Cold rain poured down from the heavens, covering the city in wetness. Most people were smart enough to stay indoors where it was warm and dry, but not others. Delinquents, crime lords and others involved in the 'shady' side of life went about their normal business. In a way, the rain was a comfort for them since water washes away unnecessary things; not just physical evidence of their crimes, but emotional pain as well; pain of feeling and dreams of days prior to ending up a part of the dingy life of the city that so few people knew existed.
Stepping off the sidewalk and into a puddle of water, a young man darted across the street. His shoulder length blond hair was tied back in a ponytail and the only protection he had from the rain was the long, dark jacket that he wore. To his friends and associates, he was known as 'Fay D. Flourite', it was not his real name, but it didn't matter, it wasn't uncommon to go by a fake name in that part of the city.
Fay had lived in the city all his life. An orphan, he was discovered and taken in by a crime lord known as Ashura-ou, one of the more kinder leaders in the area but one who shouldn't be crossed with. Ashura-ou was one of the three leaders that ruled the city, along with Yuuko of the Ichihara Family and Taishakuten of the Empire Group. Fay had been lucky to have ended up with Ashura-ou, where he had been raised like a son alongside Ashura-ou's own child.
"There you are!" a voice cried out and Fay turned his head to look at the limo that was parked next to the curb. He had seen the limo earlier but had paid no attention to it. Now though, stepping out of the back of the vehicle was a person with long black hair that was tied up in a high ponytail and golden eyes. "We've been looking for you!"
Behind Ashura, quickly to place an umbrella over his head was Yasha, Ashura's lover. Yasha had originally been hired as a bodyguard when Taishakuten had threatened to kidnap Ashura to gain control of his father's organization and the two had quickly fallen in love.
"What's wrong?" Fay asked; Ashura didn't normally venture far into the slummier side of the city, preferring instead to stay among normal people. Ashura's days were filled with shopping and spending time with Yasha. Although Ashura was technically one of the best fighters that Ashura-ou had, he rarely became involved in such matters.
"You!" Ashura protested. "You're out in this miserable weather! Come home! Whatever Father is making you do, you can do it later!"
"Ashura..." Yasha said, wanting Ashura to calm down; he knew that making a scene was not the best thing to do, especially not where they were.
"What?" Ashura replied as he turned to look at his lover. He cared about Fay, whom he considered to be his brother, and didn't want to see him out doing jobs that could get him hurt or worst, killed.
Fay was touched. Although he was treated like one of the family, he often felt like an outsider, even after so many years. He supposed it was because he remembered his old family, his parents and grandfather who had tossed him and his twin brother out into the cold. Only Ashura-ou knew about his twin, knew that 'Fay' had been his name and that was the reason why Fay now went by the same name.
Fay thought about Ashura's proposal. He hadn't been to the main house in a while, even though Ashura-ou said he could drop by anytime he wanted. He had his own apartment that he preferred to stay at for most of the time, but perhaps it would be nice to visit the place where he had grown up.
"Okay," Fay said with a gentle smile. It was hard refusing requests from Ashura.
"Yay!" Ashura cried, eagerly clapping his hands together. The three of them climbed into the back of the limo and Ashura handed Fay a towel before pulling out his cell phone. "I'll call ahead to make sure the chefs create us something good to eat."
Fay couldn't help but laugh at that. As a child, Ashura had been known to pig when it came to food. It was actually pretty amazing how skinny he turned out, especially considering that he still liked to eat a lot.
Fay's smiled faded as he began staring out the window. He could sense that there was something missing from his life, but he couldn't figure out what. It was one of the reasons why he preferred spending his time alone, it allowed him time to think but so far he could come up with no answers.
Fay left early in the morning. The rain hadn't stopped and created a grey, hazy atmosphere because of it. It crossed Fay's mind to stay longer, but he still had work to do. He didn't want to slack off and be a burden to Ashura-ou.
He didn't bother saying 'good-bye' since he didn't want to be a nuisance to Ashura and Yasha who would still be sleeping, and Ashura-ou hadn't been there last night as he had been at one of the penthouse apartments that he owned. Fay was slightly grateful for that since whenever they met, Ashura-ou would insist that Fay return to the main house and live there, but Fay wasn't ready for that.
Although he intended to get straight to work, Fay found himself drawn towards a nearby park. A river ran through the park and when he was young, he and Ashura would play together there, exploring. As he reached the river, Fay saw that the rain had made the normally calm water become dangerous.
