Disclaimer: I obviously don't own Togainu no Chi or any of it's characters... no matter how badly I want to chain one or two of them up in my basement. (Sinikka and Rhys are my bishies though, so no touchie.)
Author's Note: For those of you that played the game, this story takes place both during and after the very bad ending in which Gunji- well, I shouldn't really need to go into detail on that one. This means, yes, Akira is indeed dead. The idea just kind of popped into my head, so I thought I'd just run with it like a pair of open scissors.
The pair sprinted down a seemingly abandoned alley before ducking into one of the buildings with a laugh. What they'd just done wasn't exactly the way the rules dictated things, but it was a lot easier than trying to take on all four of them. Luckily none of the Executioners appeared to be anywhere in sight. While the woman locked barricaded the door and ducked just below the window sill, the man found himself a comfortable seat near the back wall and cheered quietly and held his hand skyward. Hanging loosely from the chains wrapped around his fist were several pairs of gleaming silver dog tags. His female companion gave him a half-hearted smile, and returned to trying to catch her breath.
"We should've used ambush tactics ages ago!" He laughed, "And who knew you were so good at impersonating an Executioner? That red hoodie you took from that other guy, and those cheapie knives... that was absolute genius Nikka." She rolled her eyes, peeling the hoodie off and placing the knives in the pockets. All she'd done was stand at the poorly-lit end of their hiding place with the sweatshirt's hood up and the bent knives resting between her fingers. It wasn't her fault they'd confused her for one of those monsters that skulked around the city. She was surprised their little ambush had worked, after all, she was much shorter than any of the Executioners she'd seen.
"Yeah, right. It was all dumb luck and you know it." She chuckled, holding out a gloved hand, "How about tossing a few of those my way, eh Rhys? My distraction was just as useful as that bat you're carrying." Rhys grinned and ran a hand through his short bleached hair before picking a three random chains and tossing them to her. Sadly, it was as they'd both expected. The majority of what they'd managed to take for themselves were all junk. With a quiet sigh, she produced a chain from her pocket and slowly added each of the useless tags to it. They'd never be short of supplies if they'd kept this up, but it wasn't without risk. The more rules they managed to break, the greater the chance that the real punishers would come looking for them.
"Why don't you break out your little ocarina and play some victory music?" This time, she laughed. It wasn't much of a victory, but playing her little instrument always seemed to be able to keep their morale up. She reached into the pouch at her hip, produced the porcelain flute and lightly dusted it off before bringing it to her mouth. Soft notes soon filled the room, echoing off of the crumbling walls around them. Sinikka closed her eyes as she played, trying to keep her mind off of just how much trouble they were really in. It was starting to help a little, but ceased as soon as she heard someone rush past their window outside followed by slow, deliberate steps and faint jingling. She continued to play, trying not to seem bothered by the sounds. Rhys tucked his freshly stolen tags away in an attempt to look more innocent. If they were lucky, the man outside would pass them by without a second glance. If not... the thought nearly made both of them cringe. Unfortunately, the heavy steps seemed to pause just outside of the window, as though listening to the music. One of Sinikka's eyes opened just as a large pipe crashed its way through the window, it's jointed end decorated with dog tags. The music, of course, ceased at this terrible realization.
"Celebrating something? Don't stop playing on my account." A mildly amused voice drifted from the shattered window. Rhys shot her a concerned look. His green eyes shot from her to the staircase, telling her to run, as he slowly reached for his metal bat. She took the hint right away, making some excuse that they should be moving on soon and that she needed to grab her med-kit from upstairs. Once the man with the pipe was out of sight, she opened one of the windows and checked the fire-escape and surrounding alley for any other punishers. It looked clear enough, but the sound of metal hitting metal downstairs was making her second-guess herself. They'd been getting by on clever tricks, not actual combat. Rhys could fight, but men like the guy downstairs were put in that position for a reason.
She listened carefully for a couple of minutes, jumping every now and again at the sound of something being broken or bouncing off of something else. It could've been any one of them, any one. Why did they have to run into one of the ones who kill anyone they want to? Another loud crash sounded, followed by a shout, and Rhys bursting in the room and using the old bed to block the door. His eyes were wide with worry, but he still managed a smile.
