||Chapter 2||

Farfarello, former assassin and member of the team "Schwarz", was not at Ken's meeting.
"Former" because he was no longer associated with the group. He had other responsibilities, now; ones that could not only risk the lives of those humans he was around (more than usual), but also took up all his time.
After all, he was Tokyo's newest Vampire Lord. His word was law in the Vampire community, and it was a harshly enforced law. It had to be. He may have killed the previous Vampire Lord, and he may be dangerous enough to scare anything with half a brain, but he was still young. He had several big strikes against him in the world of Vampires. He was young, he was not a Pureblood, and he had executed dozens of Vampires before for little to no reason while he had been under the influence of Rosenkreuz's strange mind-altering drugs. They'd called him the Traitor. Inexperience as a leader would have been another bad mark if the Irishman hadn't had an instinctive knack for it. Besides, he was ruthless, and more than a little psychotic. His reputation preceded him. Fear, in the end, did in fact inspire the most healthy respect. Ken had witnessed this fact firsthand.
So it was that the two Vampires Ken was sitting with in a wide booth at Kitty's Coffee were more or less behaving themselves, and were careful not to so much as look at Ken in a dangerous manner. No one under the Berserker's rule messed with Farfarello's human lover and lived.
However, there were those Purebloods who had separated themselves from Farfarello and taken themselves off into shadows hidden from the rest of the world. There were people- human and otherwise -who wanted Farfarello dead and knew that striking at Ken would be a blow to the scarred madman. And so Ken was forced to put up with bodyguards virtually wherever he went- whether he liked it or not. It was flattering, in a way, that Farfarello was that worried about him. On the other hand, it made him feel like a child, and he rather resented it.
The Vampire on his left was being intolerable. Most Vampires tended to be arrogant, which grated on Ken's nerves; this one was no exception. His name was Flint. He was tall- nearly six feet -with mocking green eyes and dark dark hair cut close to his head. The color contrast was startling, but it did not make him a handsome man. His features were too drawn and thin, and his nose had been broken sometime before he had been Turned. He slumped in the booth surrounded by the creaking leather of his long trenchcoat and watched the waitresses with a piercing gaze. His sarcasm reminded Ken of Yohji, but his cynicsm and bad attitude was much like Schuldich. He and Ken didn't get along very well.
The other Vampire, a woman called Himeno, was sitting across from them. She was slightly shorter than Ken, and looked dainty and pretty with her dark hair pulled back with a large barette. She was dressed in a fluffy apricot sweater, short denim shorts, and leggings. As they waited, she picked idly at the bright pink nail polish on her nails. Her delicate features said she should be in a business suit with a touch of makeup, but she had no interest in looking conservative when she wasn't even human. She wasn't too hard to get along with, so Ken kept his opinion of her fashion sense to himself.
Ken had never been overly fond of coffee, but he did like mocha's. He sipped at his as he waited with his two 'companions', and watched the door. In the past, Hidaka Ken would have been very out of place beside the two rebellious looking Vampires. But times had changed. In a world where everyone wanted him dead, where he was scorned simply for being human, he'd made sure it was clear that he could take care of himself, and that he was nobody's victim. He'd been an assassin of Weiß for years, but he had always looked like the boy next door. A change of wardrobe helped to change that impression. So did his scars: One over his left eye, puncture marks on one side of his neck, and rippling scars of white tissue on the other side. They made him look like a survivor and a killer; especially when his temper was pushed over the edge to cold anger and he glared with an assassin's eyes.
He was wearing black jeans that were so new they hadn't faded yet, black boots, a violet long-sleeved v-neck shirt that said SKULL on it (and, coinsidentally, hid his buknuts), and a thick leather collar. He had bought the outfit with Himeno's help a few days ago, but the collar had been a gift from Farfarello. The madman had worn it during his days with Schwarz, but thought it might now be more appropriate if worn by his "pet".
Ken's eyes flicked towards the clock on the wall above Himeno's head. An hour was almost up. On cue, the bell above the front door jingled merrily. The shop wasn't too crowded on a Saturday morning, so Ken could clearly see the two men who stepped inside, nodding at a waitress who welcomed them cheerily. A smile played on Ken's lips as he lifted his mocha for another sip. "I figured those two would be early," he murmured to himself. Himeno turned slightly to watch them come.
"Ooo, Very nice," she purred.
