Ch. 3: "Bloodlust"
Warning: This chapter contains graphic violence and gore. If you have a weak stomach, I suggest you skim over Farfarello's part until the speaking part comes. ^^;;
You see I cannot be forsaken
Because I'm not the only one
We walk amongst you- feeding, raping
Must we hide from everyone?
Farfarello dropped down into the muddy ditch, ignoring the foul smelling mud that sucked at his shoes. He looked around, senses alert but body relaxed. He had followed the trail, knowing without having to be told where to start. The smell of death and stale blood that lead from the site of the latest murder of Hashikata's underlings had led him through alleyways, down twisted streets, and to the dankest part of the city. He looked around, baring his teeth slightly in a sneer of derision. To think that one of his kind had taken to hiding out in a dump like this...
He waded through the muddy water, the moonlight gleaming eerily off his alabaster skin, making his golden eye light up with a frightening gleam. He disliked sneaking around like a nervous mutt, avoiding population, but Crawford had made himself very clear. Since Farfarello knew he would kill any innocent bystander that ran across him and screamed in fear, his only choice was to stay out of sight as he followed the trail of the man he was hunting.
He knew it was one man, now. His tracking skills hadn't diminished in his years spent with Schwarz, and he kept his eye glued to the ground, following the tell-tale signs of passage, sniffing at the air to inhale the heady scent of old blood.
The trail came to an abrupt end before a grated sewer drain set in the wall of the ditch, and he realized his mistake belatedly. No one could be THAT arrogant- to leave such an obvious trail when word of the Berserker that tore into his enemies with such fierce joy had undoubtedly reached the underworld by now.
He had followed a fake trail, possibly right into a trap.
He paused by the drain, watching the dirty water trickle into it, unalarmed, ears straining for any sound. He glanced casually over his shoulder, arms hanging loosely by his sides, and regarded the dark edge of the ditch behind him.
He waited patiently for several moments for the watcher he knew was there to make himself known, but when it was obvious that wasn't going to happen, he turned to face the crumbling side, peering up with a scowl.
He cocked his head to the side and gave a slow, chilling smile. His prey wished to play, did it? Very well...
He moved faster than thought, going into a quick crouch and thrusting his feet against the muddy ground, launching himself into the air, several feet above the ditch's edge.
A figure in the garbage-cluttered grass shifted abruptly, giving a quiet gasp, and Farfarello's keen eye quickly picked out the dark shadow. Even as he descended, his hand flew the the slender hilt protruding from his belt and he whipped out his favorite serrated knife, reaching behind him with his other hand to yank his long needle-like dagger from his collar.
"YIYIYIYIYI!" he shrieked in fierce triumph, and landed heavily, blades slashing, missing his quarry by mere inches.
The shadowed figure rolled quickly out of the way, spitting curses. He leapt to his feet and turned, taking to his heels, and Farfarello jumped up to give pursuit, lips peeled back in a horrible grin of anticipation.
His prey fled into the dark alleys of the slums and Farfarello followed without hesitation, unhindered by the dark, nimbly dodging as the fleeing figure before him began desperately pushing trashcans and garbage into his path in an attempt to slow him down.
Farfarello's grin turned condenscending. Such fear in his prey... Which meant either he was after the wrong man or...
As soon as they came to an intersection in the alley the pale Irishman darted into a side street and grabbed the nearest fire escape ladder, thrusting one blade in between his teeth and the other back in his belt. He climbed the creaking ladder swiftly and leapt lightly onto the roof, continuing the silent race from the rooftops, leaping from one to the other, glimpsing his quarry every now and then, still fleeing below. Then he spotted what he'd been looking for up ahead, and grinned around the blade in his mouth, reaching to pull the other dagger free.
In the street the man he'd been chasing had reached a dead end and was whirling around with a triumphant look on his shadowed face.
But Farfarello's attention was focused on the three men crouching on the rooftop ahead, just above the dead end.
They looked up in shock as he leapt for them with a fierce shriek, blades flashing to his hands in the moonlight.
One of them screamed in defiance and warning, then the Berserker of Schwarz was on them.