He remembered that the water had been like that the first time he had seen it when he had ran away only a few days after Ashura-ou had taken him in. He had accidently broken a vase while trying to reach for a book on a high shelf and had feared what would happen; back then he had stared down at the water and thought about jumping in so that he could be reunited with his brother. Ashura-ou had found for him before he was able to go through with it and while Ashura-ou had been mad, it was not because of the vase, he had been mad because Fay had ran away and was thinking of ending his life. On that day, Fay had promised that he would never do something so foolishly again.
Cigarette smoke brought Fay back to the present; he didn't think that someone would be at the park so early in the morning with such drab weather. Turning his head, his eyes widen in surprise when he saw the man standing a few feet away from him, wearing a suit under a trench coat and smoking a cigarette. Fay instantly recognized him as Seishirou, the number one assassin working for the Ichihara Family.
Fay silently swore as he jumped to the side, his foot slipping slightly on the wet grass. He was caught without a weapon and although it seemed like Seishirou was unharmed as well, Fay knew that wasn't case. He knew that Seishirou had powerful special abilities and could easily kill a person with his bare hands.
As the first blast of powerful spells came at him, Fay raised his arms in front of his face to protect it. Taking the blow was a risky move but Fay already knew that the wet ground would make dodging difficult and possibly more deadly.
Spying a cement walkway behind Seishirou, Fay realized that getting there would be his best chance since the ground would be firmer, making it easier for an escape. He hated the idea of running away, but knew that he had little options after getting caught off-guard.
Dropping to a crouch, Fay waited until Seishirou fired off another attack at him before springing into the air. Unfortunately Seishirou had anticipated the move and Fay found a branch of a cherry blossom tree wrapping around his leg.
Fay struggled against the branch, trying to pull his leg free but it was useless. The branch began multiplying and wrapping itself higher and tighter around his body making an escape impossible. Fay wondered what to do, he had magic of his own, which was probably on par with Seishirou's, but he had vowed long ago never to use it, even if it meant his own death.
'I'll see you soon, Fay,' he thought to himself, thinking about his brother. He didn't want to die, but it seemed fate had different plans for him. At least he'd finally be reunited with his brother, he never felt complete without him.
Then, out of the corner of his eye, Fay saw a sword slash down, cutting the branches. As he fell to the ground, fire engulfed the rest of the branches, burning them to a crisp.
Looking up, Fay found Ashura standing between him and Seishirou. Although Ashura held his sword in a stance that showed he was ready to fight, Fay could tell he must have hurried out of the house quickly since he was barefooted and Yasha was not with him.
"I was worried when I woke up and saw you weren't there," Ashura explained, keeping his eyes locked on Seishirou. There were few people in the world that could take Seishirou on one-on-one and Ashura was one of them. For the time being though, Seishirou was content to stand back and silently watch them with amusement.
"Thanks," Fay mumbled as he got to his feet. He felt slightly embarrassed that he needed rescuing. He knew better than to walk around without a weapon, even in an area controlled by Ashura-ou. He was slipping.
Suddenly, Fay felt a sharp pain across his back. Turning as he fell to the ground once more, Fay saw a pretty woman wearing a suit. It was Kendappa, Taishakuten's right hand and someone who should never be taken lightly.
"Being strong, means always knowing your surroundings," she calmly said as she stared down at his look of horror. Kendappa followed Taishakuten because she believed that he was the strongest of the three leaders. Strength was everything according to her.
"Taishakuten and Yuuko have teamed up?" he managed to ask as he coughed up blood.
"We will never work with them," she replied. "I happened to be passing through and decided to join in on the fun."
She kicked him in the ribs, causing Fay to cry out in pain. As he rolled away, he accidently rolled toward the raging river and before Fay knew what was happening, he felt himself falling into the river, where water quickly swept over his head as it carried his body away.
"Fay!" Ashura cried, wanting to go after him but knowing that it was impossible with so many enemies around.
Taking in the situation, Seishirou decided it would be best to leave without further fighting. Where Kendappa went, Souma went as well and he knew that if Ashura was there, Yasha also wouldn't be too far away. Therefore it was best to leave for the time being.
As he left, he could hear Ashura and Kendappa fighting behind him, things would be interesting if they managed to kill each other but he doubted that the Ichihara Family would be that lucky.