Ken frowned at her. "I wouldn't touch the redhead if I were you," he advised. "He doesn't like it when his personal space is invaded."
Himeno chuckled throatily, but didn't answer.
Crawford and Ran spotted Ken and wove their way through the tables and chairs over to the booth. Ken grinned up at them, lowering his mocha. "Long time no see," he greeted. "Trust you to be punctual, Ran."
Ran nodded curtly, his eyes drifting warily towards Ken's two bodyguards.
Ken didn't miss the look. He gestured to them. "Flint and Himeno. Farfarello hardly lets me go anywhere without 'backup'. Especially lately."
Crawford inclined his head at the two, but Ran had locked gazes with Flint. He was grudgingly surprised that Farfarello supposedly cared enough about Ken to make sure he was watched- but he didn't like the look of the two punk Vampires. "Would you actually protect him?" he asked bluntly. "Or just let him take care of himself?"
Flint smiled slightly, but there was no humor in his bright green eyes. "I would protect him. But only because I don't fancy my skin as a seat cover for Farfarello's throne."
"Have a seat," Ken suggested quickly. "You might as well order breakfast; Yohji and Schuldich will probably be late as usual." He gave a quirky grin.
Ran still didn't trust the two Vampires, but he was glad to see Ken again. He slid into the seat farthest from the two undead. Crawford sat beside him, ignoring the young man's glare.
"Any luck?" Ken's question was directed towards the American, his eyes sparkling with mirth.
Crawford's smile was slow and lazy. "A little."
Ran looked from one of them to the other, lost.
The bell above the door rang again, and Ken motioned. "Here come Omi and Nagi. Scoot over, Himeno."
"Are all your friends so attractive?" Himeno inquired, arching her brows as she moved over to make room.
"Don't you have any female friends?" Flint complained. Ken ignored them both.
"Ken-kun." Omi's face was bright with a wide smile as he led Nagi over to the booth by the hand. Ken rose, and the two friends embraced warmly over the table. "I was beginning to think you'd dropped off the face of the earth," Omi teased lightly, sitting down beside Himeno. Nagi slid in beside him and raised his hand to get a waitress's attention. He was pointedly ignoring Ran. He nodded politely at Ken, and answered a few questions Crawford asked about his education. The American had paid for the majority of Nagi's schooling, and was sure to keep tabs on him to make sure he wasn't failing.
The beaming waitress came over, notebook poised. Crawford ordered a hazelnut coffee- cream, no sugar. Omi asked for a hot cocoa, Nagi a cappuccino, and they both ordered breakfast burritos. Aya ordered a bagel with cream cheese because he was actually hungry, now. An uncomfortable silence settled over the table once the waitress had left.
After a long moment, Omi cleared his throat nervously. "So, Ken-kun," he said with forced cheerfulness, "who are your friends?"
"Friends?" Flint repeated drolly.
"Flint and Himeno are more like guards," Ken explained, looking faintly embarassed. "Farfarello makes them follow me." He gestured. "This is Omi, Nagi, Crawford, and Ran," he informed the two Vampires.
"Charmed, I'm sure," Flint drawled, eyes hooded and lip curled a little in distaste.
Himeno ran her fingers through Omi's hair, smiling sweetly. "What an adorable little boy," she purred. "And such golden hair."
Omi flushed with embarrassment. Nagi scowled and put his arm meaningfully around his lover's shoulders. Himeno gave a tinkling laugh and withdrew her finely manicured hand. "I think this 'Ran' is more to my tastes," she admitted, "but he looks like it would take a blowtorch to melt that heart of his."
Ran stared at her icily, bristling.
Ken sighed. This was going nowhere fast. "I don't suppose you two can just meet me here in an hour?" he suggested pointedly. "I'm in the middle of a pack of assassins- plus their collective Talents. You really don't need to be here."
"Forget it, human," Flint said coldly, cutting Ken off. "I'm not going to become the Vampire Lord's new target practice just because I took my eyes off his precious pet for a few minutes." He and Ken glared at each other.
"Grow up, boys," Himeno admonished, stretching like a cat.
The waitress returned then with a laden tray, and cheerfully passed out their drinks. "Your food will be out shortly," she said with a smile before hurrying off.
Omi coughed softly and reached for his cocoa. "Ken-kun, does Manx know about this meeting?" His tone was slightly chiding.
Ken shook his head. "Not yet. You can fill her in later." He glanced towards his watch and frowned.
