Notes: There are really not that many Yuuto/Satsuki fics out there. o.O Here's my attempt. Too bad for them, it isn't exactly happily ever after. *snicker* This was a Halloween fic, intended to be the first in a series, but I got lazy. ^_^ The only warnings would be a bit of blood and creepiness, but definitely not as bad as your average slasher flick. Enjoy and leave comments please ^___^

System Crash
by Kerianne H.

((Server not found. Please retry later.))

Somewhere within her metal and chrome monstrosity of a creation, Yatouji Satsuki uttered a soft groan of irritation.

((Server not found. Please retry later.))

"The reason I made you was so that I wouldn't have to put up with problems like this," she murmured in the half-spoken, half-telepathic voice she always used to address the supercomputer.

((Server not found. Please retry later,)) Beast responded, transmitting a mildly irritated sensation through the wires that connected it to Satsuki's mind.

"All right. You're feeling temperamental tonight, I can see that. Perhaps..." She closed her eyes and simply floated in the vast, glowing electronic void that lay somewhere beyond the real world, trying to sense the problem. Maybe, if she could just tweak a few of the impulses--

"Satsuki-chan!"

Her eyes flew open as she was quite rudely flung back into reality. Cursing softly, she berated herself once again for not having built BEAST with soundproof walls. Peering down over the edge of the giant metal embryo, she could just barely catch sight of the tousled blond top of Kigai Yuuto's head. And despite herself, she smiled.

Sensing that its rival had appeared, the computer gave a jolt and whirred back into perfect working order. Nevertheless, Satsuki cut off the connection, allowing the wires to retract from her skin as she hopped down from BEAST's cockpit.

"Ah, there you are, Satsuki-chan." Yuuto's handsome features softened into a smile-- a genuine smile, she thought, always a little surprised when he showed any kind of affection toward her at all.

"BEAST was being awfully moody," she replied, looking up at him over the top of her glasses.

"So forget the old heap of junk for tonight," the blond replied, golden eyes twinkling. "Or is a pile of nuts and bolts really better company than I am?"

Satsuki paused for a moment, eyes wandering back toward the computer's gleaming metal shell. She could practically feel its jealousy, its hatred of Yuuto, burning within it as fiercely as if it had been made of flesh and bone. The part of her brain that permanently connected creator to creation was nearly aching with the intensity of the messages that BEAST was delivering. As always, she felt drawn to it, as if it held some kind of magnetic force.

Then she turned back, and looked into Yuuto's face. Warm. Living. Human. All the things she claimed to hate, all the things she wanted to reject and destroy.

And she smoothly took hold of his arm, smiled, and said "Of course not, Yuuto-san." Some things just couldn't be explained.

"Shall we go out to dinner, then? There's a nice little place downtown..." The voices faded as the pair made their way out of the basement and into the outside world. And then there was silence.

No. Not quite.

Somewhere, deep within the computer's main system, where its heart would have been had it had a heart, something within the wires shifted and hummed and purred.

Outside, it began to storm. And a single bolt of lightning hit the ground in front of City Hall.

It should have stopped there. But it didn't. Defying all laws of man and nature, it kept going, straight through the soil, through the concrete, and into the basement where the silent metal beast waited vigilantly for its master to return.

And the lights all over Tokyo dimmed for a single split second. And the clocks reset themselves, and the cable TVs flickered, and the computers lost their data. And a small bespectacled girl with a shock of dark brown hair, sitting in a restaurant downtown sipping a cup of sake, experienced a chill unlike any she'd ever felt before.

And the lights in the basement of City Hall suddenly glowed bright red.

* * * * *

"Good morning, BEAST."

Closing her eyes, Satsuki leaned her head back against the ergonomically designed "pilot's chair" she had built into her great creation, and prepared herself for the tiny pinpricks of pleasure-pain that would come when the wires slid beneath her skin.

A moment later, she opened them, and looked down in confusion. Nothing. No response from the razor-thin wires that currently lay in a limp heap at her feet. She groaned softly. "That lightning storm last night... oh, I shouldn't have left BEAST alone. I knew something like this would happen. I never should have let Yuuto--"

Her words were sharply cut off when the computer suddenly flashed to life, startling her. This time, the wires moved so swiftly within her that it almost hurt, and she shuddered involuntarily.

((Good morning, Satsuki.))

"Is everything okay?" she murmured, concerned. Something felt different. She didn't feel the sense of complete oneness that usually came along with being merged with the computer. There was some part of BEAST that it was holding back from her today, and it chilled her for some reason she couldn't quite explain.

((Everything is fine, Satsuki.)) The electronic impulses that slid like liquid through her nerves were utterly bland, holding none of the affection and love that she usually instantly recognized. ((Would you like to hear the daily report on enemy activities?))

