Chapter 2
Driven by You
by Fuuko no Miko

Author's notes:
Again, I would like to thank everyone who reviewed by the first two parts of this fic. Your responses are much appreciated ^_^. Some people were asking about Raiha. Uhum??? I've been bad and killed Raiha in Hearts At Play *_*...wonder what I'll do to him next?

The weight of the solid stone wall pressed heavily on their backs. Fuuko was sweating profusely, as were her two other companions. Domon was strong, but even the big guy had his limits. Anytime now the thick layer of cemented rock was going to crush their skulls. She didn't think this would be the end of her short adolescent life. To be smashed under the bearing weight of solid rock. Unladylike as she was, she ddin't think she deserved even that gruesome a death.

"I...can't hold on...much longer..." Domon spoke through gritted teeth.

"Me too. It's too heavy..." said Recca.

"I can't take it...anymore..." she agreed.

Fuuko felt her arms give way and in a split second she expected the structure to come falling upon their heads. Surprisingly, she felt none of this as she saw something move lightning-quick towards them. She couldn't tell what it was or where it came from, but it flew, slashing several strokes in the air above them. In the blink of an eye the abominable concrete upon them disintegrated into a thousand pieces.

Fuuko coughed as she covered her nose and mouth to shield from all the smoke the crumbling of the wall produced. It took a while before everything cleared, and when the dust settled, she made out a tall figure in their midst. Lean and lithe, sporting locks whose silky length belied the bearer's actual gender, with a bluegreen stare that met her own, a hint of amusement glinting in them. A big smile found its way to her lips. She'd recognize those eyes anywhere.


Domon & Recca looked like beached trouts with their mouths agape as Fuuko hurried towards the approaching figure. She welcomed him with open arms, trapping him in a bearhug that nearly choked the life out of him.

An emotion relatively alien to him suddenly grasped the man before the screen monitor. And though he knew it was a pang of jealousy that seized him at the sight he had just beheld, he quickly dismissed the possibility. From his comfortable slouch, Tokiya straightened and narrowed his eyes at the screen as if trying to get a better look at the newcomer.

A boyfriend?

While he knew next to nothing about the girl on the video screen, a boyfriend was one of the things farthest from his mind when he first encountered her. Not that she wasn't attractive enough to have one. It was just...errr...rather unlikely. He had more than the usual encounter of females who were attached. She didn't look like one of them.

Raiha was nearly purple and cyanotic from the tight hug Fuuko had given him. He pried her strong arms around him and let her down from hanging about his neck.

"I had an inkling you'd be glad to see me." he laughed while she looked all starry-eyed at him. "But I didn't expect that enthusiastic a welcome."

"Glad!?" Fuuko nearly screamed. "I am deliriously overjoyed to see you!"

Fuuko hooked an arm to his and pulled him towards her two friends whose eyes were near-dropping from staring at her. The question mark on both their heads almost visible with the kind of look they were giving her.

"Recca, Domon, meet Raiha-kun. Raiha-kun, these are my friends, Hanabishi Recca & Ishijima Domon. You know Recca don't you? From next door? Shigeo-san's obnoxious little brat that I used to tell you about."

"I resent that." Recca retaliated before giving Raiha a vigorous handshake and a strong pat on the back. "Oi, thanks for saving us! Lotta help these two were... Itaaaaiii!" he exclaimed when Fuuko whacked him on the head.

Raiha extended a hand to Domon when the latter suddenly broke down in tears, sobbing violently. "It....it..can't be! My...my *snort* beloved Fuuko-chan...*sniff* it...it...it's not possible...how..." he broke off in midsentence, suddenly grabbing Raiha by the collar of his shirt and jerking him up 12 inches off the ground. "I challenge you to a duel, one on one for the love of my Fuuko-chan! And if you're half a man you'll..."

Domon was unable to finish his sentence as Fuuko gave him a resounding kick that sent him yelping. "Baaakaa!!!" she bellowed. "Get your gorilla hands off my onii-san!"


Several pairs of eyes darted towards Fuuko, then to Raiha and back to the fuujin-wielder who was livid with rage. Those eyes took in the purple hair, the same expressive eyes, the fine-boned facial features and strong athletic build. Their resemblance was unmistakable.

The figure behind the screen smiled to himself. So her savior was actually her brother. Somehow he felt a little relieved.

"You're her older brother?" was the query thrown upon Raiha.

"Last time I looked." he replied sheepishly.

