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RPG Kill Adam: Volume 1 [M-LSV]


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[size=4]Chapter 10: Bath House Reflections[/size][/center]

[b]Summary:[/b] In this chapter, Jamie Kidd continues his discussion with ****. After the brief discussion, he reflects on the infamous Bath House Fight between himself and Lelia Angelo.

[b]Characters:[/b] Jamie Kidd, Lelia Angelo.

[b]Setting:[/b] Alcatraz Prison Complex --> Osaka Bath House.

[b][i]|Fingertips trace a scar on the hand...|[/i][/b]

"Yeah, not quite finished."

[font=trebuchet ms]"She did that to you?"[/font]

"She did, yes. Bitch."

[b][i]|A pause|[/i][/b]

"Well, maybe I didn't finish things the way I wanted. But I sure finished [i]her[/i] off."

[font=trebuchet ms]"You make it sound easy..."[/font]

"Hah, no, it wasn't easy. She put up a good fight, I'll admit. Tricky thing, she is. But she couldn't escape a nail gun."


"I'll never forget the Bath House..."

[i]I had come so far already. I had spilled so much blood and committed so many crimes, all for the sake of vengeance. And, truthfully, I was starting to feel better about myself. But on that night, things weren't the same as they normally were. That is, the occasion was special. I couldn't enter the Bath House with my clothes in tatters from previous encounters. I couldn't walk in there with blood stains on my jacket. It just wouldn't have been right.

Although she was a violent killer -- a murderer -- she was also undeniably enchanting. She was enchanting, mysterious and above all, dangerous. She was the first. He hired her before he hired anyone else. And so, she was his most trusted agent. This meant that killing her wouldn't simply be a matter of walking in and diving my sword into her stomach. Being able to fight her wasn't a choice that [b]I[/b] would make. She would make the choice; she would decide whether or not I was worthy of such an honour.

In that sense, what I attempted was almost certain suicide. If the Fallen Angel hadn't accepted my challenge, she could easily have finished me off with a click of her fingers, such was the size of her personal entourage...[/i]

Jamie approached the old bath house, which was nestled between two lush gardens, in Osaka's pleasure district. The night air was crisp and fresh, and the green earth had expelled lush cherry blossoms in great plumes across the landscape. A beautiful night -- one which the local residents were taking full advantage of.

The bath house was ablaze with light and sound. As Jamie entered via the enormous wooden doors, he came across a sea of wooden floorboards, bathed in vivid yellow light. Bath attendants were scampering around like timid mice, fetching bath salts and gathering towels. The bath house was full to the rafters with clients. To his right, Jamie saw a long hallway, which appeared to continue forever into the distance. It was punctuated by thin paper doors, which periodically opened and closed, either ejecting or accepting yet another bath attendant.

To his left, Jamie saw a large, open room. The room was dotted with elaborate furniture, over which dozens of attractive women were draped. Every now and then, he could hear the gruff laugh of a drunk Japanese businessman, followed by hysterical female giggling.

Jamie approached the front desk and stood still, waiting for a response from the clerk. The clerk -- a short and round man, with a ratty little moustache and beady little eyes -- shuffled papers and barked orders at attendants, apparently without noticing the white-and-black figure just beyond his counter. Jamie raised a balled fist to his mouth and coughed, in an attempt to attract the clerk's attention, but to no avail.

"Excuse me," said Jamie in a deliberate tone, "I would like to rent your most expensive tub for the evening."

At this, the clerk paused and looked up. [i]Now[/i] he noticed the white-haired Gaijin.

"Er...sorry sir, but that room is being used at the moment," said the clerk, with an obvious note of annoyance in his voice. He then continued to shuffle papers and bark orders, as though Jamie had simply disappeared.

Jamie smiled to himself and raised his voice ever so slightly. "I said, I would like to rent your most expensive tub for the evening."

The clerk paused once more and this time, he glared directly at Jamie and tapped the desk rapidly with his fingers.

"Is there something wrong with you? Are you deaf? I told you -- [b]the room is being used right now[/b]. Either you buy a cheaper tub or you get lost."

Jamie stepped back from the counter slightly and glanced around him. It was as if nobody had noticed the clerk's outburst; attendants were still dashing back and forth, with armfuls of towels and bath salts. Jamie rubbed his chin thoughtfully, and proceeded to unsheath his katana. The blade glinted and shimmered under the glaring yellow lights of the bath house foyer. The soft leather handle felt cool and comfortable in Jamie's grip. By the time several nearby attendants had noticed the sword, Jamie had turned his body sharply and flicked the blade through the air, in a half-circle around his body.

As the clerk's head -- with its still-busy expression -- slipped off his neck and hit the floor with an unmistakably heavy [b]thud[/b], Jamie resheathed the sword and grabbed the clerk's microphone from his desk.

"[b]If somebody doesn't take me to the most expensive tub in the fucking building, I'm going to keep on cutting.[/b]"

In response to his little announcement, several attendants dropped their loads and gathered around Jamie, pointing upwards and frantically blurting vague directions at him. Jamie raised his hand (prompting several attendants to jump back several feet), and smiled.

"I only need one of you to escort me," he said cheerfully.

A young woman in a white and pink kimono stepped forward and bowed, her hands still shaking slightly.

[u]"* **** ****** ***, ***,"[/u] she said politely, in her native tongue.
[i]"I will escort you, sir."[/i]

Jamie nodded, as the woman walked toward the hallway and gestured for him to follow.

As Jamie walked behind her, through the hallway with slightly dimmer lighting than the rest of the building, he could see silhouettes of various bathrooms on either side. Most of the silhouettes looked like a man and several women had been plugged together to form some kind of odd new shape. Jamie found it mildly amusing, but not unusual.

The woman in front shuffled quietly on her little toba, as she climbed the third flight of stairs, which opened out onto another enormous foyer. Beyond the foyer, which was decorated with dozens of black and white wall scrolls, stood a very large and ornate pair of double doors. The doors were heavy oak, unlike the rice paper that had been used throughout the rest of the building.

Jamie smiled, as the woman in front bowed and gestured toward the doors. He grasped the ornate wooden handle and turned it slowly. It creaked gently under his grasp and felt heavy and old.

As the door opened, Jamie came across a vast room beyond, which contained a very large bath in the center. Several men in suits were dotted around the room, either pacing back and forth or talking to one of the several Geisha who had been invited. This was definitely her room; who else in Osaka could afford the company of so many Geisha, especially when many were not only entertaining the bodyguards?

The walls were covered with ornate paintings and calligraphy, and the far end of the room contained an enormous window, which looked out over the city below.

The air carried a soft scent of fruit and in the corner of the room, a lone Geisha was playing what sounded like a traditional Spanish tune on a Japanese shamisen. This only reinforced the idea that the Fallen Angel was here. And as Jamie's eyes focused on the tub in the center of the room, he saw her...


But just as Jamie began to approach, a pair of nearby Geisha jumped in front of him, with handfuls of thin hairpins at the ready. Apparently, these were not ordinary Geisha.

Jamie raised his hands slowly. "Hey, it's okay...I'm not here for any of you. Just her," he gestured toward the tub.

The Geisha to his right arched her neck slightly and looked at Lelia, who was sprawled back in the tub, with her eyes closed and a slight grin across her lips. She waved her hand dismissively. "Leave him alone, girls," she sighed, with a soft yet distinct Spanish accent.

Jamie smiled and lowered his arms to his sides. The Geisha pair returned the pins to their wigs and withdrew, bowing as if to apologize for any inconvenience.

Lelia opened her eyes and emerged from the tub with the grace that Jamie had come to expect of her. She was naked. A nearby Geisha held out an elaborate robe for her, which she stepped into. She tied the robe around her waist and approached Jamie, immediately locking her eyes upon his as soon as they faced one another.

"So, you made your way here finally," she said softly.

Jamie merely nodded in response. He knew better than to take his eyes off her for a moment; such a mistake could cost him his life.

"I can't say that I appreciate the job you did on my sisters," sighed Lelia, her eyes unflinching.

"They got what was coming to them," said Jamie flatly.

"Perhaps," said Lelia airily. "And you want to kill me too, don't you?"

Jamie withdrew his katana and gripped it tightly in his fist. It was more than enough of an answer for Lelia.

"At least have the patience to wait for a lady to get dressed," said Lelia, with a playful wink.

Lelia untied the robe and let it drop to her feet. She smiled at Jamie once more and walked over to a red and white silk screen, which had been assembled near the tub. Several Geisha followed her behind the screen, and Jamie saw the silhouettes busily applying Lelia's kimono, hairpins and other accessories.

Finally, the screen was folded away and Lelia re-emerged.

A white and red kimono had been draped over her. The pattern matched the screen which had been used to hide her metamorphosis. An elaborate black and white obi embraced her around the waist. Jamie noticed that her hair -- rather than holding hairpins -- held several pairs of scissors of different sizes, colours and shapes.

Lelia glanced at the bodyguards and Geisha around her. Immediately, they collected up the screen, shamisen and other items and exited the room on either side.

"It's just us now," said Lelia quietly.

Jamie moved into a battle-ready stance, tracing through the air with his katana delicately.

Lelia reached into the bun on the back of her head and produced four pairs of scissors. As she waved her hands around, the scissors snapped open and shut rapidly. Lelia smiled; her manipulation of the scissors was effortless. She was somehow able to coordinate two pairs in each hand with her fingers. They snapped sharply and somewhat resembled metallic fans, as the blades fanned out and retracted repeatedly.

"You'll regret coming here, Kidd," whispered Lelia, with a smirk.

Jamie pulled the blade over his head, ready to lunge at her. "No I won't," he said calmly.

[b]Note:[/b] Jenna, I only have two requests for your post. The first is not to finish the fight completely (you can stretch the fight out for as long as you like -- you can include any dialogue, you can incorporate whatever you want) and the second is to ensure that by the end of your post, Jamie and Lelia are on the roof of the bath house. ~_^ Have fun!
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[size=1]ooc: Just something to note, Lelia is the Italian one ^_^[/size]


Lelia contemplated Jamie?s stance, dipping her chin and bending her knees, ?Please, make your move.?

Her voice was light, almost as though she were teasing him, as Jamie took three deliberate steps forward before he raised the katana beside his right ear and lunged. The katana?s blade winked madly in Lelia?s vision before she whirled away-two full circles-and out of its arching path.

She spun gracefully into a crouching position, raising one eyebrow at Jamie. Lelia slowly started backwards, rounding the side of the large bathtub, Jamie matching her pace step for step. As she sidestepped a potted plant without glancing behind her, he was certain that she had already memorized this room.

?I was wondering,? her voice broke the slicing sound of scissor blades opening and closing, ?how is it that you wish to finish me? Surely I am more worthy of your time than those before me.?

Jamie twirled his katana once, righting it back out in front of his face, ?When that time comes, I will know.?

Her laugh was throaty and feminine, she sounded genuinely amused, ?Very well. Let?s continue with this gamble.?

Lelia moved first this time, hurrying toward Jamie?s outstretched blade, her expression wiped clear of emotion. One pair of scissors, the yellow-coated ones, came spiraling toward his chest with their razor sharp blades exposed. As Jamie intercepted them with his katana, Lelia used the opening as an opportunity to drag a second pair across the left side of his torso.

However, Jamie had been too quick for her to jeopardize herself in that position for too long. She frowned to see that her blades had merely torn clothing, but no blood had been drawn. Lelia distanced herself from Jamie again, noticing that his katana?s shiny glint was dulled by a crimson shade.

Keeping one eye on her opponent, she glanced down quickly to find a long slit in the side of her kimono and blood trickling down her leg. Lelia smiled, ?Ah, good one. That is a sharp sword, I did not feel its bite.?

Jamie traced a finger along the tear she had produced in his jacket, ?I promise you that you will, before this night is over.?

They both knew that it was time to rid the fight of pretenses. They approached each other head-on, both wielding blades menacingly before them. Jamie?s was aimed for her neck, Lelia?s were positioned for his stomach and both hit their mark. As they passed one another, Lelia felt a hot sting on the underside of her jaw. Jamie faltered a bit, yanking her closed blades out of the pre-torn hole in his jacket and ignoring the pain.
Lelia?s enchantress air was gone, it had been replaced by something far more feral as her voice came out in a hiss, ?Now we have both drawn blood.?

She pounced, attempting to knock Jamie off-balance with a well-aimed sidekick to his wrists. He reacted by raising his katana far above his head, too high for her to reach, and she swung around to the opposite side of a paper door. Jamie pierced the door, dragging his blade the length of it, but failed to make contact with Lelia.

She had clambered into the low-slung rafters as he sidestepped another pair of scissors that came whirling from above. Jamie started toward a railing at a run, pushing himself off of it and up onto a low beam. He steadied himself, feet planted one in front of the other, and faced Lelia.

She almost looked as though she belonged balancing precariously on the thin wooden rafters, stepping from one to another with seemingly flawless skill. Not looking too inexperienced on the beams himself, Jamie followed suit until him and Lelia were crouched on the same beam. They started toward each other, Jamie brought his katana sweeping down toward the floor as she changed direction, takeing two steps backward. The blade had cleanly sliced down the center of both obi and kimono, causing it all to slide off of Lelia?s shoulders and onto the floor below.

Her white lace shorts and camisole were in high contrast to the red streaks along her leg and neck. A tight-lipped grin appeared on Lelia?s face, ?How exciting.?

Jamie swung his blade in a circle this time, following the motion with his body. Lelia produced her pair of scissors with the longest blades [slightly resembling a small, double-bladed dagger], and intercepted Jamie?s swing.

He stabbed toward her midsection, she leaped backwards. Lelia swung her scissors at his katana and caught it between the thick blades. She gripped the scissors? handle with both hands in an attempt to keep them closed around Jamie?s blade. Both of them struggled against the other?s strength.

