til the blood runs red

/ By kaitoXi [+Watch]

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[center [pic http://i1225.photobucket.com/albums/ee397/Sakura-chi/k1b_zpsw42uv05h.png]]

Lech’s words meant nothing. What interested Kaien was the fact that Lech was apparently choosing to come along. Uninvited. People generally got the message and fucked off as soon as he turned his back- it was an out. Always had been.

No matter. He’d lose him one way or another.

His hands were becoming a problem. He didn’t know what to do with them, so he dug them into the pockets of his pants, and that was when he noticed that Lech had left his jacket up there. The only one he had. He looked back at him with a glare. The wind nipped at his skin, the brush of cold doing nothing to dispel the steady burn just beneath the surface of his skin. He stopped, turned to regard the man the boss had chosen to pair him up with. He was beginning to think he’d done it just to see how well one could piss the other off and vice versa- a test.

“You’re not invited,” he said. “You’re not going where I’m going. I don’t want you where I am. Seeing your face’s just gonna keep distracting me.” He was better off with a partner? Fucking ridiculous. People were a burden he should’ve never chosen to carry.

“You really think you’re in any kinda shape to be following me around?” Sometimes, the shifts caught even him off guard. Just twenty minutes ago, he’d been settled, had been ready to sleep the week away in peace, and now his skin tingled with unspent energy, desperate for something to direct it at, for something to cross his path. Lech wasn’t thick, and Kaien hadn’t exercised any discretion- had hardly cared to. His intentions were obvious.

Again, he didn’t wait for a response. Not that it would’ve mattered. There wasn’t a single thing Lech could say to prove him wrong, and they both knew it. He turned his back to him once more, and continued walking. He’d find something, or something would find him. Things had a way of working themselves out like that. Lech had been right about one thing- Kaien was [i especially] good at inviting trouble.
  cigarette smoke / disir / 1y 130d 20h 17m 40s
He almost made it out. At the last turn, the concrete slipped out from under his boot, and he stumbled. He put his hand out to catch himself--no hand. His shoulder hit the wall, taking the worst of the hit, but he'd knocked the kid's head as well, and--

Fingers dug into his flesh, twisted him around. If he'd had any strength left, he could have fought the kid, but as it was, there was nothing. He fell. His head cracked into the stair above them. For a second, everything went black.

Sparks danced around his eyes. His head ached fiercely. Kaien glared down at him, face twisted in pure, unbridled hatred. Lech was pinned. He wriggled against the hold, but aside from absolutely crushing his gonads, it didn't do anything. He fell still. Whatever the kid wanted to do, he probably had the right to do it.

"You've got a lot of nerve, sleeping with the door unlocked like that," Lech commented back lightly. He was already fucked. An apology would do nothing at all. A band-aid on a bullet wound. So he'd enjoy himself while he could and banter instead.

Kaien got up. Lech laid there for a second after he was freed, catching his breath. The boy stalked away. He sighed out, of half a mind to let him go. He'd punished himself enough tonight, surely?

And what would he tell Aries when Kaien wound up dead? [i Oh yeah, sorry, I got tired and left him alone.] Couldn't lose the golden boy so easily!

So resigned, he pushed himself to his feet. Limped off after the kid. "So what are we up to tonight?" he asked, hands in his pockets. Correction. Hand in his pocket. He adjusted his glasses and stuffed his hand back away. "You're pissed at me, I get it. Hey, but I'm really grateful you saved my life, you know? Sorry about the whole biting thing. Seems I just can't stop getting serious injuries around you."

He fell back and followed Kaien silently. The kid seemed different. It wasn't just him, either. Kaien was never this... angry. Was this the drawback, or whatever? It was rather interesting, honestly. He'd never seen an adept like this. Unlike some vampires, he'd never had an interest in collecting; he'd take the good stuff when he could get it, but he didn't go looking for it, or have a need to cage it away. It was interesting to see how it played out in real life, the adept's powers, the drawback, everything.
  Lech Mstivoj / kaitoXi / 1y 130d 21h 45m 54s
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Scratch his previous sentiments- this bed was [i it.] He was dumping his old one and investing in a better mattress as soon as he got his hands on his check.

He wondered why he’d noticed something so specific, though, and only after a solid minute did he catch on, his thoughts sleep-addled. He’d noticed because he was missing it. Because someone had hoisted him up, again, and was carrying him through the complex, [i again,] although at a much slower pace than before.

His headache was worse off. He’d gotten his hands on that release, felt the pressure deflate, and now that he was being roused again the ache was back with a vengeance. He couldn’t open his eyes- didn’t want to, and if he was being carried off to his death, then so be it. He didn’t need to react immediately. He’d take his time. Besides, it wasn’t as comfortless as it’d been last time. He could feel himself drifting again, and a vague alarm sounded off somewhere in the back of his mind- don’t fall asleep again, it said, but he ignored it because it suited him, and because he wasn’t going to let it bother him. [i Yes,] okay, he’d warned Silas off, but this wasn’t Silas, so did the same warnings apply? He concluded that, no, they didn’t, and he was going to spend this pleasant descent in a semi-weightless haze until eventually-

his prince stumbled, his body tipping sideways. Kaien’s head smacked against the wall, and the anger gave no warnings- not like him- it surged up, an out of control flame from a pile of embers, igniting his body from the chest outwards.