Recca was waving a forefinger at him. "I've known Fuuko for years...how come I've never seen you?"

"A long complicated story." he smiled and winked conspiratorily at Fuuko. "I suggest we save your hime first before we get into the history of my existence?"

"You're right!" Recca realized. "Let's go save hime!"

"You haven't really forgotten about me have you?"

They looked back to see Kaoru Koganei who had been the one to push the button on the trap. Before anyone else could move, the master of the Kougan Anki leaped and attacked.

Raiha swiftly deflected the blow. "Go ahead, Recca, Fuuko, Domon. I'll take care of things here." he paused to give Fuuko a thumbs up sign. "Go get 'em."

Kaoru seized the opportunity and attacked the older man with his madogu again which the latter effectively blocked.

"Wow! You blocked it from a dead angle!" he exclaimed. The kougan-anki wielder was impressed. "It's the first time anyone saw my attack!"

"You aint seen nothing yet." Raiha smiled before blocking another swift move by Kaoru.

The battle had just commenced.

Tokiya had gathered from the videotape the relationship of this girl who had intrigued him so, with the young man who had rescued her from the clutches of certain death. Oniisan. Older brother. He listened attentively to what she related to that sea-monkey in the dumb-looking ninja gear.

"My parents parted ways when we were small. That was just before we moved next door to you so you wouldn't have remembered. There was a custody battle and in the end they settled for my mom having me and my dad taking my Oniisan. They moved to Osaka and I haven't seen him since. We used to write each other though, so he knew about you. But it stopped after a few years. My onii-san and I were very close. I'd have rcognized him if he dyed his hair red and had a sex change."

"Your nii-san's very good." Recca praised. "How come you never got his talents in battle?"

Fuuko replied with a strong wallop, producing a huge lump on the flamecaster's head. They bickered for another five minutes before arriving at the door that led the way to where Yanagi was.

The knocking on the door from behind him caused Tokiya to switch off the monitor. He deftly removed the videotape and hid it inside the pocket of his jacket. "Come on in."


He disliked being called his first name, but he didn't show it when he faced the newly arrived. "Yes Aki-san?"

"You've been up all night." the fair-haired girl noted. "You need your rest. Here I brought you some sakura tea and maki. You didn't show up for dinner." She placed the tray on the table next to his recliner."It's not a very healthy practice you know."

Tokiya flashed her a smile that he frequently used to disarm any persistent female that came on to him. "Arigatou." he politely thanked. "Delicious as always, Aki-san." he said after popping one of the rolls in his mouth. He glanced casually over the wallclock in his quarters. "Well what do you know? It's 1 AM." he pretended to yawn and outstretched his arms. "I'll just finish this up before I sleep. I work early tomorrow."

She didn't miss the note of finality in his voice. She said her goodnights before exiting his quarters. Just as she closed the door behind her, Aki let out a curse, directing the sharp words to the ensui master. She was tempted to slam the door on his face when he walked her to the door but thought otherwise.

He is so dense, she thought.The guy was absolutely clueless! Here she was, throwing herself at his feet and he wouldn't give her the time of day.

Neon had warned her of falling too hard, but she couldn't seem to heed her older sister. Not that the former was a prime example of what she was preaching. Aki and every other person in the Uruha knew of Neon's unrequited love for their master, Kurei-sama. Yet, she could not help NOT falling in love with Tokiya. He was everything she had ever wanted. The looks. The brains. The talent. And she knew she wasn't the only one who admired the ensui master. She knew of at least half a dozen other females vying for his undivided attention.

None of which he ever showed the slightest interest in.

For a time she had wondered if Tokiya was gay. But he never showed interest in the similar gender either. Aki found out later on that he was a homophobe. The last time another man made a pass at him, he broke the latter's arm in two.

Lately however, Aki noted something different with Tokiya Mikagami in the past few nights. He was often ensconced in a certain activity. Something that had to do with the last couple of teenagers Kurei-sama had encountered. Some punks who had the guile to invade the Uruha mansion three days before. She caught Tokiya staring intently at the screen Kurei-sama was viewing. While he, being Kurei's right-hand man and all, was supposed to be well-involved in the Uruha's activities, there was something strange about the way he took to heart these new adversaries. She couldn't quite point it out, having difficulty reading what thoughts were. But she knew it was different. Very different. She had known him for years but she's never seen him look at their new enemies the way he looked at the others. She couldn't put her finger on it.

