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Katsu's grin fell from his face as he gazed at Natsuo, his eyes clouded for a moment in thought. With a small shrug, he turned slightly to the side, looking at the arrow he made with his gun a few moments ago. He sighed and, in a quick precise movement, drew his gun and pressed its end to the young man's forehead.
"So, this is what you desire? What you expect of me?" Katsu said, his voice flat and emotionless. He held the gun steady and level, his body stiff and yet relaxed, cold with anticipation. Part of him wanted to pull the trigger and be done with it, but the other part of him found himself staring into the eyes that looked back at him.
"Are all people so simple? Are all people so easy? Is everyone so provoked by the word coward?" Katsu chuckled, although it was too dry to carry an observation at humor. "You speak your mind too freely, you know? It'll get you killed one day." He held the gun up for a long moment before withdrawing it back into the holster hidden in his jacket. He turned from Natsuo and began to walk down into the alley. "It's up to you if you wish to follow. If you assume I wish to kill you, then I assume you think I have reason to. You're suspicious enough as you are without your thoughts and assumptions. I'll extend the courtesy of not killing you if you can extend that courtesy to me." He looked over his shoulder as he walked. "I myself get bored of killing backstabbers."
When asked his name, Natsuo looked up to meet the other male's eyes, and nodded. Though, he hadn't quite expected the sudden close proximity that his target had brought on, and he stiffened. Natsuo didn't so much as move an inch while his new "instructor" whispered harshly into his ear. His breath was hot, and any longer and he might have started to sweat. When the man finally pulled away, Natsuo nodded. "Noted." He said, and was pleased with himself to find that his voice had come out strong and confidant.
Raising an eyebrow at the other male's seeming want to travel further into the dark alley, Natsuo paused. "I don't know how much I trust you enough yet." He said, surprising himself by his sudden boldness. "Not enough to go first, that is. If you intend to kill me, I'd appreciate it if you shot me while facing me." He told him. And it was true. Natsuo hated the idea of backstabbers, and people taking down other people from behind. It made him think of cowards and low lifes.
When he met his instructor's eyes, though, he tensed some from his gaze. But, he spoke again. "Although I know my appreciation means next to nothing, id still rather you shot me in my forehead, let's say, opposed to the back of my skull. It seems more cowardly to kill someone when their back is to you." He shrugged, though he hoped he hadn't poked a particularly sensative nerve. He knew that most men, West Side or East Side, didn't take kindly to being referred to as cowards.
Katsu raised an eyebrow in suspicion. He had intended for more, but instead decided against it. But he was able to gain something from this. At least Natsuo was determined to stay with him for some reason, even to something as potentially dangerous as the stunt he pulled. He couldn't help but grin. He was still quite impressed.
"Natsuo, is it?" Katsu asked as he folded his arms across his chest. He'd made his decision, and as much as it pained him to make it, it was necessary. After all, he couldn't deal with this....boy pestering him forever, could he? He walked up to Natsuo and put a hand on his shoulder briefly. He leaned in to where his mouth was near his ear. "Be on your guard, even from me. Whoever sent you to me may have had high hopes for you, but I don't accept failure. Slip up and you become a liability. And I get rid of my liabilities, understood?" Katsu's harsh whisper carried his intent, his small suspicion, but his suspicions lay elsewhere. His superiors--or rather superior, would do anything to test him with someone like this, to see what he would do when faced with a potential liability. He'd go along with it for now.
Backing away suddenly, Katsu stood up straight. His arms resumed their folded position and he gestured deeper into the alleyway. "Shall we?" he asked, his playful grin covering more malicious thoughts.
Natsuo stared after the man in disbelief as he jumped over the dge of the building. Was he insane? But when he heard the clang of the metal fire escape, he had an idea of what was going on. His suspicions were confirmed when the male called out to him. Natsuo broke into a slow jog, and placed his hand on the ledge for only a moment to propel himself off of it. He landed with a clatter on the fire escape below, and took off as fast as he could down it's stairs.
The soft clang of metal could be heard under his shoes as Natsuo made his way down, but by the time he reached the bottom, he was breathing hard, trying to catch his breath. Although he had previously gone on morning joggs, he'd never actually run that much before. Plus, he'd needed to keep his balance on the untrustworthy fire escape, and now he was chasing after the other male again.