When he twisted in their grip- his fingers digging into whatever flesh he could get his hands on- they both fell and Kaien scrambled to get on top, dug a knee into the pelvic cavity to keep the asshole in place and wound his arm back. The blood rushed from his brain and the black spots in his vision cleared.

Lech.

Pure, unbridled fury twisted his expression, turned the soft features of his face hard and ugly. He couldn’t shrug it off, could barely even see through it, let alone look for a method to control it. It’d found its way in, found a home under his skin. His eyes bored into Lech’s. He wanted to see him hurt. He wanted to hurt [i something.] Anyone. Anyone would do.

“You’ve got a lot of fucking nerve,” he hissed out. He remembered [i now.] He could recall [i every single detail] when it suited him. He stood abruptly. Not Lech. It couldn’t be Lech. It’d make everything too complicated, and he hated complications. The one remaining glove fell away in scraps, freeing his other hand. He splayed his fingers. Curled them into fists. Relaxed.

He started down the staircase, his boots loud in the otherwise silent complex. Why couldn’t he have left him? Why couldn’t Silas have kept his mouth shut? Maybe he’d ask him when he saw him next.
  cigarette smoke / disir / 1y 130d 22h 6m 56s
Silas was standing on the curb, a lost expression on his face, clutching a piece of paper to his chest. At the sight of Lech, he jumped and reached for a gun he didn't have anymore. The wind almost ripped the paper from his hand; he jumped and grabbed onto it instead.

"It's been a rough night, huh, rookie," Lech said. He shrugged. "I'd raise my hand, but..." he tipped his head at the man over his shoulder. Lech looked around. "Where's Kaien?"

Silas looked around nervously. "He... uh, he passed out in the bedroom."

Lech unloaded the unconscious perp onto the ground. "The bedroom?" he asked.

"You know, the one with the... the body," Silas said.

Lech sighed deeply. He looked over at Silas. "Tonight's been a rough night, huh?" he asked.

The rookie nodded thoroughly.

Lech turned toward the sky. Lots of clouds tonight. The wind whistled through the buildings, thick with the promise of rain to come. The night was growing truly dark, noises starting in the distance; sirens, shrieks, music and loud conversation. Such a normal night for everyone but them.

"Good, get used to it. Here--take our friend back to headquarters. I'll go grab Kaien." He started back toward the apartment building.

He was yanked short by his collar. Lech staggered back and nearly fell, his missing arm not compensating his balance the way he was used to. "Are... are you sure?" Silas asked. "You were...to Kaien..."

"It's fine," Lech said. "Get that guy to HQ before he wakes up. Oh, and call the police." He patted Silas on his greasy head and headed back into the building.

Five flights of stairs felt longer than it had on the first trip. He kept bumping into the walls, his damn missing arm getting in the way more than it had any right to for something that wasn't there. The door was still hanging open to the woman's apartment. He clicked his tongue. The kid was asking for a stabbing. Or worse. Not all blood-suckers and flesh-eaters shared Lech's determination, and there [i was] a fresh body on the floor.

He took a deep breath outside, and headed in. He kept his eyes trained on the wall all the way past. Into the bedroom. Here, there was nothing tempting. Nothing but the boy passed out on the bed.

Lech sighed. Aries would kill him if he left Kaien here. Kaien would probably kill him if he woke up. Nothing for it. In the end, Aries was scarier than the kid. He leaned down and drew Kaien over his shoulders, fireman style. "Alright. Let's get you home." Back to HQ. There were plenty of places for the kid to nap in the tower.
  Lech Mstivoj / kaitoXi / 1y 130d 23h 56m 49s
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[i Why the panic]? Silas was doing the most for some reason- the alarm was unnecessary- but Kaien let himself be hauled to his feet, tossed over the shoulder like a sack of potatoes. Silas wanted to carry him, so who was Kaien to turn down his gesture?

It got a little uncomfortable when they reached the stairs, however- the angles were all messed up, but he wouldn’t blame Silas for that. He put his palms on the hunter’s back, using his torso to prop himself upright. “You can let me down,” he said, and then as an afterthought. “Or you can stop running. One or the other- both isn’t gonna work out.”

With some hesitation, Silas put him back down, and he stood, in place, hands relaxed at his sides. He was over the running, the rushing, the [i hurry.] “You can leave,” he said, and started walking at a leisurely pace, his mind on the apartment several floors down, unlocked, and ready for him.

[i God,] he was tired. What’d he been thinking, coming here in the state he was in? He knew what the healing process put him through, the strain it put on him, and he couldn’t comprehend what would’ve compelled him to do something like this, something so [i stupid,] but what mattered was that [i now,] his braincells were in proper working order, and that [i now,] the decision came easily.