Their faces grew closer, suddenly inches from each other, their weapons becoming a steely barrier between them. Lelia let the strength of her hold give a bit, enough to spring back and shove Jamie?s katana toward his face, then arching around to the ground. She opened her scissors, freeing his weapon, and spun toward the opposite side of the bath house. Jamie glanced at the space between his thumb and first finger to find that she had managed to produce a deep gash while pulling her scissors away.

At a lissome run, Lelia approached where the ceiling slanted to meet the rafters, Jamie right behind her. Kicking at a small steam vent, she hurried through the hole it left in the ceiling and ascended to the top of the roof.

Jamie followed, noticing the precarious slant of this surface, and knew that this is where one of them would falter. This time, however, he was certain that it wouldn?t be him. There was too much behind this, too much time, effort, blood and tears.

Though, it was ironic, for Lelia was thinking the exact same thing herself.

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The warm bath house air disappeared and a canvas of loosely-painted stars blanketed the darkened sky above. The air was cool and it swirled around them, making each combatant accutely aware of their open wounds.

The far end of the roof appeared to drop away suddenly. It had, in fact, been damaged in a storm a week earlier and was in the process of being rebuilt. Beyond the bath house roof lay a sea of white, red and gold lights; an ocean of warm colours and a fitting backdrop to the current scene.

Lelia and Jamie held their weapons at the ready and circled the central pyramid-like protrusion in the roof. Their eyes remained locked on one another. Lelia, despite her injuries, appeared to be calm, almost serene. Jamie breathed heavily, but maintained his focus on Lelia.

A sound broke the silence. A soft and gentle melody floated up across the roof from below. It was the shamisen. A lone Geisha sat in the courtyard below the bath house, playing Lelia's favourite Italian folk tune. It was a tune that always made her more confident. A smile spread across Lelia's lips slowly, as she continued to stare into Jamie's eyes. It was a smile that made Jamie feel uneasy; a smile not just of confidence, but of an absolute sense of superiority and dominance.

Jamie didn't want to see the end result of Lelia's increased sense of confidence; he leapt over the roof and forcefully jabbed his katana at Lelia's soft flesh. Sure enough, the katana sliced down past her collarbone and across to her shoulder. The wound was not particularly deep, but it caused Lelia to momentarily step back and waver, as though she were about to fall.

Jamie took several steps backward and held his bloody katana at the ready.

Lelia's expression changed from one of confidence and delight, to one of shock. Her eyes opened wide and she ran her fingers across the gash. Lelia's fingers were covered with a thick, deep crimson liquid. She gazed at her fingers for a moment in what seemed like disbelief. And then, with apparent ease, her demeanour changed yet again; calm spread across her face.

"Very good," said Lelia softly. Her tone was less airy than before. She now seemed to speak very deliberately and purposefully.

Lelia ran her hands along her chest and neck, toward her hair. She seemed to be almost confused, but Jamie knew better.

"Do you give up?" he asked, still waving his katana menacingly at her.

Lelia glared at Jamie and bluntly spat a mouthful of blood at his feet. "[b]Fuck you[/b]," she snarled. Her playful nature had disappeared and Jamie now knew that she was incredibly serious. This was Lelia at her most dangerous, too.

Within seconds, Lelia pulled another four pairs of scissors from her hair. These appeared to be smaller and lighter than before. Another smile spread across her lips. A smile of viscious delight. Jamie barely had time to leap backwards, as small pairs of open scissors streamed toward him. Just beyond them, he caught a glimpse of Lelia; she was tearing pair after pair of them out of her hair and firing them off rapidly, in Jamie's direction. Pair after pair, they kept coming at him. Jamie swung his katana through the air rapidly, attempting to block as many blades as he could. But it was too difficult; they kept coming at him. And soon, he could feel them lodging into his shoulders and chest and stomach. They were small, but [b]dozens[/b] of them at once were unbearable. He could hear Lelia's dry laugh over the metallic clink and clank of blades zipping through the air.

Jamie stumbled backwards and collapsed against the rectangular tiles. The katana slipped from his hand and tumbled from the rooftop, settling its blade in the soil of the courtyard below.

Jamie also slid backwards, down the sharp slope, toward the edge. As he slid down, he caught site of several wooden scaffolds, which had been assembled in a hole in the roof, where the storm had struck previously. Jamie reached out and grabbed at thin air. He felt a thick wooden beam meet his open palm and he grasped it as firmly as he could. As his descent ceased, he pulled himself up toward the beam carefully.

Lelia's footsteps were clearly audible nearby, as was the clink and clank of leftover scissors in her hair and hands. She began to laugh again.

"How pathetic," she said, as she looked down over his bloody white cloak.

"Such a disappointment, Kidd...I was expecting more from you. You did ruin my poor kimono, though. You know you owe me for that."

By now, Jamie's face and arm lay directly over the gap in the ceiling. Jamie could see the rafters below. A small shelf had been temporarily erected and it appeared to be holding several machine tools. One of them was a nail gun, still plugged into the wall by a careless worker. Jamie reached down into the hole slowly, but as he did so, he felt a sharp pain in his shoulder blade.

Above him, Lelia was gleefully digging a scissor blade into his back.

"Stupid asshole," breathed Lelia, "you ruined my kimono. It was a gift from Adam."

She twisted the blade around, through the cloak, apparently taking pleasure in seeing sprouts of blood squirt up in front of her.

Jamie grit his teeth and grabbed at the nail gun. As his fingers wrapped around it, he felt another sharp stab of pain in his shoulder. Another blade had gone in.

With what seemed like his last ounce of effort, Jamie reached out with his free arm and grabbed Lelia by the neck. He could hear her choking and he could feel her hands on his wrist.

Jamie pushed hard, sending Lelia backwards against the roof. He grabbed the nail gun and pulled it up through the gap in the ceiling, resting it against his cloak.

Lelia was holding her throat and gasping for air. She returned to her feet quickly and held a single pair of scissors open.

"You need a haircut," she said, as she dived forward, aiming the scissor blades squarely at Jamie's forehead.

But in a second, it was over. Jamie had squeezed the trigger and the scissors had fallen from Lelia's hand, slicing the skin on her fingers in the process.

She collapsed to her knees and ran a hand over her forehead.

"You...you...didn't...," she gasped, in a confused and almost groggy tone.

As she got to her feet awkwardly, the moonlight revealed a dark patch between Lelia's eyes. A single nail, driven through the skull to its base. Blood trickled from the wound and began escaping from Lelia's nostrils and the corner of her lips.

Lelia licked her lips slowly and blinked in Jamie's direction.

"D-don't worry," she stuttered, "A-Adam will fix you..."

And with that, Lelia tumbled from the edge of the bath house roof, into the neatly-manicured rose garden below.

Jamie crawled to the edge of the roof and peered over it. There she was, laying in the garden, surrounded by roses. Her arms and legs apart and a look of composed serenity on her face. Even in death, she managed to look confident and delicate.

Several Geisha crowded around her, speaking excitedly to one another, shaking their heads and weeping.


[size=4]Chapter 8: Lelia, Meet Arianna[/size][/center]

[b]Summary:[/b] In this chapter, we look at the first meeting of Arianna and Lelia. Lelia is, of course, the very first Angel. But Arianna is the second. Adam is not entirely sure of Arianna's loyalty at this point and so, he encourages her to fight with Lelia. Not only does this test the loyalty of both women, but it also provides Adam with a little sadistic pleasure.

[b]Characters:[/b] Arianna Love, Lelia Angelo.

[b]Setting:[/b] Adam's Penthouse in L.A.

It'll be interesting to see where you guys take this. Remember, nobody is getting killed in this fight. Be as creative and crazy as you like. The entire battle doesn't have to take place inside the penthouse, nor does the entire breadth of this chapter have to be a battle; you can include your own elements here, to flesh things out and provide us with more story. All up to you. ^_^
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?So. Tell me more about her.? Lelia?s black Jimmy Choo heels clicked across the floor as approached Adam. She appreciated being in Los Angeles, its chaos reminded her of Rome.

?I was hoping that you?d like to figure it out for yourself.?

?Figure out what??

?Why she?s being considered to work for me.?

Lelia looked at him questioningly before turning away to stare out at North Hollywood?s sprawling collection of mansions, ?What do you wish me to do??

Adam remained silent, waiting for Lelia to turn around and face him.

?What do you wish me to do?? She repeated, slower this time. When he still didn?t respond, Lelia turned and planted herself directly in front of him. She studied his expression and found it was laced with amusement. ?Do you want me to [I]initiate[/I] her??

Adam grinned. She was exceptionally perceptive for a 20-year-old, ?Just don?t hurt her too badly, darling.?

Lelia scowled, already feeling territorial about her personal relationship with Adam. It was strictly business, of course, but why did he feel the need to have someone other than herself in his small little entourage?

?Now, don?t look so upset.? He paused, eyeing the weapons that hung on the walls around the room, ?She?s been working in the pornography industry.?

?Porn!? Lelia burst out with a half-laugh, ?I bet she can?t fight worth shit. I?ll kill her within seconds.? She was grinning widely, obviously pleased by this new information.

?I wouldn?t underestimate her, Lelia.?

?Fine. Fine, I won?t.?

?Play fair.? His voice denoted a slight warning.

Lelia narrowed her eyes at Adam, still grinning slightly, ?When will she be here??

?Soon enough, darling. Soon enough.?

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She was heard before she had made it to the large closed door. Arianna's wooden heeled boots echoed loudly, announcing her arrival. Lelia turned to face the doorway as Arianna made her way inside, not bothering to knock. She smiled serenely, her head held up high. She was chock full of confidence. She let her gaze sweep the room slowly, still smiling, until she let her burning blue eyes fall onto the beautiful figure that was Lelia.

"Good evening, Arianna dear," Adam said, the corners of his lips curving up into a slight grin.

Arianna didn't say anything; she was too busy taking in Lelia. Yes, Lelia was very beautiful...dark hair, olive skin, perfect body. She was dressed in sleek black, with stiletto boots to match. Yes, Lelia was perfect. [i]She's perfect competition[/i], thought Arianna, her smile finally returning.

"Arianna, this is Lelia Angelo; Lelia, Arianna Love."

The two nodded respectfully at one another, but the tension in the room was thick enough to cut with a knife. Lelia inspected Arianna carefully as well. Her grace was apparent, as grace she must have to be in the field of work she was in. That is, if she was any good. Lelia smiled smugly to herself, looking Arianna up and down: tight white pants (how could she possibly fight in those?), a pale blue halter, black boots, auburn hair falling softly around her shoulders.

Adam finally spoke up again. "Arianna, love," he paused to chuckle slightly at his play on words, "Lelia here is my closest associate. I've called you both here tonight so that we can [i]initiate[/i] you," he finished. Arianna still held her head high.

"Ah yes, you told me about this..." Arianna finally spoke, her voice coming out in a slow, seductive tone. "And how exactly do we go about doing this?"

Adam didn't have to answer: Lelia had pulled a pair of blue-handled scissors from no where, the same shade of blue as the top Arianna wore, and dove straight towards her. Moving quickly, Arianna twirled to miss the jab, pulling out her chain whip.

"Oh, so this is how we go about doing this..." she said, a smile lingering on her crimson lips.

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Lelia noted Arianna?s reaction time, [I]not so bad[/I]. She circled Arianna once, and both pairs of eyes trained on the woman in front of them.

Lelia took one teasing step forward to see if the younger one would react to her so quickly, and she immediately felt the chain whip strike her on the arm.

Hissing, she distanced herself again and took note of the tear in her extremely expensive shirt. [I]Bitch[/I]. ?That was bit unwise.?

Arianna gave her a look of disdain, ?What? Ripping your shirt? Please.?

?No,? Lelia twirled the blue pair of scissors in her right hand, and produced a second pair in her left, ?it was unwise to strike at me so hastily. You know nothing about me as an opponent.?

Arianna threw her an incredulous look, ?Hasty? You leaped at me first.? Her chain whip dangled at her side, ready to strike.

?Yes,? Lelia smiled, muscles tightening, ?but I?m at the advantage here.?

Arianna didn?t have time to reply before Lelia had hurled both pairs of scissors toward her legs. She spun back far enough for their blades to be driven into the hardwood floor, both pairs jutting out like awkward steel flowers.

Lelia had jumped on top of a long glass table and positioned herself near the wall it run into. Arianna leaped effortlessly onto the opposite end of the table, landing lightly and noiselessly. She snapped her chain whip at her side.

Lelia raised her eyebrows at the motion, highly amused. She certainly was a ballsy one.

Arianna stepped forward slowly, her heels creating soft grinding sounds on the thick glass tabletop. Lelia stood where she was, arms crossed, studying her approach.

She appeared completely relaxed, but Arianna knew much better than to assume she was. Adam had explained Lelia to her, how impeccably trained she was at fighting, and how Adam had developed her even further under his own style. She knew to expect a woman who, more than likely, had many more deaths on her resume than Arianna. Lelia was one step out of her striking range when Arianna stopped and tightened the grip on her weapon.

Lelia stepped forward obligingly, inviting Arianna to make her move. When the chain whip lashed out and wrapped itself around her leg, she performed a front handspring toward Arianna before she could be pulled off-balance. No longer taut, the chain?s grip slackened around Lelia?s calf muscle, but it didn?t fully let go.

Arianna jumped back gracefully in an attempt to tighten the chain again. Using her free, long leg, Lelia kicked her hard enough in the side to send her tumbling off of the table. Not wasting any time, Lelia used Arianna?s temporary loss of hold on her chain whip to swing her leg in furious little circles. With this motion, the chain unwound itself and landed with a loud [I]clank[/I] on the glass.

After rolling backwards once, Arianna regained her footing on the wood floor. Her shoulder had taken the brunt of the fall, and it protested angrily as she reached out for her whip. She grit her teeth and realized that she had momentarily taken her attention off of Lelia.