"Nikka, next time I tell you to run, do it." Something slammed itself against the door, shifting the block, "Like now, for instance. Run for it!" The two of them practically jumped out the window and slid down the fire escape. They tore off down the alley, nearly running into a few semi-innocent bystanders along the way, and turned up the main road toward one of the more neutral areas. It was probably safe to stop running, so the two decided to pause at a split in the road and catch their breath. The pair shared a 'that was close' look before bursting out into laughter. Those so-called punishers were pretty much all the same. They loved killing and the chase so much, they often lost sight of their targets, or at least that's how it seemed more often than not. Pulling her ocarina out of her pocket, she played a small and rather mocking tune to mark their escape. Rhys only laughed harder - until he heard that jingling sound again.
The man that Rhys had tried to fend off was standing a short distance away, bouncing that pipe on his shoulder as though it were light as a feather. He wasn't alone this time, though. At his side was a shadow on its hands and knees - something neither of them had seen in their time in the city. They weren't eager to find out what it was or what it could do. Rhys instructed her to run down one of the splits in the road while he took the other; the two would meet back up at the safe house they'd used about two weeks ago. When the man took another step forward, the two sprinted in opposite directions with a high-five. Behind her, Sinikka could hear the man click his tongue.
"Follow the girl. I'll take the other one." She smirked as she ran. Her partner had been avoiding capture and execution for a long time now, and had taught her everything she knew. It shouldn't be too difficult to lose something that was crawling around on all fours. Confident in this, she made her first mistake; she glanced over her shoulder to judge the distance she'd made between herself and that thing. Much to her surprise, it was gaining fairly quickly instead of falling behind. Her head snapped back to watch where she was going just in time to see another potential wrong turn coming up. She took a hard left and scrambled up a nearby fire escape. The thing that was chasing her continued along the road, pausing only for a moment below her before disappearing from sight.
Breathing slowly, she climbed back down the ladder and rested up against the wall while she caught her breath. There'd been a lot more running today than she was used to, even with her lifestyle of incredibly unfair play. A short distance away, someone yelled out in pain. It wasn't anything uncommon in the city, but something about it just struck her as wrong - in fact, it gave her chills. Curious, she wandered down the street toward where the shout had come from, pulling the hood of her black sweatshirt up as she moved. A maniacal sounding laugh exploded from an alley only e few feet away. Pressing herself flat against a wall, she crept along it and peered into the alley where both voices seemed to have come from.
A man stood over the mutilated body of another, casually adjusting his belts. It didn't take her very long to put two and two together, and it made her sick to her stomach. Red jacket with the hood pulled up, a pair of knuckle claws... it was the very same Executioner she'd impersonated earlier in the day. She'd only caught a glimpse of the monster once, and was suddenly struck by the urge to turn tail and run. Unfortunately, all it took was her pulling back around the corner for her chain of junk tags to slide free of her pocket. They landed on the ground with a metallic 'clink', which sounded loud enough to draw unwanted company from at least five blocks away. Not wasting a beat, she scooped the tags up off the ground, instantly feeling a set of eyes staring at her. She stood slowly, placing the chain back in her pocket while her hand drifted toward the weapon on her hip - a chain with a wickedly serrated knife fastened to either end.
"Well! What have we here?" It appeared that he hadn't quite gotten his fill with that unfortunate corpse, "Where'd you get all those tags neko-chan?" And that meant it was time to cut and run. She muttered something off-handed, gave the Executioner a passive wave good-bye, and walked as casually as she could manage past the mouth of the alleyway with her hand resting lightly on the chain. Sinikka had a really bad feeling about where this might go, which was only amplified by the sound of him following not-so-quietly behind her.
"I don't mean to offend you or anything, but don't you have some rule-breakers to hunt down instead of some random passerby?" She shrugged, trying not to seem bothered by it. A single bead of sweat rolled down the side of her face. This was bad, really bad.