He was going to sleep.

The apartment came into view, its doors ajar. He entered, making a beeline for the entrance to the bedroom- right through the living room, down into the adjoining hall, second door from the farmost wall. Shareena’s body lay still on the floor, but he didn’t even spare it a glance as he passed. Being in here [i did] remind him of something, though…

Had Silas left? He turned to check. He hadn’t. Weirdo. Kaien reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out the sheet of paper Shareena had left behind. He wasn’t intending on using this, but his boss would want it. He reached out with his free hand to grasp one of Silas’. Placed the paper in his open palm.

“Here,” he said. “I’m clocking out. If you bother me, I’ll hurt you.” He patted Silas’ shoulder twice, said nothing, and turned, heading for the room.

It was a nice room, all things considered- [i much] nicer than the one back at his place, but he’d never been picky about stuff like that. He shrugged his jacket off but kept everything else on as he collapsed atop the covers, eyes slipping shut. In a matter of seconds, he was asleep.
  cigarette smoke / disir / 1y 131d 33m 16s
Okay. Okay, okay, okay. This was not good. Whatever was happening was not good. Silas glanced down the hallway and back again. Indecisive, he bit his lip. Was it okay? Should he jump in? No. He had to. Lech was, he was definitely--this was not good!

He ran. Not away, but towards them. He jumped into the air and kicked Lech in the head, a roundhouse kick, snapping it out of Kaien's hold. Lech snarled at him. It was a bestial sound, inhuman. Cold eyes whipped around to glare at him. A hand grabbed at him, but it was only one arm, after all. He grabbed Kaien and yanked him up, tossed him over his shoulder, and booked it. "I think you didn't get all the poison out!" he gasped, because the other alternative was--it wasn't possible.

He'd left Lech and the perp behind. Nothing he could do. The two of them could fight it out, he and Kaien were getting the hell out of here. Down the stairs. Kaien was a heavy weight on his arm, but the guy hadn't seemed in his right mind, so he wasn't going to let go until he gave proof of being alright. "What the hell is going on," he muttered, pounding around the corner and down, down, down.

--

Lech mastered himself. It was easier when he was alone. When that temptation wasn't dangling in his face. He didn't know how long it took him. A second? Hours? He heaved in a breath and put his hand to his face. The one hand. Right. Fuck. He breathed out. Losing an arm wasn't... he wasn't used to it hurting so much. Taking so damn long to grow back. Or would it? Probably not. Not with his healing the way it was.

The perpetrator glared up at him, panting from the pain. Still conscious. Lech closed his hand around the person's head one last time and slammed them into the carpet again. This time, they passed out. His eyes found the wound in the man's knee and lingered. So much blood. Would he even notice? Would his sister know?

He breathed out. She would know. They would know. And he didn't know what this thing was. For all he knew, its blood was inedible, or it was spiked with some kind of anti-vampire mess. He wasn't going to be that dumb.

Another sigh. He stood slowly. Without his arm, his balance was off, and he slid towards his existing arm before he corrected himself. Kid was right, though; it wasn't bleeding.

[i Shit. Again.] He'd said it wouldn't happen again, asked the kid to trust him, and what had he done? The same exact damn stupid thing.

Now to pick up this stupid idiot and heft him back to headquarters. He bent and picked them up over his shoulder, feeling every ache in his body as he did so. Some of the stitches must have popped, because nothing was moving the way he thought it would. He sighed. It was a long walk back. Maybe he'd just get a cab.
  Lech Mstivoj / kaitoXi / 1y 131d 2h 12m 29s
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Idiot. [i Idiot.] [i [b Idiot].] He hadn’t thought. Why hadn’t he thought? Why had he considered all these possibilities, but not the one he [i should have]? He’d just wanted control- something to tie him to the situation, to keep him from slipping, that was all, but it wasn’t working. He could feel it- could feel the pull, the urge to let go, to…

He bit down on his cheek, [i hard], tasting blood. No. no no no [i no,] he was there. He had a job to do. He had-- there was a mission, a perpetrator to bring in, to question, a piece of paper in his jacket he needed to examine- they [i all] needed to discuss, three names to look for, a conspiracy to uncover.

Lech pulled him in, and he let it happen. [i What?] His expression, that look in his eye, it was familiar. Lech’s mouth opened, twin fangs peeking out uninvited. A vampire, aiming to bite him? Again? Kaien laughed, laughed as if Lech was in the middle of telling a joke and was nearing the punchline- when he got to it, Kaien knew it’d be funny, and so he was already laughing.

All it would take was a thought, and Lech’s head would slip off his neck. A thought, and his skull would cave in. A thought, and his heart would burst in his chest. But he wasn’t going to do any of those things.

