Reminder: When a character is speaking in parentheses, they're speaking in English.

"We forge the chains we wear in life"

-Charles Dickens


"Ungh…" Yokozawa groaned as he lied on the ground of the underground tunnel along with Ritsu. Tears escaped the corners of his eyes as he tightened his hold on Ritsu's hand. His broad torso was still wrapped in bandages from his earlier attack.

"Nn…" The woman with bandages wrapped around her eyes softly hummed at the duo. She lied next to Yokozawa and calmly stroked his dark hair. Since the incident at the hotel that happened about an hour ago, Yokozawa's hair had grown at a stunning rate where his locks had now reached his chin.

"…?!" The room shook as a large explosion went off in the distance. A loose section of stone above the group had plummeted down towards them. Before it could even get close, the woman pulled out her flask full of water. The water shot out of the cap in a straight line towards the falling debris. As soon as the long line of water streamed through the cluster of debris, it quickly expanded into a wide tube and the thrust all of the debris into the surroundings. Many holes were in the walls and ground as a result but the group was left unscathed.

However, there was a single stone left in the air that the water didn't hit. The woman grabbed it out of the air before it could land on Yokozawa. She nonchalantly held it in her hand, blew off the dust and took a hefty bite out of the piece of earth.

"Mmm…" After chewing and swallowing, she took another bite. Specks of pebbles slipped out of the corner of her mouth whenever she took a bite but she didn't seem to care.

"…!" She was so engrossed in her 'food' that she had to failed to notice that Ritsu had gotten up.

"Hah…" Ritsu was up and awake. Dark shadows rested underneath his dim emerald eyes as he tried to register the situation before he staggered over to the nearby tunnel, holding a hand to his damaged shoulder. The bleeding had stopped completely but he held onto it as if in pain. His head bobbed from left to right as he walked, letting his shoulder length hair tap against his cheeks. "Takano-san…"

"…" The woman only stood across the room.

"Hah…" Sharp fangs were prominently shown as he exhaled.

"…!" The girl tried to stop him but a sudden jolt of electricity came out of his body and stunned her for a moment. When she recovered, she ran at him again but it was pointless. A wall of ice had sealed the entrance of the tunnel that Ritsu exited into.

"Hmph…" She crouched down in front of the wall and readied herself into a running position.

I feel so broken…

Chains pounded against the floor as I walked down the stony path. Stone buildings came and went as I continued onward. My sandals clacked with each step I took. My long braid swung from left to right as I walked on. As I walked down the long street, nobody paid me any attention. My shackles were such a normal thing to see that all of the people, women and men alike, that I had come across only saw them as an everyday part of life.

The outfit I generally wore now was a type of red robe that went down to my knees along with a long navy blue jacket that had the orange initials of 'AF' on the shoulder. The robe was much more well-made than I had originally expected. I had imagined slave clothing to be more ratty and dull but this outfit was the complete opposite. Considering the fact that I wore shackles all the time, I couldn't wear anything like pants. Since there would be times where it got cold down here, I had gotten dark leggings that would reach all the way up to my thighs. However, even after three months of this new lifestyle, I still can't get used to the breeze that comes between my legs as I walked…

Before I stepped into the large building that was my destination, I looked upwards.

Right above this large underground city was a dimming dome of green light. It's been around for about two months now. With it, there was little worry about the experiments that wandered around the nearby tunnels. However, the fact that it's dimming sent pangs into my chest.

"…" I gritted my teeth as I looked away and walked inside. I walked into a large scale dining hall that was about half full of residents from the city. The long wooden tables they sat at had spanned the entire length of the room. Many of them, slaves included, had heartily chowed down on their meals. A few of them I had gotten acquainted with had spotted me and did light nods and I repeated the gesture before heading to the kitchen.

The kitchen was never hard to miss since its unforgettable scents would waft throughout the hallway. When I walked in, I was greeted by the familiar sight of dead poultry hanging onto the side of wall. There were many pots and pans lined up on a counter next to a sink that were ready for washing. The kitchen was a bit messy in general but it added to the charm.

"This is what he needs, sir." I held up the slip of paper to Davi, the cook that was readjusting his brown apron. His long dark hair was tightly tied back. I had already gotten used to his dark eye patch and he seemed to be the most lighthearted out of all the men I met down here. Whenever I was nearby him, I would always smell a soft scent of lemon. Oddly enough, I felt a little relaxed whenever this scent came through my nose.

"(Geez, Blair… you're supposed to be our fearless leader but you're quite the health nut…)" He lightly shook his head as he read the note over. As he read, his blue eyed partner Bennett decided to look at me from head to toe. His rose shaped tattoo that was on his left cheek had oddly changed color from time to time. It was usually red for most days but today was the rarity where it would be green. It really stuck out on his tanned skin.

