If this seems strikingly familiar, then you're not experiencing deja vu. Actually, a ton of ideas

from the Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha fanfic "White Devil" came into this. The fanfic was

contributed to the NanoFate Megapack Vol. 1. All I did was made it Madlax-y, if you can

fathom that.

Thanks to the author of "White Devil" for those twisted ideas placed into my head. What a

fanfic!

All Madlax characters belong to Beetrain.

There are times that a certain mercenary might get a bit fussy. She might be upset whenever

she's called "different" or "non-existent", but not in those exact words. Different or not, she is

human after all. For the most part, she stays calm in a world full of chaos, violence, and

gunfire.

It's rare for her to be upset, anyway. It's just not her nature.

But it's even more seldom, if fathomable, to make her angry. To do something that

completely changes her personality would take something drastic. It must induce a kind of

trauma that she has never experienced before. To make the most bizarre display of

emotionless, cold-hearted nature come out of such a woman that can gracefully evade bullets

in a cocktail dress (without breaking a sweat, mind you!), it will be something that hits her

close to home, and to her heart.

And, were it not for close friends, that might've succeed. Not only will her hands be stained

with blood, but so will her elegant personality and mind.

To better understand, we must wind the clock back a bit.

It was cool for mid-September in Nefrize, but for Vanessa Rene, Elenore Baker, and Margaret

Burton, it was just about the right time. The one-year anniversaries of those few fateful days

is coming close. The days they experienced the true human nature and Death itself, with the

latter emphasized to Vanessa and Elenore.

Vanessa went to a southeast Asian country called Gazth-Sonika, to find out the truth about

her company's involvement with the country's civil war, and as to why her childhood parents

were taken away from her. She and this mercenary was blamed for a royal crime that they

didn't commit. To prove her innocent, Margaret and Elenore traveled to the country to meet

up and find out the situation.

Their search, despite the combined efforts of them and the mercenary, proved to be fatal.

Vanessa was shot by an obsessed sniper, and Elenore bled to death from a gunshot wound

from a soldier, as she was searching for her only family, Margaret.

They haven't a clue as to why they experienced it, but some think that they went through "a

realistic dream", even if Vanessa swore up and down that she was certainly shot. She even

has the scars to prove it, but they think it's self-inflicted for insurance money.

It didn't matter if others think it's a dream or not. They're heading back to Gazth-Sonika, to

meet up with someone. Someone who is called "compassion within cruelty". A very unique

woman.

The Kind Killer.

Madlax.

They got to meet her, but it wasn't according to plan. They didn't plan on outside

interference.

It's been a few days. A regular businesswoman would've killed herself by now. But Vanessa's

not that weak-willed. She is, however, physically weak, body covered in bruises and cuts.

Some of her clothes were stained in grass and a dark liquid. There's even a dried pool of

deep red liquid right in front of the chained woman.

A man chuckled in the shadows. "Comfortable?"

"Snuggly," responded the woman with cold sarcasm.

"It won't be too long, I can assure you."

"For what?"

"It's more of 'who', Miss Vanessa Rene."

"OK, who?"

"Sorry, but you'll have to find out when the time comes."

As the man turned back, Vanessa became bold, despite a parched throat. "Why don't you tell

me, you vicious bastard!"

The man turned around sharply, but slowly pulled up the woman's face. "Spoilers," he

whispered. He tossed the face to the side violently.

"It just can't get any worse," whined Elenore at the small, broken apartment that resides the

mercenary. "Vanessa's kidnapped, and now Madlax is out and about doing God knows what!"

"She might be looking for Vanessa," spoke the teen softly. "She is her friend, after all."

"I'm just worried, Miss Margaret. Madlax didn't seemed like herself since yesterday."

"It's a lot harder on her than it is us. She really likes Vanessa."

"I'm sorry?" the maid asked, confused.

"Madlax likes Vanessa. She is Madlax's only close friend."

"She was to us, too."

Margaret then inched to the door. "Why not help her find Vanessa by finding her first?"

Elenore blindly gave in. "Alright, Miss. If you insist."

"Yes. I insist."

Explosions was heard through Vanessa's ears. They must be near a battle site.

"So what's gonna happen to me after you get whatever it is you want?"

"Again, spoilers."

The explosions came closer with each blast. Evidently, a pursuit is heading Vanessa's way.

Gunshots was now heard, also.

"Well, then," spoke the man. "Looks like the answers we seek are coming closer."

"Answers?" questions the woman.

One blast tore the wall to Vanessa's right, and jarred one of the shackles on her arm free of

it's bindings on the wall. Dust and light flew in all directions. A shadow was spotted, but it's

undistinguished.

The man saw otherwise. "Nice to meet you, Madlax."

Deep in the jungles of Gazth-Sonika is where one would think of finding a mercenary. But

Elenore is getting more skeptic with each minute providing no result.

Margaret would end that skepticism. She dashed off, with Elenore calling her to slow down.

"Please, trust me!" the teen shouted back. "I know where she might be!"

"How?"

"I feel her sadness!"

The two reached a small dirt road. Margaret ran off once more on the road and yelled, "We

have to hurry! She's in extreme pain!"

Vanessa caught on quickly. "Don't! He wants you!"

"That's right," spoke the man. "I wanted to see you in person, Madlax."

The dust was settled enough for Vanessa to see. But she wished she didn't. As soon as she

caught a good glimpse, Madlax was staring at the floor, blue eyes narrow and dark, not a

glance to Vanessa. A stream of tears was sighted as well, but the man had no attention to

that detail. Not a hint of emotion was on her soft face.

"Why do this?" she asked, quietly and flat. "What do you want with me?"

"Wasn't one of your former client's a book detective?"

