I don't own Aria the Scarlet Ammo.
And I also don't have much to say to you guys.
Oh, and DMAsh, the review is appreciated, and as an answer, this fic is pure AU. Also, the third years picking second years as apprentices was completely my idea. It's connection with Amica is pure coincidence. Some coincidence.
Now, on to the story.
LET'S DO THIS!
POV: Akira De Leon.
Light flutters into the room, through the plastic blinds. I awaken from my dreamless sleep, rolling about in my "bed". Tonight I slept on the couch. Koneko was taking one room, while Riko took the other. My eyes drift towards my clock, taking note of the time.
It was early, a few hours before I had to go pick up Jeanne from the airport.
I sit up in my bed, rubbing my semi-callused hands through my hair. I strap my irokane to my wrist, and I set to work. Pans, tools, and ingredients float into the air, already assembling themselves and beginning the processes to make pancakes, while brooms sweep away the dust collected overnight. I, on the other hand, make my way across the myriad of moving things, and walk towards the rooms.
I step into Koneko's room, peering into the door. I spot her form rolling about the white sheets. I step in, pulling up a chair beside her bed. She's grumbling, moving around but not awake. Groans make their way to my ears, as she grips the blanket in her hands. She's probably having a nightmare.
I sit down beside her, stroking her head softly with a hand. She calms down at my touch, and soon, her groans become purrs. Her small hand reaches around, looking for something to grab. And she grabs my hand.
"You make a good father."
My head turns to the open door, and standing there in her nightdress is Riko.
"I try. Pancakes should be on the pantry." I tell her.
She peeks out into the kitchen. "They're there. You've gotten better at it."
"Loads of practice."
She smiles at me, and leaves to eat. I stand to join her, when I feel a tugging on my hand. I turn back, to see warm brown eyes stare back at me. "Don't go..." Koneko murmured.
A warm smile graces my face. "I won't." I reach my hands under her, and carry her fragile little form. I kiss her on the forehead, and leave the room. I don't have bad dreams anymore, since Koneko had entered my life. In fact, I didn't have dreams at all.
Not even the good ones...
I wait at Arrivals at the airport, looking for that flash of silver hair to call out to me. Jeanne's flight had landed recently, and I was supposed to show her around Tokyo while an EU related contact took her small luggage to the school dorm.
I grin, as I wave over the silver haired, blue eyed descendant of Jeanne d'Arc. "Welcome to Japan, Jeanne d'Arc the 30th."
She bows with a smile. "Thank you, Akira De Leon."
We awkwardly hug, arms wrapping around each other.
"I wanna hug too..."
Koneko tugs on the leg of my pants. Jeanne blinks, staring at her, trying to figure out who she was. I let go of Jeanne, and then pat Koneko on the head fondly with a smile. "Maybe later Koneko."
I watch the hat she had on her head twitch and she shuffled inside the folds of the little dress Riko had put on her. She grumbles, unable to hear much through the fabric, her tail folded up and tucked away. So she resorts to hugging my leg. Jeanne simply stared at her.
"Daddy, she's staring at me." She said, tugging some more on my pant leg. "It's scaring me."
Jeanne's jaw could have hit the flow. "Daddy...? But- Wait- WHAT?" I palm my forehead as she stammers. "But last I checked Chikanatsu wasn't pregnant! Or was she? Did you knock her up?-!" She says, still staring at the girl clinging to my leg to see if she existed.
"Jeanne, meet my adopted daughter Koneko. Koneko, meet your father's friend, Jeanne d'Arc."
Koneko looks back at Jeanne. And with wide, sparkling eyes, she says, "Hello." I swear, Jeanne twitched at the sheer cuteness of it all. Come on, Koneko was adorable!
"We need to talk." Jeanne narrows her eyes at me.
POV: Jeanne d'Arc the 30th.
I stare down the older teen before me, as we sat in a cafe. His explanation for the little girl clinging to him like a magnet was fairly solid. I had my doubts, but here she was, eating ice cream while he doted on her. This girl really was Akira De Leon's daughter, even if she was adopted.
"Shall we talk business?"
His attention is reluctantly brought to me. "Fine. What's new?" He asked.
"Nothing much. New recruits are coming in by the boatload, and they're being apprenticed faster than your daughter seems to be able to eat ice cream." I tell him, prodding a finger in the direction of the small tower of bowls beside his little girl. "So, how have you been lately?" I ask.