"(Well, you do look thicker than before when you first came here but you're still a bit too scrawny for my liking… Maybe I should find a way for vegetables to have some more protein too…)" Bennett mentioned. "(I don't really get how those vegetarians have the energy to do anything without any meat in their diet. Most of the soil up on the surface is already depleted of vital minerals so those surface vegetables really don't have much in them. I really wish those surface people would know better… At least try to use the topsoil more efficiently…)" He continued to mutter more things to himself as he paced around the kitchen.

"(Um, sir…)" I never thought that people could be that talkative…

"(Snap out of it, already…)" Davi told as he tapped Bennett on the shoulder.

"(Maybe… no…)" Bennett continued to murmur to himself and walk around the kitchen. Losing his patience, Davi marched over to Bennett.

"…!" Balling his hands up into fists, Davi pounded them into the sides of Bennett's head. Bennett's short black hair brushed up against Davi's fists as he started turning his wrists.

"Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow!" Bennett yelled out in pain. He was loud enough for even the people in the dining hall to hear. I even had to cover my ears considering how painful the noise was. Bennett grabbed Davi's hands to stop him but it looked it was no use when he was brought to his knees. His eyes were crunched up in pain for a few more moments until Davi decided to let go.

"(Are you awake now?)" Davi asked with a twitching smile.

"…" Not saying anything, Bennett had nodded and got up. The duo went over to the nearby sink and washed their hands. As they washed their hands, Davi told Bennett the list of ingredients that he needed for the dinner. When he was done washing, Bennett quickly went to the next room to get the ingredients.

"(Your meals are coming up, doll face.)" Bennett told me as he came back in the room with a bundle of vegetables.

"…" I tried to ignore that last comment but I couldn't. As they cooked the meal, I sat down at a nearby bench. I poked and rubbed my cheeks in curiosity over the course of the next thirty minutes. How is my face a doll face?

"(You know, if you play your cards right you'll be able to get those shackles off of those pretty legs. You two seem to be the few that can ever really get close to Blair so that could happen at any time.)" Bennett had called out. When his deep voice had echoed throughout the kitchen, I immediately dropped my hands from my face with hope that he didn't notice.

"(Yeah… right…)" Unfortunately, Blair and I've gotten too close for my liking. Not that I'll ever tell him that. My stomach started growling at the warm scent wafting into my nose. Davi was such an amazing cook that there was a large spiel of rumors about him throughout the city. Most of these rumors consisted of how his food always came out so delicious through means such as associating with the devil…

"(The man can still be a dick at times but I can tell that he's starting to lighten up.)" Davi hummed as he scooped up the soup with his ladle and poured it into three separate bowls. "(Here you go.)" I nodded off at the two cooks as I grabbed the bowls of soup. One bowl of soup was placed on my head while I held the other two in my hands. It wasn't really that hard to keep my balance since much of my training back at home surrounded balance.

Despite the rocky look that the buildings meant for housing had on the outside, the vast majority of them had a subtle elegance in their interiors. There was usually some type of red carpet that lined the floors and most sources of lighting came from shiny chandeliers. It always felt as if I was walking through a castle whenever I entered one of these buildings.

"Mister Ritsu…" I heard Iris' light voice as I entered my master's dining room. Wearing a similar attire to me, she sat at the dining table across from the blue eyed man who was now my master. Walking over, I noticed the little feet dangled over the floor since Iris was kind of small for the seats. Every time I looked at her feet, I felt a sense of relief knowing that she didn't have to be bound by chains like I currently am. I didn't even feel like questioning it. The old bruises that she had gotten from wearing those shackles back in that prison had finally faded away so there's no sign of her ever wearing any shackles.

"Are you alright?" I gently asked. She nodded in reply as I looked her over. She has more weight than before but I can tell that her eyes are starting to dull out. She was still cheerful even after everything that happened during the trial but I guess it's because of that…

"…Yes, I'm alright." She told. Her long black hair was tied back into a tight side braid. Her slippery hair usually had the habit of getting in the way of eating her food so Blair took the liberty of doing her hair before meals. He never struck me as the type to do delicate tasks like that but he proved otherwise. It's so strange though. Whenever Iris has her hair like that, her blue eyes sprinkled with gold were more apparent. Despite what she currently wore, she always came off as some kind of princess from a fairytale…

"Eat up, ok?" I softly patted her on the head as I settled down in my seat across from Blair. He had a stony look in his face as usual but I could tell that it softened at the sight of Iris' shaking shoulders.

"…" She stole a quick glance at Blair before he gave her a nod and started to eat. The meal proceeded in complete silence over the course of the next thirty minutes. In the midst of eating, my mind started wandering and I thought about the current situation.

It's already been three months since we've been here…

My strength had completely disappeared after that first night with Blair. It's so ironic though. All my life, I wanted to be normal and get rid of that strength I had and now it's gone. I don't have any other means of escape because of that. Actually, Blair's one of the few people here that knew about my heritage and for some odd reason, whenever someone would ask him about me, he would brush them off.

Of course, I had an idea of why considering what happened on our first night. At that thought, I inwardly shuddered at the memories of those experiments. All those children… I didn't know they were…

"Oh, right..." Blair dabbed the napkin on his mouth before setting it down. "She doesn't have much time left. You can go visit her if you'd like."