His serrated blade cut deep into the throat of the one who had screamed, nearly severing his head. Farfarello whirled quickly, blades held far from his body as he caught the next who leapt for him in the belly. They were screaming in mingled pain and fury, and he was loving it. He laughed and ducked as one of them swung at him with a heavy hand, and thrust upwards with the needle dagger, piercing the man underneath the chin and shoving up brutally until the strong steel slid sluggishly through gray matter.
Releasing the dagger and letting the gurgling, convulsing man collapse, he whirled to face the one he had wounded in the belly, holding his serrated blade at the ready.
Below, the man in the street was practically dancing with rage, screaming up at them in a hoarse, foreign language. It was a tongue Farfarello hadn't heard in years.
Farfarello ignored him, moving in a slow circle with his snarling opponent, licking the blood almost absently from his blade, knowing victory was in sight.
The men behind him were gurgling and screaming liquidly with pain, unable to die, and Farfarello felt a fierce thrill go through him at the sounds. He laughed again and the man circling him dove for him.
The Berserker stopped laughing and drew his knife back quickly as if to slash again. The man leaping for him twisted his body instinctively aside, reaching out a hand to grab his wrist.
Farfarello's other hand whipped upwards from where he'd held it tight against his stomach, driving through flesh, crunching into bone, and sinking into the soft wetness of the man's intenstines.
The man's eyes widened, mouth opening in a silent scream of agony. Blood and spittle spilled from his mouth. Farfarello sneered at the face so close to his own and pushed hard with the hand imbedded in his enemy's stomach.
The man fell backwards, and Farfarello's hand slipped free with a slick, wet sound. He tightened his fingers at the last instant, gripping a trail of intestines in his fist and yanking hard.
This time the man did scream, but not loud enough to cover the Berserker's maniacal laughter.
By the time he had tired of his playing, the man in the streets had disappeared.
Farfarello stood on the edge of the rooftop, fist buried in the hair of the man he had disembowled- the only one he had allowed to live. He gazed calmly up at the half moon, enjoying the feel of the cool night wind on his skin, ignoring the whimpering curses of his victim. He looked down finally at the man bleeding to death at his feet and lifted him another foot with his strong arm, looking madly into the man's wild eyes.
"Who is Master?"
"Whu-whu-whu--" the man gibbered. He'd seen the madman behead both his companions after he'd finished with them, and looked ready to either sink into shrieking madness or vomit. Again.
"Who is your Master?" Farfarello repeated in a quiet voice, tightening his hold on the fistful of bloody hair.
The man whimpered, eyes screwing up in pain, and gave a little sob. He half raised his arms as if to cover his head protectively, but Farfarello had cut off his hands an hour ago. "I can't tell you," he blubbered. "I can't.."
Even though he spoke in the strange dialect the man in the street had used, Farfarello understood. He looked at the man impassively for a moment before he spoke, the ageless words dripping from his tongue with ease. "I will find him," he said with calm certainty.
"Why??" the man demanded in a hysterical shout. "Why are you doing this? You are betraying your own kind!"
Farfarello allowed the corner of his mouth to lift in a sneer. "Your kind abandoned me long ago," he said scornfully. "I do what I'm paid to do, if it pleases me. It matters not if that means killing every last one of your snivelling race."
The man began cursing him colorfully, and Farfarello dropped him, bored. Obviously he wasn't going to get any answers from this worm. He rolled the man over onto his back with his foot and reached down to yank his needle blade free from where he'd stuck it to get it out of the way awhile ago, deaf to the man's shriek. He licked the blood methodically clean from his weapon before sliding it down the back of his shirt again, into its hidden sheath, and raised his serrated knife. "Join your brothers, then," he said, eye gleaming in the moonlight. "Tell the devil Jei sent you."
He brought the knife down.
Ken didn't wake until almost midnight, shivering at the cool night breeze that came through his open window. He'd turned on the fan and thrown open his window before collapsing into bed that morning, feeling as if he was burning with fever, but now he lay in a cold sweat, trembling and disoriented.
The headache was gone.
That was the first thought that seeped through his mind, and he remembered suddenly the events that had taken place that morning.
He sat up quickly, looking around his dark room in disbelief. He'd slept all day??
