I was just thinking about Zagi's past and how fucked up it is. I mean, the guy was basically raised by a gang. That slaughtered other gangs. So I decided to write about it.
Summary: It took a lot before that starving street kid trusted the gang – but once he did, they were almost like family. One-shot, young Zagi-centric.
Disclaimer: WilderKaiserin does not own Jyu-Oh-Sei or any related properties.
We're the Wild Ones
On Iliad, the young were little more than feral beasts. Some of those who managed to survive childhood became something resembling civilized, but the gangs had members well into their late teens and twenties.
One of those older members found him.
He looked to be about five years old, abandoned and starving like just about every other kid on this godforsaken rock. But there was something else in this one. When Pelias found him in that alley, he didn't come out, begging like the others. He lurked in the shadows and threatened to use the small knife he carried when the stranger got too close. It wasn't much, but this was his place. He'd fight to defend it if he had to.
"Hey, kid," said the man. "You hungry?"
"Go away," the child growled. "I'm fine on my own."
"Sure you are, but we could all use a little help, right?"
"No. Go away. I don't need your help."
"All right then. But if you're ever hungry enough, we're in the old warehouse on the edge of town. I'll even vouch for you."
The boy didn't answer. He'd disappeared.
The next time he saw the violet-eyed child, over a year later, the boy was half-dead in the road. Must have run afoul of something a lot bigger than he was – probably one or two of the mangy street curs – or at least, that was what the bleeding tooth marks indicated. But he'd clearly fought; there was blood and fur on the knife still clenched in his small hand.
Pelias lifted the boy – not shocked at the feel of broken, prominent ribs, but concerned – and headed home.
The feral child woke in a panic. He didn't know where he was. He didn't know these people around him. He didn't have his knife, and he knew what happened to the kids without weapons.
"Hey," a voice came from beside him. "You gave me a scare, there."
The boy snarled.
"Leave me alone, old man." He started to get up, and fell back on the bed, shaking with the pain.
"Whoa, there," Pelias said. "You're hurt, kid. And be glad nothing found you before I did."
The child glared at him, breathing hard.
"Who the hell are you people?"
"We're the Ravens," Pelias replied. "Best bloody gang on Iliad, and don't you forget it. And you're damn lucky you have me to vouch for you. Huginn and Muninn almost kicked you back out on the street, injuries and all."
Neither of them spoke for a few minutes, while the child focused on catching his breath, and Pelias tried to think of some way to gain his trust. He liked the boy; there was fire in him, and the man didn't want him to die.
"You have a name?" the man finally asked.
"No. What's the point? I'm leaving the moment I can walk, and no one talks to me out there."
Pelias held up his hands.
"All right, all right."
"Now will you go away?"
The elder shook his head in disappointment, got to his feet, and left the room without another word.
Infection set in, and for a while, Pelias was afraid that the violet-eyed boy was dying. But he was a fighter, a survivor like no other, and eventually, it backed off. Good thing, too, because on Iliad, decent medicine was rarer than decent food. And the Ravens hadn't had decent food in years.
One day, Huginn approached Pelias, and he knew what was coming.
"That kid is useless, Pelias, and we're short on food as it is. Put him back where he belongs."
"He's not useless."
"He's six. Of course he's useless. You can fish him back out when he's older and can hold something a little more dangerous than a three-inch knife. The little shit doesn't even want to be here. Let him go."
"You and your brother don't own this place, Huginn," Pelias said quietly.
"Actually, yes, we do," Huginn snarled. "You may be older than we are, but you're not stronger, and you're not in charge. Get rid of him. He can walk, and even I admit he can fight better than most of the street rats. If he survives another three years, he can come back."
By the time Pelias returned to the boy's room, he was gone.
Being decently well-fed for the first time in his life gave the child an edge when he returned to the streets. Eventually, he found a better knife – on a gang member who tried to kill him. Before long, he was notorious; a nine-year-old who fought like he did was unheard of. He was a wild thing.
He was a wild thing, and eventually, Huginn and Muninn noticed.
"Get him back," Muninn told Pelias one day.
So Pelias went looking for the child he had once saved.
Predictably, he was not interested.
"Why would I come with you?" he sneered. "Your masters only want me now because I can fight."
"True. And maybe I don't expect you to listen. But a wolf's always safer in a pack, no matter how fierce he is on his own. The Ravens could use you. And you could use us."
The boy's eyes narrowed as he looked at the man.
"I could kill you, you know."
"I know. But I don't think you will." Pelias paused. "I'm going home."
At the word "home", the child's face displayed just a hint of longing, and Pelias knew he'd won.
"Still don't want a name, huh?" asked Pelias one day, as he and the boy cooled down after training. It had been two months since the sharp-eyed child showed up on the Ravens' doorstep.