"…" As soon as we finished our food, I went to grab all of the bowls like I usually did. However, I was stopped this time. I noticed Blair waving his hand at the door and quickly realized the meaning of it. Grabbing Iris' hand, we smoothly bowed. "Thank you…"

"…" The last thing I heard before we left the room was a very deep and solemn sigh.


"Onii-chan, don't look so sad…" A soft voice had called out.

On the bed was a young teenage girl who looked to be only a few years younger than me. Her long brown hair had trailed all the way down to her thin waist. Light brown eyelashes delicately tapped against the high cheekbones of her small face when she occasionally blinked. Despite how weak she looked, her pale green eyes lovingly looked on at Kanade holding a baby in his arms.

"But Kaede, you're…" He whimpered. In the past two and a half months since we found Kaede, it seemed that Kanade had lost weight. Night and day, he'd stay by her side and watch over her. He'd rarely ever eat and Davi was usually the one tasked to keep him in line with his meals, which I've noticed to be a very tough job. One of the main reasons was in his arms.

"Nn…" The little baby in Kanade's arms shuffled in her sleep. She was wrapped up in a pale green blanket and only her small head would peak out of it. The small tuft of platinum blonde hair on her head brushed up against Kanade's torso.

"You're going to…" Little tears escaped the corners of Kanade's closed eyes as he lowered his head.

She's going to die.

Kaede turned out to be a victim of those experiments. She already had a weak body but the surplus of chemicals injected into her body became her undoing. She was originally sold to someone from a wealthy family but they wound going bankrupt. However, everything got worse when that man came into the picture…


That's the name of the man that experimented on me, Tsuri, Taka-pyon, and even this girl. She was just aimlessly walking the streets before he found and took her away. He's basically a sign of death whenever he appears. She was already pregnant with the son of that family's child, but it didn't seem to stop Janus…

Actually, I knew about her unfortunate series of events before she even told anyone.

The truth is, soon after Kaede had shown up, she and I established some sort of weird connection. It appeared she created this out of her own free will. However, one of the main side effects of this odd link was that we shared each other's memories. Not just little bits of our memories though, I mean that the entirety of our lives became a part of one another. I knew exactly what happened to her during the experiments and needless to say, she knew what happened to me. I had also seen flashes of a person that was most likely the person I was looking for. However, it's only a feeling I have. Kaede's vision was pretty blurry throughout most of the time she had spent with Janus.

"Miss Kaede… I'm sorry…" Iris murmured. Her blue eyes filled with golden flecks had gone moist as she shook her head. I grabbed her little shoulder to calm her down but she just repeated the same words. "I'm sorry…"

"Onii-chan is my hero…" She softly said.

"Eh?" Iris and Kanade looked back up ay Kaede, both of them having streaks of tears on their cheeks.

"I can't count how many times I'd almost given up on life…" She solemnly told as she looked up at the ceiling. "'Somebody, anybody, please just end me,' is what I'd used to ask to the sky I couldn't see."


"But if I died, I wouldn't be able to see you again, onii-chan. That's what I realized." She had said with a very warm smile. "You're my hero, onii-chan… Asha's too…"


"What a shame though…" She softly moaned. "I even wanted to introduce you to Yang…"

"I'd have beaten his ass the moment I saw him…" Kanade hissed. "It's his fault you're like this…"

"…" Knowing I couldn't respond in Kaede's place since Kanade didn't know about our link, I could only keep quiet. Yang was the heir to the rich family that took in Kaede. The memories of what happened between Kaede and Yang clearly showed that he was Asha's father…

"That's definitely not true…" A sparkle of happiness shone in Kaede's pale green eyes. "I really did love him and the fact that Asha's alive is proof that he loved us."

"What… what do you mean?" Kanade murmured in disbelief.

"If any of you ever meet him, you'll know at first glance." She grasped at the black yin charm that was resting at the base of her necklace. "But tell him, 'Thank you for loving me!' for me. Ok?"

"…" Complete dread had filled everyone's chests as we saw Kaede take off the necklace and give it to Kanade. Knowing what I know, it's highly unlikely that Yang is even alive at this point. If he was even unfortunate enough to survive, then there's still no way of even conveying Kaede's message to him. No matter how I looked at it, Kaede was…

"Just hang on!" I bolted up out of my chair. "The others are still working on it! They can still save you…"

"…" She looked at me with warmness in her tired eyes. Kaede slowly opened her mouth and mouthed out a few words that I couldn't understand. If she was getting tired of speaking, couldn't she just use our link?

"Miss Kaede…?" Iris got out of her chair as she took a closer look at Kaede. I was already noticing how dim my link to Kaede was getting but could Iris have noticed something else? Kanade was about to stop Iris from bothering Kaede but we were stunned when Iris quickly lifted the sheets.

"Kaede?!" All of our eyes had gone wide as we saw Kaede's hands literally turning into white stone. "Kaede!"

