Introduction

Deadman Wonderland. The whole place was like one big, sick, cruel joke; a place of death covered over with the pretense of being a theme park, somewhere cheerful and fun. Most people thought it was a wonderful idea – the proverbial killing of two birds with one stone kind of thing. Prisoners were killed and eliminated while the masses were entertained. Everyone was happy. Except for the prisoners of course, but they were not viewed as real people.

Sonomi was having second thoughts about taking the job here as an assistant to Dr. Rei Takashima. Today was her first day and she could already tell there was something seriously wrong with that woman. She nervously toyed with a black curl, twisting it around her finger, as she watched the horrifying event playing out on the video screen. Her eyes took in the expression on Dr. Takashima's face as the camera focused on her while she concentrated on positioning the serrated tongs around the man's eyeball. The good doctor appeared to be close to an orgasm as she seized the man's eye and pulled to yank it out of his head. He was being tortured because he had lost the Carnival Corpse battle.

"This is disgusting," Sonomi muttered, turning off the television. She could not bear to hear the screams of agony from the tormented man. She would be seeing him soon enough anyway. It would be her job to take care of him after his ritualistic torture session that was his punishment for losing.

Inspecting the implements on the silver tray, Sonomi made sure she would have everything she needed to take care of the purposely and brutally injured man. After threading the needle in case he needed stiches, she filled a bowl with water to clean the blood from his wounds. Just as she was setting out bottles of antibiotics and syringes, the man was wheeled into the room on the stretcher he had already been strapped to for his anesthesia free 'operation.'

"Here he is, Sonomi," Dr. Takashima announced. "You're first victim."

'Not bloody likely. You're the only one victimizing anyone around here,' she thought to herself as she stared at the doctor who lit a cigarette.

"Take good care of our boy here. He's a crowd favorite," she said, sliding her hand over his well-developed chest. "He's damn good looking too."

Sonomi swallowed convulsively as the doctor's hand moved lower over the unconscious man's defined abdomen. Her mouth dropped open as Dr. Takashima slid her hand under the waistband of his jeans. "Sick bitch," she muttered, as she watched the woman massage the evident bulge there.

"What did you say?" the perverted doctor demanded, drilling into her assistant with her furious brown eyes.

"I said he made need a stitch," Sonomi lied, smiling at the disgusting woman.

"Just shut up and do your damn job," growled the sadistic bitch before stalking off in anger.

No. She was not going to like it here at all. However, jobs were hard to find and desperation had set in so here she was. Taking a deep breath to clear her head, Sonomi dipped the washcloth into the basin of water and began to clean the blood from around the man's now empty eye socket. Once that was done, the real nasty job lay ahead of opening his eye and checking to see exactly how much damage had been done and if anything needed to be sewn up to prevent further blood loss. She bit her lip as she forced apart his eyelids to look at the open bloody wound. Even though it was inhumane and downright mean, she was glad he was held down by steel restraints when he groaned and writhed in pain. She did not want him to kill her in a pain induced haze. It appeared that the veins had successfully sealed themselves off and the artery had been cauterized already by Dr. Takashima. One of the main sources of entertainment could not be allowed to die on them because it would be bad for business.

"It hurts," he mumbled through his gritted teeth.

Sonomi held her hand against her heart that had nearly stopped beating from his unexpected and sudden return to consciousness. Swallowing hard and forcing her nerves to calm down, she continued her examination of him.

"I know. I'm sorry," she murmured, laying her hand against his cheek. Hesitating for a moment, she looked at his handsome face that contorted with pain that she could not even begin to fathom.

The man opened his one good eye and turned his head to look at her. The iris was a steel blue color. "Who are you?"

"My name is Sonomi Yamato. What's yours?" she asked, continuing to check him over for other injuries.

"Senji Kiyomasa," he replied, closing his eye and grinding his teeth against the pain.

Sonomi retrieved one of the syringes and a vial of yellowish liquid. She gave him an injection of a painkiller, although Dr. Takashima had strictly forbid it. What were they going to do? Fire her? Or they could possibly use her for target practice for the Deadmans* with their weird ability to manipulate their blood into weapons.

"What did you do? What was that?" he inquired with a drowsy lilt to his voice. A drunken smile appeared on his face as the painkiller took effect.

"Just a little something to ease your discomfort," she stated calmly, unlocking the restraints. She gasped when his hand moved to her face and lay against her cheek. Her hazel eyes stared into his one sleepy looking blue-gray eye.

"You're a pretty woman. You're even fully clothed unlike that other crazy bitch," he drawled groggily.

Fully clothed? That was a weird thing for a man to notice. Sonomi had always been accused of dressing too conservatively and too manly. She looked down at her attire of a plain white button down shirt with only the very top button undone, her black slacks, and flat brown loafers. They were right. She dressed like a forty year old businessman. What made it stranger still was that he had actually complimented her on it.

"Go to sleep, okay? I'll have you fixed up in no time."

"Okay."

~\..'../~


Senji awoke with a start, wondering if it had been a dream. Reaching up to his face where the pain radiated from his eye socket through his whole head, he felt a leather eye patch. Damn. This nightmare was all too real. He forced himself up to a sitting position and was immediately assaulted by a wave of dizziness. A set of soft, cool hands grasped his brawny biceps and pushed him back down onto the bed.