She spun around in time to see her approaching from behind, a long weapon resembling a two-pronged pitchfork grasped between her hands. As she spun to face Lelia, Arianna?s whip followed suit and found its target, slithering forcefully around the brunette?s stomach.

Lelia tripped slightly as Arianna yanked back on the chain. She realized that she wouldn?t be able to breath for much longer with how tightly her stomach was now constricted. Raising the pitchfork level with Arianna?s throat, Lelia continued charging forward as the other woman continued sliding backwards.

She was close enough to place Arianna?s neck between the two prongs, twisting it just hard enough for her head to be pushed to one side, leaving her unable to balance as easily. As Lelia pushed her toward the wall, one of Arianna?s hands came up to try and shove the prongs away from her throat, choking slightly.

Lelia didn?t let go, narrowing her eyes and quickly running out of breath. She drove the pitchfork into the plaster wall next to where Adam sat, leaving enough room for Arianna to be able to breath, but not escape.

She hit the wall hard, both hands losing grip on her whip and slamming against the wall as well. She was completely trapped where she was, unable to push the pitchfork out of the wall and away from her throat. Beside her, Adam clapped.

Lelia had unwound the chain from her stomach, and lifted her shirt high enough to expose ugly bruises already blooming out across her midsection. She dropped her shirt back into place and smiled, her breath slightly labored, ?You?re not half bad.?

Arianna didn?t reply, her eyes shot daggers toward her opponent.

Lelia turned to Adam who was laughing softly, feeling very satisfied and entertained, ?She still needs some work.?

He eyed Arianna who was still pinned in place against the wall, ?We?ll work on her.?

Lelia nodded and too a sip from the glass of wine she had meant to begin drinking before Arianna had stepped into her life, ?Am I excused??

?Ah?? Adam tilted his head at her, as if she were forgetting something important, then nodded toward Arianna.

?Fine.? Lelia unstuck the pitchfork and turned to replace it to its proper place on the wall. Still in battle mode, Arianna lunged toward Lelia, only to be caught around the waist by Adam and thrown back into the wall.

?That?s enough.?

Facing away from both of them, Lelia rolled her eyes and smirked.


Later that evening, Lelia and her [I]own[/I] entourage of men loyal to Adam and herself set out for a late night in Santa Monica. Adam?s business in LA would be finished by the end of the week, and that meant they?d be returning to Osaka soon enough.

Lelia liked to way Americans partied. It was worth it to spend at least one more good night floating in the sin and carelessness of Los Angeles? trendy crowd, especially since Adam had allowed her to take a night away from him. Lelia mulled over this fact as their black Mercedes escort sped toward the Pacific down Interstate 10. She realized that Arianna?s appearance had everything to do with why she was being allowed to spend the evening off off-duty. However, she enjoyed Adam?s company and was slightly irked that Arianna had taken her place momentarily.

But Lelia relaxed after rolling around another thought in her head; she would always be the first Angel, and nobody could deny her that.

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Arianna watched as Lelia walked away, the beautiful Italian carrying herself with an air of confidence, her heels clicking gently across the floor. She turned back to give them both a slight wave, smiling, before making her way out of the room.

Arianna bit her bottom lip and pushed Adam away from her off of the wall, despite the temptation of the position, and made her way to the corner of his desk and sat down quietly, her chain whip cascading silently on the floor beside her boots.

"Too hasty? I'm too hasty?" Arianna wasn't exactly directing it towards Adam, but she was expecting an answer.

"You need work, yes, but all in good time," his face was serious, but then a grin slowly crept upon his lips.

Arianna looked back at him, frowning. Her shoulder was throbbing, a pain that she had forgotten until this idle moment. She reached up and touched it gently, wincing at the pain. Yes, she needed work. At least she knew that she wouldn't be fighting Lelia anymore. And wasn't Lelia considered the best?

[i]Competition? Oh yes,[/i] Arianna thought to herself, hiding her pleasure at the thrill of it.

"I like her," Arianna said simply. Adam just smiled.

Without so much as a backwards glance, Arianna slid carefully off the edge of the desk, slowly running her fingers through her auburn hair and walked towards the door. She carefully began wrapping the chain of her whip around its handle, hiding it away as she went, her heels clicking in much the same manner as Lelia's. Once she reached the door, she stood silently for a moment, looking down the dark and silent hallway. Instead of exiting, however, she closed the doors slowly, locking them securely, and turned back to face Adam. A smile crept slowly upon her lips.

[size=1]OOC: Oi, Jenna, that was a great post. I didn't know if I should follow up or not, but I thought I would give Arianna some closure anyway. ^_^[/size]
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[size=4]Chapter 2: Gakuya Abazure [/size][/center]

[b]Summary:[/b] In this chapter, Joshua's past is revealed in greater detail. We learn about his last few months in prison and we discover how he came to work for Adam.

[b]Characters:[/b] Joshua (AKA "Cowboy")

[b]Setting:[/b] Osaka

Note: This chapter will probably only take up one post, as it is solely based on Joshua. This might be compared to the anime sequence in Kill Bill, where we learn about Oren Ishii's past. Of course, the length and breadth of the post relies entirely on how much is uncovered about this character. Again, I urge creativity and uniqueness throughout. ~_^
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[b]Tennessee Waltz[/b][/center]
?Welcome to my organization,? He said, wearing a cool smile on his face. Adam and I shook hands briefly, and he then directed my attention towards the rest of the dining room.

For being in the middle of Osaka, there was a strong western sensibility to it. The Victorian furniture was very ornate, yet seemed so out of place in the house of a Japanese crime lord. Of course, Adam didn?t look like a native to this land. He was a tall man, with dark hair and deep blue eyes, probably of English origin. The only thing about him that hinted at a Japanese heritage was his accent. At times it sounded so natural, but in moments of anger or when emotions were high the damn thing seemed forced. It was probably just a façade to hide his nationality, but it?s not as if anyone ever would ever dare question him about it.

It was assumed that too many questions would end up getting one killed, or fired, or set on fire. At this moment I was more concerned about remaining on his good graces than learning about his past. With everything he did for me, the least I could do was keep my mouth shut. It was my hope that Adam would the same if circumstances demanded it.

?I can?t thank you enough, Adam,? I hesitated to finish my sentence, ?You? you saved me from that Hell.?

My statement was interruipted by the sound of a door opening. An elderly Japanese man entered the room, balancing a silver platter in his hands. Adam and the man shared a brief exchange of dialogue as the servant placed our meal on the table ? sushi.

My appetite quickly dissipated at the sight of our dinner, and I began to feel sick to my stomach. Throughout all of my time in San Francisco I had never acquired a taste for seafood. Just thinking of fish was enough to make me feel physically upset, and as a result of this I nearly starved to death while in prison.

Aside from white rice and an occasional egg, fish was all we had to eat. No amount of willpower to get me to eat what was prepared, and I suffered because of it. Within a few months of being arrested I was emaciated, almost to the point of death. Nobody would have cared if I died, either.

To the entire prison I was just a filthy American prostitute, I had no value whatsoever. Spending my nights there I felt so alone, and the company of my cellmate was no solace. He made it clear that he was in charge, and it became a daily routine of his to prove it to me. Soon I stopped fighting back, if it weren't for Adam I wouldn't have survived through those early months.

As a foreign prisoner, I was not allowed to receive any visitors, but Adam had found a way to meet with me, anyway. I was lying in my bed, reeling from the pain of starvation, and rape by my fellow inmates. This was before Jamie, by a few weeks at least, and I was totally alone.

?I hope you are wearing some clothes beneath that sheet,? An unseen voice called to me from beyond my cell. I turned over, and that was the first time I had ever seen him. He was so young; At least, he was younger than any businessman who had ever taken an interest in me before.

I reached under my sheets, and quickly put on my pair of white briefs, which were adorned with small pictures of buffalos.

?Who are you??

?My name is Adam, and I understand that you have a connection to a Mr. Fuyutsuki? Touji Fuyutsuki.?

Touji Fuyutsuki; I?ll die a happy man if I never have to think of that name again. He was a heavy investor in the Nikkei, the Japanese stock market, and a connoisseur of the finer things in life. His influence in the business and political world earned him a position as an ambassador to the United States, where he found even more fortune by allying himself with young American investors. It was during a routine business trip that Touji had first requested my services. As it turns out, this married entrepreneur had a fetish for American boys.

Whenever he would arrive in the states he made a point of visiting me, and not a month would go by without me receiving a call from his bilingual secretary, Miss Tara Kitagawa. Due to her language skills, she did most of the communicating between Touji and I. His English was almost as limited as my Japanese was ? but we were both happy with the how our meetings went. He flew over to San Francisco, or, on special occasions I would fly to Japan for him. Whenever I came over to Japan Miss Kitagawa would be waiting for for me, ready to deliver me to Touji. Our brief conversations to and from the airport were never more than simple pleasantries, but she had always taken an interest in my love of bowling. Apparently she had never played before, and I promised her that I would teach her how someday.

God, I hated that bitch. She was never comfortable with Fuyutsuki?s secret life, and when the authorities cracked down on him for insider trading, she was more than eager to confess the details of my relationship with him[b]*[/b].

Touji and I were in Azabu Juuban, celebrating his latest business venture when it happened. It was my second trip to Japan, and for nearly that entire weekend we remained inside of our hotel room. Touji sat on the side of the bed while I rested on his lap, humming softly to myself.

I really enjoyed resting on that bulky frame of his. If he were only a few years younger. He was more than business to me, and he knew it. Touji put his arm around me, and began to talk about something in Japanese. I have no idea what it was, but it sounded so sweet to me, and I?m glad I got to hear it before it was too late.

There was a loud knock on the door to our hotel room, and within a moment the entire area was swarmed with police officers. They beat me to a pulp, while Touji remained unharmed. I'm not even sure if they handcuffed him, with all of the pain and screaming it was a little hard to remember something like that. Touji had used his power and influence to get the charges against him dropped, but, as part of the agreement I had to serve jail time for several months. I couldn?t really blame him; given the same circumstances I would have sent the American prostitute to prison as well. It was a smart coice at the time, it was only a pity that it would come back to haunt him in the immediate future.

So that?s how it turned out. For nearly a year I was locked away in a cold cement cell with no contact with the outside world. It would have pained my Grandparents more to find me in prison than to find me dead, so I chose not to tell them. When interrogated by the police, I explained that my parents were dead. The plan was to join them soon enough, at least it was until Adam showed up. Until we first met I had given up; I was willing to let myself die. That?s why his visit on that fateful day meant so much to me. It still does.

- - - - - -

?Touji Fuyutsuki is dead to me,? I said to Adam, partially buried beneath my sheet.

?No,? Adam paused, and chuckled to himself for a moment, ?But he can be.?

My curiosity had peaked, and I took the bait.

?I need someone he trusts,? My eyebrow raised as he said that, and then he quickly recovered his statement, ?Or, more correctly, I need someone who knows how to get in touch with him.?

Over the next 45 minutes he carefully explained to me the plan he was about to set in motion:

[list][*]Touji Fuyutsuki happened to own 20,000 shares in the Kabuyo Toy Corporation, a company which Adam was very interested in taking control of. By blackmailing Fuyutsuki, I was to force him into sitting down and discussing business with Adam.
[*]Once Fuyutsuki had sat down to discuss business with Adam I was to leave the room as soon as possible.
[*]It was my understanding that for my own safety, it was best that I knew nothing about this step. I was to move to a secure location, where my payment would be waiting. Adam was to gain control of Touji Fuyutsuki's stock holdings using whatever means neccessary.[/list]
Things were a little more complicated than that, but it's best to leave out the details. The important thing was that I had no objection to killing Touji. In fact, but I wanted to make a little contribution of my own.

?Let me kill him.?


?Find a way to get me out of here sooner, and I?ll cut the bastard myself.?

Adam turned away for a moment, looking up and down the hallway to check for any wandering ears, ?It?s a deal. Can you survive like this for another four months??

?I don?t know, we?ll see what happens? I?m supposed to be getting a new cellmate next week, it all depends on that.?

?That would explain why you have been resting in bed for the past few days. Was there some sort of altercation between you and???

?He was killing me, and I didn?t have the strength to fight back. Things got messy, and now my former cellmate has been formally charged with statutory rape. The guys in here are like fucking sumos, how can I manage against that??

My body was aching from the night before; my throat began to swell up from speaking so much. My voice found little use in this place, so over time it grew weak.

?You?ll manage,? Adam smiled, and handed me a handkerchief that was nestled inside of his jacket pocket, ?Try to clean yourself up until then, Cowboy.?


?It seems like a fitting name to me. You are an American, after all.?

?I.. I guess it does fit..?

?Is there another name you go by??

?There?s something that the other inmates call me, I don?t exactly know what it means. [I]Gakuya Abazure.[/I]?

?Oh, I see.?

?Do you know what that translates into??

?[I]Prison bitch.[/I]?

?Hm, I figured as much.?

?I?ll be talking to you again soon, Joshua. My? Cowboy. Perhaps your next cellmate won?t be as violent.?

Adam began to walk away, but I didn?t want him to leave me just yet.



?It will be an honor to do business with you.?

He turned to me once again, and bowed.

?The honor is mine. This arrangement is very important to me. If there is anything I can ever do for you, please don?t hesitate to ask.?

?It?s a deal.?

- - - - - -

[size=1][b]*[/b]Due to her arrangement with the Japanese police, Miss Tara Kitagawa was never prosecuted for her own part in these illegal stock transactions. In the days following my arrest she filed a formal lawsuit against Touji Fuyutsuki, claiming that she had suffered emotional damages while working under him in such a stressful environment. The judge immediately threw out the case, and although no explanation for this was ever given to the public, many suspected backhanded dealings by Fuyutsuki.

Needless to say, he has unavailable to comment for quite some time.

