One-shot #94 – ((DONE)) Leonard/Kaname – Safety is not a Priority—Kaname knows he is dangerous, but still… she won't deny she feels some kind of connection towards Leonard.

((I'm sorry, but no matter how much hate is out there for Leonard, I only expend pity towards him. Read up on his bio, and maybe you'll see it the same way I did. Anyway, yes, this is leaning towards Leonard/Kaname. So sue me. XP))

It was dangerous. Hell, worse than dangerous. Bloody, hellish, death seeking, crazy dangerous. Still, she would not depart from her quest.

Okay, 'quest' wasn't exactly the word she would use. But what do you expect from a sixteen year old?! Sousuke would call this a 'mission,' but right now, she rather not think of him or Mithril.

Especially on her way to enemy territory.

Damn it, Kaname thought, shaking her head. Now I sound like Sousuke. Grinding her teeth, she continued walking down the alley, clenching the piece of the paper in her hand. She really didn't understand why she was doing this. Like she had mentioned before, this was dangerous. Really, out of all the love letters she responded to, this one topped every other on the level of creepiness, corniness, and danger.

Leonard Testarossa.

Why couldn't she get the stupid bastard out of her head? She hadn't a clue; she had been thinking night and day about the letter, pondering its meaning. Finally, fed up with just about everything, she decided to follow through with responding to Leonard's request to meet with her in private, away from Sousuke and any other Mithril troop.

She never let Sousuke see the letter. She never even told him about it. She had originally thought about burning it after reading the disgusting piece of junk to rid her of her worries, but she just couldn't. Leonard's words haunted her.

Something seemed different in the letter. Like it wasn't coming from a deranged psychopath.

Like it was coming from a friend in need.

Clenching the letter closer to her chest, she began to recant all that Sousuke told her about keeping herself safe.

"Stay away from any open spaces; you expose yourself to the enemy."

"Always carry a pistol at least. It is more preferable to carry more heavy weaponry, but a pistol, wielded correctly, can save your life."

"Always carry spare bullets. You never know when you'll need them."

"Keep alert of your surroundings. Expect the unexpected."

"Never let your guard down, not even for a second."

"Do not let the enemy sway you into the open."

She had just about broken every piece of advice he had given her, but then again, right now, safety wasn't a priority.

She stopped, glancing at the address written down before looking back up at the address printed in front of her.

"This is the place," she muttered. She was beginning to wonder if she had at least gotten her guard up, expecting Leonard to try and kidnap her, or something.

But she wasn't thinking that at all. Leonard in his letter didn't seem like he wanted to do any of that. He just seemed to want to…

Talk.

Mustering up her courage, throwing caution out the window, she marched inside, announcing her presence, another rule of Sousuke's she broke.

"Hey, I'm here! Crazy Silver Guy, you here?"

"Crazy Silver Guy? Not exactly what I was hoping to be called."

Kaname looked up at the stairs. There was Leonard, in all his glory, dressed like the night they met. He was alone, just like he said in the letter. Frowning before taking a long sigh, she growled back, "Would you prefer I'd call you Psychotic Murdering Bastard instead?"

Leonard gave a light laugh. "No, no I wouldn't. Crazy Silver Guy it is." He descended the stairs, pausing at the final step before unceremonially sitting down on a step, patting a place by his side. "Come."

Crossing her arms, she stomped over to him and plopped down, purposely taking one step up so she was one stair step above him. Leonard said nothing, just chuckled and smiled. There was a light sort of silence hanging in the air. Not morbid or awkward, not even anticipating or calculating. Just…

Silence.

Finally, breaking the vigil, Leonard spoke, "I am glad you decided to respond to my request."

Kaname rolled her eyes. "Yeah, well, it's not like I had anything better to do."

"Not even hang around your boyfriend?"

Snarling, Kaname slammed her fist on her knee. "For the last time, he's not my boyfriend! Give it a rest already!"

"So then you're available?"

"Oh, no!" Kaname recrossed her arms and then her legs, turning away. "No way am I considering you boyfriend material."

"What if I gave it all away? What if I quit Amalgam and swear never to harm another person?"

Kaname actually flinched, her brown eyes wide. Did he just—? She turned to see Leonard, his silvery mane cascading over his shoulders, gray eyes so similar to Tessa's, yet so different. Only, now, looking into them, she saw…

Perhaps it was the trick of the light, but maybe he actually meant that?

Leonard's eyes narrowed slightly. "Well? Would you consider taking me, then?"

"Why?" Her voice came out as merely a croak, so she cleared it and repeated, "Why on earth would you make such an offer?"

