The hard, irregular granite surface crackles beneath my feet as I run across the empty streets of Ground Zero.

I adjust my gas mask, making sure it is tightly strapped to my face the entire run, as losing it up here would mean certain death. I gaze around, attentive to any foreign movement and noting that my partner is nowhere to be found. It upsets me a little that he wanders off so often when we go on missions, but as our mission for today is quite simply recognition, I attempt to not worry much about it.

I stop at an avenue and again sweep the place up, but I find nothing more than huge boulders and the occasional run down utility pole.

As I wander through the ruins of an ancient society, I cannot help but frown at my reflection on the mirrors that still, surprisingly, stand. It would have been much better if I was accompanied by a certain redhead. I glance at the walkie-talkie attached to my belt, but decide against calling my teammate.

Due to my inner struggle, it is a little too late that, from the corner of my eye, I detect movement, and I rapidly turn around and spot my first obstacle.

Still, I smile as I become aware of the unsteady figure coming my way, not even making an effort to hide myself from it since it would be truly pointless as the thing is hardly five meters away from my position.

I don't care, it has in fact been ten days since I have been on the upper level and I have been dying for a little gore and fun.

I repeat the drill in my mind once again: 'When in direct contact with a target, always contact your support team or companion'.

Nothing easier, I have done this a great number of times. I grab our little walkie-talkie and hit the button, preparing to report my position to my partner on the other side.

Suddenly the communicator is blown of my hand, as the beast throws itself at me and tries to bite his way towards my exposed throat. Taken by surprise I fall to the ground with it on top of me, grabbing his head to prevent it from getting to close to my precious neck, finding it extremely eerie that the beast does not release any kind of sound.

Fuck, I was so not ready for this. You see, I am not of those 'act before you think' type of guys. Do not get me wrong, I can strike up a plan of attack if needed be, but most of the times I concentrate on enjoying kicking someone's ass and not thinking about how I am going to do it.

I thought I had identified this type of monster correctly, but if it had been so, what just happened would have been impossible. His speed had been way too abnormal. The thing keeps pushing me down to the ground, but since it has no arms I take my chance and kick him hard, managing to pull him away from me.

It appears to be feeling disoriented now, as he balances his head from one side to another, while looking at the ground. I know it won't last long though, so I reach for my katana and wait for the moment he attacks again.

Suddenly, as I find him hardly more than a meter away from me, it stops. Confused, I watch as he turns his head around and looks as if he is searching for something. Or someone. Shit, Kagami, I remember bitterly. The beast starts to walk away, towards the opposite direction but I will die before I let anyone or anything put his filthy hands on my partner.

"Don't you fucking turn your back on my, you piece of shit!" I scream back at it, trying to get it to turn back around.

It is a bittersweet wish that I get granted fast. With surreal speed, it once again launches itself at my neck. I thought I was ready, but I guess I was wrong. It seems it was faster still than I first realized.

I close my eyes and raise my katana, aiming towards the monster's stomach, but it probably is too late.

I feel a burn in my left arm. Shit, the thing probably bit me. This wasn't how I was supposed to die, not in this useless, pathetic manner. I was meant to die while protecting the person I loved the most, it may sound cheesy but that is how I always pictured it. Faint traces of red gleaming eyes and smooth salty skin invade my mind. At least my last memories are pleasant.

"Are you going to just fucking stand there?"

Even his voice reaches me where I am. That rough, crude voice he so usually screams at me with. I think it is beautiful.

"Motherfucker, will you move already!"

The urgent tone in which the command is whispered rouses me and I cease to digress. Opening my eyes, I was never happier to see Kagami above me, staring down and offering me his hand. Well, except maybe when we are both horizontal rather than in our current vertical position. I gladly take his hand and rise to my feet.

"That was close, Aomine."

Even though he bears a gas mask and his voice comes out slightly muffled, it is easy to understand what he is saying. Maybe I am just growing used to it.

"What's so funny? It could have hurt you." I glance back at Kagami and realized I must have released a chuckle without meaning to.

I internally curse myself. I know how much he hates it when I laugh about such matters; it leaves him even more worried. He holds my stare for a moment before one more time turning his attention to the decrepit body standing between us.

The pounding in my arm catches my attention and I turn my gaze to it. I notice no bite mark on it and I do not believe I ever felt so relieved. My jacket is ripped in one spot and you can make out a scratch in my arm that is presently oozing off blood. Aware of the danger it represents in my current state I immediately cover it up with a piece of cloth I have in the pocket of my trousers.