He shivered again, and rose hastily, striding over to the window and slamming it shut. He lifted his hands, palms up, to stare at them in the moonlight. Despite the ache in them that morning, they were unscathed. In fact, the only physical thing to prove that Ryo had done what he had was the strange feeling that seemed to coarse through his veins like silk. A power that had lain dormant throughout his life was now alive, rushing through his blood. He shuddered, rubbing at his arms as if he could make the feeling go away, and padded out of his bedroom into the hall to get his mind off of it.
He went first to Omi's door, listening for a moment for any sound before pushing the door open slowly.
The young assassin was curled up in the middle of his bed, shivering. He had kicked off his covers sometime in the night, no doubt suffering from the same feverish heat that Ken had. Yohji was on the floor, wrapped in an extra blanket. Both were breathing normally, and Ken breathed a quiet sigh of relief. They seemed to have recovered. He crept into the room and carefully untangled Omi's feet from his comforter, pulling it up around the small boy and tucking him in. Glancing once more towards Yohji, he tiptoed out and shut the door behind him.
He moved on to Aya's room, feeling wide awake after so much sleep, and nudged open the door without bothering to listen for noise.
Aya was lying on his stomach, clothes tossed across the room in an unusual display of untidiness- an attempt to cool off. The thin sheet draped over him covered him only from mid-back to thigh, leaving his long legs and slender, supple form in the open. His bangs had fallen into his face, peaceful in slumber, one fist lightly clenched on his pillow.
Ken bit his lip when he realized he was staring at the pale beauty on the bed and turned away, pulling the door shut quietly behind him.
He had come to grips with the fact that he found men attractive when he had joined Weiß. It had been embarrassing, but he couldn't help himself. His teammates were beautiful; there was no way around the fact. But Omi was just a kid in all their eyes, and Yohji was so steadfast with his whole "playboy" attitude...
So of course, like an idiot, he'd allowed himself to develop a pathetic, secret little crush on the most emotionless one of the group. Baka.
He sighed and rubbed at his eyes to focus better in the dark and padded downstairs. He was restless. His body had gotten more than enough sleep. He fished his tennis shoes out of the closet by the kitchenette and plucked his headband from the shelf, pulling it on. He was only wearing pajama pants, but it wasn't likely anyone would be out at this time of night anyway. A run would do him good and help him think.
He took the spare key from where it was gathering dust on top of the fridge and slipped out the back door, locking it behind him. He took off the small chain necklace he wore for just that reason and slid the key onto it. He did a few stretches, then jogged down the driveway and started down the sidewalk, breathing evenly the way he had been taught back in his days on the J-League.
The street lights lit his way and the night breeze felt good on his bare chest as he jogged at a steady but mile-eating pace, not caring where he was headed or how long he ran.
Ryo... why was it they had never heard of him before? Wouldn't they have been informed that a man with a Gift-- a particularly helpful clairvoiyant Gift at that --was working for Kritiker? It sure could have saved them a lot of trouble on missions that had caught them by surprise.
And Birman... Manx had said she'd been the one to catch the glimpse of the Gifts in the four members of Weiß. Did she have some kind of special talent, too? If so, did that mean Manx did as well?
He didn't like it when secrets were kept from him, and he knew Yohji and Aya disliked it even more. And Omi... he clenched his teeth as the echoes of the younger boy's screams rang in his mind. How could Manx just stand there and watch Ryo put the boy through that? Couldn't there have been an easier way? It made him angry just to think about, and he felt like getting into a fight just for the hell of it. That wasn't like him, and he sped up his pace to try to distract himself, sucking in quick, patterned breaths of air. All his pent up frustration, anger, and confusion was pounding adrenaline through his veins like liquid fire, and he almost wished some punk looking to steal his wallet would pop out of the alley so he could take his anger out on someone.
He slowed his pace, looking around with growing dread. Just how long had he been running? He was nearing the bad part of town; the place where all the homeless people and criminals hid out. He firmed his jaw and continued to jog boldly down the street. Good. Let someone try to intercept him. He was feeling on edge and dangerous tonight.
As if in answer to his thoughts, there was a movement in the shadows of a crumbling building, and he glanced that way out of the corner of his eye, senses on the alert, his back muscles tensing in readiness for a fight if necessary. There--
There was another one, up ahead and to the right. Two. He slowed down and finally stopped, breathing heavily and squinting in the poor light, reaching up to wipe sweat from his upper lip. He waited.