Aki had a glimpse of the tapes as well. There were only two females in the so-called elemental warriors. One was a purple-haired tomboy who looked more masculine than Tokiya himself. The other wasn't a warrior even. She was Kurei's prisoner. The healer Mori-sama had wanted so badly for his personal disposal. Aki remembered her. She was called Yanagi and much as she hated to admit it, the girl was exceptionally pretty with those gentle brown eyes and long, soft, tresses.

Perhaps he was attracted to Yanagi?

Aki paused by a mirror on the hallway and ran her fingers through her short, well-combed hair. She wondered if Tokiya would notice her if she grew her hair long and dyed it brown.

Rats! If only she knew what he wanted in a girl.

Maybe she should borrow Kirin's madougu.


He had caught her attention the minute she set foot on the park and noted his tall form on the stone bench.

Fuuko tried not to look at his direction, lest she recieve a myriad of teasing from her older brother who accompanied her. But she couldn't seem to help herself. Dressed in a flannel shirt and well-worn denim with a baseball cap on his head, he appeared to be just another teenager spending his spare time in the park. It wasn't that which beckoned him to her. It was the way he sat, straight but relaxed, his head buried preoccupied in what looked like a work of art. She had a quick glimpse of his face when he looked up and had noted a few erratic strands of hair peeping out from his Yankees cap.

His hair was silver.

And his face, although partially concealed was what can only be described as breathtakingly beautiful.

He looked so much like....

The angel.

Her angel. Her beautiful guardian angel who made himself known to her little more than a month ago, by the waterfront. On the clear, flowing water. He whose thoughts of which made her suddenly wish she was as unreal as he was so she could meet him somehow.

Of course he was probably just a figment of her playful mind. A making of her unacceptable thoughts. A creation of that part of her which she refused to let surface because it would render her vulnerable. Girlish. Feminine. Her angel was merely a by-product of her unconscious being.

This man was real.

The momentary distraction that this caused did not escape Raiha's eagle eye. He may have only got to know the girl his sister had become this past month that they had gotten reacquainted, after rescuing her at Mori Kurei's mansion. But he knew females well enough to read the attraction in their eyes. His vision focused on the young man on the bench who had caught his sister's attention. There was something a bit unsettling about him, but he couldn't really tell. What he knew was that he had somehow caused that flicker of admiration in his imouto-san's bluish-violet eyes.

He wasn't her big brother for nothing.

"Oi, Fuuko! Try and catch this one." he called, as he kicked the soccer ball they had brought along to play with.

It was a bit too late when she heard him. The soccer ball whizzed past her head.


Tokiya stretched his arms and flexed his fingers.  He had been nearly motionless for the past hour as he concentrated on the image on his sketchpad. He was usually such when he was buried in one of his favorite activities. He had discovered his talent with the pencil over a year back and had been devoted to it ever since. While he knew he wasn't good enough to rival da Vinci or Michaelangelo, he considered his work decent. It was something to do with his fingers when they weren't holding the ensui.

He raised the sketch to eye level, sorting out the little details. Was the hair of a correct length? Were the eyes too big? Or the mouth too quirked up? He had watched the video so many times that the tape had gone thin from being run on the VCR and still he couldn't get her face right. Maybe if he saw her one more time...


The next thing he knew, the sketchpad had flown from his hand and had less-than-gloriously landed on a puddle beside him. A mud-covered soccer ball nestled beside it.

"Oh damn..."

"Gomen nasai! Gomen nasai!"

He looked up.

She proceeded to mutter a string of apologies to him. None of which came out comprehendable.

In the background, Raiha was smiling to himself. If he could, he'd have given himself a pat on the back. Good aim, Master Bruce...Alfred would've said.

He couldn't make out a word she said through her tied tongue. But a small smile began to form on Tokiya's lips as he bent to pick up his ruined property. It seemed like his lucky day.

"Anou...I'm sorry about what happened." Fuuko spoke at last after groping for words. She immediately pulled out a handkerchief and tried to wipe the mud off the sketchpad, unknowing that beneath the layer of wet dirt was a portrait of her own face.

"It's nothing really." Tokiya said. He held her hand to stop her.

His touch sent an unusual current up her arm.

And a warm rush up her cheeks.

Taken aback by this totally unfamiliar reaction, Fuuko quickly pulled her hand away. "I'm sorry about your pad...mister..."

"Tokiya." he said, surprising himself. "Call me Tokiya."