Having barely took notice of the shot the other male had made at the wall, Natsuo tried as hard as he could to catch up to his target. But, he knew he wasn't that fast, and his legs were already hurting. By the time he finally caught the other male, Natsuo's lungs were burning, and he leaned back against a wall behind him. He tried to make it look like this were no big deal, like his chest wasn't heaving and his mouth was dry. Like he wouldn't completely colapse if given the chance.
He was definitely not used to something like that.
Katsu removed his hand from his jacket, relinquishing his hold of his handgun. Though he was fully capable of defending himself in hand-to-hand combat, he preferred the quick and easy method if necessary. But if it came down to it, a little fight wouldn't be such a waste of time. But where time was considered, a fight wouldn't fit in right now. He was suddenly full of energy. He crossed is arms, something he did to dispel the energy he had built up. He wanted to do something, but he knew the energy rush would be short-lived anyway. In moments, he would feel as tired as he had been before.
"Well, given that I was barely given information, I doubt you were either." Katsu turned around and looked at the city behind the railing. Placing his hands along the top bar, he propped himself up and over it, onto the short ledge on the other side. "You have some skill, but that's not good enough. And at the end of the day, your word means nothing." He eyed the Natsuo. "I have my suspicions about you, but there's little I can do about it." Katsu grinned. "Except test you, that is. If you are any semblance of a true trained East-sider, then this should be a piece of cake."
Katsu looked down briefly, then back at Natsuo. He gave the young man a brief grin before jumping over the edge.
It was a short fall onto a fire escape below, a good ten or fifteen feet, his feet making an audible clang as they touched the ground. He looked up and shouted, "Keep up!" as be made his way to launch himself down the steps. Though this wasn't really to test anything, he wanted to see how well Natsuo could keep up.
At the bottom of the fire escape, he jumped onto the sidewalk and slid into an alleyway. He counted to ten before he drew his gun and fired into the brick wall at an angle. The bullet broke some of the surface before lodging into it, forming an almost arrow-like pattern. In the half-light of the alleyway, it almost glowed. Katsu grinned at his handiwork and went in the direction of the arrow, his gun at the ready.
When the man told him his boldness had been a good answer instead of shooting him, he let out a long sigh of relief that he hoped hadn't been overheard. And when the gun was lowered, he felt like simply dropping to his knees and starting to relax. That, he gussed, would be cause enough to get beat up. So, he held his position, but lowered his hands to his sides. Now that he had confirmed that this man was indeed his target, he felt more at ease with answering his question. "My name is Natsuo." He paused, knowing he should give a last name. Well, he needed to think of one. After a few seconds, he spoke again, "Natsuo Kokuro." Eh, it was alright and well enough.
Natsuo waited now, to see what the reaction of the man would be. It was really incredible that he'd managed to think of something that was somehow believeable! He felt excited and exhausted at the same time. So, the man didn't think he was all that dangerous, he had created a sort of alibi for himself, the man believed it, and was actually seriously considering him. This was absolutely fabulous!
Katsu gave a heavy stare at the young man in front of him. He was quiet enough to sneak up on him, quiet enough that Katsu didn't notice him until he spoke. He had some talent, but was foolish, and pretty much lacking on subtleties.
The gun cocked and he leveled his aim. All it would take would be a quick shot between the eyes, but the recoil from the gun and the flinch from the young man would aim it elsewhere. He could try for the neck, as it wouldn't move as much, but he would end up hitting the jaw with recoil from the small handgun. Then again, there was the chest. Many fatal points, but few and far between, and with the low power of the handgun, he wouldn't penetrate many ribs.
Erring on the side of caution, he lowered the gun, but kept it in his grip. "Good answer," he said in response to the young man's brazen "I asked you first" comment. Though foolish, he had guts.
Katsu sized up the young man. "So, you must be one of the ones they said I would end up with." He tilted his head. "I was given the option to decline a partner, but you just might do." He returned the gun to the holster beneath his jacket, but didn't remove his hand from it. "You are correct on my name, but until I know yours, I have no reason to consider you. You have a choice. Name or exit."
Katsu kept his gaze on the young man, waiting for a response. His hand remained on his holster.