"I'm going to get a doctor!" I announced as I charged out the door. At first glance, it looked like there was no sign of life throughout the hallway. Knowing I didn't have much time, I charged down it and called out for any doctors. However, it seemed that there were only other patients that were in the ward. Stealing looks at each door's small window, it looked like most of them were already sleeping.

"I don't have much time left so let me say this…" Her light voice had echoed in my mind.

"I don't need your farewells. You're going to be fine…" I huffed out as my chains pounded against the floor. However, I could hardly believe my own words at this point. When has this hallway gotten so long? Have I always been this slow? I should've found a doctor at this point… maybe they're still at that board meeting I've been hearing about. If that's the case, I'll have to head downstairs.

"Ritsu, thank you…" She weakly whispered in my mind. "If it weren't for you, I wouldn't have been able to protect everyone…to be able to have had the best two months I've had in a long time…"

"Don't thank me, idiot!" I yelled out with tears blurring my vision. I stole a glance at a passing window to see the dimming barrier that surrounded the city. I looked away and frantically charged forward as the salty water trailed down my chin. "It's my fault you wound up like this!"

If Janus hadn't stolen my genetic map, things wouldn't have gotten like this. Kaede wouldn't be putting up this barrier for us and letting herself die in the process. It didn't matter to me that it was for a good reason, I just don't want a precious friend to die.

"Don't call it a fault..." She sadly told as I entered a nearby lab room. I quickly checked to see if there were any doctors but there were no signs of them. As soon as I checked, I headed out and charged down the hallway again for the stairs. "Rather, I should apologize for creating this link with you. It became really troublesome for you, hasn't it? I'm sorry…"

"I was happy!" I cried out as I wiped away the tears overflowing down my cheeks. A new wave of tears still managed to break through though. "I was unbelievably scared of what people would think if I revealed everything about myself! If it wasn't for you…!"


"But I knew that the reason you wanted to link to me was because you didn't want to feel alone. It's sucks to be alone, right...?" I told. "If you felt any kind of comfort from making the link then that makes me even happier…!"

"I see..." She softly murmured. "Thank you. That makes me really happy…"

"…" Just why haven't I gotten there yet? I should be faster than this! My chains continued to pound against the hard floor as I continued down the hallway. I turned corner after corner but there were still no signs of any stairs. I've been in this hospital so many times that I should know where they are…

"Treasure the memories. Not just this memory you'll have, but everything. Memories are what make us do everything we do, after all." She told with pain in her now faint voice. "I think… that'll make you stronger. Even unbreakable to someone like Janus…"

"…Fine!" I shouted with a dry pain in my throat. The sides of my face were completely damp with my new tears. I probably looked like a mess at this point but I didn't care. "I'll take in everything and become stronger! I'll become strong enough to give Janus payback for what he's done to everyone a billion times over! I'll be everyone's hero!"

"…!" I felt her disappear.

There was no trace of her in my mind. She was just gone and time felt like it was slowing down for a moment. My head felt so cold at the loss of her presence. It had gotten so cold in that instant that I had suddenly snapped.

"NOOO!" Losing all sense of self-awareness, I screamed at the top of my lungs. I dashed down the seemingly infinite hallway.

"…!" Soon enough, I crashed into a solid and warm wall. Firm arms wrapped around me as the familiar body I had crashed into had backed up a little bit. I looked up to see that familiar tan face and powerful blue eyes. I must've seriously looked like a wreck because Blair looked extremely surprised when he looked me over. Nobody how much I tried, my body kept shaking as I gripped the sides of my aching head and pressed my face into his hard chest. I thought I had heard the sound of electricity for a moment but I was so out of it that I couldn't tell.

"Keep it together!" He told me before he looked out the window to see that the protective dome around us was starting to shatter. "The barrier…"

"It's Kaede!" I wheezed, grasping at the front of Blair's shirt. "She's…!"

However, it was already too late…


"…" Walking down the tunnel, I heard small prayers coming from my master's men. None of them held up their hands for any actual form of prayer but I know what they were basically saying. Soon enough, the tunnel opened up to an open field. It was one of the few areas where the high ceiling would be open to the sky. These areas would usually be used as farming fields but this was the only one that didn't have that purpose. According to the rumors, this field was considered holy ground…

The warm colored light from the setting sun had peered through and coated the entire area. To be honest, the sight of it sickened me. Kaede won't be able to look at the sky anymore. However, I'm sticking it out as her casket and Kanade came into sight. Kanade's back was to me as he kneeled on the ground in front of the casket and sobbed to himself. In front of him was the beautifully made white casket that had the image of a dove and owl dancing in flight carved onto its stone cover. The sight of the casket itself felt painful to me since the person inside was also the same shade of white…

"(Rest peacefully...)" In the end, I just focused on the quickly going through the ceremony at hand and paid my respects. As soon as everybody had placed a flower around the casket, it was quickly buried.