He snaked his hand around to the back of Lech’s head, gripped his hair-- he had nice hair, Kaien noticed, long and soft to the touch-- and wound his head back. Nothing flashy, nothing painful, just out of reach. “If you’d asked,” he said, his voice smooth. None of the harshness from before, the tension. There was no need to feel upset about this situation. None of this mattered to him. Not anymore. “Maybe we could’ve figured something out. Maybe we still can. Can you hear me? Can you understand what I’m saying?” He didn’t bother waiting for an answer. He’d said it, but now, not even moments later, he’d changed his mind. Just like that. He wasn’t in the mood for sharing. Lech could find someone else.

What he wanted was to sleep, he decided. His body was tired. He wasn’t at his best. Maybe that was what was making him so irritable. Luckily for him, there was an easy fix for a problem like that. Shareena’s apartment was downstairs, only now, it wasn’t anyone’s apartment, and it was open, and he assumed it had a bed he could use. Why would he go home, when the solution was right there?

Lech’s attempt wasn’t even on his mind anymore.
  disir / 1y 131d 2h 59m 58s
Kaien hesitated. Lech knew it was only a second, but with his hand crumbling, it was hard to be patient. He bit his lip hard enough to draw blood and waited, feeling his hand fall apart, helpless to do anything to stop it. If he let go of the thug, maybe he could tear it off. Could he? Did he have that much strength in reserve? He didn't. He couldn't.

Or maybe this was it. Kaien's revenge. Revenge for the rooftop, revenge against whatever vampire had hurt him however long ago. He slammed the thug's head into the carpet again out of sheer frustration. Damn it! Why couldn't it have been anyone else?

But then again, anyone else would have already run away. Kaien was hesitating, but he hadn't left. Never had. He breathed out, calming himself, and waited. He would have faith. For once in his life, he'd have faith.

Kaien was beside him, suddenly. A feather-light touch to his arm. It fell away, clean off, thudding against the ground. He heard it fall. Saw it crumble away.

It hit all at once. His nerves screamed. His arm was on fire, but it wasn't, because it was gone. Everything hurt, it hurt, it hurt so bad. Lech curled in on himself, fighting the urge to scream. He was drowning in it. Devoured by it. His bones ached, the familiar sick feeling of a broken bone creeping into his stomach. His muscles tensed, torn apart. It was a deep ache and a shallow one, a sharp pain and a dull one. His whole body thrummed with it, each beat of his heart renewing the pain. It felt like his blood was trying to pound out of his body. He saw red. Nothing but red. Blood. He needed blood. He was going to starve, he was going to fall apart.

A gunshot snapped him back to reality. [i Blood.] Spurting from the man's knee. He stared, hypnotized. So close. He could touch it. Lower his face and bathe in it. Everything he wanted. Everything he needed. So close. So close.

More blood at the end of the hallway. He turned towards it, then away. It was stale. Not like this fresh fount. He leaned down, unable to stop.

Someone was speaking. He half turned in their direction. Fully turned. That scent. So delicious. How had he not noticed? It was right there. He grabbed Kaien by the collar and reeled him in. He tried to push him down, but his other arm was missing. It wouldn't be a problem for long. All he had to do was take a bite. A little sip. He was right there. Right there.

[i No!] a little voice shouted, but it was far away. Hard to make out. Why shouldn't he? It was so close.

He leaned in. Such creamy-white flesh. Perfect for biting. Opened his mouth.

Silas hesitated at the end of the hallway. Why shouldn't he move? What was going on? Lech's hand had just fallen off, no, most of his arm. And Kaien had done it? How? What? Nothing made sense.

Maybe this was high-level stuff. Things he couldn't comprehend. Like what Lech was doing now. It almost looked like he was going to--but that couldn't be. It couldn't. He was too far away. He couldn't make it out properly. He glanced at Kaien. Were they sharing a secret? Maybe? Was that?
  Lech Mstivoj / kaitoXi / 1y 131d 8h 48m 58s
[center [pic http://i1225.photobucket.com/albums/ee397/Sakura-chi/k1b_zpsw42uv05h.png]]

Whoever this was, they were [i fast.] Kaien took the stairs two at a time, using the handrail to heave himself up quicker, following the chase. Lech would catch them, he was sure of it.

Seventh floor. They were on the seventh floor. He was on the fifth. Thirty seconds was all he needed. He emerged from the stairway and into the hallway, head whipping to the right just as he saw Lech slam the perpetrator down.

He’d gotten them.

Kaien slowed into a jog. Lech turned to identify the arrival and Kaien came to a sharp stop. Right. Keep his distance. All things considered, though, he was impressed. Lech’s self-restraint was admirable. More. It was [i astonishing]. Kaien had had the great misfortune of engaging with [i many] a vampire, and no vampire he’d ever met had even a [i sixth] of the control Lech had demonstrated in their brief time together.

He would never forget the rooftop, and he doubted he would ever get the opportunity to show Lech the full extent of his condifence, but that was a non-issue.

[i Maybe,] he thought. Maybe he could rely on him.

