Fire. That was the world that the young boy was brought into. It may have not been true in the literal sense, but as the boy wandered through the burning streets, all traces of his past were consumed by the flames. He could vaguely hear the cries of despair and pain around him, but he did not truly listen to it. It merely sunk into his being as he walked forward, step by step, headless of the cries of the dying, of the desolation around him, of his own wounds and burns that gradually slowed his forward march. The boy only barely noticed when his legs gave out underneath him and he collapsed to the ground on his back.
It was the fire that created him. And like a flame, he was going to be extinguished.
However, that was not to be. As the boy stared up at the dull orange sky created by the flames and the clouds, a face moved into his vision. It was a man's face, with short brown hair and empty eyes. There was no expression on the man's face for the longest moment. Then, the man smiled.
It was not a pleasant or happy smile. Even in the boy's current state, he could tell that it was not a smile that people should have. It was a twisted, cruel thing that only took joy in the suffering of others. Given the multitude of thing the boy could have thought of before unconsciousness took him, it is odd that he thought the thing he did.
Maybe the fire exists to burn things like that…
Takami was, to put it mildly, pissed. The various airport personnel who happened to be in the service hallway with her noticed the woman's mood and swiftly moved out of her way. To be fair, that might have also been due to Karasuba, as the Black Sekirei was walking behind her and idly playing with her katana, but either way it suited the scientist just fine. One of their new experimental DNA scanners at the airport had pick up something of an anomaly with one of the passenger's, finding a partial match with herself. Even though the technology was new, there was no way that it could be an accident or coincidence, so Takami was on her way with the leader of the Disciplinary Squad to interrogate the man and find out what the hell was going on.
As she thought about possibilities, a memory came unbidden, and she felt a sharp pang of pain before she suppressed the idea. No, don't be foolish, Takami thought to herself, he died a long time ago.
Went she got to the room and opened the door, she was somewhat surprised by what she saw. The man in question was quite tall, fairly young, and had a spiky mass of red hair on his head. He appeared to be clothed like a priest, save for the dark red overcoat he wore on top of it. However, the most striking feature about him was the burns. Most of his body was clothed, but Takami could see several burn marks on his face, a few of which seemed to extend down past his collar. Despite the marks, they didn't seem to detract from man's appearance, instead giving him a somewhat wild look.
Takami was also somewhat surprised by the sight of a woman in the room with him before remembering that the report said he had a companion. She was a short thing, with blond hair done up in a bun and brilliant green eyes. She was wearing a simple blouse and skirt combination.
The man turned to Takami with a slightly irritated expression. "Are you the ones here to diagnose the mechanical error?" he said, without a hint in his tone that he was anything more than innocent.
Takami felt her anger rise at this, and responded with a snort "Cut the crap." As she walked up to the table and set up her laptop, Karasuba walked into the room and went to lean in the opposite corner. Both the man and woman stared at the Sekirei as she did so, though the man returned his gaze to the scientist after a moment. Takami continued "Who are you and what were you trying to pull with this little stunt?" She idly notice that the woman continued to stare at Karasuba, and had gradually positioned herself between the man and the Sekirei.
However, Takami thoughts on the matter were interrupted when the man did something she did not expect: he smiled. "Finally, something interesting. Do you have any idea how boring it is to wait for two hours in a completely beige room with nothing but old magazines? We had to find our own entertainment until you arrived. It's almost worth whatever misguided idea you seem to have about me."
An eyebrow twitched on Takami's face at his blatant disregard for the situation. "I said cut the crap. Now tell me who you are and just who you work for."
The man arched an eyebrow at her. "Well, you are certainly worked up about something. Very well, my name is Shirou Kotomine, and who I work for, if you can't tell by my attire, is the Roman Catholic Church."
The white haired woman gave another snort at this as she sat down at her laptop and began pulling up the information the DNA Sequencer took from this man. She didn't believe him for one second, as Shirou didn't exactly strike her as the religious type for one thing. For another…
Takami was never what she would consider a people person. She was always far more interested in science and technical things to really go beyond talking to other scientist. However, she had spent the last twenty or so years in the company of members of an alien species, so she could say that she had a fair understanding of what they were like. Shirou, to put it simply, reminded her of a Sekirei more than a human. There were a number of little things, but mostly it was the eyes and smile. As far as she could tell the smile was genuine and warm, but the eyes didn't quite match it. To be sure, there was warmth in the eyes too; it was just that there was something else deep inside those amber pools, something inhuman. She couldn't quite place it, but she knew that the person in front of her wouldn't quite act like a normal human being.