Over two years later, the body of Miss Kitagawa was found at the base of the Tokyo Tower. Eyewitnesses claim they saw her leap from the observation deck to her own demise, but amateur video footage clearly shows the silhouette of a woman being [I]thrown[/I] over the edge. To this day the case remains unsolved.

[size=1]OOC: For fear of making this post "Too damn long," I have decided not to include the first meeting of Jamie and Joshua. That will be included in another chapter, either as a flashback or some other form of exposition.

James, you are more than welcome to include that information if you would like to, though.

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[size=4]Chapter 9: Osaka Underground [/size][/center]

[b]Summary:[/b] In this chapter, Jamie, Joshua and Shinmaru manage to trace Adam to the Osaka Underground. Adam has just arrived at the station by bullet train and is just about to enter his limosine as the Vipers show up. Adam and his Angels manage to escape, however, Adam doesn't let the Vipers go without leaving them a little surprise.

[b]Characters:[/b] Joshua (AKA "Cowboy"), Jamie Kidd, Shinmaru Hazuki, Persona.

[b]Setting:[/b] Osaka Underground

EDIT: Urk...I don't know how to start this chapter. lol Not to mention that I'm still feeling a bit sore from tonsilitis. I don't want to delay this chapter any longer though, so...anyone involved in it can provide the opening post. I'll join in from there. ^_^;
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OOC: Well, even though it is very late, I'll take on the challenge of starting off the chapter. Don't mind if it's a bit messy, though...I'm a bit tired, heh.

The city of Osaka is alive with the hustle-bustle of daily life. Thousands of people go to-and-fro via the bullet trains that shoot along the Osaka Underground. A lone figure leans against a darkened wall, holding a halfway burnt out cigarette in one hand and endlessly flipping a penny in the other. Shinmaru had never lost his taste for the daily ritual of flipping a penny, though he did it just about every second of his life; who knew when he would have to put the penny to good use?

Shinmaru runs a hand through his thick, crimson-red hair before opening his eyes and taking a distant peek into the entrance hall of the Underground Passageway. The latest in a long line of bullet trains slows to a groaning stop before opening its doors and letting many frantic people run out of its massive maw; frantic, that is, except for a few people.

A young dark haired man emerges from the bullet train, seemingly the only calmed person of the group. He is flanked by two stunningly beautiful women at his side, with yet another beautiful woman bringing up the rear. The man takes out a small phone and makes a short call. For all his skills, Shinmaru had never learned the art of reading lips, which was unfortunate. However, he was smart enough to know that there was not much time left...Adam was not going to wait for the Southern Vipers to walk up and kill him, though it seemed that this was exactly what he was doing right now. It was almost as if he was blatantly tempted Shinmaru to try for the kill, the fucker. He'd get his soon enough. That much Shinmaru knew.

It was then that Shinmaru finally snapped back into reality. The unconscious flipping of his penny continued until Shinmaru caught it one last time and held it gently in his hand.

"There isn't much time...but I could hardly take on a hated rival without leaving the battle in Fate's hands..."

Shinmaru places the penny on top of his thumb. He flexes his thumb slightly before flipping the penny into the air. Over and over the penny turns in the air, its lustrous shine reflecting the light of the sun. The penny lands softly in the middle of Shinmaru's palm and he closes his hand tightly around the penny without looking at the results of the flip.

"The same as always...heads, I go for it...tails...well, Jamie and Joshua will have to fend for their god-damned selves..."

Shinmaru slowly opens his hand, the fingers spreading slowly like a flower blooming for the first time after winter. The face of Abraham Lincoln stares up at Shinmaru, meeting him eye to eye.

"Looks like Honest Abe says I have a date with destiny. It's just as well...I felt like shedding some blood today."

A deranged grin spreads across Shinmaru's face for a fleeting moment before he notices a few Japanese businessmen staring at him.

"What the fuck are you looking at? I didn't ask for your attention."

The businessmen apolgize profusely before hurredly leaving. Shinmaru shakes his head before taking out a small phone of his own. He presses a lone button and gets an answer within a second.


"He's here."


Joshua closes his phone and hands it over to Jamie, who stores it in a pocket.

"What's the news?" Jamie asked.

"He's just arrived," Joshua replied.

"That's good...I was wondering when he'd have the balls to show up."

Joshua scopes out the view from his area of the Underground.

"Apparently, he's not alone...he brought his bitches with him."

"Figures. Did Shinmaru mention that to you?"

"No. He probably thought it'd be funny if we were surprised, the freak."

"It hardly matters; at the end of the day, they just amount to more casualties."

Joshua reaches to his back pocket and feels his red handkerchief, reassuring himself that if the job gets too messy the cleanup job wouldn't be too difficult. With a subtle nod of his head, Jamie motions for Joshua to join him.

"We'd better get to the area before Adam decides to leave. We wouldn't want to miss the party, after all."

Joshua grins to himself.

"Of course not."


Adam walks gingerly over to his limousine. With his Angels with him, why not take the time to walk slowly and enjoy the view? He opens the door to his limo and holds a hand out to one of his Angels, Lelia.

"Ladies first," Adam offered.

"Of course," Lelia replied with a playful roll of her eyes.

Lelia climbs into the limo, followed closely behind by Arianna, Ann and Jeanette Marie. As Adam is about to climb into the limo himself, two figures approach him, one from his front and one from his rear. Adam was slightly reassured by the knowledge that the person standing behind him was definitely on his side.

"What brings you here? Are you planning to take a trip?" Adam asked.

"Perhaps," Shinmaru replied. "It all depends on whether or not you're willing to accompany me, of course."

"I think you know the answer to that."

"Unfortunately, yes. However..."

Jamie and Joshua step out from the shadows.

"...my superiors insist that you stay and have a word with us."

Adam glances at Jamie and Joshua while chuckling softly.

"As much as I'd enjoy reminiscing with my old friends," Adam replied "I have to get going right now. I have important business to attend to. I'm afraid that you three...Vipers, do you call yourselves?"


"I see...you Vipers just aren't worth my time right now."

Shinmaru frowns at Adam and takes a few steps forward.

"Don't be so hasty," Jamie ordered. "It would be foolish to attack Adam head on with so much support."

"Jamie is correct," Adam replied. "Perhaps we'll meet again someday. In the meantime, I left a little something for you three that I'm sure you'll enjoy..."

With that, Adam gets in the back of the limousine and drives off, leaving a thick black cloud of smoke.

"What the hell is he talking about?" Jamie asked. "I don't see anything."

"Right there," Joshua points. "Behind the smokescreen."

As the smoke billows away, the person whom was formerly at Adam's rear is revealed inch by inch. Wearing a bright white suit with a red shirt and a blue tie, the person does not at first seem very dangerous. The grotesque mask that the person was wearing, however, told a different story.

"I can tell that I will enjoy killing you, my friend," Shinmaru says to the mysterious man. "Abraham Lincoln has informed me of your fate...and, I must say, it is not a desirable fate."

OOC: And that's where my post ends. I must say, I wrote a bit more than I was planning to, heh. Hopefully, I left some room for a bit more talking before the actual fight gets started. Also, I hope I didn't grossly misrepresent any of the characters in my post. If I did, it's because I'm tired. Blame my lack of sleep for your troubles.
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[size=1]ooc: I don't know if I'm really allowed to do this, but I'm posting. I don't want it to die so soon, yikes. Let's at least get more than a page ^_~[/size]


Adam snapped his cellphone shut after making another call and turned to face the Angels. Each one of them were incredibly beautiful, the sort of escorts any sane man would kill to have around him every hour of the day.

It was just a nice little bonus that they were all very experienced killers.

Adam studied the Italian and she matched his unwavering gaze, "You're very quiet, Lelia. Aren't you going to speak your mind on my decision to leave Persona behind?"

"Yes, aren't you?" Jeanette chided playfully.

Lelia raised an eyebrow and Jeanette and crossed her arms, turning her attention back to Adam, "I thought maybe I would stay quiet for once."

Adam smiled, inviting her to speak. Testing her. "Please."

"I'm not sure if it is wise to leave Persona alone with [i]those[/i] three. They're not going to care who they slaughter on the path to you..." Lelia trailed off, startled by the realization that Adam was in definite danger now. She had thought about it, but she hadn't spoken the words aloud to anyone.

The limo was silent, each girl waiting for their superior's reply. Arianna glared sideways at Lelia.

"Well." Adam tugged down the sleeves of his dress shirt, "Persona can just delay their journey, no?"

Lelia frowned as the other women felt the tense moment pass, "It's...No, nevermind. I'm sure Persona will be fine."

Adam's eyes twinkled as he grinned at Lelia, "Yes, I think so, too."[/color]
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OOC: I let up a bit on Persona's silence, but I would still like to keep his talking to a minium in future posts. He says a bit more here simply so I can get his personality across.

No one has been online for me to ask either, so I hope it's not detrimental to the story that I made Shinmaru unaware of Persona. There wasn't a lot to go by for us two so far lol.

Persona walked through the slowly fading car exhaust, his arms wrapped loosely around his back. His posture was stiff, but he still managed to have a air of grace about him. Shinmaru stood steadfast as Persona approached him at a leisurely pace. His freshly polished shoes clicked softly on the hard, cold ground. The mask looked straight forward, looking at no one in particular. Shinmaru's coin reflected a bit of dull light as he spun it around his fore fingers.

Shinmaru gripped his penny between his thumb and index finger, careful not to rub against the sharp edges of the coin. "Who are you?" he asked in a surprisingly calm voice. The fact that he was unaware of Persona's identity, and especially his ability, made it hard for him to be all that concerned. After all, he was no novice and Persona's bizarre dress made him hard to form a solid opinion on.

Persona didn't answer, although it was obvious that those around, including Shinmaru's partners, knew full well who he was. His reputation had proceeded him it seemed as the people in the area had long since dissipated upon seeing him exit Adam's private train car along with the rest of the entourage. Even those who were not aware of the exact appearance of Adam and his Angels were familiar with the mask that Persona wore. To many people it represented far more than the eccentricity of a simple man; it represented death. This displeased Persona a slight bit, the more people that were massacred the better, at least in his line of thinking.

Jamie and Joshua both slowly reached for their respective weapons. Persona quickly titled his head and angled it irregularly in their direction. "You'll have your turn ladies. Especially my friend Cowboy here who so kindly referred to me as one of Adam's 'bitches'. Kind of ironic wouldn't you say?" Despite the try at humor, the decided lack of emotion in Persona's voice was unsettling. The blank stare of the mask didn't help matters either. The Osaka Underground was disturbingly quiet outside of the occasional outside noises. Another bullet train was not due for at least several minutes.

Shinmaru had grown tired of the situation and quickly whipped his penny towards Persona's chest. In what seemed like an instant, Persona pulled his arms from behind his back and there was a flash of silver light followed by a small ping sound. The penny fell to the ground and gently splashed into a puddle of water mixed with oil that was settled between the two of them. Shinmaru realized the light had been a reflection from the two axes Persona had just revealed.

Persona moved his golden axe from his right hand to his left and leaned over to pick up the penny. The reflection of his mask in the puddle distorted as he reached his gloved hand down into it, careful not to get any on his suit. He slowly leaned back up as the rainbow colored ripples gently rolled away. He tossed the penny back to Shinmaru, who caught it effortlessly. After flickinf the remaining water and oil off of his glove, he tightened his grip on the axes. Shinmaru stepped back into a fighting stance, as did his cohorts who still had their hands gripping the handle of their blades.

Persona gracefully twirled his dual axes, one in each hand at this point. His mask stared emotionlessly in their direction. He calmly motioned for his adversaries to come at him.
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[b]Never Again, Again[/b][/center]
?We?[I]I[/I] have a big day ahead of us, Josh.? His voice hid a bit of fear in it, but I was too tired to notice. It was seven AM, and he had just come out of the shower in his briefs. He seemed incredibly calm, given the circumstances, but I knew it was just a façade. At that point I was too tired to care, though. Jamie could have said anything at that point without receiving a reaction from me. At least, I thought that was the case.

?What do you mean ?I???

?[I]I[/I] am going to shove my sword through his chest, and [I]I[/I] am going to be the last thing he sees before [I]I[/I] bleed him to death.?

Jamie reached over to the dresser near our bed and grabbed my red handkerchief. It had been lying there since the night before, drying from a recent use. Just a few hours ago I had made enemies with a drug dealer in Benten, so now my handkerchief was damp.

?Do you mind if I borrow this, Josh?? He placed his hand over mine and smiled, ?Just for luck??

?Yeah,? I awkwardly pulled my hand away from him and stared straight into his eyes, It wasn?t common for me to pull away from my lover, but I guess this was one of many firsts for me that day.

?I?m going to need it to wipe up whatever fucking mess Adam lets me keep of you,? Jamie tried to interrupt, but I blatantly ignored him, ?Will there even be enough of you left to wipe up with that damn handkerchief??

There was a moment of silence, and Jamie walked towards our small closet. I rested my head on my pillow, and sighed softly. We wouldn?t have many more chances to argue about this, tonight was our chance for revenge. Things should have gone according to plan, things should have been different... but we hadn?t anticipated Persona.

I had never gotten to know him by his true name. He always always just Persona, or the Black Adder. Even on the rare occasions that we worked together. It seems like Adam had always kept him separate from the other angels, possibly for the safety of both parties.. or maybe for something more.

Adam keeps you separate for a reason, and none of us wanted to find out his master plan for the Black Adder.

So there we were, standing at the train station in Osaka for what seemed like an eternity. I noticed a low flying plane pass by overhead, and I wondered if anyone else had done the same. It was silent, and the two sides were only focusing on each other. Shinmaru was just a few steps ahead of us, rubbing that stupid penny in his hand.

?Stay back, guys,? He said coldly, with a grin on his face, ?Mr. Lincoln thinks that I should take this guy on myself.?

?Very well,? the dark figure replied, ?You are first.?

