She held the metal bat high above her head. Tears gathered in her eyes at the thought of what she was about to do.
"I'm sorry," she whispered, and she slammed the bat against his head.
Kaito walked slowly down the dark and deserted city streets, licking his ice cream every couple steps. It was dangerous to be by yourself at this time of night, especially in this city that he called home. Kaito knew the horror stories, and he ignored them, just to see if they were true. After all, what was life without a little spice?
Old, condemned buildings lined the street. They had been damaged or destroyed in the last war, and no one had cared enough to rebuild them, so they stood there in ruins, a shadow of their former glory. The buildings reminded Kaito of old toys long forgotten and left to collect dust and mold in a basement or attic. He pitied them, no matter how strange it seemed to feel sorry for a building, since they reminded him of himself.
Seeing something attached to a building, he walked over to see a sign and read it as he finished eating the waffle cone of his ice cream. According to the sign, a school was going to be built where the buildings now stood. There would be enough space to make a school large enough to help with the city's school overcrowding problem while still providing for it's students and would be in an area where a lot of families lived. Everyone would benefit, if everything went well.
Licking his fingers, Kaito continued walking back to the tiny, dingy apartment he shared with Gakupo, who had come to visit him while he was in the hospital and claimed to have known him before his accident. He had a picture of the two of them together, so Kaito decided not to question it and moved in with the older man. After only a week, Kaito deduced that Gakupo was hiding something, and it wasn't only because he had found a stash of weapons hidden beneath a floorboard.
Gakupo seemed like an ordinary teacher who didn't get paid enough, but if Kaito concentrated on it, he heard the weary undertones of someone who had been through a lot hidden in Gakupo's voice. Once, when he had looked at Kaito, his mask had slipped and Kaito saw his eyes properly. They were filled with a mixture of pity, regret, anger, and something he couldn't quite name. All too soon the mask was back in place, and Kaito realized that Gakupo knew him a lot better than he let on. They had definitely been more than "acquaintances". There was no way a person you barely knew would invite you to stay with them unless they had unless there was an ulterior motive.
All he had to do now was figure out Gakupo's real reason behind taking him in. The fact that the man was gone teaching for most of the day and randomly disappeared some nights left Kaito with great snooping opportunities.
Kaito tensed at the unnatural sound in the night. That sound was familiar to him, but he couldn't quite place where it was from. About a block ahead of him, he saw someone that looked to be a woman stumble out of a dark alley and into the poorly lit street. Curiosity and worry for the safety of the person drove Kaito to walk slightly faster whilst still keeping a good distance behind. He didn't want to seem threatening when he was trying to help.
As he passed the alley the person had come out of, he failed to see the eyes that watched him suspiciously from the shadows, or notice how the person he was following no longer had a slight swagger in their step and was noticeably speeding up.
The second Kaito had the alley behind him, a group of men burst from it and pushed past him, heading directly for the person Kaito had wanted to help. Hearing the footsteps, the person had looked behind their shoulder, and Kaito could now tell that it was a woman. She began to run, heading into another alley.
Questioning the idea of heading into a closed space when you were being chased, Kaito began to sprint after the men. His long legs were well-suited to running, and he quickly caught up with the others as they stood at the entrance to the shadowy space between two of the dilapidated buildings.
The woman was nowhere to be seen.
"Where could she have…" started one of the men, a short, messy-haired person. From the high pitch of his voice, Kaito realized that he was actually only a boy. Upon closer inspection, he noticed that the other two "men" were actually boys as well, and at least a year younger than him.
"There!" shouted the person to his left, pointing a finger at the far wall. He was taller than the first, with hair that was…silver?
"She's climbing the fire escape!"
The men (boys), with Kaito not far behind them, ran to the wall and began to climb the rusted fire escape, making the badly maintained structure groan with the effort of carrying so many people. They raced up the four flights, pieces of the metal escape falling to the ground with a clang. It would be nearly impossible to get down from the roof safely now.
Hiding behind the roof ledge, Kaito was relieved at the fact that no one had cared enough to notice his presence, but he still had no idea about what was going on. Until he did, or at least until he was noticed, Kaito decided to stay in his temporary hiding place. He'd only get involved if something broke out between the four people, and it seemed like things were about to start happening.