"I've been well; Kouhei, Yuriko and I have been sliding past pretty effortlessly."
"Kouhei? As in Kouhei Takeda?" I raise an eyebrow. This caught my attention. "You seem close with him."
"He's been my best friend and roommate for the last few years." He replies, fingering a can of soda in his hands.
"That could prove a problem." I point out.
"Not really. Out of all the people I'd recommend to recruit, it would be him. Or Aria H. Kanzaki, or my own apprentice. Perhaps the rigorous training would be good for the useless little brat." He mused.
"And why is that?" I ask him, curious.
"Kouhei knows what it's like to live the hard life, Aria can handle it, and Kinji... He's neck deep in it all, even if he isn't aware of it."
Aria and this Kouhei figure I can understand, but this Kinji? Why him?
"If you were to meet him, you'd like him." He smiled, as if knowing I was thinking about this Kinji.
I frown at him, slightly undignified by his cockiness.
"I doubt such would be the case."
He chuckles quietly, standing. "Come on, I promised to show you Japan at its finest, so let's go."
Japan indeed was a fine country. With amazing cuisine, a rich cultural history, and very polite people, I understand why this place is high on the charts for choices to live. But I still wonder why people stare at me as I walk by. It's not only the men, but sometimes the women do too.
Is it because of my hair? I know I'm a foreigner and all. There's also the fact that I wear the uniform of a French Butei student, they could believe that I am a high ranking Butei working overseas. But then again, there was the fact that I walked hand in hand with my colleague and his quite adorable daughter between us.
He was dressed in a fine jacket, not looking poor or commonplace at all. He, I admit, is handsome, and looks fairly wealthy at that, I'm not surprised people tend to turn an eye towards him as he walks. He's cocky at times, but that comes with his position. He radiates a confidence that seems to shout out to the world that he's ready to take it on.
I haven't begun to make an understanding of the Akira De Leon Fanclub that meets monthly on the Vostok. The Professor doesn't mind as much, but they take up an entire missile silo and hamper the engineers' attempts to maintain it when they make a mess of it. Akira's a nice boy. Not my type though.
Do I even have a type?
He walks us over to a bench, sitting his daughter down. "I'll go get us some drinks." He walks off, leaving me and Koneko sitting on that bench by tree. I sit down beside the small girl. Small was an understatement. The girl was absolutely tiny!
I could have picked her up with just a single hand!
Koneko kicks her feet around, smiling vibrantly. The sheer aura of cuteness... If harnessed, it could have been a WMD. That look that seems to bend anyone into her will... She'd be perfect for EU once she was older, and could properly handle a weapon.
She moves over from her seat, crawling over to me. My eyes widen as she plops down into my lap, a foolish grin growing on her face.
A bunch of middle aged women start giggling at us. "Oh, your daughter's so adorable!" One croons over to me.
My daughter? "It must be so difficult being a single mother at your age! And as a Butei no less!" She says to me. Wait, what?
"And that figure! After having a child! Amazing!"
"Wait, you don't understand-" They really didn't understand. I am not her mother! I am just watching her for her father!
But the fates decided to spit in my eye.
"Daddy!" Koneko cried, hopping off my lap. I watch the little girl run over to Akira, who had shown up in the distance with some sort of Japanese drink in his hands. The girl had closed the distance between us and him in the blink of an eye. Definitely EU material.
She launched from the ground, leaping towards her father. She grappled onto his torso, rubbing his chest appreciatively. He laughed, curling the girl under one arm, while continuing to walk over to me.
"I got something you might like." He handed the strange drink over to me. Oh, it was just bubble tea. I've had some in France, just flavoured milk, tea, and tapioca. Nothing too special. Wait, that's not the point.
The middle aged women gaped at my "husband and daughter".
"Such an adorable family! How old are you sir?" One of the women asked him. He blinked. Don't answer Akira, don't answer-
"17." He answered, blinking at the random question.
In the vulgarity of the crazier sorts of EU's ranks, I have one word to say. CRAP. The woman simply gaped at my "husband". "We're getting out of here." I quickly say, dragging on Akira's hand.
I pull him off to the side. "What are you doing?" I ask him.
"The woman just asked me my age-"
"Aren't you worried about that kind of thing?" I ask him blankly. In France, I had Durandal hidden somewhere on my body, and even a CZ 100 for uses against the more "assertive" kind of people.