"…" After the ceremony, I looked around for all the sources of alcohol within the vicinity. Despite the fact that most of the men down here disapproved of people my age drinking, today was the exception. Grabbing as many jugs of beer as I could, I sat down at a bench all by myself. I chugged down one beer after another, frustrated when I found no sign of even getting tipsy.

"(I had heard that her body had calcified but…)" A man at a nearby table murmured.

"(It's still pretty unbelievable.)" Another said.

"(…You can't help but feel a little jealous though.)" One of them murmured. "(When we die, we'll just disappear into bubbles…)"

"…" I couldn't help but sigh at the man's words as I inhaled another jug of beer. More and more wounds seemed to be opening today so I'm going to need as much alcohol as I could get.

"(Sorry, I really shouldn't be speaking of the dead like that…)"

Most of the men here are going to have to go out tomorrow for the clean up. With Kaede gone, there's nothing to prevent the experiments from trying to overrun the city. There's a low mortality rate from that kind of mission since nearly everybody is used to fighting. However, there's still depression in the air from the fact that a young girl was taking on such a large burden over the course of two months.

Kaede was safest within the city, where the doctors were best caretakers for her case. She could've stopped making the barrier at any time but she chose not to. I always felt that there was some other reason that she kept the barrier up so desperately but I could never figure it out. Kaede managed to block me out whenever I tried to peer inside her for the answer.

Really… what was she really she trying to protect us from?


"Kanade…" I knocked on the door for Kanade's room. I waited for a little bit but there was no sign of him coming to the door. "I'm coming in…" Seeing that it was unlocked, I turned the doorknob and cautiously walked into the semi-dark room.

I spotted his broad back at the corner of the room. There was a single lit candle on the nightstand next to the bed that he sat on. I sat on the other side of the bed and shuffled up to Kanade's back. I felt relieved that he was here since nobody had spotted him since the funeral. He emanated the strong scent of alcohol but I didn't really mind since I had my fair share of it.

"…Please leave." He murmured as he lowered his messy head. Instead of doing what he asked, I did the opposite and ringed my arms around Kanade's waist. I knew that he had gotten thinner over the course of Kaede's time with us but holding him had let me know just how thin he had gotten…

"I've been a victim of the same man." I bluntly told as I rested my head onto Kanade's back. As soon as I had ringed my arms around him, I felt his hands try to pry them open until I had made that statement.

"Eh?" Kanade's head shot up from my confession and he slightly turned to look at me.

"Even now, killing him is my largest goal. Him and everybody else that's helped him get to this point." I told as I lightly tightened my hold around him. "I'm going to tear them all apart until there's nothing but a sea of blood…" I felt him shudder for a moment in my hold.

"Why… are you telling me this?" He asked.

"I can tell what you're thinking…" I told, earning a flinch from his broad shoulders. "If you die, how are you going to fulfill Kaede's wish? What about Asha? What about the rest of us?"

"What are you expecting from me then?!" He suddenly yelled. "I'm not nearly as strong as you or even Iris…"

"…I'm not strong." I murmured as I loosened my hold around him. Where the hell did he get that idea?

"Liar…" His body quaked in anger before he bolted off the bed with his chains banging against the ground and turned around. "Don't fuck with me…!"

He pounced at me but I didn't bother to move. I was pushed down onto the firm bed as he held a firm grip on my wrists. My braid uncomfortably pressed into the back of my head as it pointed in another direction. I could feel the end of my long braid go off the end of the narrow bed, probably touching the ground.

"…" He loomed over me with Kaede's dark charm dangling from his neck. Despite his weight loss, Kanade still had a more masculine build than I did. His entire body managed to nearly cover my field of vision so I could only see a portion of the ceiling. However, I kept my focus onto his face and his pale green eyes bore into mine. This was the first time I had ever seen his beautiful eyes and I wasn't fazed in the slightest.

"…You've always picked yourself up after something happens." He told as a single tear escaped the corner of his eye. "I wish I had that kind of strength… I wish I was more like you…"

"Trust me, you don't want to be me..." I looked away when I saw the shock in Kanade's face. This was one of the main aspects that I envied of other people in this world. Even though most people have secrets that they feel they can't share with anybody, there is almost always an entire group of people who are in the same situation as them. If they find each other, nobody will feel completely alone. There's no doubt that many people down here faced similar situations as Kanade so it wouldn't be that hard for him to search. But, no matter where I go, I'll never find people who are in my particular situation. Nobody in my family either… "I'm not strong at all…"

"But… you're after Janus. Isn't that…?"

"Even if I kill Janus, his death won't free me from the chains that bind me." I told. The fact remains that my DNA is being used for inhumane experiments. People like Kaede are dying in horrific ways because of that. Others like Takafumi have to live in fear because of my contribution. Something like that can never be fixed. "I can only cry alone in the end…"

"…" Kanade's grip on my wrists had broken away as he pressed his hands against the mattress itself and continued to loom over me. He lowered his head and let his long bangs cover his eyes so our eyes wouldn't meet. However, I could still see the frown on his narrow lips.