Natsuo almost jumped when the man in front of him spun around. Instinctively, his hand went to his right pocket, where he kept a Swiss Army Knife. Though odd, it had been a birthday present from his father when he was twelve. And even though it was the only technical weapon he had on him, no matter how well he could use his hands and feet in defense, he had great confidence in it. But, one thing he had learned about citizens of the East Side was that they carried weapons on them all the time, and sometimes they could be very hostile. Natsuo was hoping this wasn't one of those times.
So, lifting his hand from his pocket, away from his knife, he raised both of his hands up to show he meant no harm and didn't have a gun. When asked who he was, Natsuo could hear in his tone of voice that this man meant business and he wouldn't tolerate anything less than the truth. "If it means anything, I technically asked you first." Natsuo said without meaning to, and cursed under his breath. Sometimes, his mouth just had a way of running his thoughts when his lips parted, whether or not his brain told them otherwise.
But now he was faced with answering the question of the other male. Well, he could tell him his name, make up a fake last name. He knew that his father was probably known for being very close to the Head of the West Side, so that would be a dead giveaway. And that would be exactly what Natsuo would be; dead. Using quick thinking, a skill he hadn't quite mastered yet, to think of a reason why he'd come to find this man, if it was indeed Katsu Hikari. "Um, your boss sent me...to train." he sputtered out. Wow, that was what his brain had decided on? Disappointing. "He said that you were the best, and I would only learn properly from you. He says I'm a lost cause." he paused, trying to think of something else. "And he said that my first task was to find you on my own."
Oh dear, that was awful. He was going to die.
Katsu thought he was alone, thought he was in the solace of being by himself. He enjoyed the silence of no intrusions, of no one bothering him, of no one finding him. But when the voice broke through his thoughts, broke through his peace, he reacted.
A quick spin and flick of his hand produced a small handgun from his jacket interior. A quick-draw, something he had learned for defensive purposes. Though it was a small, four-shot handgun with not that much power behind it, it was enough to get to the point of things. And if not, he always had another gun at the ready.
Always be ready to be on the offensive, he'd learned.
He eyed the young man who approached him with suspicion. He didn't look in any way familiar, but then again, Katsu didn't make it his point to familiarize himself with everyone on the East Side. His eyes narrowed at the lack of recognition, especially considering the man knew who he was. That was rarely a good sign.
"Who are you?" Katsu said, his voice deep and slightly gravelly, carrying the veiled threat of "answer quick, answer truthfully."
It had been almost two hours since Natsuo had broken the boundary lines of both the West Side and the East Side and penetrated the invisible wall that separated the two, entering into the dreaded East Side. Since then, he'd made his way into an oddly crowded grocery store , and searched three rooftops said to be "hangouts" of the man he was technically hunting. So far, nothing. Though he had hoped to find his target the first try, though hadn't really expected it, it hadn't exactly played out that way.
Now, he was climbing up the fire escape of a very tall building, probably close to ten stories tall, in a third attempt. When he reached the top, he found that the top of the building was caged by a small wall made to keep people from accidentally falling over the edge. Sitting on top of the railing, he swung his legs over, and jumped back onto his feet. As he turned his glanced around the rooftop, eyes scanning for any human shapes in the slight shadow - though little lights lined the inside small wall, it was still difficult to see a person's face - and found a clearly male outline standing on the other side of the rooftop.
The shadow was tall, with a broad, but still slim, figure. He had short hair, though Natsuo couldn't tell exactly what colour, and he couldn't see his face. God, I hope this guy's the one. he thought to himself, taking a step away from the roof's edge and toward the man. "Pardon the intrusion, but, are you Katsu Hikari?" he called over.
Well, now that he'd announced his presence, he had something else to think about; if this man was his target, what was his story for needing to find him?
Katsu himself was fond of heights, and after being far underground for a meeting, he sought the solace and breathing room the open sky offered. Granted, there was no way in which he'd be able to attain flight, so rising to the rooftops was the favorable option.
He opened the stairway door that led out to the rooftop of an eight-story building at the city center. On it, he could see most of the East Side, aside from the areas blocked by higher buildings. The stars hanging about the sky were blotted out by the city's dim lights, but he could make out a few that were natural light, not satellite lights or plane lights. They were strangely refreshing to him.
He leaned against the railing that barred access to the edge of the building, looking at the city below. He didn't know what to make of it, what made such a place so hostile. Though it was all he ever knew, he couldn't help but think of how else it could be, how it could have been.