"I'm a Butei student with guns hidden all over my body. I can make them float plus shoot, and I can shower more lead over a single area faster than anything on earth. I'm not scared of much." He answered bluntly.
I palm my forehead. "Just... Oh just come with me."
I drag him off, eager to both see more sights and put this behind me.
It was evening by the time Akira had shown me most of Tokyo. It was entertaining to say the least, finally learning and seeing more of what Riko had glamorized in her various tales. When she wasn't prancing around in frilly, strange outfits... I watched Koneko tug on her father's hand. "Daddy, can we ride that!"
The two of us look towards the tall observation wheel in the distance. Akira looked at it with a thoughtful look. Koneko turned her head down, perhaps disappointed, thinking her father wouldn't agree to such a request. The ride was probably expensive. "Come on, we can make it if we hurry."
Make it for what? Akira picked his daughter up, and broke out into a run.
"Wait for me!"
We arrived at the base of the mechanical structure, looking around. The line was packed with people. "Lemme show you a secret." Akira tells me. He leads us back into an alley, near the maintenance doors. A guard notices us, then tries to stop us. Akira flashes his Butei Licence, which technically allowed him to go anywhere.
"You're not the first student to try that." The guard says, prodding back towards the line.
"I'll make it worth your while..." Akira hums, pulling out a small wad of bills. Ouch, that amount would put a small dent in my account.
"I'm listening." The guard grinned.
A few minutes later, we were jammed near the front of the line, among the people waiting to get on to a compartment. Once we had gotten in, Akira had paid an employee for some privacy. And soon, we were up on our way.
Koneko's eyes were glued to the glass, eagerly watching the outside. Akira just smiled fondly at the two of us, relaxing. The light of a beautiful sunset drenched our compartment with light. Koneko squinted her eyes, looking out towards the water. The bright smile on her face seemed to warm my heart like a hearth's fire.
Akira stood and moved to sit beside her. He smiled as brightly as Koneko had, reaching out and holding her left hand. He looked older then, wearier. As if he had been shouldering the weight of the world, and only now he could rest from his burdens. For all I knew, this day could have been a break from a chaotic life. Life was indeed chaotic and violent for members of EU, and for the Moderators, even more so.
"Daddy, do you love me?" Koneko asked, still holding onto her father's much larger hand.
I raise my eyebrow as Akira and I share a look.
"I love you, Koneko. Don't worry about that." He smiles at her.
A smile graces my own face. He said that with such surety, warm emotion flaring in his eyes. When something like that happened, I knew Akira wasn't lying. He was a bad liar when it came to the people he cared about. But you could always know when he was telling the truth.
The smile on my face grows wider, as the father and daughter share a tight hug.
They were a true family, a fact no one had the right to contest.
POV: Akira De Leon
I watch Riko chase Jeanne across the living room.
"Come on! Put it on!" Riko urged her, waving some frilly outfit in her direction.
"No!" Jeanne shouted, diving behind the couch. Riko hopped after her, and the game of cat and mouse continued. It had been three days since Jeanne's arrival. The preparations for the sports festival were abound, students running left and right to train and prepare for their events. Kouhei was taking his time at the gymnasium with Yuriko as a sparring partner, both of them trying to win first in the kendo and sword fighting divisions, while I had taken some practice up with firefights and simulation contests.
Many of the third years were getting into the swing of training, while I spent my time avoiding Kinji and his little friend while trying to raise Koneko.
Speaking of which, I had to visit a certain vampire for a check-up. CRAP.
"You seem healthy." Tooru Sayanaki said to me as I sat down beside his desk in his office.
"I'm doing well. You?" I ask, holding onto Koneko tightly.
"The same." He answered, fingering a folder holding my fabricated medical records. As much as I'd like to believe I'm invincible, it was far from the case. To cover the evidence of wounds obtained in multiple battles, I had Sayanaki cover my medical records with fake ones he wrote up. Just another favour in a list I so desperately wanted gone.
"So, this is your daughter." He sat down at his desk, looking straight at me. "What do you need?"
"I just need you to make sure that Koneko's healthy. That's it."
He nodded, pulling out a suitcase. "Shall we keep this professional?"
"As professional as I can morally allow." I reply, sitting Koneko on the desk.