"I had to throw a rock at the goddamn thing and it hit you."

I hum deep in my throat, accepting his explanation. I take it as his way of saying he is sorry and brush it off. It does not matter, as long as it got the job done. Either way the wound in arm had been exposed to the air for only a small amount of time, it should not bring complications.

Meanwhile the redhead is back to examining our recent killing. He kicks the disgusting thing's head, which now has a wide whole, probably due to the rock he threw at it. The skull, if you can call it that, collapses, releasing an almost imperceptible cloud of smoke, which without a doubt contains a foul stench, I am glad I cannot distinguish thanks to the gas mask attached to my face.

Kagami crouches down and waves the smoke away, even though we are both aware he can't smell it. As he inspects the monster's legs with a touch of his gun, his expression becomes darker, a slight frown now covering his face, turning the gaze in his eyes harder.

As I observe him I quickly voice what I recognize he is thinking.

"I've never seen one move so fast before."

My partner gets back on his feet and loads his gun. He ganders around suspiciously for a minute and finally his scrutinizing eyes stop on me.

"Neither have I. I'm pretty sure Sneakers aren't supposed to move like that."

I nod, acknowledging the truth in his words. The thing we just fought, according to our system of classification of its kind, is what we would call a Sneaker. Light on their feet, Sneakers have a tendency to, as their name implies, sneak up on their prey and aim for their vital spots. Most commonly, when one gets killed by a Sneaker, the fatal wound is found on the victim's jugular. Funny thing, as they are the only ones of their kind which do not speak. Or, to be more exact, grumble. I have never heard one of them speak before and I am not sure I want to.

However such methods only work for these beasts because they are slow, their velocity is so time-consuming that even a baby can easily out run them. Kagami is right, something is wrong. Have these creatures started to somewhat evolve? Or have we just missed these exceptions for these past twelve years? Sure, that is highly likely.

"You're sniggering again." The fact that I keep laughing at myself seems to leave my partner in distress.

"Let's just go back to Gromion." I offer, the growing concern in Kagami's face is starting to rub off on me, as it happens with just about anything when it comes to this guy.

The redhead starts to pace away, fastening his stride, which forces me to try a little harder to catch up to him. Suddenly Kagami stops and I bump my nose, or rather my stupid gas mask, into his shoulder.

I open my mouth to complain but he silences me by reaching out to scrub the part of my cheek, which is not covered by the mask, with his thumb.

"It didn't touch you, did it?"

"Ain't nothing nor no one touching me but you, baby." I flash him one of my confident, and I like to think seductive, grins.

I am pretty sure he cannot perceive it, but Kagami always tells me that when I give out such smirks, he can spot a glint in my eyes. I hope such glint is present right now because I want to assure he relaxes a little.

His fingers linger for what seems to be a long moment before he accepts my answer. I decide I cannot take it a minute longer. The fact that Kagami

"You protected me, babe. So now it's my turn to give you a little something back."

I grab his jacket and drag him closer to me, until our chests are pressed firmly against each other.

"You do know it's impossible for us to do anything up here, right?" Kagami's stifled voice only pushes me even further towards the edge, as I imagine the reason for that hushed tone being not the gas mask layering his mouth but the pillow of my bed, where he has his face buried in.

"I'd be happy to die this instant if my last moments were spent inside of you. Or with you inside of me." My grins boards so much I'm actually sure he can see my lips behind the gas mask.

Truth be told I have no idea what pleases me more, the mental picture I cast on myself of our naked, sweat licked bodies together, or the grunt I receive from Kagami as my gloved hands lead a path from his ribcage towards his nipples.

For a second Kagami submits to me, his sight on me hot and demanding, his face sweetly turning the same shade of red as his beautiful silky hair I so much love to caress. I continue to gaze into his unwilling eyes; until I pinpoint the moment he gains control of his needs and pushes me away slowly.

"Wait until we get to the base, you moron." He murmurs as he tidies up his clothes, which are now a tiny bit rumpled and turns around.

This time I am actually aware of the giggle that escapes my lips, but Kagami doesn't seem to mind it.

"Dammit, I was so close to convincing you."

When Kagami replies by chuckling, I am slightly taken aback. Once again he turns to face me and as I meet his gaze, I swear my legs started to tremble like I was an innocent maiden being courted by the handsome, chivalrous knight. The intensity in those shimmering rubies of his, added to the sultry tone of his voice just about burns me up.

"Let's hurry up and go back. I can't fuck you here and I'm pretty sure I'll go crazy if I don't do it soon enough."