'Rain again...' Kurogane sourly thought as he walked down the hall of the high school where he worked as a gym teacher.
Kurogane didn't like rain. When it rained, class had to be held indoors instead of out in the back field. Of the two locations, Kurogane definitely preferred the latter; he liked being outside, plus it forced lazier students to get some fresh air for a change. Being stuck indoors all day had a tendency to be boring.
Kurogane tried not to think about it as he entered his homeroom class, where he immediately glared at the class, but no one was being disruptive. He actually liked his students, liked teaching, but he was a tough teacher. No one would get away easy with him, he would make sure that they learned, whether they wanted too or not.
Looking around the room, Kurogane saw that everyone was there. The anti-social, Shirou Kamui, was staring out the window like always. Kurogane always wondered what was so interesting out there. All that was there was the river that ran along the edge of the school's campus.
Next to Kamui was his step-sister, Monou Kotori, and one of the few people he actually talked too. Kamui's and Kotori's mothers had been lovers when they were young but forced apart by their parents, only to meet up again much later in life; nowadays they, Kamui, Kotori and Kotori's older brother, Fuuma, lived together and Kurogane supposed that they were all happy together.
Behind Kotori was Daidouji Tomoyo, who was lovingly staring at the girl next to her. It was a secret to no one, except one person, who the pretty, rich girl had a crush on. The girl she was staring at was Kinomoto Sakura, who in turn was staring at her boyfriend, Syaoran. They were cute together, despite Sakura's brother's efforts to keep them separated.
The new, clueless transfer student, Kobato, was sitting at the back to the class, talking quietly to her blue dog plushie. She was an odd but sweet child who was always quick to help others, so Kurogane normally left her alone during homeroom.
Towards the front of class was a group of three friends; Watanuki Kimihiro, Doumeki Shizuka and Kunogi Himawari. The three were always together at school, although Watanuki would often scowl and glare at Doumeki who would ignore him. Kurogane didn't know all the details but Doumeki and Himawari often had to help Watanuki with his after school job.
As the classroom quieted down, Kurogane was about to start homeroom when a voice spoke out.
"There's a body in the river."
At first Kurogane didn't know who had spoken until he realized that it had been Kamui. Since Kamui wasn't one to normally make up stories, he marched over to the window that Kamui had been looking out of while the other students attempted to crowd around, wanting to see as well. Sure enough there was a blond head bobbling in the water.
"Stay here and someone call for help!" he ordered as he hurried out of the room. He knew they all had cell phones and could trust that they would do as told.
As fast as he could, Kurogane hurried down the hall and out into the rain. The river was moving fast, but fortunately the person had got caught on a branch of a tree that was hanging just above the water. Diving onto his stomach, Kurogane reached out as far as he could, praying that the river bank held up so that he also didn't end up in the water.
Grasping the wet clothes, Kurogane dragged the person out of the water and onto the shore, making note of the blood and deep slash that was across the man's back. He ignored the wound though and began CPR. In the distance, he could hear the sires of the ambulance that was on its way.
In the back of his mind, Kurogane couldn't help but think that he had been foolish to think that it would be a boring day.
"Did you find him?" Ashura eagerly asked Yasha. It had been hours since Fay had fallen in the river. Ashura was now back at home, wrapped in a warm blanket, waiting for news on Fay.
That morning Yasha had arrived at the scene while Ashura had been battling Kendappa and Souma, who had shown up after Ashura had gotten the upper-hand on Kendappa. The girls had retreated when they saw Yasha and Ashura had immediately started the desperate search to find Fay. After hours of searching in the rain, Ashura had been ordered home by his father, but Yasha had promised to keep looking.
"No," Yasha replied as he walked over and hugged Ashura; he was soaking wet but neither of them cared. Gently he lifted Ashura's right arm and placed a kiss to the area that was wrapped in a bandage. Souma had gotten in a lucky strike when Kendappa had him distracted but the injury wasn't bad. "It doesn't matter though, as long as you're okay."
Ashura sighed, knowing he should scold Yasha for such talk, but he didn't. He knew how much he meant to Yasha as he felt the same way. Yasha was his world and he would sacrifice anything for him and knew that Yasha would do the same for him. That was why he didn't scold Yasha even though the person he considered a brother was still missing.
Wanting to let Yasha know he was okay, Ashura wrapped his arms around the taller man's neck and pressed their lips together for an intense kiss. After a minute, they broke apart and Ashura rested his head against Yasha's chest. "I just want to find him; it's my fault for not paying attention."