"Well then, we need to get her vaccinations up to date..."
Sayanaki pulled up a needle, which was why he was bandaging my face minutes later, with Koneko clinging to my leg and my blood dressing her sharp pointy nails...
"Some kid." He muses, putting away a blood soaked towel.
"I know, right?" I reply, prodding at the bandages adorning my head with a flinch. That hurt so much. Koneko crawled up to my lap, nuzzling my cheek affectionately.
"Sowwy..." She murmurs. My cheek's on fire with pain. But I endure for the love of my daughter.
"Anything else you need?" He asks me.
"No, I guess." I stand. "Thanks, Sayanaki."
"Don't come by too often."
"Wait, one thing..." I start off, "I have to tell the staff about this, one way or another. I can't just keep Koneko holed up in my room for the rest of her life. It'll be just a matter of time before someone sees her." I tell him.
"You'll deal with it when it happens. Now get out of my office."
I clean a shotgun in one hand, flicking through the TV with another, trying to ignore the sounds from Riko's bedroom as she tried to force a dress upon Jeanne. I was trying my hardest to ignore them. My absolute hardest, the cries sounded suspiciously like Kouhei's hentai-
"HENTAI-BAKA! QUIET THAT CRAP DOWN! THERE ARE CHILDREN HERE!"
"Sorry...!" seeps through the wall.
That guy will never get a girlfriend at this rate.
Koneko filches the remote from my hand, switching to children's cartoons. I smile as she hops to the beat of an opening tune, ears flapping and tail swaying with the tempo. I heft the shotgun over my shoulder, sighing.
Just another day in the life of Akira De Leon.
I hold Koneko by the hand, touring her by the hand around the campus. Student's eyes drew to us, but I paid them no mind. I groan, palming my head. I was on my way to discuss Koneko with the staff, but I had gotten side tracked. Koneko asked for a tour.
I couldn't say no to her. Neither could Riko, nor Jeanne, or even Kouhei and Yuriko.
I pick up Koneko quickly, as I hear the one thing I didn't want to hear. FANGIRLS. I hide behind a tree, as a small crowd of female Butei run by, each screaming about finding out who the girl with their "precious Akira-kun" was. I thought Yuriko had squashed them all out by now.
A feeling of calm washed over me, as I stared into my hand. Completely see-through. I had become invisible. "Hey Kouhei." I say, feeling Koneko shift around uncomfortably. "Yuriko beat the crap out of you yet?"
I see the shimmering of light as Kouhei creased his lips into a nervous smile. "Yes. She takes her anger out on me since she doesn't want to do it on you..." He grumbled.
"You're getting better at this. More experience with your irokane isn't bad. Thanks for the help."
"Don't mention it." He sighed. "Really, don't, it's a secret."
Having an irokane of invisibility kicked ass. But mine was still cooler.
"This is so cool!" Koneko chimed.
"Cooler than my ability?" I ask her.
I grin as Kouhei's pride is wounded.
The two of us pale as we see the teachers walk by.
"I haven't seen something of this scale since Kinji Tooyama enrolled."
"We still haven't found his fanclub yet."
"They hide in the air ducts. They can go anywhere in those."
What? I don't know what shocked me more. That my fangirls are wreaking so much havoc that the Masters have to be involved, or the fact that my apprentice has a fangirl network that lives in the air ducts. They can go anywhere in those...
"Let's get out of here."
I stared down Riko as she wolfed down cookie after cookie with Koneko by her side. This wouldn't dent my wallet, but even I had to tilt my head at the sheer amount of baked goods funnelled into such a small form. "Eat too many of those and you're gonna get fat, you know that?" I muse.
Riko glares at me. "Uo I womph! (No I won't!)" She said through a full mouth. Note to self, buy antacids and low-fat cookies.
I stand from my seat, patting Koneko in on the head while I poured Riko some milk with the power of telekinesis. She slurped it down heartily, as I make my way for the door. Might as well visit Kouhei again. Training had gotten into full swing this close to the festival, so I doubted he was home. Might as well hide his manga in strange places...
I unlock the door with the key I had kept all this time, and step in quietly.
"Um... Hi Akira."
I blink, as I stare into the eyes of Yutori Takamagahara, our math teacher and the Master of the Inquesta division.
"Er... She bribed me." Kouhei admitted.