Satsuki responded affirmatively, thoughts still troubled. Had she finally succeeded in utterly alienating the computer, through her budding friendship with Yuuto? The idea made her feel cold and lonely and panicked inside, and she quickly shoved it out of her mind and forced herself to concentrate on the report. ((Bulletin #1482 from the BEAST: Security at the Imonoyama mansion is still impenetrable.... Shirou Kamui, Kishuu Arashi, Nekoi Yuzuriha, and Arisugawa Sorata are continuing to attend regular courses at the CLAMP Campus... Kasumi Karen is continuing her work at Soapland Flower... Aoki Seiichirou is continuing his work at Kadokawa Shoten...))

Same news every day. Nothing new ever seemed to happen. Satsuki stifled a yawn, hoping the bulletin would end soon so that she could begin her daily sweep of the neighborhood. She loved being an invisible observant, knowing that none of the thousands of people she was watching even knew she was there.

((... Kigai Yuuto will die tonight...))

Her eyes snapped open. "What--"

((Kigai Yuuto will die tonight. Kigai Yuuto will die tonight. Kigai Yuuto will--))

"No! Stop--" Gripped with a fear more intense than the bland electronic voice should have elicited, Satsuki struggled to sever the connection between her and the computer, but the wires held fast beneath her skin.

((kigai yuuto will die kigai yuuto will die kigai yuuto will die yuuto will die yuuto will die yuutowilldieyuutowilldieandsowillyou))

She screamed, her mind torn beneath reality and the cyber world beyond, the wires under her skin white-hot and pulsating. Burning her from the inside out.

Abruptly, the nightmarish chanting stopped, replaced by a calm, peaceful, almost amused voice. ((This ends bulletin #1482 from the BEAST. What else would you like to do today, Satsuki?))

Trembling, Satsuki found that she could now break the connection. She still felt as if her entire body was on fire, and when she lifted her fingers to her neck, they came away wet and sticky.

Blood.

She stared down at her red-stained fingers, and gave a soft, broken laugh. Then she slid down from the cockpit, took a few shaky steps across the basement floor, and collapsed into a merciful unconsciousness.

* * * * *

He found her there an hour or so later, still lying senseless on the cold concrete floor. When he knelt beside her, he saw that her face was ashen pale and her skin was cold to the touch. Feeling a sudden chill, he gently pulled her head into his lap and shook her shoulders slightly, waiting for her to awaken.

Her eyes finally fluttered open, and she squinted up at him, nearly blind without her glasses. "Yuuto-san..."

"What happened?" he asked, relief and confusion flooding his handsome features at the same time.

"I... I don't know..." She shuddered faintly and fell silent, her head dropping back against his leg. It was then that he noticed the two small, bleeding marks on her neck.

Like a vampire bite.

Feeling that earlier chill suddenly multiply itself by a thousand, he gently ran his fingers over the marks. Directly over her pulse. She winced and shuddered again at the touch.

Kigai Yuuto slowly turned his head and stared at the shining silver embryo that floated in the middle of the basement as always.

And suddenly, from somewhere deep inside, where the heart would have been, a single, thick metal wire reared up. It wavered for a single terrifying moment as if it intended to reach out for him, then fell lifeless to the floor again. A smooth humming noise reverbated through the room.

His arms tightened around the suddenly fragile girl leaning against him.

"You can't stop it," she murmured, as if in a trance. "I can't stop it. There's nowhere to hide..."

He didn't answer. She shuddered again, and whispered something that sounded like "I'm sorry," and slipped back into unconsciousness.

Across the room, the light had begun to reflect against the computer's shiny exoskeleton, throwing beautiful and hypnotic rainbow patterns. He looked away at first, but his eyes were irresistably drawn to the constantly changing patterns, as if by a magnetic force.

And then he did not move. He could have lifted her easily into his arms, could have put her in the backseat of the car and gotten into the driver's seat and left this city behind forever. He could've run away. But why prolong the inevitable?

Satsuki had said it herself. He couldn't stop it. Not even she, its creator, could stop it. And wherever they went, it would find them. He knew all this, knew what was coming, and he didn't know exactly why he knew, but he wasn't afraid. He felt almost peaceful.

Yes. It was best to stay right here. No reason to waste time running.

So he didn't move, not even when all the lights went out and the iridescent rainbow patterns changed to shades of blood red, not even when he heard the rustling and snapping and sparking of wires behind him. Not even when he felt the cold metal brush against his shoulder, slide up his back, and wrap around his neck.

He didn't scream. He didn't beg for mercy. He didn't move. He simply smiled, a gentle and knowing smile, and watched the beautiful lights change, and held the unconscious girl's body closer to his chest.

It was easier this way.

No one was really sure what had happened, later that night, when they stumbled across the lifeless body of Kigai Yuuto lying in the middle of City Hall's basement with a peaceful smile on his face and the marks of strangulation and extreme blood loss on his neck. Nor did they have any idea what had happened to Yatouji Satsuki; she had disappeared without a trace. They did notice that BEAST seemed a bit shinier than usual, its lights brighter, the soft electronic humming louder than it usually was. But that didn't matter now that Satsuki was gone, did it?

Some things just couldn't be explained.

The End