"No, it's not."
"It certainly feels like it does."
"Your father has already given the order to find Kujaku," Yasha softly said as he continued to hug Ashura. Kujaku was an information operative who worked for the Ashura Clan. He was one of the best in the business and there wasn't a thing that went on that Kujaku didn't know about or couldn't find out; if anyone could find out what happened to Fay, it was him. The disadvantage with Kujaku, however was that he was often busy and could go missing for long periods of time. Fortunately Kujaku and Ashura adored each other and when he learned that Ashura-ou's child was anguishing over what happened to Fay, he'd quickly show up.
"Good," Ashura replied as he closed his eyes. He was tired, but refused to stop until Fay was found. "I still want to go back out and search though."
"We should wait and have confidence that he'll soon be found," Yasha argued. Enemies could still be in the area and he didn't want Ashura to become the next tragedy of the day. "Kazuhiko and Gingetsu are out looking."
Ashura opened his eyes and narrowed them as he looked up at Yasha with a frown on his face. "Kazuhiko's search does involve more than his girlfriend's apartment, right?" It was no secret that Kazuhiko was crazy about a singer named, Oruha.
"That's why Gingetsu is with him."
Pausing his typing, Ran lifted the glasses off his head and looked at Souma as she entered the room. Inside the glasses, images from all around the city continued to wiz by. Housebound for years, it was a part of Ran's connection to the outside world and it also gave him access to be in charge of information for the Empire Group.
"What is it?"
"We got a call from Sorata and Arashi that a person was pulled out of the river while they were at school today," Souma said to him. "That's not far from where we had the fight with the Ashura Clan this morning. Taishakuten wants you to look into it."
"Understood," Ran replied as he replaced the glasses over his eyes. He didn't particularly like working for Taishakuten, but he had nowhere else to go.
"Hey!" Kamui yelled as he hurried down the street after Fuuma. School was over for the day and Fuuma was heading towards his mysterious part-time job. Kamui was desperate to learn about the job so he could work there as well. Although he was unwilling to admit it, he 'liked' Fuuma even though they had been living as step-brothers for the past three months.
"You should have gone home," Fuuma said while smiling at Kamui. Kamui couldn't help but think about nice Fuuma was. Popular and nice were two of the best words to describe Fuuma. Everyone at school liked him, which only made Kamui jealous.
"I want to work," Kamui insisted. Fuuma's job was keeping him away from home more and more and Kamui feared that they would grow apart. Working together meant they had to spend time together.
"Sorry, but there are no openings," Fuuma replied while shaking his head.
"What do you do anyway?"
"Just a simple delivery boy."
Somehow, Kamui knew that he was lying, but he let the matter drop. "Alright, but let me know if something opens up. I don't mind being a delivery boy either."
"I'll let you know," Fuuma said and he watched Kamui run off. When Kamui was out of sight, he turned towards the alleyway that he had been standing in front of. "You can come out now."
From out of the shadows walked Seishirou, smoking a cigarette and looking amused because of the scene he had just witnessed.
"Was that your boyfriend?"
"No, but he certainly is cute enough," Fuuma cheerfully replied, before growing serious. "I heard about an interesting incident that happened at school today."
"It seems like a person was pulled out of the river this morning."
"That is interesting," Seishirou said. "Was he alive?"
"I don't know," Fuuma replied. "Was it you?"
"We can't rule out the fact that the Empire Group might have students at the school. We have to consider the fact that everyone might be looking for him."
"Find him and I'll take care of it; our game was interrupted this morning."
"I'm on my way to the Green Café right now to see if Kakei has heard anything. I'll get back to you in a little bit."
On the roof of a tall building stood Sumeragi Subaru who, with a serious expression on his face, was staring down at the busy streets below. Next to him was his twin sister, Hokuto, who was looking slightly bored.
"Are you sure he's here?"
"You need to cheer up," Hokuto said as she hugged her brother. "Stop acting like you're half-dead all the time."
"I'll be okay," he replied, wanting to reassure her. He didn't want her to worry or make her sad. She always did so much to take care of him and was one of the most important things in his life. He didn't know what he would do if anything happened to her. "It'll be all over soon."
In the sky above them, the rain finally halted. As the clouds slowly parted, sunlight began streaming through to dry up the land.