"Sousuke Sagara."

"Huh?"

Looking away from once, Leonard merely stared at the windows for a moment. His eyes were distant, and he was quiet, but then he spoke, and it lacked the coldness that seemed to always accompany his words. "I've been doing a lot of thinking. The Lambda Driver, Amalgam, Mithril, my sister. Nothing seems to make sense anymore. I'm used to things making sense. I'm used to being right all the time."

"Yeah," Kaname stated absently, now resting her chin on the palm of her hand, elbow resting on one knee. "Tessa said the same thing. But," she glanced purposely at him, making sure he heard her, "she always spoke highly of you. She still cares, you know."

"I still do, too."

"Huh?!" Now that caught Kaname off guard. Blinking several times, she stuttered, "B-but all that stuff you were doing—"

"Was for her, was for me, was for you and all other Whispered that ever existed."

Kaname blinked again, slowly. "Oh." She straightened, looking up at the old, rotting ceiling. "But, why?"

"This world is a cruel one," Leonard stated coolly. "It never feels pity nor regret for the deeds it does to others. Many would kill their own families in order to get what they want; not pausing in a moment's notice to sell each other out if it meant survival."

"That's not true!" Kaname reeled. "Sousuke never did anything like that! He always put others before him. What basis do you have to say such things?!"

The glare he gave her stopped her cold. For a brief moment, Kaname only saw hatred, absolute darkness in Leonard's eyes. It did not fade as he bitterly stated the next few words;

"My mother abandoned me."

"Wha—"

"My sweet sister never told you, of course. Not that I blame her; she never knew." He turned away, and the cold glare she had felt disappeared again, only leaving numbness in its wake. "But my mother hated me, and that's why she gave me away when it meant her survival. She couldn't wait to get rid of me."

"But—" Kaname paused. Words were honestly choking up in her throat. Really, she didn't know how to respond to such a charge. When Leonard didn't respond, the only sign of movement was a slight slump of his shoulders, Kaname decided to pick herself up and stand in front of him.

Leonard didn't move as she bent down to his eye level. When he still didn't move, she commanded, "Look at me."

Gray eyes flickered to meet brown, and, before she lost his attention, she grasped his chin, forcing him to look her. "I don't know what you went through, okay?" Glaring at him, she continued, "I honestly don't know why I responded to your letter, even. I could have given it to Sousuke and let him attack you under a guise of me compiling." Her eyes softened, briefly. "But I didn't, okay? Not all people are like you think. Sure, there are bad people, but there are also good people."

"Then what I am?" His brow furrowed. "For so long, I thought I was doing the right thing. That it didn't matter how many people I had to cut down. All that mattered was the goal. If I could reach it, everything would be made right."

"What goal?" Kaname's ears pricked at the term. "What do you mean? You're not making any sense."

"Resetting time." His voice was lethally quiet. "If I could reset time, where the Whispered didn't exist, where there was no Black Technology, then no one would lose their lives over fighting for them. My sister and I, the other Whispered, we wouldn't be hunted and kidnapped. We could be a family again."

Kaname bit her lip. It was stupid idea. Resetting time? What a joke. But now that she thought about it, if technology existed that would reset time, would she go for it?

Of course.

By any means.

Probably. She didn't know.

Thinking about it, though, and Leonard's words, it sorta clicked. If resetting time meant all the wrongs in the world would be undone, then you could start fresh.

But restarting fresh meant losing other things as well. It would mean losing friends, adventures, experiences otherwise never known before.

Actually daring to smile softly, Kaname replied, "Even so, it would only make everything meaningless."

She felt Leonard's head jerk at her voice. Looking directly at his face, she saw it all. For a brief, flicker of a moment, she did not see the cold-hearted killer. Instead, she saw a lost boy, terrified of the world, hurt…

Alone.

And then it was gone as confusion and anger swept across his face. "Meaningless? Everything is … meaningless. But—"

"Maybe I should bring it more into prospective." Not waiting for a reaction, she cupped his face into her own and, taking a deep breath, kissed him, as hard as she could. Every part of her was screaming to stop, to not befriend the enemy, to slap him like before, but she needed to remind herself of something.

He truly was no different than Sousuke. They both wanted to help people, in their own strange, odd ways. Were either right? Who knows? All that Kaname knew, however, that the path Leonard was taking would only lead to ruin.

She remembered Tessa's face, how it glowed lightly when she spoke of her brother, like a long-lost friend, and then the pain, after discovering what her brother had become.

Given the right circumstances, Kaname thought, if Sousuke and Leonard were to switch places, they'd be in reverse roles. But that didn't make them any less human.