There were a few moments before she pulled up the information she needed. She briefly scanned over it before she blinked in surprise when she saw that Shirou's DNA was also a partial match for Minaka as well. Thoughts of her lost son welled up inside of her before she ruthlessly crushed it again. Takami knew it was irrational, but she felt it was this man's fault for opening old wounds, which was probably why she didn't think very hard before saying "Karasuba. Please get the truth out of him."
"With pleasure, Taka-" That was as far as she got before a loud slam echoed through the room. Looking up from the laptop, the scientist was shocked to find the blond woman standing in front of Karasuba, her hand pressed on the pommel of the Black Sekirei's sword. The still sheathed blade was now wedged into the corner Karasuba was leaning in just a moment ago, her hands on the sheath and hilt clearly showing that she had been drawing it just a moment before. For her part, the alien looked just as shocked as Takami felt, her eyes wide as she stared at the smaller woman in front of her. The blonde was still, with only the light swish of her crimson skirt indicating that she had moved at all.
"I will not let you lay a hand on my Praetor, woman." The blonde said imperiously as she stared the swordswoman down.
The expression of shock left Karasuba, and was quickly replaced by one of manic glee. Takami knew that look. It meant that if something wasn't done soon, the walls of the room would become shade redder in a few moments.
It was Shirou of all people who intervened. "Now Nero, let's not get too lively. As interesting as I am sure it would be, it would be a terrible inconvenience later if thing got out of hand."
The now named Nero looked at Shirou for a moment before her expression softened a bit, and she released her grip on the pommel. She turned back to Karasuba and said "It seems that our performance shall have to wait till another day."
The Sekirei relaxed a bit as well, thought the grin didn't leave her face. "Oh yes," she replied. "I'll be looking forward to it."
Shirou turn back to Takami. "Now with that settled, why don't you ask me what you want to know. I appreciated your enthusiasm, but I assure you it's unnecessary."
"Uh, right." Takami said, a little off balance due to the scene that unfolded before her. She gave a sidelong glance at Nero and said "Interesting company you have."
Shirou looked at the woman with a proud and loving smile. "She is the light of my life. I shudder to think what I may have become without her."
The white haired woman arched an eyebrow at this somewhat romantic statement. "I thought you were a priest?"
"Oh no, I'm just a deacon."
There was a soft huff from Nero and a mutter of "Like I would ever let you take a vow of celibacy…" before Shirou walked back over and took a seat opposite Takami. "Now please, ask your questions."
She took a moment to collect herself before continuing. "Name?"
"Purpose of visiting Japan?"
"I am in fact a resident, and merely returning from a trip."
"Reason for leaving?"
"I needed to go the Vatican for spiritual guidance and to receive my next assignment."
"Shin Tokyo of course. I'm here to help set up some churches within the city."
"What exactly does that mean?"
"Oh , you know, organizing charities, scouting land and contracts, burning heretics-"
"Wait, what was that last one?"
Shirou gave a laugh. "I was just kidding." He said, although Takami wasn't quite sure if he was telling the truth or not. "In any case, I could give you some contact information if you want to verify this."
"Yes." Takami said as she wrote all this down at a rapid pace. After getting the contact information, she decided to switch gears. "Name of parents?"
"I was adopted by one Kirei Kotomine."
"Then Kotomine is the adopted family name?"
"Yes, though it would seem that I am the only one left to bear it. I'm afraid my adopted father died when his Church burned down." Somehow, Shirou didn't seem particularly saddened by this fact.
"I'm… sorry for your loss." Takami said evenly.
"Don't be. He was a terrible excuse for a human being." Was the casual reply.
Takami heisted for a moment before continuing. "Name of biological parents?"
"I don't remember."
Takami paused, this time in confusion. She had been expecting something more definitive then that, for reasons she was not quite sure of. As such, the answer had mentally derailed her for a moment. "What do you mean you don't remember?"
Shirou gave a sigh. "Do you remember the Fukuyi City fire?" Takami's heart skipped a beat at this, but he didn't seem to notice. "Well, I was found a block from ground zero the night it happened by Kirei. I'm still not entirely sure just why he saved me to this day, but I suppose I'm grateful that he did. I can't remember anything about my past the day before that night, so my biological family most likely died. The doctors said it wasn't unexpected that I received memory loss from experiencing a trauma like that at such a young age."