"What's the point?" he repeated his words of three years past.
"Well, people are pretty sick of just calling you 'kid' or 'boy'. And don't you want an identity?"
The boy shrugged.
Pelias didn't speak for a moment, mulling it over in silence.
"You could slay the gods, boy. On Earth they used to talk about a wolf that could do that. Fenrir. Want it?"
"Fenrir…" the child said quietly. "I don't know."
"Maybe it can just be your last name," said Pelias. "Say, I used to have a friend around here, name of Zagi. Craziest bastard you'd ever meet. That guy could do things with a blade I've never seen before or since. How about that, Zagi Fenrir?"
Zagi Fenrir almost smiled.
Most of the gangs on Iliad were named after birds. The Ravens, the Kestrels, the Crows…just about everyone except the Dogs.
They were the top of the food chain. They raided the other gangs, raided the town…whatever they wanted, they got.
Zagi was sick of it.
"Why do you let them get away with everything?" he asked Pelias one day, after the Ravens had lost another skirmish.
"They're stronger than we are," Pelias said shortly. "Not much we can do. At least no one died today."
"I feel like a coward," Zagi muttered.
"Better a live coward than a dead hero. You're eleven years old, Zagi; don't go chasing death."
Zagi glared, but bit his tongue. Arguments got them nowhere.
Huginn and Muninn entered the room, twin scowls on their faces. A stained, makeshift bandage wrapped Huginn's upper arm; he'd taken a nasty cut during the fighting.
"They're taking advantage of us," Muninn growled.
"Of course they are," said Huginn angrily. "They know we're right behind them, so we've got the best supplies. There's no point robbing the Kestrels, they've got nothing."
Zagi looked up. Pelias didn't like the gleam in those amethyst eyes. In that moment, Zagi didn't look quite human.
"We should hit them first this time," the boy said.
"You know, Fenrir, I think I'm starting to like you."
And the war began.
Zagi learned quickly that numbers and brute strength – the Dogs' greatest advantages – weren't everything. Strategy was everything. He picked it up naturally, and was giving orders before his twelfth birthday.
People didn't like Zagi, but they respected him. He was intelligent, oddly charismatic for a killer, and he'd won them more fights than Huginn and Muninn combined. Pelias was the only one who disagreed with how much Zagi fought; no one else seemed to notice the boy's youth anymore.
He never led charges. Zagi was a pragmatist – he knew he didn't have the raw power of many of his adversaries, but he was quick and quiet, and he knew how to wait for an opening. He took to wearing a hidden blade strapped to his forearm, and it was his greatest advantage. The only people who had seen it were dead.
The Ravens won. Again and again, they won. Not without losses, of course, but they were gaining.
Until the day Zagi returned from a raid to find the warehouse collapsed and still smoldering.
Desperately, he dug through the rubble, ignoring the pain in his burned hands. His team followed, searching for survivors.
Finally, Zagi unearthed exactly what he'd hoped never to find.
Pelias was dead. Huginn and Muninn were dead. Everything was gone.
Everything but the fury in Zagi's eyes.
"We hit them. Hard. Tonight. We'll make them regret this," he said harshly, keeping the emotion out of his voice as he stared at his friend's body.
They waited for nightfall, and then they moved.
Zagi split off on his own. He knew where he had to go, whom he had to kill, and where to plant the makeshift explosives he'd salvaged from the wreckage of the Ravens' hideout. He might not survive the night, but the Dogs wouldn't either.
That night was a scarlet haze; Zagi didn't know how many people he'd killed by the time he'd placed the bombs. His clothes were drenched and reeking of blood, his eyes cold, empty stone. He knew that most of his team was dead, but the charges were where they needed to be, and it was time to get out.
Zagi ran out of the hideout like a thing possessed, knowing he had only a minute or so.
He stopped dead just outside the door, faced by three of Iliad's rare authorities.
"This has gone far enough, boy," one of them rumbled.
Zagi made a break for it – he couldn't be this close when the place came down – but he couldn't quite get away before one of the men caught him around the neck and wrestled his blade away.
"Cowards!" he screamed. "You had to get them involved! Couldn't face us yourselves! Well, look where hiding in your little cave has gotten you!"
As the men dragged him away, the old warehouse blew sky-high.
Leading the Blanc Ring wasn't so different, when he thought about it. They were a rough, weak little gang alone, and a deadly force with Zagi at their head.
Of course, Zagi was smarter now. He knew not to get attached, or to take any chance of getting caught. And there wasn't much of an authority on Chimaera, of course.
But every once in a while, he studied the old burn scars on his hands, and let himself think about the man who had given him his name and refused to let him starve.
Zagi Fenrir lived.
My fics are weird XD Anyway, that's my headcanon for Zagi's backstory. I hope you enjoyed!
Review please :) I always appreciate feedback.