Persona slightly adjusted his tie, and quickly moved his body into an offensive pose. One axe was extended towards his opponent, while the other stayed close to his chest. I pulled my knife out of its simple leather pouch, and waited for Jamie to give me the signal. He looked at me through the corner of his eye, and lowered his katana to the ground.

"Wait until he needs us, Josh." Jamie whispered over his shoulder.

I rolled my eyes, and put my knife back into its pouch, "Fine, let him have all of the fun."

There was some relief in my sarcasm. My emotions were running high, and I didn't know if I could handle a fight at the moment. If Jamie hadn't made that decision, I still don't know what might have happened. He was trying to protect me, and for that I will always be grateful....

...but I can never forgive him for what he did to Shinmaru.

[size=1]OOC: James is unable to post this round. Shinmaru will post next, followed by Tony, and then I will conclude the chapter. Feel free to take some liberties with your fight, although James says that the outcome of this fight has been pre-determined.

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Shinmaru focused in on Persona. It was quite obvious at this time, that each person involved in this fight was well aware of whom the others were. All, that is, except for himself. He had never seen Persona in his life, though the name struck a chord. Shinmaru had heard the stories, of course; ghastly tales of people murdered in the most brutal of matters with naught a single vital organ left as evidence of the deed. However, the violent splatters of blood across the walls were always a grim reminder of the deeds Persona committed.

"There are certain advantages and disadvantages to not knowing your foe well," Shinmaru started. "Though, it would help me to know your tactics, I believe that killing you will be much more fun since I am not aware of your fighting style. Do you agree?"

A slight narrowing of Persona's eyes was the only response that Shinmaru got. Up and down Shinmaru's penny went, set in an infinite course that would only stop when Shinmaru himself ceased to be. Shinmaru continued walking around Persona, much akin to the way a lion circles its prey before making the final blow to put the poor beast out of its misery.

"Are you sure this is the right thing to do, Jamie?" Josh asked. "Shinmaru seems far too cocky and confident to me. He could make a vital mistake in this fight."

"I believe Mr. Sadist has come out to play," Jamie replied. "Shinmaru will be fine. I know the stories about Persona; the stories about Shinmaru are equally impressive."

"I suppose," was Josh's only reply. The adrenaline was still flowing through his veins and being held out of this fight was the last thing that he wanted. He knew that Jamie was concerned for his well-being, but Persona would be far easier to dispatch in numbers.

"Well, I believe that's enough pretense," Shinmaru said, turning to face Persona. "Would you like to make the first move or are you leaving it up to me?"

"You first," Persona replied with an ever so slight inflection of annoyance. This cocky upstart was really pissing him off. Not only had he totally disregarded the threat that Persona posed but he had goaded him into speaking. Either Shinmaru really was as good as he thought he was or he thought that he could push Persona into making a mistake. Either way, Persona knew that Shinmaru would not be leaving this fight alive.

With speed akin to the crack of a whip, Shinmaru flung his deadly penny at Persona, which made him very suspicious. Using the same attack twice in a row was a rookie mistake that Persona saw all too often. Although Shinmaru was cocky, Persona could tell that he was not stupid and prepared himself for the worst. With speed equal to Shinmaru's, Persona slashed at the penny once again. Shinmaru quickly changed directions and leaped into the air, arm stretched out to catch his beloved penny. The penny landed softly in the center of Shinmaru's palm and Shinmaru rolled shoulder first along the ground into an upright position.

"Just testing your reflexes, of course," Shinmaru said with a smile. Persona's stony glare revealed that he was still none too pleased about Shinmaru's actions; even the seemingly emotionless can reveal an emotion or two.

"But now the real battle begins," Shinmaru said, the grim stare on his face revealing his resolve. Shinmaru moved his index finger very slightly and touched it down for a fraction of a second upon the eye of Abraham Lincoln. The penny slowly stretched into the size of a small, Romanesque shield. The sharp edges along the outside of the penny had become much more protracted and noticable; three inch blades on the outside of a small shield, after all, weren't very hard to miss.

"Now the fun begins!" Shinmaru yelled as he ran over to Persona. The other stood ready in an attack position, waiting for Shinmaru to make any mistake. Shinmaru executed a perfect baseball slide under Persona's legs as Persona slashed his first axe at him. Persona swung his hips around with the grace of a dancer, as he swung his second axe down at Shinmaru, whom got away with a fraction of a second to spare. Several strands of Shinmaru's crimson red hair floated slowly to the ground as a reminder of the close call that Shinmaru had just lived through.

"Yes, I can see that you're repuation is much more than word of mouth," Shinmaru mused as he patted the dust that had accumulated on his black jacket. Persona twirled his dual-axes back into attack position in reply.

"Like I said," Shinmaru noted. "This will be very fun."

OOC: Sorry for the blah quality of the fight so far...I'm not very good at fight scenes -___-;
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OOC: I hope this is satisfactory, heh.

"Shouldn't we help him? I doubt his cockiness will pay off."

"Think of this as a test. If he can't handle this shit on his own, we don't need him," Jamie said softly.

"I doubt much of anyone could handle Persona by themselves," Joshua replied, slightly amused.

"True, but if he wins and we back off, we're in control. He'll underestimate us in the future."

"I'm not so sure about that. Not much affects his judgement."

"We'll see. He'll go where he can see the most blood spilled; where he can do the most damage. Besides, Adam is not fucking trustworthy. We all know it. If Persona gets crossed, he won't hesitate to hit back. It's something that can be used to our advantage, even if we're technically not on the same side."

Joshua sighed, keeping his hand gripped around the hilt of his blade, despite Jamie's comments. If Shinmaru had to die, so be it ― but he wasn't about to be caught off guard. Even after his experiences with Persona under the Angels, he wasn't sure what to think about him. There wasn't much to think. He killed people for fun, for the sport of it. The only anyone had heard more than a sentence from Persona was when he and Adam were discussing the business side of all of this.

As they stood the side, Shinmaru continued to seem overly confident. He bobbed up and down, several feet from Persona, spindling the penny though his fingers. Persona stood there, his mask starting right at Shinmaru. It didn't seem to focus on him, instead it almost stared right through him. This annoyed Shinmaru to a small degree. The lack of respect from his opponent was becoming more apparent. He didn't know whether or not to make the first move. Persona stood there, stoically. He obviously had no plans to charge with his axes swinging. There was no way he could throw his penny at Persona without him quickly countering it either. He had almost no element of surprise and the design of his weapon denied him any attempt at pure force.

Shinmaru bit his lip and ran toward Persona, who continued to be perfectly still. As he charged, Shinmaru pressed the button on his lucky penny, causing it to expand into its shield form. Persona's axes made it out just in time, blocking the attack. The shafts of his axes stopping the razor edges of the newly formed shield from getting any farther. Sparks flew in all directions and faded as they bounced on the ground into obscurity. Shinmaru pushed against Persona with his shield, managing to get him slightly off balance. Shinmaru raised his shield in the air and dropped his arms down. Its edges cut through the air, sounding almost like a plane at low altitude. Persona had managed to regain his stance, however, and was able to position himself out of the path of the shield. The momentum forced the shield to cut into the tiled floor of the Underground, breaking it apart. Persona stood back while Shinmaru ripped the blade from the floor, dust and tile fragments falling from its edges.

Again, Persona stood in place. Shinmaru was getting irritated by Persona's attitude during the fight, but decided to keep his temper. Giving into it would only result in stupid moves that could easily be taken advantage of, especially considering how lucky Persona had been so far. Again he ran at Persona, his shield in front of him. This time, however, after his attack had been blocked, Shinmaru rammed his elbow up into his ribs. The impact threw Persona back, almost winding him for a short period. Taking this chance for another attack, Shinmaru ran at Persona again. Persona regained his composure and jumped up in the air, touching off of the shield and landing behind Shinmaru. Unable to stop, Shinmaru bashed into a nearby pillar that helped keep the ceiling in place. It cracked ever so slightly, but the force of the crash caused his shield to retract back into its normal form. The impact jammed the button on his penny, forcing him back to where he started.

Shinmaru got back up off the floor, struggling to get his penny to work. He knew that it wouldn't be much good against someone who could move his much larger axes almost as quickly as he could throw his penny. Persona made his way over to Shimaru, twirling his axes into a blur. Shinmaru reacted in time, throwing his penny toward Persona's ankle ligaments. Unfortunately Persona was able to dodge the attack, the penny merely brushing by his leg, tearing the fabric of his pants. The penny landed on the ground and skidded several yards away, quite a distance from Shinmaru's current position. Shinmaru cursed under his breath. The impact on the ground, coupled with the problems earlier, didn't allow the penny to return to him like it normally would.

Persona began his march over to Shinmaru. Weaponless, he managed to kick out at Persona and dodge his attacks. When he wasn't busy dodging the attacks, he darted his eyes around him, looking for his penny. Joshua had already grown tired of the lackadaisical approach Jamie was taking toward this battle. He pulled out his blade and started to step toward the battle. Jamie pulled out his blade and put in Joshua's path, signaling that he should stop. He did stop walking, but it didn't prevent him from whipping his knife at Persona. The knife flew like an arrow, piercing the shoulder area of Persona's suit, slightly cutting through his skin. Blood seeped through the fabric, turning it from a snow white to a deep red. The force of the throw pushed Persona back against the pillar that Shinmaru previously left his mark on. His clothes were pinned to the pillar thanks to the sharp blade.

Shinmaru was able to find his penny during the commotion, managing to dislodge the button and transforming it back into the razor-edged shield. Again he ran at Persona, still struggling to unpin himself. At the last moment, the clothing tore free, but the knife dug deeper into his shoulder as he pulled away. He wrapped his arm around the pillar, spinning himself to the other side to avoid Shinmaru's attack. It was here that he realized that Shinmaru's back was facing him. Not one to miss his opportunity, Persona raised both of his axes in the air and swung them down forcefully.

Before Shinmaru was able to react to Persona's movements, the axes tore down through his shoulders. A level of pain he never experienced before flowed through his body. His head hurt as his mind raced. The pressure was overwhelming, but he couldn't even manage a scream of pain. The only sound that managed to come out was a stifled cry.

The axes continued their decent until coming to a stop. Shinmaru heard a thud on either side of him. The axes had sliced cleanly through his arms. He could no longer feel them. They were already lying on the floor beside him, still twitching erratically with the small remnants of life they had in them. Blood flowed like a waterfall from the sockets where his arms once were. Shinmaru almost collapsed under the pain, the loss of blood already affecting his ability to see clearly. He managed to stay conscious, as his eyes followed Persona who was currently circling him.

Shinmaru couldn't see Persona, but he definitely could feel him. The sheer joy that he got out of this situation accentuated everything he did . . . every small movement he made. The more Shinmaru writhed in pain, the more excited Persona seemed to get. At the same time he seemed totally in control, it didn't affect his judgement. It was obvious that Jamie and Joshua were still very much within his thought process. Shinmaru wasn't sure what to feel about this. Disgust? Pity? What could be going through someone's mind if they basically lived for the pain of others? Existed for the scavenging of human misery? Persona, undoubtedly, seemed completely emotionless at times . . . but at the same time, this enjoyment of the hunt and the resulting bloodshed was what defined him, not his general apathy. No one feared Persona because he didn't care about others. There were thousands of angst ridden teenagers around the world that filled that void. They feared Persona because of his complete and utter disdain for it. The fact that he would do anything he could just to wipe that life off the face of the earth. Did this signify some sort of mysterious history, or simply a shallow person with no real hopes or dreams?

Shinmaru thought through all of this in nearly an instant, but realized, even in his current state, that none of it mattered. The things that fly through your mind at once in your final minutes cannot truly be described. He remembered his childhood; his first experiences with the Southern Vipers; his past battles with Adam's Angels. The pain slowly drifted away from his mind, although it was still very present on a physical level. He was almost statuesque, kneeling on the ground surrounded in a deep, crimson colored puddle, staring at the ceiling. His eyes were glazed over at this point. The blood trickled from the wounds left where his arms used to be.

Persona stood there, directly in front of him. Shinmaru's arms on either side of him still trembled, one still grasping his lucky penny. The grip loosened and it languidly rolled over to Persona, who leaned over to pick it up. He opened the palm of his hand and flattened it, taking a brief glance at the image of Lincoln on the upright side, and then tossed it in the air. The penny flipped over and over again in the air on its trip, and in one movement, Persona lifted his arm, grabbed the penny and threw it directly into Shinmaru's trachea.

The sudden assault shocked Shinmaru back into reality. The memories disappeared and the pain once again coursed through his body. The realization of what happened knocked him over, forcing him to lie in the puddle of his own blood. It began to soak up into his clothing and hair, dying half of his body in its color. The cut threw off his breathing process, forcing him to push air through the hole in this throat, rather than his mouth. Shinmaru could only manage to gasp for air at this point, blood pouring from his newly made (wounds). The only sounds he could make were chokes and sputters, which forced more blood out through the gash in his throat. Shinmaru was dying, but he was still very much alive.

Persona walked over to Shinmaru's body, flinching randomly in the mess left around him. Ripples were slowly sent away from his footsteps as he approached, which then meshed in with the stronger ripples created by Shinmaru's movements. He bent down by his knees, careful to keep the blood away from his suit and gently moved his gloved hands along the side of Shinmaru's face, almost caressing it. Seemingly out of pity, but mostly out of amusement. Persona dislodged the penny from his flesh and tossed it to the side. Reaching back into his pocket, he pulled out a small bottle, which he held under the sliced wind pipe, allowing it to fill with blood. After cleaning the rim off with his red, embroidered handkerchief, he put it in his pocket and stood up.