He saw the syringe as it was plunged into Lech’s hand.

For a single moment, everything stopped. Silence. Confusion, and then his partner’s hand started crumbling away into dust and he was racing over, already formulating a plan. He dropped down into a crouch. If he worked quick, Lech wouldn’t need to lose more than an arm, but if he didn’t work quick enough, if the-- [i whatever] the thug had injected him with-- if it reached his shoulder, it’d be bad.

Back when Aries had initially placed him in the care of Sei’s parents all those years ago, Kaien hadn’t interacted with any of them. He’d found out Sei’s father had once been a doctor and had spent [i months] pouring over every single bit of material the man had available, desperate for a tether. Something to hold on to after everything else had fallen apart. This ability he had, this power that compelled him, enticed him, that wanted to control him- he wouldn’t let it.

He would control [i it], and the first step to that had been to discipline its use. If he applied a knowledge, if he had something he could focus on, something to keep him on track, he could do it. He could come out on top as himself.

That plan had fallen through-- shallow optimism strung together with a child’s tenacity-- but the understanding had remained.

Lech was running out of time. Rip it off… he couldn’t. It was unsafe, and not a guarantee that the poison wouldn’t reach its target anyway. To cut it off would take too much time- Kaien didn’t carry swords. He had three combat knives on his person, and not even one of them had been made for clean cuts like the one required.

His heartbeat picked up- there was one way. If Lech crumbled away into dust because of his hesitance, how would he ever explain it to Aries? He’d never be able to face him again. All the trust he’d placed in Kaien by letting him back onto the field after last time… he had to show Aries he could do this.

Kaien inhaled, closed his eyes, and with the faintest of touches, he placed his fingertips on Lech’s arm.

The limb dropped, alongside all the layers of clothing Lech had stacked on top, and the last of it disintegrated into a pile of black ash on the floor. The taint didn’t ascend. Clean. Instantaneous. He stood, saw Silas’ approaching figure at the end of the hall.

“Stay there. Don’t move,” he warned. “Gimme your gun. Toss it.” He caught then gun in a one handed grip and turned back to the perpetrator, staring down at him. His heart was thundering, but his eyes were calm. Control. Control. One, two three, repeat. Focus.

Focus.

[i Focus.]

He lodged a bullet into the back of the thug’s knee, their scream filling the hallway. If they were injured, they couldn’t use their powers. That was what Kaien was betting on. He found a patch of the wall to stare at. Cuffs. They had to put them in cuffs. He glanced at Lech from his periphery. “It… shouldn’t be bleeding. Is it?” He hadn’t warned him that it would hurt. There hadn’t been time for [i anything.] “Do you know what that was?”
  cigarette smoke / disir / 1y 131d 10h 45m 17s
Up the stairs. They were actually annoying, for once. His ankle complained even through the brace. The sutures and recently-closed wounds ached as they pulled, threatening to come apart. He gasped for breath. [i Am I in that bad shape, that stairs make me struggle?]

That was a joke. It was a joke. He was breathing hard because his whole body demanded, [i demanded,] that he turned back and bit that woman, knelt and sucked her blood out of the carpet, lapped it up from the floor like a dog. He lifted a lip in disgust at himself. He wouldn't. Not that. Not now. There was a perpetrator to catch, and only he could do it.

At least, with his body in hunting mode, all the stops were pulled out. He could run faster, corner quicker. If he was obeying his instincts, he'd use it to chase down prey. Instead, he was going to use it to hunt down this freak.

[i Or... ]

[i I am.] I am! he shouted at himself. He was hunting that man. The tasty little adept was his partner, not his prey.

He burst out into the hallway. The thing was resting against the wall, catching its breath. [i Oh?] Did hopping around incorporeally take it out of them? How convenient... for him. Lech pounded toward it, hand drawn back, ready to tear them apart.

They noticed him a second later. Jumped. Vanished, smoke coiling around them. He'd gotten a glimpse, though, of a balaclava and a sweatsuit. [i Couldn't be more stereotypical thug if they'd tried,] he thought, then appended it: [i maybe if they were wearing a gold chain.]

Smoke! He raced toward it, reaching out. The person appeared, coughing heavily. Smoke poured from their mouth. They crumpled to the ground. A second later, Lech pinned them to the ground by the back of their neck. "Who sent you?" he demanded.

Muffled muttering. Coughing. He let up on them a little. "Fuck you, dogs of the a--"

He slammed them back down into the carpet. Just another thug.

Footsteps came up behind him. He peered back. Kaien. Lech turned away sharply, before his partner could see his fangs. Now was not a great time for him to get close. "Let's take him back to headquarters," he said, speaking around the fangs. There were folks there that could tear whatever they needed out of this loser's mind.

The thug twisted. Lech lifted their head and slammed it into the carpet again. Something bit into his free hand. He glanced down. A syringe? What was that going to--

It burned through his veins like acid. His hand turned black as he watched, fingers crumbling like burned-up sticks. For a long second, he just stared, while the holy water bit its way through his body, blackening his veins, then his flesh, then his skin. His hand blackened and started to crumble. Black ash fell to the floor.