The figure to the left shifted and stepped closer to the dim light of a flickering street lamp, grinning at him ferally. He was a stringy, lean sort of man, with lank dark hair and pasty white skin. He was flexing bony fingers by his sides in anticipation. Ken turned on his heel slightly so that he could keep an eye on him, at the same time watching as the other tramp emerged from the shadows ahead of him, walking slowly towards him with a wide grin on his face. He wasn't as seedy looking as his partner in crime; at least his hair was combed and Ken couldn't smell him from eight feet away. He was wearing a jacket that was too small on his bulky frame, and patched jeans.
The scum of the street. Lovely. Ken reached up and tugged his headband away, tucking it into the back of his pajama pants. He glared at the nearer of the two, the dark haired one. "Go mess with someone else," he said in a clear, loud voice. "I'm not in the mood to play with you punks."
The one with the jacket gave a hissing laugh. "Well we're very in the mood, pretty boy," he said in a low voice, eyes gleaming. His eyes were glued to Ken's neck. "Care to have a bite to eat?" he called to the other one.
"I saw him first," the skinny one whined, edging closer to Ken.
Ken rolled his eyes, and the bulky one leapt for him.
Ken whirled, bashing his fist right into the man's grinning face. His attacker howled and staggered back, clutching his broken nose. The skinny man sprang with a shriek and Ken turned quickly to face him, tilting his body sideways and thrusting up with his left leg.
He caught the man full in the stomach, driving all the air from his lungs. He used the leverage to push himself back, and the man crumpled to the ground, hacking. Ken grinned wildly to himself, blood pounding in his ears. Yohji's self defense tips along with the martial arts he'd been instructed to take before joining Weiß were coming in handy.
The man in the jacket had recovered and was running towards him, face twisted and bloodied, teeth bared. Ken struck at him again, but the man ducked with amazing speed, reaching up to seize his arm.
Then his face was right in front of Ken's.
Ken gave an involuntary gasp. Speed like this-- it was like Schuldich's. Inhuman.
The man pinned his arm behind his back, twisting it brutally, and Ken gave an involuntary cry of pain. Strong fingers twisted in his hair and jerked his head back, leaving his neck bare.
"Dinner time," the man purred, and opened his mouth, hovering over his victim.
Ken's eyes widened in horror as the man's canines flashed in the dim light. They were growing in front of ken's very eyes, stretching into frighteningly sharp fangs.
Ken gave a choked noise, fear rushing up to bury his previous anger. "What the fuck?!"
The man laughed and lowered his head fast as a striking serpent.
Ken felt a sharp pain, like being pricked with dual needles, then opened his mouth for a silent scream of pain. It felt like the man was sucking out his very life. He struggled weakly, his strength sapping at every slurp the other man gave. He reached up with his free hand, grabbing a fistful of coarse blond hair and yanking futilely. The man was surprisingly strong, though, and every time he pulled at the hair, the man only bit harder. He tried to scream again and blood bubbled in his throat, threatening to choke him.
'I'm going to die,' he realized suddenly. 'I'm going to die...' And his mind was screaming at him Vampire!!
No- there were no such things... but even as he thought it he felt his legs start to give underneath him, and struggled to stay conscious. The edges of his vision were turning black... He was..
He had finally had his Gift-- Healing, of all things --awakened, and he couldn't even get the man off of him so he could use it.
He was going to die here, alone and drained of blood, and no one would know what had happened to him.
Oh god. Not this way. He couldn't die this way...
His eyes slid shut and his knees buckled. The man caught his weight easily and eased him to the ground, still sucking at his neck, pulling his life away slowly but surely. The pain had disappeared and now he felt numb and heavy. He gave a quiet moan and went limp.
He wondered dazedly if White Assassins went to hell.
The sucking stopped abruptly, and Ken struggled to open his eyes. The voice sounded vaguely familiar somehow..
With a supreme effort his opened his eyes and turned them in the direction of the voice.
Farfarello, Berserker of Schwarz, the things nightmares were made of, stepped out of the shadows and offered Ken's attacker a slow, vicious smile.
"The angel is mine."
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