"Just lie still. You need rest. What is your big hurry anyway?" a sweet female voice that was very unlike the one of that heartless bitch doctor filled his ears.

Senji opened his one good eye to see a woman with long black hair leaning over him. He squirmed a bit as her curls fell over his bare chest and tickled him. Looking into her unusual hazel eyes, he reached up to push the stray curls behind her ear so they would stop tickling him. His fingertips lingered on her face, tracing the contour of her jaw from her ear to her chin. At least she was real, and she was definitely not Dr. Takashima.

"You need to take it easy until the painkillers wear off. I gave you something really strong," she told him, her voice barely above a whisper.

"Thank you," he responded, dropping his hands to the table and staring at the white ceiling above him covered with fluorescent lights.

"What does that tattoo mean?" she inquired, referring to the letters DSMK tattooed over his black eyebrow above where he used to have an eye.

"It's the first letters of the names of four of my colleagues and friends who died. I was a police officer once," he said, closing his eye.

"Oh."

After a long silence stretched out between them, Senji began to wonder if she had left the room. He turned his head and opened his eye to see her sitting in the chair beside his bed with a faraway look like she was deep in thought. What was someone like her doing here? She seemed far too kind to be in a place like this. His cheeks felt hot as he studied her because she was pretty. It amazed him that such a pretty woman wore clothes that covered her up.

"Hey, Sonomi," he called, smiling as her head whipped toward him. "What are you thinking about?"

"Hmmm…what? Oh…I was just rethinking my decision to come here. I had no idea just how terrible the things were that occurred here," she muttered, staring at the floor.

"What kind of place did you think this was?" he snorted derisively, startled by her ignorance.

"I knew it was a prison and that the prisoners were killed here but...I don't know what I expected to be honest. I suppose I assumed the prisoners were killed by some sicko behind closed doors. I desperately needed a job. My father told me about it. He was able to set up my interview directly with Mr. Tsunenaga."

"Tsunenaga, huh? You really should have done your research before you came to that interview. It sounds like you were totally clueless about what you were getting into. Purposely misled perhaps?" His old police instincts were kicking in, making him suspicious as to why she was led to a job here.

"By my father? No, there's no way. He just wanted me to have job. That's all," she murmured tearing up slightly.

'Please, don't cry. I hate dealing with women's emotions,' Senji thought to himself as he looked at her welling eyes. "Who knows? People are insane and do crazy things for crazy reasons. Why do you think they enjoy the Carnival Corpse Battles so much? "

Senji watched the woman as she silently stood up to clean and tidy the room. He observed that she was not wearing a doctor's signature lab coat which was strange. That stupid Dr. Takashima always made such a big deal about wearing hers; like the coat was supposed to cover her critical errors in judgment with what she chose to wear. He could feel himself blushing hotly just thinking about how scandalously that woman dressed. Turning his eyes back to the dark haired woman bustling about, he noted her masculine type of dressing seemed to only accent her curves and femininity; almost more so than if she had been half naked like some of these other women around the prison. Shiro! He shuddered with the thought of the white haired woman in the immodest bodysuit. 'She might as well be naked,' he thought to himself and shivered violently.

"Are you all right? Are you in pain? Are you cold?" Sonomi inquired, her voice rising with anxiety.

"Oh, no. I'm fine. I'm just thinking," he replied, giving her a big smile.

"Maybe we're both thinking too much. Would you agree?" She sat down beside him, her knee brushing his side as she pulled it up onto the bed.

"Yes, I would," he answered, unable to take his eyes off of her as she leaned down toward him. He gasped when she pulled up the eye patch.

"This might hurt a bit," she warned him before she started separating his eyelids.

Senji clenched his teeth to endure the searing sensation that felt like she had sewed his eyelid shut and was tearing it apart. He assumed blood had caused his eyelids to fuse together as his eye tried to heal itself. His other eye focused on her face as she used a cotton swab soaked in water to clean away whatever had glued his eye shut. Once again, he found himself wanting to touch her. It had been a long time since had cared for any human being, especially a woman. He thought he had lost the ability to experience emotions a long time ago. It was all Ganta's fault. He had somehow developed a liking to the gutsy kid who had the potential of being a Deadman that would rival him. Apparently that had opened him up to be interested in other people like this woman.

"Senji." He heard her speak his name. He knew she was too close because he could feel her breath on his lips when she exhaled.

"Senji," she repeated in a pleading voice.

"What?" he asked dreamily, placing his hands on either side of her head. Oh, god, her hair was like silk in his hands. It had been years since he touched something so soft and feminine. A pain shot through his eye when she released the eye patch to snap down onto his face.

"OW!" he yelled, holding his hand over his eye.

"No more pain killers for you," she snapped, getting up from the bed. "They have an adverse effect on you and make you act weird. You were somewhere out in the ozone just then."

The only thing that had an adverse effect upon him was her. It was not the pain killers that made him act funny. It was the fault of the one who gave them to him.


Author's Note: *Yes, I know this is really bad English but it is how they were referred to in the anime.