He snapped out of it a second later as the pain hit. His face twisted with pain, disgust, a little fear as he felt his limb fall apart. He forgot his fangs, forgot everything else. "Kaien!" He held out his hand, still pinning the thug with the other, though he shifted to put his knee on the thug's back and pin all his weight on their spine. "Kaien, tie my arm off, now!" If the water got to his heart while he was like this, he probably wouldn't survive. "Or--or chop it off, I don't care, just--" he gestured. Shit! This was what he got for underestimating the thug!
  Lech Mstivoj / kaitoXi / 1y 131d 21h 3m 50s
[center [pic http://i1225.photobucket.com/albums/ee397/Sakura-chi/k1b_zpsw42uv05h.png]]

Blood was everywhere- it flowed freely down Shareena’s neck, through Silas’ trembling fingers and into the floor, joining the puddle that had formed in a matter of seconds. She would die in less than a minute.

Another life. Another loss.

He followed the movements of her lips. The dresser. The information they were looking for was in the dresser. Smart woman- she’d written it down before the killer had had the chance to permanently silent her.

There was a shout. Kaien whirled, turned to face the doorway just as [i something] emerged out of thin air. He could see the figure from his position in the room, could see it seep through the ceiling in a wispy cloud of black smoke, disappearing from view. Lech ran after the presumed killer and Kaien ran for the dresser. He pulled the drawers open one by one, searched through its contents for something- [i anything] that wasn’t an article of clothing, realized seconds later that he could’ve found it [i immediately] if he’d just used his ability, but after one got in the habit of resisting the natural pull of something, everything else made to adapt.

With a curse, he examined the blueprint a second time, found the paper taped to the underside of the second drawer from above. He yanked on the handle, pulling the drawer clean off. More papers, and likely more names.

He shoved the paper into his pocket without a glance at its substance and approached Silas just as Shareena’s eyes rolled into the back of her head. He saw the life leave her- one final heave, one last spasm, and she was dead, just like that.

It didn’t matter how smart she’d been- in the end, she’d died in the blink of an eye, because that was just how things worked around here. People walked around with death flags hanging over their heads, and they could never afford to forget it.

“Silas,” he said from the door. Silas. Silas was good- a genuinely good person, and Kaien could tell from the expression, the look of defeat on his face and the anger pinching his features together that he was sincerely and deeply upset. Upset that this woman he’d never seen in his life had died. Upset that he hadn’t managed to save her, despite the fact that it wasn’t his responsibility. Despite the fact that he’d known from the beginning- there was nothing he could’ve done for her, and still he was upset.

Kaien couldn’t understand it, and he wouldn’t try. There was a killer on the run.

“Get up,” he said louder, hands on the frame of the door. Lech was gaining on them. Whatever they were, they couldn’t maintain their incorporeality forever. Every so often, they had to stop. Recharge.

He glanced back at Silas’ form still knelt by Shareena’s body, clothes and hands covered in her blood. He hesitated, just for a moment, at the sight of him. “…we’ll come back for her,” he said eventually, and set off in a dead run down the hall.

Lech had taken the left wing. He brushed the corner of the right turn, speeding back up. His eyes narrowed. That had been a [i lot] of blood.
  cigarette smoke / disir / 1y 131d 21h 57m 46s
Lech raised an eyebrow. He would rather like to know more about Kaien's sister and her relationships. Not because he cared, but because dirt was always good. He was far from a gossip, but he certainly didn't hold back when such was freely offered.

In the end, Silas and Kaien started chatting, Kaien ribbing the rookie the way he ought to be ribbed. Lech listened with half an ear, keeping an eye out with the rest of his senses. Muted though they might be, he was still able to see, hear, scent further than the average human. [i More than an adept?] He glanced at Kaien, prattling on. Probably? No way to know unless he wanted to have another heart to heart with his partner, and he'd already had his requisite heart-to-heart for this decade.

He smelled blood as they climbed the steps of her apartment building. Thick and strong enough to be lifeblood. His whole body keened for it, hands unconsciously lifting as if to grab ahold of it. [i Someone else's problem,] he told himself. Forced his hands down. [i Don't go looking. Don't be stupid.]

And then they were at the door. The stench grew stronger. A grim foreboding gripped his heart. [i A body on the floor.] It was Shareena, and Shareena was dying.

Lech fell back. It was like a magnet, pulling him closer. If he didn't force himself to a complete stop, he'd find himself wandering toward it without even meaning to. He covered his mouth and nose with his hand and looked away. Seeing it, smelling it, reminded him of how much he wanted it. His whole body pounded with the beat of her fading pulse. His mouth watered. Fangs emerged, wanting. He was starved. He was a man in a desert, staring down an oasis. He tore his eyes away from the ruby puddle, going to waste, soaking uselessly into the carpet.