"Sorry, I came here to cheer you up but I guess I'm still not that good at cheering people up…" I took a deep breath to keep myself from breaking down in front of him. "I'm here for you though. So don't give up on yourself."

"I…" He looked up and shook his head at my statement.

"I believe that you can become the hero that Iris believes in and the hero that Asha needs." I couldn't help but chuckle at the wary look in Kanade's eyes after hearing my cheesy statement. "It's just a very strong feeling I have, Kanade."

"…!" Before he could react, I ringed my arms around his neck and pulled him down onto the bed. To be honest, I'm surprised I had enough strength to pull him down. I've lost all of my strength after that first night with Blair so this was weird. Maybe the alcohol is the cause? "What are you…?"

"Think of me as your teddy bear for the night…" I forced out into his ear. I rested my chin on the crook of his neck for a moment, holding back my own tears. Pulling back a little, I moved my hands up to the sides of Kanade's long face and looked him in the eye. "If you still feel sad, just hold me close."

"Ritsu…" In the dim light I could see his beautiful eyes become moist. I could feel his entire body shake into mine as he wrapped his arms around me. His rapid heartbeat pounded away into my chest as my shoulder had gotten damp. I thought back on when he held me and Iris in that prison. He had such a firm and comforting presence that his current fragile self seemed unreal...

"Kanade…?" After a little while, Kanade had shifted in my hold. His eyes seemed to be in some kind of daze...

"…."Iris' mother solemnly trudged down the hallway. Her previously long black hair was now cut up to her chin. Her deep blue eyes were focused on the stone floor as she walked on without any clear destination in mind. Her elegant feet made no sounds as walked, partially because of the lack of chains. She held a sleeping Iris in her arms, letting Iris' long black hair brush up against her waist.

"Don't beat yourself up over it, Luci." Blair told as he walked next to Luci. His handsome face gave the very rare expression of a sad smile. The sight looked completely foreign to his features. His tall height also made Luci look like a munchkin in comparison.

"My job was and still is to treat victims of the experiments…" She responded with a frown. Luci deeply furrowed her brow to the point that it seemed painful. "What good am I if I couldn't even…"

"Mama, you're really amazing..." A soft voice had cut in. Luci looked down to see beautiful blue eyes with flecks of gold that were full of warmth. Neither of the two adults had noticed that Iris was awake until she had spoken. "A lot of the people you helped always get big and happy smiles by the time we leave. Even in her last moments, Miss Kaede was giving a very happy smile."

"…" Not knowing what to say, Luci only stared at Iris in shock.

"Mm..!" To snap her out of it, Iris shuffled her head upwards and gave her mother a soft kiss on the cheek. "Mama's the most amazing hero ever!"

"Uh…" Luci's deep blue eyes moistened at Iris' words. She tightened her hold around Iris as she sobbed to herself. As her shoulder had gotten soggy, Iris only had a soft smile on her face as she hugged her mother.

"Hey, hey…" Blair calmly chuckled. "I thought parents were the ones who were supposed to-"

"…?" Blair stopped himself when he noticed something small and black in front of a nearby door. Most people probably wouldn't have noticed it but Blair immediately felt off when it casually went into his field of vision. Blair walked up to the elastic and kneeled down to pick it up. He immediately smelled a familiar scent and quickly got back up on his feet. He then looked at the door and realized that he was standing in front of Kanade's room.

"Hey, Kanade. Are you in there?" Blair knocked on the door but there was no response. There was the faint sound of something creaking and soft moans coming from inside. Not able to figure out what the sounds were, Blair knocked again and still didn't get a response. At this point, he knew something was wrong. With Luci and Iris right behind him, Blair held up his hand to let them know to stay behind him. Not knowing what would be behind the door, Blair braced himself as he turned the knob.

"…!" As soon as the door was opened, the first thing that was spotted was Ritsu's beet red face. His eyes were clenched shut and his long hair strewn across the bed. Lying on the bed, Ritsu's long and darkly wrapped legs hung in the air along with his chains. Ritsu's legs were slightly spread apart, obviously against his will, as a head of brown hair shuffling in between them. Ritsu's robe was hiked up to his waist, allowing for a clear view of narrow lips hungrily enveloping his thick member. If it wasn't for that clear view, it'd be easy to believe that it was a girl lying on the bed. Ritsu did have the figure and face that many girls would kill for.

"S-stop, Kanade! A-ah…?!" Ritsu tried to wriggle away from Kanade's hold but it was still no use. Kanade grabbed Ritsu's legs and spread them far apart. Kanade's head vigorously bobbed up and down as Ritsu let out frantic cries. The room was filled with moist sounds and grunts as Kanade continued to suck off Ritsu.

"Ngh…!" Gritting his teeth, Ritsu put all of his energy into his legs and pushed away at Kanade's shoulders. It was enough to force the larger male back for a moment before he tried to pounce again. However, before he could, Ritsu quickly pounded the heel of his foot down onto the top of Kanade's head.

"Unh…" The force was enough to knock out Kanade, causing him to collapse onto the floor.