Ran didn't miss the look. "I told Schuldich your meeting was half an hour earlier than it really was," he offered.
"They're not usually this late," Omi murmured anxiously. "I hope they didn't get in an accident..."
"Schuldich would have let us know," Nagi reassured his blond lover. "Daijabou."
"We'll wait ten more minutes," Ken sighed. "If they don't show up, you can always tell them what we talked about."


Yohji tossed the car keys in the air impatiently. It was Schuldich's car they'd be taking, of course; in an uncommon act of unselfishness, Yohji had given his own car to Aya-chan. She and her brother needed it more than he did, really, since Schuldich loved driving his fancy-shmancy ferrari so much anyway. He really couldn't help but have a soft spot for Ran's charming sister. She regarded them all as her brothers, and lavished them with affection and good food. She was intelligent, beautiful, gentle, but with an iron-hard will deep inside. The type of girl everyone loved. Hell, if he didn't have so much respect for her overprotective nit of a brother, he'd have made an honest pass at her. To hell with Schuldich.
He could hear his lover in the bathroom, taking his damn sweet time with his hair. He knew it annoyed Yohji when he fussed with his hair like a frigging chick. That was why he did it.
To hell with Schuldich.
Yohji scowled, glancing at his watch for the umpteenth time. Usually he was late, but he had wanted to be on time for once today. After all, he hadn't seen Ken in far too long. He missed his short-tempered friend. But Schuldich didn't give a damn that it was important to Yohji. He'd grumbled and dragged his feet all morning, mocking Yohji when the blond told him to hurry his ass up. Sometimes- an alarmingly number of times, unfortunately -Yohji was positive Schuldich only stuck with him because he was a good lay. Yohji was in his own right a slut by nature, but the key difference between them was that once Yohji got with someone, he was with that person. Period. He didn't just pick someone to live with because they had some sweet ass. There had to be feelings there, or the whole point was moot. But more and more, lately, it seemed the 'feelings' were not reciprocated. Relationships didn't work like that. They couldn't. Yohji knew from personal experience that if things kept up this way, their time together was bound to come to a bitter, grinding halt.
"Schuldich," he called angrily, "We're already half an hour late! Get your ass in gear or I'm leaving you!"
The German finally emerged from the bathroom, flicking his bright hair over his shoulder and offering his mate his most condescending smirk. "Yes, dear," he taunted.
Yohji had to grind his teeth to keep his silence.
Schuldich strode over and plucked the keys from him, heading for the door with a yawn. "Remind me to kill soccer punk for even thinking up a morning meeting, and definately remind me to fillet Abysinnian for waking me up at such an ungodly hour in the morning."
Yohji locked the apartment door behind them and pounded down the stairs behind his roommate. "Remind yourself," he snapped.
"Don't be such a grump," Schuldich tsked.
"To hell with you."
"You've been thinking that a lot lately," Schuldich pointed out, not looking back at him. He never truly looked Yohji in the eye unless he was being serious. As usual, the German was flippantly disregarding the obvious fact that there were real problems between them.
A second later he surprised Yohji by trashing that last assumption; they reached the bottom of the stairs and Schuldich turned abruptly to face him. Startled, Yohji took a step back up the stairs to avoid collision.
Schuldich studied his face for a long moment, his mouth quirked but his eyes devoid of humor. Someone had once said the eyes were the window to the soul, and like most men, this was also true with Schwarz's Mastermind. He might joke, and smirk, and laugh his ass off, but it was his eyes that truly gave away what he was thinking. Yohji was not a telepath like his firey lover, and so had come to depend on those mocking jade eyes. It was partly why Schuldich didn't look at him square on unless he was being serious.
He was being serious now.
"Why do you stick around?" Yohji demanded without thinking. "Obviously I'm just a good fuck to you, otherwise you wouldn't put me through the shit you do. You wouldn't get all sarcastic when I try to be gentle."
Schuldich sneered, and there was honest scorn in his eyes. But there was also fear and distrust. His eyes said no one is gentle to ME, but instead he said, "You take things too seriously, Kudou."
That was another thing that irked Yohji. It was a small thing, but he was a firm believer that it was the small things that counted. So rarely did Schuldich call him by his given name, that it might as well just be a one night stand to him, caught up in some horrible repitition that grotesquely parodied a relationship.
Schuldich made a small noise in the back of his throat, grinning. "You think the wrong things are too important, Yo-tan."
