before turning around.

Shizuo's sitting up now, scratching his head and already reaching for the pack of cigarettes on the coffee table. Akane stares at him as he notices the money on the table and grunts some more.

"I'm going... ah, I don't know. Yet." She mumbles sheepishly. "But I told you I'd leave in the morning, so..." She bows slightly to him, and she doesn't hear him say anything, just the flick of his lighter.

He stands up, black and white bartending clothes wrinkled from his rest. He puffs on his cigarette and mumbles something to himself in a low tone, and she gives him a curious look before she remembers she's still there.

"Thanks, Shizuo-san... I really appreciate-"

"Be quiet," Shizuo cuts her off, and sighs. "How old are you again?"

She never told him her age in the first place, but she tells him anyway. "Sixteen." Seventeen in a week, actually - but at this rate, she highly doubts she'll be receiving any birthday celebrations.

"... forget going out there. You look like you won't make it far, anyway."

Akane wants to bristle at his comment, but she knows it's mostly true - and then it dawns on her that he's basically told her to stay. Just to confirm it, she tests out the waters. "But, Shizuo-san, if I don't go out there, where am I supposed to go?"

"You can stay here for a while longer... I guess." He mutters, "Unless you want to go out there."

"No, not really," she admits. "But if I stay here, it might cause trouble for you." She'd prefer if that didn't happen; he seemed to be a bit rough, but he was still offering to let her stay there. She was torn between rejecting the offer and heading out by herself, or staying inside where she knew she'd be safe - for the moment, at least.

"Whatever. Just don't be annoying, got it?" He looks pointedly at her nightgown and lack of shoes. "Besides, you'd be pretty much screaming something was up if you went out there like that."

Akane blushes and crosses her arms, "Well... this is all I have. I didn't have time to take anything else with me..."

He studies her for a moment. "I see." Shizuo heads into his hallway, and soon she hears running water from the bathroom sink; she debates again if she should leave while he's distracted, but she still stands there in front of the door until he comes back out.

"You can sit down, you know." He raises a brow at her as he comes back out a few minutes later. He picks up the bundle of money and gives her a look. "I'm not taking this, so get that through your head."


"What size are you?"

Akane blinks. "Size...?"

Shizuo waves his hand around in an irritated manner, "Shoes. Clothes."

"Um... size six in shoes. Small in clothes." She tells him. "Why?"

He heads to the door, takes her by the shoulder and leads her to the couch before pushing her down on it. "You just stay here. Don't move, don't touch anything." He pockets the money. "I won't take your money, but I'm going to use it to get you something to wear that's not... that."

Shizuo stares at the multitude of shops that surround him and wonders which one he should go into. It's not like there's one he won't feel strange going in and buying clothes for some girl, so he randomly picks a boutique that has an obnoxiously pink interior.

He adjusts his sunglasses and grumbles, staring at the racks of girly clothes.

"Can I help you, sir?" A woman comes up to him, friendly smile in place.

"... Yeah." He feels a bit embarrassed, but with a saleswoman's help he should be able to get this shit done quicker and head back. "I need shoes in a size six... and clothes. Size small."

The saleswoman chuckles at his poor description of what he needs. "Well, we certainly have those things. Any specific colors?"

"Ah... whatever's girly. But... nothing that stands out." He rubs the back of his neck awkwardly, but the woman just nods and smiles cheerily at him before she begins to bustle about the store.

Shizuo has a feeling he'll regret letting the girl stay there longer, but he thinks he'd regret it more if he let that small slip of a girl try and fend for her life out there. Again, he wonders who she is - he's established the factthat she's rich and probably someone important, but why would someone want to off her? A beep from his cellphone gains his attention, and he flips it open.

It's from Tom; Where'd you go last night, Shizuo? It's not too much of a deal, but I wasn't sure if something had happened.

He texts back and tells him he's just fine and that he'll be at the bar at seven, and the saleswoman approaches him again.

"How are these, sir?" She shows him a couple different black ensembles and a pair of black, polished shoes.

"Sure," He says disinterestedly and follows her to the register, taking the money out of his pocket.

"Anything else, today?"

"... Is that enough for someone who only has a nightgown?" Shizuo asks bluntly, and the woman gives him a strange look; it goes away quickly, though, probably because she doesn't want any trouble and it's all going to her commission.

She leans over the counter to whisper, "Sir, if that's the case - perhaps you need some... undergarments."

Shizuo stares at her. "Shit." He hadn't taken that into consideration at all; this girl was probably going to think he was some sort of pervert and run away, he thinks. The woman just waves her hand at him in a reassuring manner.

"It's okay, sir. I'll pick something out." She goes back around the register to grab some things from the other side of the store before hurrying back, and Shizuo diverts his eyes away from the lacy under clothes she places with the rest of the clothes in embarassment.

Thankfully, it's all over in a minute and everything is concealed in a pink bag - which he feels odd lugging around, but at least he won't have to be around the girl while she's only wearing a nightgown. He really wasn't a pervert - but sixteen or not, her wandering around his apartment like that still... he cuts the thought off there as he nears his complex.

He enters the apartment, and she's still sitting on his couch rigidly. "... Have you even moved?" He walks over and plops the bag down next to her.

"Shizuo-san, ah... welcome back. And no." She stares at him with wide eyes. "You told me not to touch anything or go anywhere..."

He gives her a dry look before lighting up a cigarette and handing the change to her. "You didn't have to take it that seriou- ... Whatever. Make sure that stuff fits, or something."

Shizuo heads into his small kitchen as his stomach rumbles, and Akane peeks into the bag curiously before taking it with her into the bathroom. He hears a squeak come from the bathroom and assumes she's probably seen the underwear and bras the woman threw in there -

Yes, she probably thought he was a pervert, indeed. He rubs his forehead.

How troublesome.

"You lost her?"

Nobu trembles in front of the man before him. "Forgive me, sir. She ran off, I was only able to get a shot in but it missed-" He stops when he sees the icy look the man gives him, swallowing uncomfortably.

"Get out. Keep looking. You fuck up again, and you won't have the chance to next time." The words hold an underlying threat that he won't be able to because he'll be dead and six feet under, so he hurriedly nods and bows before hastily exiting the room.

The man sighs before flipping open his phone, going through the contacts. He picks one, and the phone rings for an annoyingly long time before the other person picks up.

"I'm going to need your services again," He tells the person on the other line. A pause. "Don't play games with me. I don't have time for your bullshit." A longer pause, and the man grips the cellphone tighter in his hand.

"You find out where the brat is, and you'll get your payment. The end." He hangs up the phone.

Across town, the person who was on the other line grins and shrugs on his coat, shutting off his computer in the process.

"I have a feeling things will get interesting..." He says to his empty room, and he hums happily before heading out.

A/N: Gee, wonder who that could be :'D? Tried keeping people IC, hopefully it worked. I promise this story will get interesting soon~

Well, as long as people review - if not, there's really no point to me writing it if no one's reading... and I would like opinions, since I'm pretty sure this is like, the only Shizuo x Akane thing on here.

Thanks for reading. Let me know what you think!