His other hand was still holding his silver axe; the golden one had since been stowed away in the holster tied around his back. Persona moved his glove away from his face onto the spiked tip of the axe that was located between the blades. The grip on the hilt of his axe tightened, each finger folding down after the last. The axe spun around and quickly dropped, the axe burying itself in Shinmaru's stomach. Persona twisted the ragged spiked counterclockwise several times while pressing it deeper into his victim. A few more spurts of blood, chokes and winces resulted as Shinmaru drew his last, painful breath. His body now limp, his head fell down to the side, blood flowing from his mouth and adding to the pool around him.

Persona titled his head back up into the direction of Joshua and Jamie, both of which remained in their same positions since the beginning of the battle. He took his handkerchief, which had since become redder than it originally was, and wiped down the blades and spikes of his axes. He then tossed it behind him and it slowly floating down to Shinmaru, finally resting on his face.
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[b]Four in the Morning[/b][/center]
Day in, day out Mr. Takeo Furuhata had spent the last 15 years of his life in the city. Initially he had moved there for his job with the Osaka Transit Authority, but over time he grew to love the nightlife much more than the simple pleasures of the farm. During his employment Furuhata had earned a reputation for his meticulous attention to safety and maintenance. He was a natural, and shared a special connection with each of the trains that he had conducted throughout his career; not even the tiniest detail could escape his notice.

This was particularly useful one fateful night when a power line had become loose inside of the train?s engine. While enjoying his meal ?a plate of tofu and vegetables ? he had noticed how hot it was inside of the dining car. After a quick inspection of the air conditioning unit, he traced the problem back to the engine and the faulty power line. He immediately stopped the train, and repaired the damage before major harm could fall to him or any of the passengers on board. Police inspectors found no signs of sabotage, but noticed that the faulty power line could have easily caught fire, risking the lives of nearly a hundred people. A lesser conductor might have ignored the problem, but not Takeo Furuhata. In recognition of his service record he was awarded a gold watch on the 15th anniversary of his employment with the OTA. Without a doubt, he was the best at what he did and a symbol of great pride for those who had gotten to know him.

People like that shouldn?t have to die. People like that shouldn?t have to meet Persona.

?We could have beat him, Jamie,? I said, taking a few steps away from Persona. Jamie ignored me, and shared a glance with the mask. My lover quickly withdrew his katana, which was pressed firmly against my chest, and let out a sigh of frustration.

?Let him go,? he ordered,? Adam got what he wanted from us.?

Shinmaru?s bits and pieces were still laying about; much to my displeasure. My handkerchief wasn?t going to be enough for this mess, but I was in no position to play custodian at that moment. A simple butcher knife, my weapon of choice had been thrown carelessly in the heat of battle. Now I stood there defenseless with my life in the hands of two assassins.

?Don?t you have a train to catch?? Jamie asked the murderer. Persona nodded, and took a moment to check his wristwatch. Almost instantly a faint hum from the skyline had grown louder, and quickly a civilian bullet train had pulled into our small Osaka station. We must have stood there for nearly three minutes: not moving, not speaking, barely even breathing. The silence was enough to make you scream, and if I had my knife I would have. I was tired of standing by and watching, but not God himself could get me near the Black Adder unarmed.

The train doors slid open with a loud ?whoosh? and an elderly man slowly stumbled out. My eyes traced his path, starting from the train and wrapping around several body parts until he reached the exit. He must have been fucking blind, because the chaos around him was too much for a normal person to miss. Or maybe he just didn?t care; there have been stranger things in Japan.

Persona adjusted his mask, and moseyed his way into the train. Aside from the OTA employees, Persona was the only person on board. The doors behind him shut, and before I could make a move the train had departed for its final destination.

Jamie moved up behind me, and rubbed his hand along my back.

?We should go, too. Before the police arrive.?

?I doubt we have to worry about that,? I countered,? If Adam wanted the police involved both of us would be back in prison by now.?

?--And if he wanted us dead, Persona would have tried to finish the job.?

?It is just another victory for them; you?re going to be next.?

He moved his hand away from me for a second.

?What makes you say that??

?Everyone else I care about is dead.

?You are the Desert Taipan?? A young girl said, translating for her father?s Japanese.

She couldn?t have been older than 16, but her face showed maturity far beyond that of a regular girl her age. Most little girls aren?t born into a family of drug dealers, so this was understandable. Her father was one of Adam?s oldest clients, and throughout the years both of them had developed a close working relationship.

The man was Yasuo, and even though we had never met he was my safest link to Adam at the time. The three of us were standing around a pool table, far below the city of Benten in what was known as the ?Den of Snakes.? It was a small family bar that Yasuo had inherited from his father, but in recent years it had become a mostly private establishment. While locals tended to frequent it on occasion, anyone outside of the ?regulars? was only allowed to enter with the blessing of Yasuo himself. My name had gotten me through the front door, and my knife earned me a chance to talk with him directly.

?No,? I replied to the man. ?But you have heard of me before. I am the Cowboy.?

There was a burst of laughter, and Yasuo lit a cigar before answering back.

?Of course. Your costume should have made that much obvious. Adam has not spoken of you in a long while, I had simply assumed that you were no longer on his payroll.?

?No,? I stared at his daughter, who was focusing on our conversation, ?Would it be rude to speak freely in front of your daughter??

?I see no reason why it would be.?

?It is a personal matter, and a young girl should not be subjected to such things.?

?She has spent her life under the streets of Benten, and over time she has become my most trusted ally. I have exposed her to my trade, and she has thrived. My only hope is that the girl will not lose focus of what is important, Cowboy.?

?Hm, I understand.?

?Now what is it that you came here to say??

?Quite frankly, Mr. Yasuo, Adam killed by son.?

Oh, I am terribly sorry for your loss. What exactly were the circumstances??

?It is of no importance to you, sir. I just want my revenge.?

The man looked at his daughter for a moment, and smiled.

?Of course, any father would feel the same way. But my situation with Adam is a unique one, and whatever arrangement you have for me will not be agreed to. You understand that I cannot risk making enemies with the man who commands the Angels.?

?I know you have a meeting with him tonight, Yasuo. Give me the details, I beg of you.?

There was no response, and by the time he had reached for his rifle it was too late for him to do say anything. I rushed past his daughter and quickly thrust my knife through Yasuo?s throat. He collapsed to the ground, falling into a seizure instantly. His daughter looked at her dying father, and pulled out a pair of train tickets.

?My father was going to use these tonight,? A tear rolled off her face, but she maintained an expressionless facade, ?These will be important to you.?

She handed them to me, and I bowed.

?Just one question, miss.?


?Why were Yasuo?s only guards at the entrance? Surely someone of his stature needs more protection than that.?

She ran her hands through her short black hair, and looked at me with a sympathetic gaze.

?I was his only real bodyguard. Believe it or not, those guards outside are only to scare away the drunks.?

?Then why didn?t you do anything to stop me??

?Sometimes loyalty can only get you so far in life. My father taught me that.?

?He taught you well,? I said with a bit of sarcasm as I removed my knife from Yasuo?s warm corpse.

?Adam is a bastard? for more many reasons than you might realize. He hurts anyone he touches. I hope you can get the revenge you are looking for, Cowboy.?

?So do I.? I just wanted to get home and see my Kidd. The days ahead of us were going to be painful, and I wanted to see him smile again before it was too late.

The way he smiled at me was something that I will never forget about, even after I?m dead. It wasn?t the best smile, and he wasn?t even very handsome? it just seemed so charming. When I was depressed, there were times when he told me jokes to try and cheer me up. They weren?t very good ones, but the effort he would put into them made me feel better. All it really took was his smile to cheer me up; so maybe that?s why the jokes weren?t very good ? they didn?t need to be. He was always wearing that grin on his face, just to make up for those damn one-liners.

Most people don?t think of Jamie as being playful, but they never got to know him the way I did. They saw him as a former criminal, and as a murderer -- to me he was so gentle and sweet, if only they knew the Jamie Kidd that I had fallen in love with. His reputation had preceded him, even before we worked for Adam, and that sort of thing follows a man wherever he goes.

When Adam first approached us about employment, the man seemed a wary about involving himself with Jamie. For all he knew Jamie could have killed him at any moment? and to be honest, there were a couple of times when he had thought about it.

Adam hadn?t wronged us at that point, and we had never done anything to upset him. This was just the type of thing I worried about, especially when he added that group whores to the payroll.

I had been there long enough to see the signs. Adam?s attitude towards Jamie made me wonder why the Angels were really hired in the first place. He already had bodyguards; perhaps he just wanted to set the record straight between himself, Jamie and I. He didn't trust us, and it hurt me more than I could ever let Jamie know. Sometimes you have to hide things from a person in order to protect them.

It was around the formation of Adam?s Angels when we first discussed the subject. Jamie and I were on the bullet train[b]*[/b] one night, trying to clean up after a romantic encounter. The entire train must have been empty, and for nearly an hour, it was just the two of us groping and fucking each other. Having sex in public was never very attractive to me, but at the time I felt like we had nowhere else to go. Both of us were uneasy about returning to the apartment, knowing all too well that Adam and his Angels might be there. I was open to Jamie about my concerns, but I should have known better than to be so emotional in front of him. He couldn't stand to see me cry.

"What's wrong, Josh?"

"Don't you see what is happening? Adam doesn't trust us anymore. Right now he is probably sitting around in that limousine, polishing his sword for when he kills us both."

Jamie held my hand for a moment, and then kissed it softly. My frustration had subsided, and in an instant Jamie's demeanor changed from loving to incredibly stern.

"You don't have to worry about that, Josh. If anyone crosses your path I'll make them suffer,? He stared into my eyes with an intense focus, ?I love you."

From that moment on, I never wanted to hear ?I love you,? again. The way he said it seemed so final that I wanted to cry. He couldn?t say it with compassion; he may have been more concerned about losing a piece of his property than losing his partner. Life is just a commodity to us, anyway. It can be bought or sold, and my poor Kidd didn?t want to lose it.

"Jamie..." I turned away for a moment, but he held my hand even tighter.

"--Adam is just one man, and like anyone else, he will pay if he betrays me. "

I turned to him, hoping for a chance to see that smile again. It wasn?t there. His eyes were cold, and the only movements on him were of little sweat drops, rolling down his chest and onto the floor. For a moment my eyes followed some as they cascaded onto the dirty linoleum tile. I sighed softly, and allowed my free hand to drop to my waist. I had surrendered.

"I? I won't let anyone hurt you, either."

[size=1][b]*[/b]Coincidentally, this bullet train was conducted by none other than Takeo Furuhata. The man was so upset by people having sex inside of his train cars that he proposed hiring a larger staff of security guards to catch couples (or sometimes more) as they were engaging in these acts of pleasure. In addition to these duties, they would help keep the trains safe from criminal acts and other forms of danger. The Osaka Transit Authority never put much support behind this idea, citing a severe lack of funds for such an expensive measure to take place. Nevertheless, Takeo Furuhata eventually spent part of his personal savings to employ a regular security guard that would accompany him and his train wherever they went.

On his third night of service the security guard, Mr. Furuhata and several civilian employees of the OTA were killed in a massive train derailment. Police reports attribute this accident to a masked man who entered the bullet train late one evening and murdered everyone on board with a pair of axes. His identity is unknown to the public, but police profilers have dubbed him ?The Black Adder? after a deadly snake. Whether or not this man survived the train derailment is unknown; no evidence of his body was ever found at the crash site.


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[size=4]Chapter 3: Porn Superstar [/size][/center]

[b]Summary:[/b] In this chapter, Arianna Love's previous career is revealed in greater detail. We find out about her "life of porn" and how she escaped the clutches of a jealous and violent boyfriend. We also learn about her first trip to Japan.

[b]Characters:[/b] Arianna Love

[b]Setting:[/b] California --> Japan

This chapter pretty much deals exclusively with Arianna. Tori, all you really need to do is look at your sign up sheet and then create a specific short story, which goes into more depth on this critical part of Arianna's history. I anticipate that this entire chapter will only require one post, however, the length and breadth of that post is entirely up to you; you can decide how to shape things and you can go into any level of depth that you like. ^_^

Oh and, HC and sweetreyes...don't worry. You guys haven't had much of a shot yet, but your characters are coming up soon. In particular, I'm eager to introduce Jeanette, as she's such a [i]nasty[/i] Angel. ~_^

EDIT: Oh and Josh...you were actually [i]worried[/i] about your post? Bah. It was fantastic, as I expected. Same goes to Tony and Shinmaru. Fantastic job, guys.
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?Where the fuck have you been?? he spat in her face. ?What the fuck are you doing all the time??

?What the fuck do you think I?m doing? I?m working to support your lazy ass! I don?t see you doing anything but laying around this goddamn apartment watching shit on tv all day! What the fuck do you expect me to do?? she yelled back, getting right up in his face. The alcohol on his breath was overwhelming, but she held firm to her ground.

?Bitch?? he said, walking out the bedroom door.

?Fucking asshole!? she said, turning around to shut the door behind him.

?What the hell do you think you?re doing?? he said, grabbing her by her hair. He jerked her back, facing towards him. ?You?re nothing but a whore and a goddamn slut! Taking off your clothes for all those other assholes all your life! You?ve never tried to do anything else with yourself unless it had to do with that! Your life is nothing but a waste!?

He pushed her roughly onto their bed, slamming her down. Her climbed on top of her, sitting on her so that she couldn?t move. She struggled to get out from under him and screamed in frustration. He began ripping at her clothes and groping her hard as she kicked her legs, trying to get free.

?Oh, you can fuck them but you can?t fuck me?? he screamed in her ear, sitting on top of her and ripping his belt out of his pants. It flung around and hit her on the cheek, stinging as a bright red whelp appeared. He threw it across the room, hitting her vanity mirror with a loud whack. She continued to struggle underneath him as he yanked at her skirt with one hand, his penis in his other. She slapped him hard across the face, trying to catch him off guard and get out from underneath him. He let go of her skirt and drew back, punching her in the face. ?You fucking cunt!? he yelled, drawing back to punch her again.