The mercenary took a while to remember. "Yes."

"I loved that guy like he was my own brother. Nothing was wrong with him, but as soon as

he's in your custody, he got himself killed."

"But I didn't kill him. He did it himself."

The man was a little angered.

"Is this revenge?"

"You can say that. But it wasn't planned thoroughly. It was all spur-of-the-moment."

"I could've prevent this from happening, but SHE was in the way." Madlax gave an intense,

cold glance to Vanessa. In retrospect, this is the first time Vanessa's name wasn't called. "She

didn't want to see another man dead so she stopped me."

"And that's bluntly stupid of her."

"Hey!" shouted Vanessa.

The man started toward the businesswoman. "When will you learn?"

Madlax's gun was already out by the time the man took his first step. "You won't touch her

again. I'll make sure of it." She spoke it with cold-hearted assurance. The gun was quickly

pointed to the remaining shackle and fired off, freeing Vanessa from the wall. The woman fled

toward Madlax, regardless of the lack of blood flow from being on the ground, bleeding.

"You're lucky," the man spoke, as if remembering one vital detail. "She's very tasty."

This caught Vanessa by surprise.

Madlax's blue eyes became very dark, and the emotionless face now displayed cold anger.

She gripped the gun as hard as possible. "What did you say?"

"It's not common to find such a woman in this place. Quite a catch, isn't she?"

Vanessa was confused. "I don't get it. What's he talking about?"

The mercenary raised her gun once more. "Wait!" shouted Vanessa. "Don't-"

She fired once more, now at the man.

Strangely, the man didn't drop dead. Madlax was certain she was aiming right. But she didn't

take into account a certain teenager with a firm grip on a bloody gun, tailed by a limping

maid.

"I borrowed this from a soldier that I killed because he twisted Elenore's ankle," explained

Margaret. "I can deal with that, but you won't."

She turned to the man, who's slightly shaken. "He's not worth anything. He just want you to

suffer. You're suffering enough as it is, Madlax."

"Besides," Vanessa said when Margaret finished, "he only hurt me. He didn't rape me. I

wouldn't let him."

"I can still!" shouted the man. Margaret fired another round, this one into his leg.

"You're not a part of this," the teen said to him. She turned sharply to Madlax. "And YOU will

come to regret this. You killed before, but only to survive and to keep promises. You're not

just a killer, Madlax. You're a kind killer, remember?"

The mercenary's head bowed. Her body shook and tears flowed, more than before. Anger

became a cocktail of emotions: frustration, sorrow, confusion, desperation. She grabbed her

head and knelt to the ground, in disarray.

"The man we met was insane," spoke Vanessa at the apartment. "Seems he heard of it

through word of mouth and it got warped into his brain."

"So we avoided killing an insane man who has no reason to bother Madlax?" questioned

Elenore.

"Well, Madlax is a Kind Killer," murmured Margaret. "She only kills those who want to kill her

or her friends. I'm glad I got to know her."

"Then you might wanna explain why she's out on the patio, not saying a word to any one of

us."

"She needs to cope for a bit. She was in a lot of pain, more than Vanessa, I'm sure."

That face.

That strange face.

That strange, unfamiliar face that stood out more than anyone that she had met.

"Why is it haunting me? I didn't kill him..."

It's dark and bleak. That's all she remembered.

She didn't really want to know what she looked when her mind went blank and she saw nothing but darkness and confusion. She turned to the company who's kind enough to stick around for a pasta dinner. She might as well know now.

"I want to know," she started. "What did I look like? Back there at that place."

"More different than usual," stated Elenore.

Vanessa added, "You also sounded, I dunno, broken."

She was...broken?

"I hate to admit," contributed Margaret, "You were scaring me witless."

Scary?

So it seemed.

That face come backs in the mercenary's mind. It was taunting her, laughing her in her

misery.

She felt like she was falling back into the same darkness as before. Where her senses are lost

and all thinking is useless. She needs some sign of light before she becomes...inhuman.

"Madlax?"

A soft hand was felt.

Vanessa's bandaged but soft hand. She might not noticed, but Vanessa just save Madlax from

that blackening descent. Something involuntary kept Madlax sane.

She bursts into tears.

"Madlax, stop it," demanded the businesswoman. "You're making me nervous."

"I can't," whispered the blonde. "I'm completely scared."

"Of what?"

"Myself. I can't even remember how I acted when I even tracked Vanessa down. I wasn't

even feeling human!" The tears flowed out, some into the pasta dish. "I wasn't kind or human

at all!"

"You was still kind," whispered Margaret. The gang turned to the airy teen's strange logic.

"You went non-stop all the way through the war zone, deep into the jungle just for Vanessa.

Even though you were in intense pain, you went out of your way for her. So you're still kind."

"I almost killed someone in cold blood," cried Madlax. "Not for my life or any money, in cold

blood!"

"Stop worrying!" Elenore was getting agitated. "Vanessa's saved, one man's in the loony bin

for a long time, and also, you're still alive. The way I hear it, you kept dodging all sorts of

gunfire!"

That's right. The explosions was Madlax, being tracked down by both sides.

"You said to me that the moment people die is when they no longer have the will to survive,"

said Vanessa. "You have quite a strong will. So I kept telling myself you'd come, no matter

what. That guy probably is so warped he doesn't have a will. He probably wanted you to kill

him to escape."

"Like assisted suicide?"

"Who knows? That guy's a whack-job and a half! Thank God I got out of there with her help!"

Madlax was so relieved about that, she had no choice but to leap into Vanessa's arms and cry

herself into sleep.

"Um, Madlax?" Vanessa questioned. "How am I gonna eat with you in my arms?"