"I didn't bribe you, Kouhei-kun." The young woman pouts, holding her clipboard with dignity.
"Yes you did."
"No I didn't."
"Yes you did."
The two bicker like a married couple, Kouhei frantically blushing before our math teacher. Something was going on here... Heheheheh... Oh wait, secret revealed.
"Akira-kun, would you care to explain the rumours of you having a little girl staying in your dorm? Your friend doesn't seem to want to talk."
"Daddy? Riko-chan ate all the cookies..."
Skipping into the room, was Koneko. Oh dear crap. Crap, crap, crap, crap, crap. I am screwed beyond comparison.
Why Kouhei, why must your determination falter before the might of any reasonably attractive woman?
I sat before the Masters, the faculty of the Tokyo Butei Academy, like a criminal on trial. They stared back at me, trying to figure out the reason why I was here. It wasn't the first time. But now there was possibility that I was a lolicon who enticed little girls into living with me.
Which wasn't true at all.
Umeko Tsuzuri, the head of Dagula, the interrogations department, stared me down. Frankly, she scared the living crap out of me. As the head of the interrogations department, she could break any criminal into revealing any bit of information they may know. She's heralded as one of the best interrogators in Japan. Most of the criminals who are interrogated by her end up calling her "Goddess" or "Queen" as the result of their experience, which was probably traumatic.
And she was staring me down. Believe me; I wasn't going to call her a goddess or queen anytime soon.
"So, would you care to explain?" She asked.
My eyes drift to the wall, behind which was a room where Yutori was playing with Koneko and trying to figure out our kind of relationship with each other. This was going to be hard to explain. It was hard enough to fabricate a fake Butei mission to Kyoto, but this... My ties EU could be revealed.
"Wait." Tooru Sayanaki stepped into the room. Why was he here? I thought he'd just leave me to my fate. He had a folder tucked under his arm, and had taken a seat.
"Sayanaki, why are you here?"
"Because I'm involved in the welfare of a legally named, Koneko De Leon..." He answered, opening the folder.
"Would you have information concerning this?" My Queen asked.
Three years ago, she broke me during the time I sat in a Dagula class as a middle school student applying to graduate into the high school division. It was one of the most traumatic experiences in my life. Other than a few that completely surpass it... One of the terms that made it so she never brought the moment up in my life again, would be that I refer to her as "Queen" every once in a while.
I swear she smiles when I say it. She never smiles with that stoned expression and the cigarette in her mouth... For some reason, my mind has resorted into calling her Queen if I don't focus on calling her by name... The experience was that traumatic.
"Koneko De Leon is a by-product of illegal experimentation by a group taken down by the Kyoto Butei Division, Armed Prosecutors, and one Akira De Leon." Sayanaki lied. As if I would work with those bastard Armed Prosecutors.
Most of the staff shifted at the sound of "illegal experimentation".
"From a fetus, she was fused with a small percentage of cat DNA, which explains the cat ears and tail. No, they are not cruel cosplay sewn into her flesh, they are in fact real." He explained.
Some of the staff members pale.
"At the small facility young Koneko grew up with, she experienced many traumatic things as she progressed through the years. As of such, she was plagued with mental and physical traumas such as loneliness, malnutrition, and in severe cases we have uncovered, starvation for days at a time." Sayanaki lied with a small bit of truth.
Being reminded of the hardships Koneko had suffered through, they stung quite a bit.
"During the destruction of the laboratory, Butei Student #766821, Akira De Leon, had stumbled across young Koneko himself. He had tended to her injures, and brought it upon himself to take care of her in this event of a Case E8. He handled himself expertly, and so the laboratory was quietly dismantled while it's staffing executed by Armed Prosecutors." Yeah, fictional staffing executed by fictional Armed Prosecutors.
"How had he handled this Case E8?" My Queen asked. Damn it. Stop calling her Queen!
"He had contact with a party that helped him with his issue, which would be the Hotogi of Kyoto."
Some of the teachers raise their eyebrows.
"They're my trusted source." I answer honestly. I enjoyed my stay very much.
"During the time he had stayed with Koneko at the Hotogi, ascertaining her health and giving her the appropriate medical care, it became apparent that her psychological health was strained. She had become attached to the Butei that had rescued her, and he, had become attached to her. You see, young Koneko De Leon didn't have much. To be honest, she didn't have anything, until Akira De Leon stepped into her life. He gave her a name. He gave her a life she never would have had without his interference. She would have died in that laboratory, or out on the streets. Now she's here, with a father who seems to love her, and a bright future ahead of her."