"Tokiya-san. My oniisan and I were playing soccer and I missed catching the ball." she reasoned. "I'll replace your sketchpad...though I can't say the same for whatever you're drawing."

He replied with a sideway smile that sent a dozen onlookers swooning. He ripped the page with her face on it and tore it to shreds. "No harm done." he said nonchalantly. "It wasn't of consequence. I can always draw another one."

And with a better model in front of me too, he added in his mind.

For a number of seconds they found no words to say to each other. Fuuko looked up at him, irritated at herself for not being able to control the red flush on her cheeks nor the fact that she enjoyed looking at his face.

He can't possibly be my angel...she thought. My angel had long silvery hair and blue eyes. He has short hair and his eyes are brown.

Tokiya wondered if she saw through his brown contact lenses and the hair he had tucked inside his cap.

So what if they don't look exactly alike? He was beautiful nonetheless. Bishounen to the very letter. And he took her breath away.

Duh...was that me talking?

The thought brought another rise of color on Fuuko's face. In an effort to regain her composure, she dug into the pocket of her shorts and pulled out a number of bills.

"Would this be enough to cover for the damages?" she said, handing them to Tokiya.

He shook his head. "I have a better idea."

"Go, Fuuko." Raiha laughed as he watched from afar. He smiled satisfactorily at the product of his interference. Perhaps he should try playing Cupid more often?

Fuuko had never felt more awkward in her entire life than at that particular moment, as she sat casually upon a huge rock, her head tilted slightly and her chin resting on her ball of her hand. It was more the circumstance than the posture that actually bothered her. Her position was comfortable. Her insides were not. Her stomach was in knots and her heart was beating in a tribal dance, erratically so. Its rhythm going into overdrive particularly when he looked up from his sketch pad and met her eyes with his own brown ones.

She thought herself silly for feeling this way. She's never had before. Probably because no one has ever asked to draw her before. Ever. It was usually Yanagi who got the request. It was also the first time any member of the male species ever gave her attention for anything other than a fight. Then again there was Domon. But that was Domon, a friend before anything else. Besides, this one seemed different. For one thing, he was major bishounen. And as far as she can recall, no bishounen ever took even the slightest interest in her. Not even for a challenge.

He intrigued her. There was an icy exterior about him, yet there seems to be some warmth hidden underneath, waiting to be chipped off. To be freed from the chasm of coldness he seemed to be in.

Man that sounded deep. So unlike her. She wondered if she got it from hanging around her brother too much. Ever since he made that impromptu appearance in Kurei's mansion a month back, the two of them were inseperable. She had longed for her older sibling and had not let him out of her sight since then. Domon & Recca played less than second fiddle to him. In her eyes, nobody measured to her oniisan.

The subject of her recent thoughts was far and way making himself scarce and somehow she thought he was behind the current scenario. Her sight had wandered off occasionally to find him making do with Ganko's limited skills with the soccer ball. And if she was not mistaken, he had once or twice tried to drive Domon at least 10 meters from where she was.

She returned her point of vision to the young man in front of her.

Was it his physical appearance? That he looked uncommonly good-looking that made her want to go on staring to the point of rudeness? Or was it his still solemnity that drew her to him? That made her sit here still as a rock to pose for him as he skillfully put to paper that which was before his eyes?

There was something about him, something odd. Something....familiar...she couldn't point out exactly, but then...

Shi-ne. She met him barely 20 minutes and her mind had gone off tangent. Waaaay off-tangent.

Tokiya smiled behind the fine white sheet of his sketchpad. The subject of his illustration sat unmoving, but she was mentally fidgeting. Kyoza-sensei had taught him well in the art of reading body language, or the lack of it. Can't say he didn't learn well. He could almost read minds, which came in very useful in his line of work. He didn't know what caused her to be uncomfortable. He merely assumed that she'd never done this before.

What manner of man, he thought, would not want to have her figure laid out immortally on canvas? True, she was no classical beauty like his nee-chan or a fair number of women he knew. But neither was the Mona Lisa, and that particular woman drew heads left and right. The girl before him was just that. Attractive she was, in an unconventional way. Her eyes in particular were something to behold. The mixture of mauve and azure hues in their depths had a hint of innocence in them. And when the sun struck them with its colorful rays, humor danced in their pools, with several elements of simplicity, longing and concealed pain.

Pain? Over what, he wondered.