The humans rushed in, leaving him behind. Silas ran to the woman and put his hand on her neck, trying to stem the bleeding. It was no use. Her throat was cut from jowl to jowl. He could see bone, white as paper, in the back of her throat. Blood soaked her shirt and the carpet around her.

Shareena met Silas' eyes. She pointed at her dresser. Her lips and tongue moved, struggling to form words. "Shh! We'll, there's someone coming," Silas said. He turned to the others. "Call the hospital!"

In the hallway, something materialized. Smoke pulled together, wafting into the shape of a body. "Kaien!" Lech shouted, alerting his partner. He ran at the smoky form.

The thing noticed him and turned. For a second, a body formed in the smoke. Then it was gone again.

Lech froze, listening. Footsteps sounded a floor up, the perpetrator fleeing. "I'm headed up!" he shouted, giving chase. Whatever it was could only manage short jumps of incorporeality. A half-breed, maybe, or just a weak... whatever it was. [i Whatever] it was, he was going to catch it and drag it back to headquarters, then beat it senseless for showing him so much blood. [i Water, water, everywhere, and not a drop to drink.]

Shareena stared up at Silas. He stared back, heart racing, holding her neck closed. He could feel her blood soaking into his hand. There was nothing he could do. He couldn't save her. Couldn't even ease her pain. She clutched at his shirt, body convulsing. "I'm sorry," he breathed. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry." Sorry they were too late. Sorry he could do nothing to save her. If only. If only. But he was only human. There was nothing he could do.

She shuddered once, stronger than before. Her eyes rolled back. Her pulse struggled, seized. Gave out. Silas stared. She'd died. She was dead. He'd been there, and still there was nothing, nothing, nothing--!
  Lech Mstivoj / kaitoXi / 1y 131d 23h 28m 48s
[center [pic http://i1225.photobucket.com/albums/ee397/Sakura-chi/k1b_zpsw42uv05h.png]]

Another name. Kaien glanced at the paper. [i Shareena Nephim]. He considered her name for a moment, then handed the paper off to Silas. He didn’t recognize her. Good.

The address, though, was familiar. Granted, not the apartment complex itself, but the block? Definitely. A nicer part of town- upper middle class based on the construction of the buildings, the near-seamless shift from low to hightown. Sei’s boyfriend lived around here, if he remembered correctly.

He picked out the exact building as they passed through, counted up to the apartment, noting the lights. Was she up there?

“Question.” He dragged his eyes away from the building back to the street. “Theoretically, say, you have a sister and she introduces you to her-” He halted. “Actually, nevermind. Forget that.” It wasn’t any of his business, and it wasn’t his call to make. Sei would find out when she found out.

They walked to the complex in relative silence with minimal amounts of smalltalk. Kaien asked Silas meaningless questions like what his favorite choice of beverage was, what sorts of condiments he prefered with his meals, throwing in just the appropriate amount of promiscuous inquiries to make the time go faster.

Soon enough, they were at the location. It was a building identical to its neighbors- inconspicuous in its mediocrity, but still generous enough in its decoration to be considered elegant. Too upscale for an old-fashioned breaking and entering. Places like these had certain securities installed, and who knew? Maybe they’d knock on this woman’s door, she’d answer it, let them in, give them the information, and they’d be on their way onto greater conquests.

That wasn’t how things went in his line of work, however, so even as they approached Nephim’s door, he could tell something had gone wrong. Or was about to. Either of the two.

He tugged a glove off, placed it on the adjoining wall, his mouth tipping into a frown. “There’s a body on the floor,” he said quietly. “Just one person in the apartment.” Silas was checking the door- checking to see if it was unlocked. It was. No heroic movie kicks necessary this time around.

Kaien entered the apartment last, eyes tracing the walls, the windows, checking for breaks, but both windows were shut and locked tight just like they’d been when he’d checked the building out front. Nothing corporeal could’ve gotten in through there without leaving a mark.

Shareena Nephim was on the ground, her body convulsing wildly. Her throat had been cut not ten seconds ago, which meant two things. One, their source of information was probably going to die, and two, her killer had to be somewhere nearby.
  disir / 1y 131d 23h 56m 30s
He glanced over at Kaien as the kid played with his collar. Looked away, sharply. The hell was he thinking? Lech was already drowning in his own self restraint over here. He didn't need the kid to run out a whole buffet of temptation while he wasted away. Little asshole.

At least the kid had the details. He sighed out, adjusting his own collar a little higher.

A shapeshifter. [i Skinwalker?] he wondered to himself. It'd be better than a wendigo. There was no real point dwelling on it. There were so many shapeshifters among creatures that trying to tell what kind this particular one was without more information was a shot in the dark.

A reptile. If he was a full-blooded, proper dragon, they'd all be in trouble. On the other hand, if there was a dragon in this city, he was pretty sure they'd all know about it by way of the streets being on fire. Naga were less problematic, but still not something he wanted to tangle with. [i El Dreessen...] Didn't sound Indian, but then again, it also didn't [i not] sound Indian.