Maybe I misjudged Sayanaki. "He's a great father. Just get rid of his porn." Bastard. You defend my ass, and you finish with talking about porn that doesn't- well, maybe- just stop talking about material that is statistically improbable to exist under my mattress.
Yeah. Blame Kouhei.
Yutori stepped into the room, Koneko hanging off her arm. "Daddy!" She ran up to me, leaping into my arms. She hugged me with vigour, tail swaying wildly. I hug her back, and narrow my eyes at my Queen.
"Hmph. Consensus?" She asks the rest of the staff.
"She should stay with him. I know for a fact he can raise a child." Yutori said.
"What about his studies? They'll decline rapidly with a daughter to raise."
"He's an S-rank student for a reason."
"What about home life? I doubt it's of good quality."
"I can vouch for them." Sayanaki said. I don't know why he's doing this. To have one over someone like me? He doesn't do much without something in return.
The staff continues to argue while Koneko relaxes in my arms.
"Consensus reached. Akira De Leon, stand before your masters."
Please don't make me bow again.
I set Koneko down, and stand.
"Akira De Leon, do you swear to raise Koneko De Leon to the best of your ability?"
"I swear." I answer without hesitation.
"Then, Akira De Leon, Koneko De Leon, I now pronounce you father and daughter. You can now hug your child."
And so I do, with a foolish grin on my face and half the teachers clapping us along with tears in their eyes.
And I swore my Queen was smiling. She never smiles. It's statistically improbable like the chance of porn under my mattress. Oh wait...
POV: Kinji Tooyama.
For one, as a child, I never thought I would be living through such a dire fantasy of a life. I didn't think I had an ability that could count as a superpower in some manga. I didn't think I would become a practical mercenary. And I didn't think I would be hosting a fire-tempered short girl with a fuse even shorter than her height.
Who currently had my gun in one hand, and a manga of which I didn't want to explain to someone like her...
"Y-You read such dirty things! BAKA-KINJI!"
I dive to the right as she starts shooting at me with my own gun. I had handed it to her because she wanted to see the pros of owning a Beretta... Only in Butei High, only in Butei High... Anyway, she noticed the manga in question sticking precariously out of my hiding place. She hadn't seen the rest.
I crawl from the couch, slowly heading towards the balcony. And with a great leap of faith, I'm outdoors and in the air. And the water creeps closer... And closer...
Until it drowns me in black.
I sit in the gymnasium locker room, checking my gun and nestling a bruise on my side. Getting shot even with bullet-proof clothing hurts more than most think. Aria seemed to be interested in something here, probably the sparring rings, or even the equipment we have. They're probably different than the stuff she has in London. The sound of gunshots rings in my ear, but I ignore them due to the fact that the target range is nearby.
I stand and enter the gym, fingering my weapon as I watch targets explode in sequence. Aria's panting, as both her smoking guns were aimed at the shreds of paper littering the ground.
"Nice to see you here." I turn around, and spot my "teacher", hefting a Beretta M93r in one hand, and a knife in the other.
I keep silent, staring at the guy. This was the same guy trying to press me into the job I didn't really want. But after meeting Aria, I guess I could be a Butei for a bit longer than originally planned. But I will quit eventually, Butei Charters be damned.
"Well, I've got training to do, if I don't, the airsoft and paintball teams will kill me." He tells me walking off while glancing at Aria. There's something his eyes, an apprehension. He's an EU member.
Tries to avoid Aria.
Well, he tries to avoid me too, but that might be because he's lazy, and that I'm connected to Aria. But there's that chance. That little chance... It makes sense, no matter how little that sense may be.
Akira De Leon might be responsible for some of the crimes against Aria's mother. Riko had been, and she seemed close with this him.
"Why's he here?" Aria asks as she holsters her weapons.
"Training." I answer her.
I watch him twirl his weapons once, aiming his gun at a target. With a short burst, the bullets flew. The target line was centered with the bull's-eye on the shoulder of the man's silhouette. They didn't hit the bulls-eye.
They all struck through the silhouette's head.
"That's not how you do it." Aria says, walking to stand beside her. She raised one gun, and fired a single bullet. The bullet struck the bull's-eye perfectly.