No. No it couldn't be. Takami quickly accessed the internet to find a map of the damage for the Fukuyi fire, and upon finding one, looked for the center of the fire and the location of her mother's house. Her little Minato had been staying with her mother when he had the chicken pox, and the fire had taken them both from her. She had looked in every hospital she could find for him, but had never found anything. Looking at the map, she saw that the house was close enough to the center of damage to work with his story.
She looked back at Shirou's face, looking for any signs of her Minato. It was hard to tell, with the difference in age and the burn marks, though she thought she saw some similarities. The hair was another indicator, as Minato also had that unusual shade of red. Still, it could just be coincidence, however unlikely. Looking closer at his hair, she managed to spot a single white one amide the red.
Her heart stopped and the color drained from her face as the realization hit her. Shiro-chan. The nickname she had given her son for all times he had found a new white hair on her head. In that moment she realized that this was her son, and why she had never found him.
Meanwhile, the man across from here was looking at her with some concern. "Um, are you alright? You suddenly went pale."
Takami collected herself as best she could, and after getting him to breathe into the machine a second time, she explained to him the partial match and who the database contained.
For the first time since she met him, Shirou was stunned. "Wait, you're saying my parents are… alive. Who are they?"
Takami hesitated for a moment before taking out her phone, bringing up an old family picture and showing it to him.
There was a long silence as Shirou stared at the photo. Takami wondered how he would react. She got her answer when he looked back up at her, with watery eyes and a smile on his face.
"Mother…" he said, and then with surprising speed he rounded the table and wrapped her in a hug.
Intellectually, she knew that it was rather silly for him to accept the crazy situation so fast. He should be demanding evidence, waiting for proof before he acted on anything. Hell, she knew she should wait until getting some more blood tests done to be sure before she accepted it. But, at that moment, she couldn't do that. At that moment, her Minato was back in her arms again.
It had been a long time since she cried like that.
Karasuba had watched the mother and son reconnect with no small amount of boredom. She couldn't care less about the whole thing, and they had spent over two hours talking to each other about pointless things before Takami had excused herself to make some phone calls.
The small woman, Nero was her name, walked up to Shirou with a contented smile on her face. "Beautifully done. A truly touching display of a reuniting of a long lost son with his mother. Oh, and I am of course happy for you."
Ah, now this woman was far more interesting. She had moved far faster than any human should have to block her draw. Not only that, she had strength to keep her from drawing after that as well. Combine that with the fact that she had stared Karasuba down without hesitation, the Black Sekirei knew she had found something more than a mere human in that small frame.
Shirou gave his companion to a dry smile. "Nice to know that my emotional well being is aesthetically pleasing."
"Meh, I found it kinda boring" Karasuba remarked, trying to get a rise out of the two.
It worked, as Nero gave the Sekirei a disdainful look. "Hm. It's clear that you have no appreciation for art. I shall have to show you what true art is the day we cross blades."
"Oh, so you're a swordsman are you?" Karasuba remarked as she slowly drew her blade. "So why don't you show me your sword now?"
"Now now ladies, this isn't the time for fighting." Shirou said as he put himself between the two. "I'm sure that the opportunity will arise again later."
"And what if I want to play now?" Karasuba asked, leveling her sword at the man.
Shirou quickly put his hand out to stop Nero from getting between them before turning back to Karasuba. "I know that you probably don't consider me much of a threat, but I would advise that you revise that opinion."
"And why's that?"
He stepped forward and gently took the blade between two of his fingers. "Because you're far from the first creature to do so. I don't know what you are, but I know you not human. I've seen plenty things like you, things that think they can play with humanity all they want because we're too weak to stop you. And do you know what humanity does to such creatures?"
A manic smile spread on his face, his teeth bared and Karasuba could swear she could see small flames flicker in the back of his eyes. "We burn them."
A moment later, it passed. Shirou stepped back, and was to all appearances a simple man of the cloth. He gave the Sekirei a small smile before taking Nero's hand and waking out into the hall.
Karasuba stared after him for a moment before sheathing her blade. Or at least, she tried to, but the sword only went in a few inches before getting stuck. Frowning, she took it out and looked at it. Her eyebrows went up upon finding that the blade had somehow become warped, as if it had been subjected to a great heat and deformed.
An even wider grin split her face. It looks things were about to get more interesting in Shin Tokyo.