Nope. Not one bit.

Pulling away a little too quickly, Kaname gave a smile. "See? If you reset time, you would have never got to kiss me twice. That's got to mean something, right?"

For once, Leonard was utterly, completely, horribly confused. Kaname expected that the guy was nutcase, but now she just thought of him as poorly misled.

"I—" Cupping his forehead with one hand, he shook his silver mane side-to-side. "I don't know what—I don't know what to do anymore."

"How about coming with me, first of all?"

Leonard saw the extended hand, gapping. "What do you—"

Sternness entering her tone, Kaname did her best to put on her best "strict mom" face. "If you promise to quit Amalgam. If you promise to help Mithril take down all the other terrorists. If you promise to never hurt another person again." There was pause, and then, "And if you promise to apologize to your sister, I'll take care of you."

A small smile twitched on his lips. "That's normally a man's job."

Kaname shrugged. "Whatever. Neither of us are normal, so it doesn't count."

Leonard chuckled. "You really mean it?"

Kaname nodded. "Of course. I don't make deals with people just to backstab them." Okay, maybe that wasn't entirely true, but then again, what he doesn't know won't hurt him. "So, do we have a deal?"

Safety wasn't really a priority of this mission, now that she thought about it. Of course, Sousuke, Kruz, and Mao just about threw a fit when they found out, but Tessa wasn't exactly complaining. The Lieutenant Commander wasn't happy either, but he seemed content after arrangements were made for their new double agent.

It was risky, actually, to have Leonard just quit Amalgam. Already high on the list of people to kill with his enemies, his only allies turning on him would make him N. #01 on everyone's hit list. So a story was made up. Leonard had managed to sway Kaname to join him, only if he didn't harm Sousuke. Arguably the most difficult situation for Leonard and Sousuke to agree with, but the paper fan quickly solved that and they moved on.

Leonard was currently on watch duty with Kaname, staying close to Mithril as a changed man. With a sister already ready with open arms, and another fellow Whispered siding with him, it made the perfect infiltration story. The guard duty posted on Leonard wasn't an act, at least not with Sousuke, but Amalgam's lower class bought their leader's words, hook, line, and sinker. And since no one was higher up than him, or at least willing to question him, Leonard got away with it.

And little did they know that their precious leader was selling every bit of information about them, all in a week's time of hours of interviewing (Sousuke was disappointed they didn't have to interrogate Leonard for Intel).

All and all, Kaname gave the job 'Mission Accomplished' status. Yeah, letting a known killer living with her in her own apartment wasn't exactly sound judgment, but then again, she was used to it by now.

Safety for her never seemed to be the priority, when it concerned other people.

If you asked her why she followed through with Leonard's request, she'd reply that something felt off with his tone in the letter. It was direct, simple, almost pleading. She couldn't turn it down, honestly, the more she thought about it. Maybe it was just reckless, but it turned out well in the end, right?

If you asked her why she reached out to Leonard, she would answer, with a blush, that he looked like a poor, kicked puppy. "Anyone with a heart couldn't turn a face down, the way he looked," she told Kruz during one such interview.

Of course, during that same interview, Leonard, sitting in the adjunct couch, voiced, "Oh, so now I look like a puppy? Your insults are turning into compliments."

Kaname rebuked him with a, "Shut up!" and a quick slap of her favorite paper fan. Kruz believed that is how she is able to keep the former terrorist at bay, quoting, "Seeing her pretty face all red like that, and seeing that flash of white, would make any man shake in his boots."

On Leonard's part, he has complied with each of Kaname's requests. He has gone as far as not even touching a handgun, knife, or any other sharp object that could be used as a lethal weapon (mostly Sousuke's during, as he doesn't let Leonard into the kitchen or anything else that could be used in combat). He never went into the da Danaan, all military interviews conducted at Kaname's residence (she was really getting used to people armed to the teeth appearing at random times, wishing to speak to 'Mr. Silver').

But what struck Kaname most of all with the overall, gradual change in Leonard's personality. Once cold, calculating, Tessa once told her he was regressing to his own persona, back before everything started going horribly wrong.

It was weird, actually. During the day, for the most part, he acted like his jackass self, especially towards Sousuke, but alone with her, he was soft-spoken, sweet, almost a gentleman. He didn't jump at every pin dropping, a nice change from Sousuke, but there were still plenty of rocks she had to deal with.

Most importantly, those odd nights where he would just stare out the window, silent tears mimicking the rain that would sometimes fall.

How she dealt with these grievances, well, that's a story for another time. Until then.