"Don't call me that," Yohji flared automatically; then, "So what IS important, then?"
Schuldich laughed, and closed his eyes when he did so that Yohji couldn't tell what he was really thinking. "You're asking the wrong person, Kudou," he remarked dryly, turning away.
Yohji bit his tongue and decided reluctantly to drop the argument for the time being. It was something that they were going to have to discuss eventually, but now was not the time. They needed to get to Kitty's and see what Ken was so hyped up about. Later he would work out this relationship tangle he'd found himself in.
"Bible beater at ten o' clock," Schuldich muttered as he and his lover headed for the main doors. Yohji glanced to his left and spotted a man in dark clothing standing against the wall, watching them with an open look of disgust.
A missionary? What's he looking at us like that for? Yohji asked silently.
Schuldich shrugged, already pushing open the door. Once they were outside, he glanced over his shoulder towards the building with a slight frown. "I couldn't read him."
Yohji arched a brow at his lover, making a beeline for the car. "What, you couldn't hear his thoughts?"
Schuldich shook his head, pressing the button on his keyring to unlock the ferrari's doors. He smirked across the hood at his fellow assassin. "Prob'ly brainwashed like all the rest of his kind."
"Be nice, Schuldich," Yohji sighed, opening the passenger side door. "You're already going to hell in a handbasket. Quit trying to make sure your name gets bumped to the top of the list."
"What, you don't want to shake hands with the devil when you get there?" Schuldich sneered as he slid behind the wheel.
Yohji shut his door and levelled a pointed look at the grinning German. "I'm already sleeping with him," he said shortly.
Schuldich laughed and pulled out of the parking slot.

Curtis Roy Riddle watched the two men drive out of the parking lot and shuddered, his lip lifting in disgust. Sinners both. Two of the filthiest he'd sensed in his day. God had given him the gift to root out such satan worshippers as these. What he had glimpsed in those men scared him- scared him bad. They'd killed before. They'd washed their hands in blood, laughed while doing it. They consorted with demons, and they were faggots. The scent of unholy sex and evil deeds was like a choking perfume, and he stepped outside hastily to get away from the lingering of it. He drew in deep breaths of the cool morning air, closing his eyes and saying a swift, silent prayer.
He had never expected to encounter such corruption his second day in Japan. Was this why God had sent him here? To cleanse the city of men like those two who revelled in their secret sins? It was monstrous. It would take all he had in him to enlighten these men- and men like them -and to bring them back to God. It would be more difficult than those ignorant children in the west who questioned everything he preached, more dangerous than trying to save the street rats of New York. God must think him stronger than he saw himself if this was the task he was to perform.
Opening his eyes, he caught a glimpse of a dove fluttering over his head and disappearing over the roof. Hope filled him, and he was suddenly fired with determination. Saying a reverent prayer, he set off to purge Tokyo of its demons.
Atop the roof, the 'dove' Curtis had seen flapped weakly in the iron grip of a slim man crouching on the edge, watching the missionary below with cold, flat eyes. He inspected the spotted pigeon he'd captured almost absently before tossing it aside carelessly. He wasn't hungry; he'd eaten just an hour ago. The man of the cloth was very lucky.
With a flutter of cloth, the Vampire whirled and bounded off to find amusement. He gave no more thought to the man with the dark clothing. It never occured to him to report such a trivial thing as a foreign Christian to Tokyo's Vampire Lord.
Perhaps if he had, things would have turned out differently.

Author's Notes: Just thought I should warn you, in this fic there is what might be interpreted as "religion bashing". I say if people think they have the right to scorn my religion, I have just as much right to "bash" another's beliefs. However, that's not the point of this fic. I'm not trying to make a point like "Christianity is evil" or "Priests/Ministers/whatever are evil". Christians for the most part have good intentions, and the religion isn't a bad one. But religion has been used in the past- and still is today -as an excuse and a cause to do things that are not good at all. Curtis isn't an evil man, but because of the way he twists his religion, and forces it upon other people, he isn't truly a good Christian, either.
...Of course, that's just my opinion, and you certainly don't have to agree with it. Just warning people that get offended by these things that you might want to think twice before flaming me because of my views on this.

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Ch. 8
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Ch. 14
Ch. 15
Ch. 16
Ch. 17
Ch. 18
Ch. 19
Ch. 20
Ch. 21
Ch. 22
Ch. 23
Ch. 24
Ch. 25
Ch. 26
Ch. 27