And the last. No info on her at all. "I'd prefer a beauty, myself," Lech muttered under his breath. Silas gave him a taken-aback look, which Lech ignored. Little rookie wasn't used to office talk yet, was he?

Actually, the hell was with Aries saddling him with a whole nursery full of rookies? So Kaien claimed he had experience, alright. Fine. But Silas was still wet behind the ears. He could practically smell the milk on his breath. No partners was definitely too much to ask for, but was it too much to ask to only have one partner? He cast a sideways look at Silas. Was there something about this one too, that was supposed to tempt him somehow? Or maybe he was some kind of game Aries was playing with Kaien.

[i Damn old man.]

In the bar. Out again. Exactly the kind of interaction he wanted with Silver Mick. More pleased than he'd been earlier, Lech hummed to himself as he turned the paper over in his hands. Who would it be? Whose details had their little tussle with the wolves bought them? He ran his fingers over the paper, feeling the texture, the limpness of the bar napkin. [i Classic Mick,] he thought with a smirk. They should count themselves lucky he hadn't pissed on it first.

All at once, he opened it. A name. A place. As promised. [i Shareena Nephim. 2850 5th St, 333C.] He creased it again and handed it off to the other two. No info on who she had dirt on. With any luck, all three. With his luck, barely one. "And off we go," he said, turning toward the street. With that address, they'd been given an apartment. At this hour, she'd likely be home. He already felt like shit, so he might as well push on. If he went home, he'd never want to come back out again.
  Lech Mstivoj / kaitoXi / 1y 132d 1h 8m 10s
[center [pic http://i1225.photobucket.com/albums/ee397/Sakura-chi/k1b_zpsw42uv05h.png]]

Kaien nodded, eyes ahead. “Van Heel’s a human shapeshifter,” he said, going through his internal files for the information. “There was a story going around that he got as big as he did on his own because he’d steal the faces of people he wanted dead and go around pissing people off with those faces as a facade, then when the time was right, he’d just steal someone else’s face and let things handle themselves.”

Around here, people killed people, and asked questions never. Van Heel had built his empire on that.

“The other two… there’s rumors.” There were always rumors. These were just the ones that kept popping up. That made the most sense to those who kept tabs on the city. “Dreessen, people used to say he was some sorta reptile for… some reason or another. There isn’t a definitive cause, and the ones who started the rumour disappeared, so odds are it’s probably true.”

His jacket was uncomfortable. He hadn’t noticed it when he’d snatched it those three days ago, but the fit was snug. It was the most ridiculous thing to decide to fixate on, and here he was, fixating on it. Now that he’d noticed, it unnerved him. He adjusted the cuffs, pulled at the sleeves, the collar-- it didn’t even [i have] a collar for him to adjust, which was probably the deciding factor. It wasn’t that it was tight, because he [i knew] how to wear tight clothing. His neck was exposed. That had to be it.

He made a displeased sound, something between a hum and a sigh. The headache only enticing his moroseness definitely wasn’t helping. “With Pierno, it’s all nonsense. No one knows anything about her, let alone what she looks like, so all anyone can do is speculate based on how she operates. A personal favorite’s the one about her being the sea hag-- no one’s ever seen her, so everyone’s saying she looks like a toe with seaweed for hair.”

The streets buzzed with life, with civilians and criminals both big and small all intertwined and mingling out in the open. A breeze had picked up. Lech led the way in center with Silas on one and Kaien on the other side. Out of the three of them, he was the one who’d had the most dealings with him, so he’d talk. They hadn’t decided on it, but Kaien liked to think it was an unspoken agreement. Silas was new, so he couldn’t do it, and Kaien was Kaien, so he couldn’t do it either. That left Lech with his seniority and his vast sea of experience.

It wasn’t an outlandish bar, but then, if you looked past his dealings with the criminal underground, Silver Mick was a distinguished man with refined taste.

Its seats were also occupied [i solely] by criminals. A lot of them, Kaien recognized. A lot of them he worried would recognize him in turn. He kept his head down as they approached Mick’s table. It wouldn’t be like last time. They had an appointment.

“You’re here,” Mick said, and it was already different. There were no smiles this time, no pomp. Both sides were here for a reason. “We can skip the introductions this time.” He gestured vaguely to the unidentifiable men seated at his table. There were no more seats available, which meant they weren’t being invited to stay. Kaien remained where he was, his eyes on Mick, and waited for the continuation.

“A name and a location. That’s all I’m giving you.” He was curt. Kaien knew this wasn’t how he conducted business, but these were extenuating circumstances, so to speak. It wasn’t every day a batch of Silver Mick’s boys went behind their leader’s back. Kaien could see the anger, sizzling just beneath the surface of his veneer. Silver Mick was not a man who tolerated insubordination.

He slid a single piece of paper across the table to the edge, not even looking at them. “Leave.”
  disir / 1y 132d 1h 54m 37s
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