After getting a few blocks away from the tracks, Natsuo finally stopped to take some time to catch his breath. Having taken refuge in the restrooms of a small grocery store, he'd locked himself in until he could make himself presentable. He'd finger-combed his hair to tone down the messy-ness caused by all the crawling around he'd done recently, disregarded the black jacket he'd been wearing, and tried to make the new rips in his jeans seem intended. After washing his face and hands as well, and trying to clean the mud off of his shoes, he walked out into the open streets of the East Side.
Uneasiness didn't fade as quickly as he'd hoped it would, but that wasn't going to stop him. He had a mission, and he intended to complete it. Even if it meant ending lives; lives he didn't have the right to end. The thought made him stop mid-step on the sidewalk. He looked down at himself, at how slim he looked, and found it hard himself to believe that underneath it, he was well toned.
One thing that he had learned - from mostly hear-say, but whatever - about his current target, Katsu Hikari, was that he mostly kept by himself. Though he wasn't really sure if this were true or not, he'd also heard of certain places one would be likely to find this man. So, deciding the nearest place would be a suitable start, Natsuo headed up to a rooftop four blocks away from the grocery store, hoping this would start sooner rather than later.
Katsu woke to the sound of an alarm in the distance, but it wasn't enough to catch his interest. He was essentially up already, but dozing off due to his lack of sleep the past few days. But it was standard for him to be tired, and it wasn't unfamiliar. He always had to be moving, ready, alert. He always had to be awake.
A caffeine pill gave him a small boost, but he wondered exactly for how long. He'd been waiting for a while, waiting for someone to come to the door he leaned next too, a steel door set in a soot-covered stone wall. He was the one called, and yet he'd been waiting for two hours. It had crossed his mind to leave, but nonetheless he stayed. He had to.
The door's inside handle suddenly moved, the heavy lock disengaging and the door opening a small crack, enough for Katsu to pull it open on his side. He took a deep breath and entered.
He went lower and lower through stairs and corridors that sloped precariously downward. He felt as if he was being watched, and he didn't doubt it. He always had been, since he was young, and he'd gotten used to it. He learned to disregard the sound of the cameras moving and zooming in on him to identify him, to compare his strangeness against the database of others on the East Side.
He made it to another door, which sat there open. He went inside, hoping for something more face-to-face than what he had been used to, but instead met with a computer screen as what seemed to be the primary form of communication.
Katsu breathed the fresh night air of being above-ground. The meeting was brief, but still unsettling. So, the East Side was actually going to start making plans on how to "deal with" the West Side. And he was in on them for once. He couldn't help but smile at the thought.
Finally, something to do.
[I'm dearly sorry this is so long! I hadn't meant it to be, but...it just sort of happened. :$
You don't have to worry about posting something this long, though. I don't mind!]
Chilled nights like this one always made Natsuo feel safe, secure, and agile. The frigid air kept his senses awake, his heart beating fast, and his adrenaline pumping. After three weeks of training for it, tonight was the night that Natsuo and the two other skilled young men would make an attempt to breech the borders of the tracks leading onto the East Side, and they would then begin to locate and track down their targets. It sounded simple enough, but Natsuo knew to never underestimate anything. He knew that the East Side was reckless and rushed into fights, always on the offensive. The West Side combated that with agile defensiveness.
With his back against the chain link fence that housed the train tracks between the two Sides, he watched the highest point in the city - the Head's Tower - for the signal. When he saw it, he took in a deep breath, turned, and got to work on cutting the chain link. He knew that attempts like this had been tried before by members of the East Side, but they had all been expected. However, the West Side had never tried to take the offensive, and therefore had the element of surprise. Or so he hoped.
When the last piece of metal snapped between his cutters, leaving enough space for him to crawl underneath, Natsuo felt his breath catch. Somewhere, he hadn't expected himself to be able to do this. But he had. And now he was racing across the vacant tracks, dressed all in black, to the chain link that sat on the other side. When he reached it, he dropped to his knees. He didn't even bother trying to catch his breath as he started snapping the metal between his clippers. In what felt like a minute, there was enough space for him to crawl under. But just as he began, a high-pitch noise pierced the air; one of his colleges had been caught. Dashing under the chain link, Natsuo crawled as fast as he could, not stopped for anything.
Within seconds, he was on the other side; the East Side. He was in.
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