Kaito's nervous thoughts vanished from his mind as he heard the woman speak. She might have said only one word, only one syllable, but it sparked something in Kaito's forgotten memories. He knew that voice, knew that woman on the roof, and suddenly, he felt a wave of newfound anger and protectiveness course through him. No one was going to hurt her, not if he had anything to say about it.
Peering over the edge of the roof, he focused on the conversation at hand.
"You know we can't accept 'No', Meiko," said the last boy, who Kaito remembered to be the tallest of the three, and probably the oldest.
Meiko! thought Kaito. I know I knew you! But I can't remember how…
"It seems everyone's turned against me now, " stated the newly identified Meiko. "Even my own brother has turned on me."
The one that Meiko had addressed as her brother shifted his feet against the cement rooftop. A slight scratching noise was made. He was either trying to discreetly change his position or was trying (and failing) to hide how the words cut into him. Kaito was betting on the second option.
"Are you sure you won't reconsider?" asked the silver haired one. His voice had a hint of panic in it, as though he were worried about what might happen to Meiko if she refused whatever they were offering her.
"Quite," spat Meiko, and Kaito could picture the venom in her eyes as she glared at the three not-quite-men-but-not-boys-either.
"Then so be it," her brother said coldly, and he and his group rushed at her.
Kaito nearly jumped in to help, but something held him back. He wanted to see if Meiko could hold her own in a fight. By the way that she hit the shortest one in the chest with a roundhouse kick, Kaito decided that yes, Meiko could defend herself, and she would probably kick his ass for trying to help.
Kick me in the… thought Kaito. Where did that come from?
Sighing, he continued to watch Meiko brutally beat down her attackers. Despite their perseverance, Meiko was the one with more fighting experience and less hesitation in hurting people. She probably would have won, too, if her brother hadn't snuck up behind her and stabbed her in the back with a knife.
Meiko tensed for a few seconds, and that was all the time it took for the tides to turn. The short boy hit her with an uppercut to the jaw, and Meiko stumbled backward. Silver-hair guy wrenched the knife out of Meiko's back, and she turned on him instantly despite the pain she must have been in to give him a well-deserved punch to the face.
As Kaito jumped into the fray, he heard a loud crack and figured that Meiko had broken the boy's nose. Her brother might have deserved it just a tiny bit more for sticking the knife in her in the first place, but this one was just as responsible.
Hiding in the shadows, Kaito came up behind the shortest of the three boys. Deciding to deal with him in the simplest way possible, Kaito covered his mouth with a hand and squeezed the kid's neck in the crook of his arm. A few minutes and he would be unconscious from the lack of oxygen.
The boy thrashed violently, trying to get out of Kaito's hold, but it was to no avail. Kaito was stronger than him and had the boy pinned tightly to his body. There was no way he would escape unless he managed to free Kaito's fingers from the pressure points that paralyzed his arms.
Finally giving up, the boy tilted his head up as much as he could. Bright blue eyes beginning to glaze over glared at Kaito until he was conscious no longer. Kaito let the body slip to the ground and searched out his next target.
So far, no one had noticed the disappearance of the youngest boy. Sneaking behind his next target, the silver-haired boy, Kaito struck him in a pressure point at the back of his neck, knocking him out. He would probably be grateful for the escape from his broken nose, but Kaito decided not to dwell on that.
Meiko and her brother were still fighting, and neither was going to give up anytime soon. They were completely oblivious to the fact that they were the only two (excluding Kaito) left on the roof. Kaito decided to stay in his current position, hidden in the shadow of a neighboring building but still close enough to see everything properly.
After what seemed like ages but in reality was only around five minutes later, Meiko struck the final blow, a powerful kick to her still unnamed (to Kaito, at any rate) brother's head. He probably could have dodged it, but Kaito suspected that he had never really planned on beating his sister, so when he saw an opening for the fight to end, he accepted his defeat.
Not sure of what to do, Kaito stepped forward. His footstep echoed in the quiet of the near moonless night, and Meiko looked up at him. She had been leaning against her knees, trying to catch her breath. Her brother's betrayal had hurt her deeper than the knife he'd stabbed into her, and she felt guilty about having hurt him. But that was the furthest thing from her mind as she heard a footstep echo around the roof and turned to see who had made it. The person standing there was one Meiko never expected to see again.
"Kaito…" she breathed, and a great rumbling was heard as the building collapsed, plunging the two conscious humans into complete darkness.