Arianna looked over at the dresser beside her bed, catching a glimpse at the telephone. She used her free hand to pick it up, Richard?s fist catching her face once again. She screamed in pain, slamming the phone against his temple hard. He yelled and tried to dislodge the phone from her hands. She hit him hard again, this time busting his lip, blood pouring forth. As he yelled, it spewed onto her, and she slammed the phone against his face one more time. He fell back finally, letting her clamber off the bed.

Arianna quickly made her way out of the room and into the kitchen, grabbing up the first weapon she saw: the frying pan. It had been used not too long before to cook stir fry, but she still held it at ready. She heard some cussing coming from the bedroom and tensed up. She caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror over the dining room table. Her face was bruised and purpled in places where Richard had punched her. Bits and pieces of blood were spattered across her face and neck. She saw herself holding the frying pan for dear life and knew that this was it. This was the last time that motherfucker beat on her.

She saw him staggering out of the bedroom door, himself holding a weapon. He had his pocket knife out, pointing it at her. His face was bruised as well, blood running out of his mouth and down his chin. It was disgusting.

?You fucking bitch, you?re not going to get away with this shit,? he said, making his way towards her.

?Get the fuck away from me, Richard, now. I said GET THE FUCK AWAY!?

?What are you going to do, hit me with that frying pan?? He laughed, an almost psychotic laugh. ?I?ll cut you to fucking pieces, bitch.?

He launched himself at her suddenly, his knife barely missing as she spun out of the way. She reared up as high as she could and nailed him in the back of the head with the frying pan with a sickening thwack. He blacked out then, his arms folding beneath him as he hit the floor hard, the knife plunging deep into his chest. He lay there motionless and Arianna watched as a pool of blood slowly formed around him. She screamed and screamed, but no one came to help her. She screamed and it engulfed her, she couldn?t breathe, the screaming was so intense, the screaming?

Arianna screamed and sat up suddenly in her bed, the plush blankets falling around her softly. She was breathing hard and cold sweated beaded on her forehead. She hated that memory. She didn?t kill Richard and she had gotten off on the charges, but she wanted to forget about it. She never wanted to think of Richard and the things he did to her ever again. Why did she have to keep having this reoccurring nightmare? She placed her hand over her eyes and gritted her teeth. She felt a warm hand touch her shoulder softly. She looked over and saw Adam sitting up beside her, his warm lips pressing softly against her cold cheek. She looked at him, into his eyes, searching for signs of compassion. She never could read him, never knew if this relationship was in vain, never knew if he was just using her for pleasure. But at least she wasn?t alone on nights like this.

After Richard?s death, Arianna [i]was[/i] alone, every night and every day. She was working soft-core when it happened, and her image was suddenly big in the media. Newspapers with headlines such as ?Porn Star Murders Boyfriend? and ?From Porn Superstar to Homicidal Maniac!? littered the streets in front of her everywhere she turned. Even the tabloids had some crazy story to write. One in particular that she found slightly amusing was the story that she killed Richard because she was pregnant with a baby that was conceived while she was abducted by aliens and became the bride of their leader, his wedding gift the head of Richard, nevermind the fact that his head was still firmly attached, despite the hard blow of the frying pan. The company she was working with dropped her soon after, leaving her looking for a job. It was then that she signed a contract to go hard-core.

She was a little bit worried about taking on this new deal. She had a lot of experience and was a big name in the industry, but that was her only consolation. She was suddenly in the midst of fiery competition, she was wary about getting involved with others, and she was beginning to have doubts of the career she had chosen. Was she going to be no one once she was out of the industry? Would she be straggling for the rest of her life, trying to find a way to support herself? And then there was the thought of ever getting married and having a family. It was these thoughts that troubled her on those dark and lonely nights.

Arianna was soon cast into a movie that was labeled ?the turning point? of her career. She was co-starring with Bethany Havas, an astonishingly beautiful blonde whose breasts were as fake as the smile she put on when she was around Arianna. She acted polite enough, but when Arianna was out of earshot, she was a backstabbing bitch.

She didn?t mean to kill Bethany...but it happened. And she found afterwards that she didn?t regret it.

It was a wild night. The cast of the movie was celebrating the completion and success of their film. They were having this raving party at Bethany?s pad, and tons of people had shown up. Arianna wasn?t sure exactly why she went, but she found herself drinking immediately. She was laughing, flirting, and making out with numerous guys from the cast, including Bethany?s boyfriend. The two had made their way to the bedroom and quickly removed one another?s clothing. They kissed fiercely as they went, finding themselves missing the bed entirely and fucking against the wall. Bethany must have noticed that the two of them were gone and in the middle of the act, the door to the bedroom flew open. She was yelling and screaming at them, but they didn?t stop. Arianna was moaning loudly, her nails digging into the man?s back. She noticed Bethany slam the door shut behind her and make her way over to the two.

She watched as Bethany made her way over to the two of them. She was saying something, but it was all inaudible to Arianna, who was caught up in the midst of pleasure. Suddenly Bethany grabbed her boyfriend by the hair of the head and yanked him away from Arianna. She punched him hard in the face, knocking him to the floor. He looked up at her, pissed just as much as she was, and she kicked his clothes towards him. She told him to get the fuck out and he happily obliged. That was the last Arianna saw of him. It was the last she saw of Bethany, too.

Bethany threw herself at Arianna, but completely missed. As much as she drank, Arianna still moved with the grace of a cat. She kicked Bethany hard in the stomach and watched her fall to her knees. Bethany then jumped up and scratched Arianna across the face.

That was it. Arianna stood there for a moment, Bethany ready for her to strike. It was awkward, the enraged Bethany fighting the nude Arianna, but the moment soon passed. Quickly looking around the room, Arianna leapt gracefully onto the dresser, grabbing a chain whip from a shelf on the wall. Bethany must have used this kinky accessory on those ?extra-special? nights, but Arianna was about to use it for something much more deadly. She snapped it hard against the dresser, knocking bottles of perfume and intricate picture frames to the floor, watching them smash into tiny pieces. Bethany screamed in horror, her face contorting with rage as she ran towards Arianna once again.

?I hate you, you fucking bitch!? Bethany screamed, picking up a shard of glass from one of the broken picture frames. It cut her hand, but she held it tightly as she lunged towards the naked figure. Arianna jumped away quickly, wrapping herself around the bedpost of Bethany?s bed and snapped the whip hard, the chain finding itself around the enraged girl?s neck. It wrapped around quite a few times and Bethany clawed at it, dropping the shard of glass. Arianna pulled on it tighter, a smile creeping upon her lips. Bethany?s face turned blue and she gasped, pleading for her life. Arianna just smiled, the soft pale light coming in from the street illuminating her bare flesh. She was glowing, almost appearing angelic. Bethany?s eyes were wide with fear. Arianna yanked the handle of the whip, placing it by her side. With one sickening crack, Bethany?s neck was broken.

No one could ever figure out who Bethany?s mysterious killer was. They assumed it was her boyfriend and he was arrested, landing himself in jail for a few years. It was a bit sad, especially since he didn?t remember anything from that night, but at least Arianna was free. She still had that same chain whip and put it to very good use. She always carried it with her wherever she went. Soon after, however, she began to feel paranoid about being in America. She began to look for an international career, and was soon offered a job by her company in Japan as a trainer of sorts for some of the women hired there. She was also starring in a new flick that was being filmed there, one that was promised to be a huge success. She quickly found herself overseas, living in a nice pad that was fully furnished when she moved in. She brought nothing with her and left no regrets behind. She hoped to be in Japan for a long while.

Arianna sighed deeply as Adam gently ran his lips down her cheek, to her neck, to her shoulder. He gently reached up and brushed her chin with his fingers, pulling her lips towards his and kissing her softly. She kissed back gingerly, savoring every moment of his careful touch. He laid back down in the bed, pulling her over him. Her soft Auburn hair fell around his face and he reached up and placed it behind her ear.

?Why do you let that dream trouble you? It?s only a nightmare.?

?I don?t know?I don?t know what?s wrong with me,? Arianna sighed.

?There?s nothing wrong with you, Love. You just need to let go of that life. It is no longer important.?

Arianna looked down at him, again searching his eyes for a sign of true compassion. And she still couldn?t read him.

?Do you remember our first encounter, Arianna?? he asked, his hands slowly gliding down her back.

?Of course?it was while I was on the set for my last film?I didn?t know what you wanted with me, and I was shocked to know that you knew so much about my past, including my encounters with Richard and Bethany?? she got quiet, her voice fading as she spoke.

?And it doesn?t matter how I found out, either,? he was talking softly now, his hand running underneath her silk tank-top, fondling her. ?Let?s take your mind off of all that, Love. Tonight you are not alone.?

She looked into his eyes once again, this time her hand brushing gently through his hair. She felt him through the silk of her pants pressing hard against her and she leaned over and kissed him passionately.

[i]No, I?m not alone tonight,[/i] she thought as Adam began to moan softly.
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[size=4]Chapter 1: Diaz and the Autostrada[/size][/center]

[b]Summary:[/b] In this chapter -- the opening scene to the movie -- Jeanette Marie Diaz is preparing to meet up with an underworld figure in Rome. The meeting is on behalf of Adam, who is looking to expand his operations in Italy. At this stage, Lelia has already been murdered by Jamie; so she is unable to assist Adam in Europe.

Jeanette goes to make the deal in a train station near Prima Porta, when she encounters Jamie and Joshua; it was a trap. This chapter deals with a car chase...and ultimately, it reveals Jeanette Marie Diaz's undoing.

[b]Characters:[/b] Jeanette Marie Diaz, Jamie Kidd, Joshua (AKA Cowboy)

[b]Setting:[/b] Prima Porta --> Autostrada --> Olympic Stadium

I'd like Heaven's Cloud to write the first post. He will have to give is more information on why Jeanette is in Rome and how she gets there. This background information will help myself and Josh to write our responses and to play out the events.

Jeanette will fight with both Joshua and Jamie at the station, but she will escape and drive back toward Rome. Joshua and Jamie will follow in their own car and they will catch her at the Olympic Stadium, where she prepares to make her last stand.
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[COLOR=firebrick]A sleek, dark woman sat patiently on a stained, cushioned bench. She sat motionless with her hands clasped delicately on her lap and her legs crossed elegantly in front of a slim black attaché case. At first glance a passerby may have confused her for an Armani mannequin, an error which would have been mistaken on so many accounts, least being her perfectly tailored Prada suit. If they caught her gaze, however, the empty calculating stare would send them scurrying towards their train.

Three giant men in pinstriped power suits sat close to the woman. Although they were her body guards they feared their employer more than any other possible threat. When they arrived at the hotel last evening, there were four guards. Unfortunately, one of them spoke without being spoken to breaking the woman?s ?seen not heard rule? and wound up getting his throat cut by the dark woman?s rapier. The remaining three guards had not uttered a word since the incident.

Sitting silently still Jeanette Marie Diaz began to grow impatient. The initial humor and irony of the Angel nicknamed Santa Muerte waiting amidst the frequent arrivals and departures at the busy terminal had worn thin, and she began to wonder why her contact was nearly a half hour late. She glanced down at the demure time piece on her left wrist.

?Fuck,? she swore softly under her breath. It was nearly noon and she had accomplished next to nothing. She reached behind her legs and grabbed the attaché case. Pulling out a tiny cell phone she began to dial her Pamplona office. She was entering the seventh digit when the body guard to her left fell onto the linoleum tile.

Reacting instantly, the remaining two guards pushed Jeanette to the ground and drew their pistols to protect her.

?You incompetent fucks!? the angel spat. ?You are making me a stationary target. You are not the secret fucking service! Get the hell off of me.? Jeanette pushed the body guards off of her with uncanny strength. Grabbing the attaché case she bolted to the door, knowing that there was no use attempting to fight attackers she couldn?t identify. When she reached the exit Jeanette heard loud thud and assumed that another of her body guards had fallen. She didn?t look back to check.

Sprinting through the revolving doors Jeanette pulled a keychain from her pocket. Mashing down on soft plastic buttons, her key chain remote clicked and the engine of her black BMW roared to life across the parking lot. She dashed through the parking lot and flung open her car door. Throwing the automobile into reverse she felt a sudden jolt on the passenger side of her car. The third and (she assumed) final body guard slumped against the tinted passenger window smearing black blood on the black paint. As she reversed, the lumbering body spilled onto the hard, cold asphalt. Putting the car in drive, she barreled over her former employee, unmoved by his death.

?Fuck,? she screamed, ?fuck, fuck, FUCK!? She picked up her cell phone and hit number nine on the speed dial. The phone was answered on the second ring by a man with a smooth and resonating voice.

?This is Adam.?

?Yeah, no shit. I called you, I know who the fuck you are,? Jeanette replied curtly. On the other end Adam chuckled pleasantly.

?My do you have a gutter mouth today Jeanette, did Luigi out maneuver you at the train station? Or did he just keep you waiting too long??

?Luigi never made the damn meeting. The greasy little Italian is either dead or about to be dead. Either way I could give a shit,? Jeanette spat.

Adam replied in a harsh, slow manner, exaggerating every syllable, ?What the fuck happened, Jeanette!?

Jeanette winced; Adam rarely spoke in an ill manner. She decided she better choose her words carefully. ?It was a setup, very professional, very stealth. They killed off my body guards without revealing themselves, shit I don?t even know how many there were.?

?Shit, you don?t even know how many there are Jeanette! You are a fucking pro, your call name is fucking Saint Death, how can you not know how many there are!? Adam bellowed.

?I was in a fucking train station Adam, a noisy fucking train station. They were either attacking us with a silenced pistol or throwing knives, I didn?t stay around to find out wh?? Jeanette?s sentence was cut short as a grey SUV slammed into the rear of her BMW, catapulting her forward into traffic. Fortunately, she maintained control of the BMW.

?Shit, Adam they are right on my ass, I have to go?, Jeanette said frantically.