"I know what I'm doing, Aria H. Kanzaki." He answers bluntly, not paying attention to her and taking aim once more. He fired another burst, this one striking the exact center of the silhouette's chest.
"Why do you do that? You're going to kill someone!" Aria near shouts at him.
"That's what I'm aiming for." He replies, then fires another burst into the silhouette's head.
"Because of my job. It's easy." He told her. "Just a pull of the trigger, watch your enemy go down in a cloud of blood and gore. Oh so very easy..."
"And what kind of job would make you do such horrible things?" She shouted.
He lowers his gun, and turns to look her in the eye. He looks up, straight at me, with those weary, pressured eyes, then looks back down at her. "I am Akira De Leon. Moderator #76 of EU. I am a lawman and an assassin. I kill people for a living, Aria H. Kanzaki. It's what I'm good at."
"But it's not honourable!"
"Honourable? Honor is worthless out there." He tells her.
"Then what about morals!"
"Morals? They can be twisted to suit anything."
"Wait- Then- But- It's just not right!" She yells at the top of her voice.
"There's no such thing as truly right or truly wrong. Learn that soon, and you'll survive. Maybe you'll save your mother that way." He turns around, moving towards another target.
His words caused Aria to shake with anger.
"Don't turn away from me!" He didn't turn around. "Don't run away from your problems! Don't hide behind your words! Face me! Don't be a coward!"
At that, he turned around, staring into her eyes. The two stared into each other's eyes, unmoving. Tension ran rampant through the air. And then his mouth creased into an expression of distaste.
That word hit Aria hard.
"Akira De Leon..." She shook. She steeled herself, snapping her guns out and aiming them at Akira. "Are you responsible for crimes against my mother?"
You could hear a pin drop. The single word answer was just barely heard, but it was there. I couldn't believe it. Aria froze, eyes widening.
Here he was, a criminal who had helped take away Kanae Kanzaki from her daughter.
He turns to face her, quickly drawing his own gun. I draw my own, and shoot. The bullet strikes his gloved hand, sending his gun flying with a clatter. Akira takes note of it, rubbing his sore hand before glancing at Aria.
"What are you going to do, Aria H. Kanzaki? Are you going to fight me? Are you going to kill me?"
Aria began to shake, her aim beginning to falter. "SHUT UP! YOU'RE JUST A CRIMINAL!"
"Aria... There's no such thing as right or wrong."
He stares right into Aria's eyes. "You believe I'm a criminal. You want me dead, or probably in jail at worse. Can I ask you something, Aria? What do you think happens to "criminals" like me?"
"A little something called Execution by Armed Prosecutors. They'll hunt someone like me down, and kill me. They won't stop there. They'll murder anyone to do with them. You know why I turned down an Armed Prosecutor's apprenticeship? Why I hate them beyond anything I've ever known? Do you want to know why I committed my first real crime?"
"My first real crime... I went with my "master" of an Armed Prosecutor to his job. I watched him kill a criminal with his own bare hands."
"A typical occurrence." She answers, still aiming at him.
Akira's mouth creased into a grin. "Heh. Hah. Hahahahahah!" He laughs crazily, almost madly. His lungs cried mirth.
His eyes cried pain.
"He didn't just kill the criminal. I watched him kill the man's child in cold blood."
I felt my skin pale, as Aria's did the same.
"All the child was responsible for was being the child of a man who killed another Armed Prosecutor." He laughed, eyes now clouded with a mad sadness.
"So I broke Law #9. And I tore my "master" to shreds with hot lead and dumped him in the Tokyo Bay. It was easy, Aria. A pull of the trigger... And I watched him die."
Aria began to shake more violently.
"They call the Armed Prosecutors "heroes" on the news. A hero is a naive concept created by those who lack the will to take their own matters into their own hands. There's no such thing as heroes, Aria H. Kanzaki. There's no such thing as villains. There's no such thing as honor."
He took a step towards Aria, who snapped her gun up steady.
"You want honor, Aria? 17 years was the number of years added to your mother after that. I covered my tracks well, and she was only charged with third degree murder... I owe her a debt that I can't repay."
"Just turn yourself in." Aria orders him. I continue aiming at him.