"Yup. I'm lookin' at one." Sinikka bit her tongue. There was no point in trying to play innocent now. With a quiet and disappointed groan, she leaned forward and tore down the street. When she met back up with Rhys, she was going to give him such a beating for making her run all over the city for his 'easy way to win'. Her running only seemed to be exactly what he wanted from her. Another burst of insane laughter echoed behind her as her feet pounded the ground, making her run all the faster. She didn't dare look over her shoulder this time, for fear he was close enough to pluck one of her eyes clean from her skull. Her hand wrapped tightly around her weapon and snapped it free of her belt. Outrunning him now would be next to impossible, she'd need to slow him down one way or another. A small smirk pulled at the corner of her mouth at the thought. Going toe to toe with an Executioner... She was going to die.
Wrapping part of her weapon's chain tightly around her right hand, she threw the rest of it behind her like a whip in hopes the blade at the end would catch one of the man's legs. The attack was useless: he jumped over the chain with little effort and cut into her back as he fell back to the ground. She stumbled and grit her teeth. What the hell was she thinking? These people had their status for a reason. No simple trick would be enough. Using her momentum as best she could, she straightened and continued to run - right down a dead end alley. She skidded to a halt and cursed under her breath. Somewhere along the line she must've lost her bearings. Wonderful. Shaking her head at herself, she wrapped the another portion of the chain around her other hand, leaving enough of a gap between the two to be able to defend herself. When he came sprinting down the alley with his claws at the ready, she caught one wrist in the chain and wrapped it tightly around the other. Maybe, if she was lucky, he only knew how to fight with those garish weapons. It was taking nearly all of her strength just to hold his wrists there, making counter-attacking impossible.
"Gonna let a little girl stop you?" She grinned, feigning courage, "I thought you were a big, bad Executioner, not a kitten." Her grin evaporated as something connected with her ribcage and sent a searing pain up her side. The knot she had on his wrists loosened as she was knocked to her side and bounced painfully across the ground. She landed in the corner of the alley, and only barely managed to lift herself to her elbows. Her grin remained as she stared at him, nearly matching his own vicious insanity with her expression. This seemed to give him pause for a fraction of a second before he lowered himself to her level, hands resting on his knees. He stared for a moment, as if trying to understand what was going through her head, but then cackled and drew one of his hands back, promising a lethal blow.
Before he could even move his hand forward an inch, the thing that'd been chasing her earlier crawled its way between her and her assailant. Now that she wasn't running from it, she noticed it wasn't a thing it all - it was human. A boy dressed from head to toe in black leather and belts with piercings along his torso. Below his silver hair, he was blindfolded and had a bit placed in his mouth. The boy stood defensively over her, making a very quiet sound similar to a growl. He was... protecting her? The manic blond lowered his arm and growled right back.
"Get outa the way, Tama!" The boy only shook his head, causing the man to sigh, "What? You wanna bring her back with us and leave it up to him?" The boy turned and sniffed at her before looking back to the man. Sinikka was deeply confused. Why was he acting like a dog? The blond groaned in annoyance, but nodded to the leather-clad boy and stood up. She could only blink groggily, unsure of what to think of the situation.
"You're... you're letting me live?" He whipped around and pulled her to her feet by the collar of her shirt. A set of claws suddenly rested at her throat.
"If I had it my way, you'd be splattered all over the walls by now. But Tama wants you to come back with us. You owe him a thank-you." She swallowed and glanced down at the boy. He was staring up at her expectantly. Prying her shirt free of the man's grip, she dropped to one knee and slowly reached out to the boy. Before she could even reach him, something came crashing down on the back of her head with a metallic clang. A pipe. Her vision went white with pain then quickly faded to black as she hit the ground, that sarcastic smile still pulling up the corners of her mouth.
Author's Note: Shame on me for ending this in a cliffhanger of sorts! I'm not sure how far I can really carry this story, but if people are finding it entertaining, I just might continue (provided I don't further murder any cannon personas). Reviews and good music are the lifeblood of my fics, so please don't hesitate to tell me what you think (as long as it's none of that "you suck" crap) or let me know what song was going through your head as you read it.