?Jeanette, don?t come back until those fuckers are dead. Do you understand me? Don?t come back until they are dead!? Adam screamed.

Jeanette threw her cell phone on the passenger seat and grabbed the wheel with both hands. The grey SUV was closing the distance between it and the Beamer. Jeanette cut the wheel hard to the right and entered the Autostrada.
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  • 3 weeks later...

The two vehicles zig-zagged the autostrada, as though a small black feline were being chased by an enormous grey wolf.

In the serene comfort of the grey SUV, it was as though Jamie and Joshua were experiencing a leisurely Sunday drive through the Italian countryside. At least, it would seem that way, if it weren't for the occasional violent lateral thumps; at times, the SUV appeared to be in danger of rolling over completely.

However, both Jamie and Joshua didn't appear worried. They knew that if the SUV [i]had[/i] to be rolled, in order to get at Jeanette, then it'd be done without question. And as they weaved in and out of the traffic, they could hear shouts of "stolto mandriano!" above the roaring of the SUV engine.

"I think we're upsetting our fellow drivers," said Josh quietly and with a mild smirk.

Soon enough, the pair could hear the faint sound of sirens.

"Great," said Jamie, as he carefully guided the SUV closer to Jeanette's BMW, "now the cops are on us. I think we'd better deal with them before we deal with Jeanette."

Jamie looked over at Joshua and smiled. "You know what to do, my love," he said.

Joshua didn't need any prompting. He turned around and reached into the middle bench seat. A long, thin compartment sat just underneath the cushion. Joshua pulled the cushion up and tore it away from the compartment. Several weapons, along with their ammunition, had been placed inside. Joshua rubbed his chin thoughtfully.

"What to use," he murmured.

"Something fun," said Jamie, another smile forming on his face.

Joshua grinned and reached into the compartment. He pulled out a small sub-machine gun, which he carefully slung over his shoulder with a heavy strap. He looked in the side mirror and saw the flash of red and blue; it was closer than ever.

"Okay, here I go," said Joshua with a deep breath. He opened the window on the passenger side and removed his belt. He then climbed up and sat on the sill, with his feet jammed down between door and seat. He was locked in place.

As Jamie continued to swerve between lanes of traffic, Joshua pulled the sub-machine gun up by his shoulder. He lowered his gaze to follow the barrel, aiming his sight at the hood of the nearest police cruiser.

Joshua was too focused to notice the expression of disbelief on the police officers' faces. But it was too late, anyway. Joshua held to the door tightly with his legs and squeezed the trigger. Immediately, the weapon began bucking heavily in Joshua's arms, as a stream of heavy ammunition effortlessly sliced through the cruiser's hood. And again, moments later, the SUV swerved violently to its left, as the nearest police cruiser's nose exploded forcefully. Pieces of rubber and metal were thrown across the SUV and Joshua turned away briefly, covering his face.

The second cruiser approached, sirens blaring. This time, it came up closer to the SUV, only a couple of metres away from Joshua.

The officer driving the vehicle lowered his window and began yelling hoarsely, though Joshua couldn't hear his voice above the roar of the wind. It didn't matter, though. Joshua knew that the cruiser was too close for him to fire at the engine, so instead, he aimed his barrel squarely at the driver. As soon as the police officer realized what Joshua was doing, he attempted to swerve the cruiser into a lane further away. But it was too late. Joshua squeezed the trigger again and unleashed a volley of heavy fire on the driver's side of the cruiser. The bullets almost seemed to pin the driver to his seat, as deep crimson liquid splashed over the steering wheel and blanketed the interior.

The cruiser wobbled dangerously on its wheels and then veered sideways into a concrete embankment, simultaneously rolling a full three hundred and sixty degrees as it did so. It was completely obscured by black smoke and flames.

Joshua carefully sunk back into the passenger seat. He kept the sub-machine gun in his lap, for safe keeping.

"Great job," said Jamie. He almost seemed amused by Joshua's performance. Joshua leaned across and kissed Jamie on the cheek. "You know I never miss," he said.

Jeanette's BMW moved several lanes over, suddenly.

"She must be trying to exit," said Joshua. "But where is she going?"

"I don't know," Jamie replied, "but we'll follow her. That bitch owes us and she's not getting away this easily."

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  • 2 weeks later...
[i]Just a short addition. I doubt it will upset Shy's post, but if it does I will remove it.[/i]

[color=indigo]Emmanuel Fache leaned against the wrought iron gate, languidly puffing his cigarette. A foul crease furrowed his brow and his wide lips drooped at the corners. Fache loathed working gate duty, preferring the electronic warmth of the stadium?s security booth. Stubbing his cigarette out on one of the large iron bars, Fache stared at Olympic Stadium with contempt.

As a boy Emmanuel Fache dreamed of working as a Vatican detective. He spent his childhood studying criminal and forensic science while simultaneously training to enter the priesthood. When he was twenty-three, Emmanuel was given his first true assignment guarding Cardinal Jacques Saunier. Four months later the Cardinal was caught molesting an eleven year old altar boy. Caught in a whirlwind of scandal and ill press, the Vatican dismissed the Cardinal and all of his staff, including Fache. The dismissal black listed him from Interpol, the police force, and the private security sector, Fache was forced to take a security job with Roma Preservation Department.

Even though Emmanuel had been working security at the Olympic Stadium for nine years, he still cursed the Catholic Church on a daily basis. Actually, he was in the middle of profaning the church when a sleek BMW came to a screeching halt five feet in front of him.

?Great, another fucking rich press bitch coming to photograph the Stadium,? Fache thought to himself. Fache?s attitude turned from contempt to desire when he saw a raven haired woman emerge from the car. The woman was wearing an elegant black business skirt that enhanced her muscular legs and a white silk blouse that was cut scandalously low; a cylinder shaped black leather bag was slung over her shoulder.

?You must be press,? Emmanuel commented with a knowing smile. The dark haired knock-out nodded her head and flashed a seductive smile. The guard blushed, ?do you have your press pass by any chance??

?Of course,? the woman replied in a smoky, accented timbre. She stepped within inches of Fache and when he inhaled her sweet perfume filled his nostrils and caused his knees to shiver. He stared nervously at the ground and her legs, trying to fight off an erection.

Distracted by the woman?s beauty, Fache only felt the glimmering light as the woman?s delicate hand moved quicker than his eyes. His throat filled with liquid, and his attempt to swallow caused him to spit up blood. He stared at the glistening dagger for a brief second, watching his blood form a serpentine pattern on the black steel. Averting his eyes from the blade, his gaze wondered towards the face of the dark woman. Her eyes danced with maliced excitement and joy, and she smiled a blindly satisfied white smile.

?Fuck,? Emmanuel gurgled as the woman pulled the dagger from his throat.

?Fuck?? she replied, ?I am truly sorry. Although I am quite kinky, necrophilia has never turned me on. She unlocked the wrought iron gate with Fache?s key and strolled into the stadium. As the wrought iron gate slammed shut, Emmanuel Fache mumbled his final prayer, and cursed the church one last time.
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[b]There Goes My Baby[/b][/center]
Jamie and I entered the coliseum slowly,. I was humming quietly, while Jamie remained silently focused on his opponent.

From what I could remember, Jamie and Jeannette had never worked together, or even met. The Angels were never very close to us, and maybe that was my fault for trying to distance myself from Adam and his operations so late in the game. A family of assassins was not where I wanted to spend the rest of my life, but it?s difficult to escape a life like that. Ever since my parents death I had been trying to escape from my life; every time I tried to move away from my past it became increasingly obvious that I was going to repeat their mistakes in life. I had no control over it. I guess that?s the way the Angels felt about Jamie and myself. With Adam pushing us out of the business side of things, and relegating us to the role of bodyguards he risked starting a conflict.

And no matter who was right or who was wrong, the others were there to defend him. Lelia made that clear on our last mission together, the night I lost my child.

It was after four hours of sitting and waiting that I finally saw her exit the building. She was wearing a simple blue dress, made more glamorous by the jewelry that she had covered herself with. She looked beautiful; she always did; seeing her like that made me understand why Adam had taken such an interest in her. Slowly she moved out of the hotel, and crossed the street towards me.

"It's nice to see you again, Josh," Lelia said with a smile. She had a beautiful smile, but it was a forced one. A few drops of blood were rolling down her face at the moment - the fallen angel's recent mission had ended successfully, but just barely. I was her back up in case anything had gone wrong, so for the past several hours I had been waiting for a signal of any kind. I waited patiently outside of the target's hotel while Lelia made her move on the man and his personal entourage of assassins, murderers and rapists.

"It's nice to see you, too, Miss Angelo," I folded up the newspaper that I had been reading and stood up, "I was beginning to worry about you."

She moved her hands through her hair quickly, wiping off some of the blood that was dripping from her forehead.

"The target wasn't the problem, his family was."

"A family who knows how to protect themselves... it must be nice."

"I wouldn't really know..." She turned away from me and sighed, "My uncle never put up much of a fight."

The two of us walked down the alleyway and into our transportation, one of Adam's elaborate limousines. Lying in the leather interior were a pair of glasses, and a single bottle of red wine. A small note was attached, probably signed by Adam himself, but she tossed it aside and began to serve us our drinks.

"I love the taste of fine wine, Cowboy. Given the right amount of time, and the proper storage wine only becomes more amazing and valuable as time goes by.'

"A lot of things do." I gave our driver the order to leave, "I didn't realize how much true love had meant to me until I had finally found it with Jamie. He's done so much for me; more than I could ever do for myself."

"You haven't done much of anything for yourself."

"It's not about me. It's about Jamie, and it's about Soju."

"..and Adam?"

"He has his angels to take care of him now. I want out, before my child gets washed up in all of this."

"I think it's too late for that."

"What do you mean?"

?I was raised into a family of killers, it seems like both of us were. But we all distanced ourselves from those lives, and we ended up following the same path, anyway.?

?But I have to try again. If I don?t then I might as well die now.?

?You should have made these decisions much earlier in your life. An organization such as this does not fall apart easily.?

?I?m prepared for any bloodshed, Lelia. If it becomes necessary, I?m fully prepared to kill that man, and every one of you who stand in my way.?


??I?m sorry.?

"Well,? Lelia raised her glass to toast, ?Send Ms. Diaz my love when you bleed her to death."

?Don?t worry,? I sighed, ?I?ll make it quick for each of you.?


- - - - - -

I drew my weapon, and prepared to make a first strike against Jeanette. She stood there with a cool expression on her face; although she was unarmed Saint Death appeared to be more ready for this battle than I was. Quickly I changed my stance, and lunged at her with my knife. Being the combatant that she was, Jeanette easily dodged the blows, letting out a small smile as she drew a dagger from her belt and stabbed my right arm.

?This bitch isn?t going down as easily as the others,? She announced as she withdrew the dagger from my body and thrust through my shoulder. I collapsed to the ground from the pain, closing my eyes and dropping my weapon instantly.

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  • 2 weeks later...

[b]|[i]And be quick about it![/i]|[/b]

[font=trebuchet ms]"You're here again..."[/font]

"Does that surprise you?"

[font=trebuchet ms]"I guess so."[/font]


[b]|[i]An awkward glance[/i]|[/b]

[font=trebuchet ms]"...I thought you were disappointed in me."[/font]

"Disappointed? No. A little frustrated, but not disappointed."

[font=trebuchet ms]"Well, I haven't exactly done anything to make you proud."[/font]

[b]|[i]A cigarette is produced[/i]|[/b]

[font=trebuchet ms]"You smoke?"[/font]

"Yes. I think it's pretty understandable at the moment. Besides, I deserve it."


"And no, you've done nothing to make me proud. You've always been a victim in one way or another."

[b]|[i]A sigh[/i]|[/b]

[font=trebuchet ms]"Then why are you here?"[/font]

"I don't know. Maybe I'm just doing what I feel is right. I have to admit, it's interesting to see how you've turned out."

[font=trebuchet ms]"Interesting? Do you find my misfortune funny?"[/font]

"No, I don't find it funny. But it's interesting that you turned a corner there. I'm actually proud of you...if pride is the right word for it."


[font=trebuchet ms]"I guess it's better than nothing. By the way, how is dad? I haven't seen him in three weeks."[/font]

"Your father is a busy man. With all the debts on his head, I'm surprised that he copes so well."

[font=trebuchet ms]"I thought you were the one with all the debts on your head."[/font]

[b]|[i]A grin...[/i]|[/b]

"No. Not anymore."

[b]|[i]Another silence[/i]|[/b]

"So tell me. Have you been ****** yet?"

[font=trebuchet ms]"What kind of question is that?"[/font]

"Don't be so defensive. Are you still a victim? Are you a victim like your father was?"

[font=trebuchet ms]"...I've learned some lessons. I do the ******* in here."[/font]

[b]|[i]Soft clapping[/i]|[/b]

"Good to hear. You see? You have to take control early on, or they'll be punishing you the whole time. Joshua learned that lesson the hard way."

[font=trebuchet ms]"And when he was a free man, was he still a victim? Did he ever turn a corner like me?"[/font]

"In a manner of speaking, he did. He learned not to be afraid of a man's touch. It was his enemy at one stage...but then he embraced it. Maybe it gave him a sense of triumph or something. I don't pretend to know the answers."

[font=trebuchet ms]"Well, I'm in control. I like it."[/font]

[b]|[i]Soft laughter[/i]|[/b]

"You like it, do you? So I should stop bringing you those girlie magazines?"

[font=trebuchet ms]"I may have had sex with more men than women, but you watch how fast that changes when I get out of here."[/font]

"Hah, well, enjoy it. Enjoy it, but don't start a family...don't make the mistake that your father did. It's the one thing that is eating away at him even today."

[font=trebuchet ms]"I wouldn't let any harm come to my family."[/font]

[b]|[i]A pause...[/i]|[/b]

"Yeah, that's what he said too."
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