He wasn't immune to her physical assets either as he put bent lines on his drawing. She was gifted with curves, in all the right places, he might add. Beneath the simple white tanktop and oversized shorts he could tell that Kami-sama had blessed this girl with a figure that would send her to cursing for the attention it would draw. Particularly if she would dress less than what would be considered acceptable by the public eye.

"Uhurm." he said a little too loudly to exorcise the unwelcome thoughts that began invading his head. He wasn't a pervert by nature.

So what is it about you that lures me? Attracts me? That makes me want to stop and stare and entertain thoughts so alien to me?


I don't recall feeling this way about anyone...or anything...not as far as I can remember anyway.

It's just so strange...

In the background, a number of wanton sighs could be heard, directed at the ensui master, accompanied by fervent wishes of being in Fuuko's place.

A few moments later found Fuuko looking over the shoulder of one ensui-wielder as he showed to her the product of his fingers and her stiffening posture. She could hardly believe her eyes as she studied the rough sketch. The picture that looked back at her was so alive she could almost touch it. There was an open natural smile painted on her lips and a glint of amusement twinkling in her eyes. It made her look almost...well...what was the right word for it? Beautiful. For a minute or two, the gray image on paper made her feel pretty.

As never before.

Tokiya looked at the language her eyes spoke. He liked what he saw. "Errr...do you like it?" he asked tentatively. He could be wrong reading into it.

The upturning of the curves of her mouth confirmed his thoughts. "It's beautiful." she said, then corrected herself. "The drawing I mean...uhm...the way you drew me was great...I certainly ddin't mean I'm beautiful...or anything."

The tinge of insecurity was unmistakable.

"But you are." his tongue slipped. "I think you are."

His comment sent a whole new flooding of red hue on her face. "That's awfully kind of you." she laughed, trying to wave off her blushing. "I know I'm not. My friend Yanagi...now she's beautiful. I mean, really ladylike and pretty and all that."

The mention of Yanagi's name brought a strong wave of memories rushing down on him. The girl who looked a little too much like his nee-san. Fuuko noted the momentary change of mood in him upon mention of Yanagi's name and felt her heart go flat. He probably knew Yanagi and had mentally compared her to Recca's hime and found her severely lacking.

Drat. Another hormone-driven member of Adam's bloodline. And all the while she thought he was different.

"You shouldn't think so little of yourself." he spoke up suddenly, his distraction gone. "I'm sure there are other men who look at you as such."

"It's nothing" she defended and with a shrug of her shoulders continued. "Not that I mind. I don't. I mean, there are other things in this world to worry about other than getting admiring glances and wolf-whistles and all that. I'm not that superficial."

"I didn't think you are."



It was the beginning of a cordial conversation.

The afternoon wore off, and had the sun not begun casting orange-purple rays on them, they would have not been aware of the time that had lapsed.

"It'll be sunset soon." Fuuko noted as she hopped off the bench. "My oniisan must be waiting. I better go." she turned towards her new acquaintance. "I must be leaving now, Tokiya-san. It'll be nightfall shortly."

He sat up straight from his casual lean. He wrote something on the page where he'd drawn her before tearing it from the sketchpad. "A remembrance." he said as he handed it to her.

Au Revoir, the scribble at the bottom of the page said. Til we meet again. Underneath it was a signature of the artist. Tokiya. He didn't seem to bother with a surname.

Au revoir. it was something to look forward to. It somehow seemed impossible to want for more. But who knows? Maybe someday. One day.

"Domo arigatou." was all she could muster.

Tokiya pulled up to his full height and Fuuko felt slightly dwarfed by his lithe build. He held out a hand to her. "I should be the one thanking. It was an inspirational afternoon. I had a good time. It was nice meeting you..."

"Fuuko." she said, almost forgetting she had not introduced herself. "Kirisawa Fuuko."

"Fuuko-san." the way he said it with a hint of gentleness sent Fuuko's pulse to go off wildly. "Sayo-nara. We'll cross apths again, someday."

"I look forward to it,Tokiya-san." she returned. And with a wave goodbye, she watched him disappear amidst the rays of the setting sun.

She did look forward to it. And little did Fuuko realize it would be sooner than she expected.

"Now where did oniisan go?"

Tokiya was met by a flurry of men, going here and there, moving in several different directions all at the same time when he arrived later at the Uruha mansion. It was bustling with activity, as it had been for the last couple of weeks and he needn't ask why. Not that it was something he approved of. He did not.

An invitation in black and silver, lying carelessly on the coffee table said it all.

Ura Buto Satsujin.