"Aria, have my words fallen on deaf ears? I can't turn myself in. I'll gleefully kill any Armed Prosecutor to come after me. Riko was in EU, but not as deep as I am. I have a death warrant hanging over my head, waiting to drop on me at the worst possible moment of my life. They won't just kill me. They'll kill Koneko."
"You have information. You know who I am, what my job is in EU. You can tell the police, you can tell anyone. And they'll come for me and try to kill me. They'll try to kill Koneko, my mother, Yuriko, Kouhei. They won't just murder me."
The weight of his words hit us harder than the others.
"My life is in your hands, Aria H. Kanzaki. You have the lives of everyone I care about. You can kill them all at the drop of a hat, all so you can have your mother back." Akira growls.
"I won't kill you Aria. But I am not going to have the people I care about in danger."
They stare down each other.
"You know what? Let's have a duel, a good old fashioned British one. Toss me a gun." He answers.
Aria stares at him blankly. "You want an honourable fight? We'll duel." He says.
They walk up to each other, and Aria reluctantly hands him her chrome plated Colt. "First blood?"
They stand back to back.
"10 paces, turn, shoot."
They walk. Akira hits 10 paces first, aiming Aria's gun at her. Aria quickly follows his example, turning on her heel, with her own weapon out. Neither of them shoot.
"Come on. Shoot me Aria. Are you really willing to orphan a child for your own goals?"
She grits her teeth.
"Aria. Shoot me. This isn't something for your own gain... Isn't it?"
She curls her finger around the trigger.
"Come on Aria, shoot me."
She tugs the hammer back.
"ARIA H. KANZAKI! SHOOT ME!"
Akira sighs. He rubs his bleeding cheek with one hand. Aria shuddered, gun lowered to the ground. And then she fell to her knees, and she began to cry.
"Waaaaaaaaah!" She sobbed.
I run over to her, kneeling down beside her. She grabs on to me, and sobs into my shoulder. I didn't know what to say to her. If a solution wasn't found, and even if she cleared her mother's name... She'd still have to wait 17 years apart from her mother.
She couldn't handle it.
Akira walked over to us. I stare up into his grizzled eyes.
"Here." He tosses Aria's gun to the floor, and then turns to leave. "Oh, Kinji? See me here tomorrow. We need to talk."
And then he leaves.
As his back disappears from sight, Aria sweeps the gun from the floor. She cradles it to her chest, and widens her eyes. She ejects the magazine from the gun Akira had used.
It was empty.
My life is in your hands, Aria H. Kanzaki. Those were his words.
Akira had lost the battle, lost the duel... But Aria lost her argument, and had lost precious time with her mother in the process. Akira had risked his life to prove a point. But when it came down to what was important...
Aria H. Kanzaki had lost. Akira De Leon had won.
POV: Akira De Leon.
"Why do you help me?" I ask Tooru Sayanaki, while he disinfects my face as I sit in his office.
"Because it's my job as an Ambulance instructor." He answers, applying a bandage.
"Isn't that just a cover?" I raise an eyebrow.
"And that it is. Might as well make it believable. And try to cover the blatant dislike we have for each other."
"... Thanks for helping me with Koneko." I answer.
"Just this once."
Yuki Hotogi's prediction keeps coming back to me. You will kill a demon in his sleep... Am I going to kill Sayanaki? I kind of owe him one.
Just another debt in a long list I really want gone.
"Well, thanks again." I stand, nodding. "You're a really nice guy when it comes down to it, isn't it? Even if you're not really human."
Sayanaki sighs, popping the cork off a wine bottle.
"I may not be human, Akira De Leon... But that doesn't make me a demon."
I nod in agreement. "Thanks for everything."
He's quiet for a bit.
"You're welcome. Now get out of my office."
I sit down on my sofa, tapping my foot with a can of soda in my hand.
"Would you please stop that? I'm trying to read."
"Sorry Jeanne." I sigh.
My prediction... Will it really come true? Will another demon come into my life, and take the place of the demon I had planned on killing? Because, after all this...
When the time comes, can I really kill Tooru Sayanaki?
"Daddy! Mommy's here!"
Chapter 3 Complete!
We shall see Akira De Leon deal with his angry lover during the next instalment of On The Winds of Change! I don't have much to say to you guys right now.
So until next time, I guess. Not much to say to you people. So R/R, enjoy life, read great fiction, and let the creative juices flow. And not only for you lemon writers. Aw well. – EthernalRain