"Hah…" Ritsu heaved as he clutched at his lower stomach and turned onto his side. He tried to move his legs but they were too shaky at the moment for him to actually get up. Ritsu's face grew very red as he slid his hand down between his legs and back up to reveal his hand completely slick with his release.

"…" Not knowing what to say, the duo standing at the doorway looked on in shock.

"(Cannn breaphh, mama…!)" Iris cried out as she pounded at Luci's chest. Before Iris could register what was going on, Luci had pulled Iris into her chest. There was no telling what kind of response Iris would have had to something like this.

"…?" It was only at this point where Ritsu realized that people were watching. Ritsu's face had gotten very pale and his eyes had gone wide when he noticed who exactly was in the room.

"Ahhh!" Ritsu screamed in utter terror.

"Ahhh!" Luci screamed back at him in fright as a hint of blood came out of her nose. Her hold around Iris had tightened and the little girl had also given a scream that was muffled by her mother's breasts.

"…" Since Luci and Iris were right outside of the doorway, Blair decided that it was best to close the door. He turned back to see that Ritsu was already underneath the covers, quivering as he held his head in dejection. Looking him over, Blair found it hard to believe that this was the same person he met in that alley all those months ago.

"D-did Iris…" Ritsu shook in fear of the worst until Blair shook his head. "Thank god…"

"…!" Without any warning, Kanade had bolted back up and pounced on Ritsu. There was a slight hint of drool at the corner of Kanade's mouth as he pressed himself against Ritsu.

"Kyaaah!" Ritsu let out more frantic cries as he tried break out of Kanade's hold. Beneath Kanade's messy brown bangs, Blair caught the faint glimmer of glowing green eyes.

"God damn…" Blair cursed under his breath as he strode across the room. He grabbed the back of Kanade's shirt and lifted him off Ritsu with ease.

"…" Kanade struggled for a moment until Blair brought his large hand up to the top of Kanade's head. The light glow in Kanade's eyes quickly faded away as his entire body slackened in Blair's hold.

"Nn…" Kanade softly snored in Blair's arms.

"Hah…" Blair sighed with frustration as he put Kanade back on the bed. Kanade's chest lightly rose and fell as he slept. Despite how peaceful he looked, Ritsu kept his distance out of fear that Kanade would suddenly wake up again and attack him.

"…?" Ritsu raised an eyebrow when he saw Blair go through a nearby drawer and pulled out a small towel to hand off to Ritsu.

"Clean yourself up." Blair told as he pointed at the traces of semen on Ritsu's leg. "I don't want Iris to see that dribbling down your leg."

"…Right." Ritsu nodded as he took the towel. He limped over to a nearby bed and sat on the edge. He turned away from Blair as he lifted his leg to clean himself off. Wiping himself, Ritsu couldn't help but blush in embarrassment at the amount of semen that he seemed to have excreted over his leg. If he didn't hurry up, the dried semen would be prominent on his dark leggings. He definitely didn't want that. However, he did flinch when he heard Blair's footsteps and noticed that he was going to sit right next to him. With his large weight, the bed creaked when Blair sat down and the mattress depressed to the point where Ritsu would fumble from the sudden change and fall onto Blair's side.

"I'm sorry…" Ritsu murmured as he tried to get back up and readjust. He flinched when he felt two hands go underneath his armpits and he was lifted up onto Blair's lap. There was no sign of resistance from Ritsu as this had occurred. It seemed that he was too used to being carried like that. With his back to Blair, Ritsu didn't waste any time to clean himself off.

"If she asks you what happened, make something up." Blair told as he wrapped his thick arms around Ritsu's shoulders.

"…I understand." Ritsu responded with a small quiver in his shoulders.

"…" Stony sapphire eyes stared at the top of Ritsu's head for a few moments before he loosened his arms around Ritsu's shoulders.

"…!" Ritsu flinched when he felt a large hand grab his knee. His leg was lifted high enough to the point where he had fallen back and pressed himself against Blair's chest. Considering how high his leg was, it was enough to see the hem of Ritsu's dark leggings.

"You missed a spot." Blair nonchalantly pointed out. He lifted up the hem of Ritsu's robe with his other hand to show more of what he missed, including portions of his inner thigh and privates.

"…" Ritsu showed no signs of retaliating to the embarrassing act. Ritsu obviously wanted to fly out of Blair's lap the moment Ritsu felt something hard press into his backside. However, he didn't. He only continued to clean himself off. His body lightly shivered as Ritsu felt Blair's hand slowly creep down his thigh. Hot breath seeped into the back of Ritsu's neck as Blair leaned forward. Ritsu clenched his eyes shut as he felt long and warm fingers trail closer and closer to his private area. However, right before Blair could touch him there, there was some frantic knocking at the door.