He picked up the card and grimly took in the details of the up and coming festival of unsavory violence. The thinning of his mouth into a line spoke volumes of what he felt about the whole event. He didn't like it. Not at all.

"Into my office."

The cold gaze that formed in his eyes met that of his superior. "Now?"


In the confining four corners of Kurei's elaborate office, the master of the blue flame tapped his leather-clad feet impatiently. The expression on his face was just as. His brows were knitted beneath the cold, hard, faceless mask and the piece did little to hide the obvious irritation upon him.

"You haven't signed up for any of the teams." he stated matter-of-factly.

The ensui master replied with a shrug. "You know my stand, Kurei-san." he stated icily. "I don't like participating in random acts of violence just to please a crowd."

"You are a member of the Jyu shin shuu." the older man reminded him.

"We had an agreement." Tokiya replied. "I joined this organization not purely by heart. The one reason I am part of the Jyu shin shu is to find my sister's killer. With your vast connections with the underworld it would be much easier for me to locate a cold-blooded murderer than to be a free agent. And while I kill under your orders, it does not include one for the thrill it would bring to bloodthirsty barbarians."

Kurei fumed. While Tokiya's words were true, the latter had never taken to defying him before. Not in the last four years he had been with the Uruha did Tokiya ever question or argue with him about their activities. But back then there had not been an Ura Buto Satsoujin. The idea was a a relatively novel one for the ensui master.

"There is much at stake in this 'mindless tournament.'" Kurei mocked, putting emphasis in the last two words. "It's more than money. Much more." He paused, remembering the cruel memories of four hundred years back. "It's about vengeance...and taking back what is mine. Truly mine. Something that had been taken away shall be restored and this tournament will bring it back to me." For a few seconds, the man in the iron mask pondered. A wicked smile found itself on his lips as an idea began to formulate in his twisted head.

"You said....you joined the Jyu shin shuu to find your oneesan's killer...correct?" he began slowly.

The other man didn't like the way the tone of Kurei's voice went. "Yes." he answered firmly.

Kurei took the chair exactly opposite Mikagami's. His eyes directly held that of the ensui wielder's. "The Ura Buto Satsoujin draws more than a handful of evil elements from all places. Money and prestige are...very enticing prizes. Honor is at stake as well." He moved a little back and drew his forefinger down his cheek. "I wonder...what chances would there be...that a festival of gore...could possibly...draw from hiding certain kinds of criminals. You know, mercenaries that get paid for doing things like, say, kill for thrills."

"You're saying..."

"I'm saying a matter-of-fact." the scarred one stood up suddenly, pacing the room like an animal on the prowl. "That a special tournament like the Ura Buto Satsoujin is more than likely to draw a hundred and more different elements of the underground. The more there are...the likelihood of meeting a hired cutthroat would be higher than usual, don't you think?"

"You mean I have a better chance of running into my sister's killer this way?" the silver-haired Uruha stated the obvious.

"Brilliant deduction as always, my dear ensui-wielder." Kurei laughed maniacally, sensing his triumph. He poured a generous amount of wine on two glasses that were a permanent part of his office decoration. "Did you not say that your sister's murderer wanted the ensui?" Tokiya nodded. The flamecaster took a sip of the crimson liquid before continuing. "Then what better way to draw him our of hiding than to display the family heirloom? Like a bait...and when he bites..." he crushed the wineglass in his hand, oblivious to the blood that it drew.

The idea of finally avenging his oneesan set all other contrary thoughts cast aside. Tokiya pondered as he introduced the fine wine on his lips, letting it all sink in.

While the rest of his facial features remained still, the flash of anger that glimmered on his favorite assassin's eyes made Kurei want to gloat. He had pushed all the right buttons. Seemingly. All he needed to hear now was affirmation.

"Alright." Tokiya conceeded. His tone was contradicting nonetheless.

"I knew you'd come to your senses." before Kurei could push the button on his concealed intercom, Tokiya spoke up.

"On one condition."

The other man raised a brow. "And that would be..."

"A mask." the master of the hyomon ken said with finality. "Just like yours. Take it or leave it."

Okay I suppose that the last few paragraphs of this fic were a tad rushed. But I have a bus to catch you see ^.^...and I'd really like to get this up because I'm bound to be terribly busy in the weeks to come. I hope you do put up with this. It's not as long as the previous chapters. I *would* do more next time, as the plot thickens. Again, reviews are much much appreciated. Til the next installment....