"Help! Mama passed out!" A little voice from beyond the door called out. "…And her nose is still bleeding…"

"A-ah, is that so?" Ritsu forced out. Blair sighed as he dropped his hand from Ritsu's thigh and pulled down his robe so everything would be covered. Ritsu then got off him and waited for Blair to follow suit. Looking Ritsu over, Blair noticed that Ritsu's hair was still undone. The elastic he had usually used was most likely the one Blair found earlier. When Blair pulled it out of his pocket, he ignored the surprised look in Ritsu's face as he handed it off. Blair had then turned and headed for the door, not waiting for Ritsu.

"I'll sort everything out while you wait in my room." Blair told before he opened the door, not looking back. "You better prepare yourself. Understood?"

"Understood…" Ritsu couldn't help but gulp at the statement.


"Ritsu?" Brown eyes suddenly flashed open as if on command.

Masamune had woken up to find himself on the ground of a dark room. He tried to get up but his body felt so inexplicably tired that he couldn't even feel the floor he was lying on. The bandages that were wrapped around his forehead and the fact that his scratched up torso was bare for the air to touch didn't even seem to register either. However, he did have enough strength in his eyes to look at what was in front of him.

"…" Across the room, Masamune saw his beloved Ritsu. He was standing there underneath a small panel of fluorescent light. The dim lighting allowed for Masamune to realize that they were in a horrid room decorated with dried blood. Bloody handprints and splatters that looked too real were scattered across the walls and tables. The floor was mostly colored in dried blood with the occasional used syringe. Even the ceiling had dried splatters of blood. Tiny cages looked as if they were ripped apart by little bloody hands. It was a room of horror to Masamune when he thought about what could've possibly happened in this room. However, the green eyed brunet was the only sight of beauty in the room.

Ritsu gave Masamune a light smile. To be honest, Masamune considered the sight of a smiling Ritsu to be surreal since he clearly remembered the incident back at the hotel. But the suit he was currently wearing didn't have any rips. Also, there wasn't a single sign of blood on him either. Masamune grimaced at the memory of blood all over Ritsu's body after he was shot in shoulder.

"…!" There was shock in Masamune's face as he saw Ritsu pull a small pistol out of his pocket. Masamune watched on in horror as Ritsu raised the pistol up to the side of his head. He mouthed out a few words but Masamune couldn't tell what he was trying to say. However, the smile never faded from Ritsu's face as he slowly put his finger on the trigger.

"Ritsu…" Everything had gotten in slow motion as a bang went off and blood emerged from the side of Ritsu's head.

In that moment, Masamune could feel all of his senses rush back into him but he still didn't have any energy to move. He didn't even have enough energy to move his fingers in an attempt to reach out for Ritsu. He could only watch as Ritsu collapsed to the floor, letting a small pool of blood form around his head. His once beautiful locks were now damp with blood. Ritsu's dim eyes were half open and bored into Masamune's eyes. The part that disturbed Masamune the most was the fact that the smile never disappeared from Ritsu's lips. The longer he looked at Ritsu, the more Masamune could feel himself going hysterical. Masamune's vision blurred as water pooled in his eyes. He started mumbling Ritsu's name, over and over. "Ritsu… Ritsu… Ritsu…"

It was as if Ritsu's name was the only word in his vocabulary.

"…!" The entire room shook as an explosion went off far beyond its walls. What now appeared to be an illusion of Ritsu's dead body had disappeared out of existence. Up above him, Masamune spotted a black blur coming down. There was a small clatter as the pair of sunglasses hit the ground directly in front of him. The sound was very light but it made Masamune's sensitive ears ring. He winced in pain until he felt two warm hands on the sides of his head, gently rubbing his temples.

It was only then that he realized that his head was on somebody's lap. The way his head was elevated should've given him enough clues that his head was resting on something but the sudden sight of his illusionary lover had thrown him off. The warm hands kept rubbing at his temples, slowly erasing the hysteria away. Masamune couldn't help but moan a little bit to the magical touch. Suddenly, Masamune's eyelids grew very heavy. He didn't want to fall back to sleep in such an eerie place but it seemed that he didn't have a choice.

Before his vision faded, the last thing he did was look up and was shocked at the sight.

He saw a pair of oceanic eyes with flecks of gold.


A/N: ...Sooooooooooooooooooooorrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrryyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!

I'm really sorry that I took so long to update on this fic!

But I bet a bunch of you are kind of angry right now about what I just put Ritsu through... :D

On another note, one thing I want to let you guys know is that there is a multitude of things going on in my life right now so I barely had any time to write this entire chapter. Even now, I'm pretty sure there are a ton of grammatical errors floating around this chapter...

It might be a bit of a while until my next update because there are still some things to sort out. I'm still working on the children's book I was commissioned for since it's actually an entire series so it might take me another month to actually finish it.

I'm also looking for a second job right now so I can save up more money for college. But when that happens, I'll also have less time on my hands because of that. :/

But I really want to thank everybody that's stuck with this fic for so long and hope that you'll stay to the end! :

P.S. While I didn't show the scene I mentioned in the previous chapter, it's definitely going to appear next chapter. I'll put an M rating when I put it up. After next chapter, the story will completely go back to the present situation.

Until again!