As the sun gave was to the blackness of the evening Moriya found herself stir; unaware of how long she had slept.
Unease gathered in the pit of her stomach as she scrambled to stand; her hand stretching out to grab the small watch residing on the vacant computer stand.
The only light granted flashing from the device; a dim green reading zero-one twenty-three.
"Damn it" she cursed; slapping it's strap around her wrist before wiping the loose strands of bangs tousled in her vision.
The Sergeant had not intended to rest for so long; feeling a pang of frustration that no one had come to wake her.
Akane exited the office to relocate into the open lounge area; surprised to find the lot of her comrades surrounding Yonetani; peering over her shoulder down at a dormant Risa.
Moriya felt her heart jerk against her chest as a deluge of variations racked the inners of her skull.
Frozen; she willed her boots to move and join the circle; fearing the worst had occurred during her absence.
The soldiers noting their leaders arrival parted slightly; allowing the girl access to observe what drew their attention.
Much to her relief; the enforcers chest was still rising and falling; though shallow; she was certain the worst had passed.
It was brief and barely noticeable; but a small smile could be seen tugging at the corners of Akane's lips.
The delight was short lived however as she took note of Yone injecting a dosage of liquid into the drip tube that still remained connected to Risa's inner forearm.
"What is that?" she asked; her tone filling with unrest.
"A class of Cephalosporins" Yone declared; her attention not averting from her task.
"A bacterial antibiotic-" she pondered a moment before realization kicked in; her eyes narrowing "that's not a standard drug issued in your aid kit...where the hell did you get this Yone?" she demanded; reaching out to pick up the small glass vial to study it's label.
"I made a quick trip to the hospital."
Moriya slammed the bottle down; hard enough to almost cause it to shatter.
The aggressive reaction was not enough to cause the medic's calm demeanour to waver but it was enough to cause an vulgar utterance of exasperation.
"Would you mind not trying to smash that open; do you have any idea how difficult it was for me to get my hands on it-"
"Do you have any idea what you've done?" The Sergeant challenged; voice raising as fury took it's grasp.
"I'm a medic of course I do; she was on the brink of succumbing from infection-"
"You've risked giving away our position-"
Yone having had enough of Moriya's bickering stood from her seat to stare into her leaders flaring orbs.
"And your friend was playing tag with the Reaper" she snapped.
The statement had been enough to rein in Akane's temper; bringing her back to the reality of their situation.
"You're right Sergeant; it was a risk; a stupid one" she emphasized. "Yet a necessary one for her sake. I was careful to remain undetected to the best of my abilities because no one else here dared defy your orders."
Moriya groaned; hands raising to her face to push back her hair as she observed Risa; a look of discomfort on her sleeping features.
As much as she did not want to acknowledge it; Yone was right. Risa was a companion they could not risk losing.
The agreement was short lived however as a knock rapped against the front entrance of the bar. Proving veracity to Akane's concerns.
The Sergeant motioned for her comrades to take arms and cover; readying to defend their refuge if their position had infact been given away to their opponents.
Reluctantly; Moriya made her way to the door; a pistol fastened in her hand.
If this was to be an ambush; their only way out was through that exit.
Rolling her tongue against her cheek; Akane steadily opened the entry a crack ; gun lifting to take aim between the intruder's wide eyes.
Surprise and torment mixed on her features; both fighting for dominance unsure of what emotion should prevail.
That familiar sense of warmth threatened to knock down her convictions once more; a crestfallen demeanour subsiding as longing clouded her judgement.
It took a moment to analyze and take in just how weary her Sergeant had become.
Without her thick tactical equipment to shield her body; every flaw now became apparent.
Moriya's once proud stance was slightly hunched at the shoulders; her knees appearing unstable.
Under her once unblemished eyes dark circles had developed; no doubt do to the constant stress of her own agenda.
Yet even so; Yuuka was still able to look beyond Akane's war torn body and see the beauty she always was.
The sudden demand caused Sugai to flinch as if she had been struck by a blow.
All she could do was shake her head as she fought back the flow of tears that threatened to fall.
Frustrated; Moriya raised the pistol once more to position between the Captain's eyes.
"You need to go...you have to let us go...why do you have to fight me on this god damn it!"
Akane was beginning to brawl an inner war against her emotions.
Yuuka was aware of this and dared to take her chance to break through the barrier her partner had worked so hard to build.
Gently; the militant reached up to take the muzzle into her grasp; slowly drawing it downward away from her face so she could lock orbs with companion.
"The hammer has to be pulled back..." she breathed; voice slightly quivering.
Moriya shook her head; dropping her gaze to the floor before taking hold of Yuuka's sleeve and reluctantly pulling her into the lounge before slamming and locking the door.
The Sergeant disregarded the bewildered stares of her platoon as she plowed between the four walls and into the lone room of the office.
Without much deliberation; she yanked Sugai in hard enough to cause her to stumble before ensuring the entrance was shut and they were alone.
"Yuuka-" her voice trembled; struggling to lift her eyes from the tiles lining the ground.
It did not take Sugai long to close the space between them; her arms extending outward to enclose around the feeble looking girl; pulling her tight into her chest.
It was in this instant; in the arms of her trusted Captain that the Sergeant allowed herself to shatter.
After a time her sobs turned into soft whimpers; the shaking of her form slowing until she regained control of her sentiment.
It was a rare instance that Akane ever expressed any indication of grief. Even after leading her unit into a merciless bloodbath her exterior had remained as rigid as stone.
It was all that she held on the inside; suppressing her emotions that had always troubled Yuuka.
"I'm sorry-" Moriya breathed. "I never wanted to hurt you...From the vey beginning of all this I believed I had been sparing you the burden of the truth-"
The Captain chewed her bottom lip; her chin resting on top of the girls head pressing into soft dark locks.
It was there in those precious moments that suddenly came a comfort she had desperately missed.
Akane buried her face closer to the girls neck; willing their bodies to meld together somehow in a futile attempt to feel whole again.
"What truth Nen..." she asked; slowly pulling from her position to lock orbs with the girl.
Oh how she wished the weight of reality could stray a little longer.
"AKB; the General Captain had made a ploy; not to aid our boarders...Yoshi had been produced to wipe out Keyakizaka..."
Sugai's brow furrowed; almost reluctant to believe what she was being told.
"I had discovered the truth early on...Nogi was in on it as well which explains why we set our sights on taking out both units before they gained the upper hand." Moriya paused to examine the Captain's face; hoping there may be if even a little trust left for the words she spoke.
"The eight of us here all agreed to shoulder the burden hoping our efforts would draw Yui's attention from the rest of you but-" her words trailed off a moment as the realization hit her with the weight of an unstoppable force.
"I'm afraid I may have gone about this whole ordeal the wrong way...Because of my misjudgement I've now created a division where there should have been none at all...We had failed from the start...Risa has been fighting for her life, Yone under the stress of trying to save her...Tearing Habu away from Koike and then there's you-" she allowed her eyes to fasten with those of her concerned Captain to find that even after admitting to her errors; all that met her was adoration.
"You should have told me...You could have trusted me; trusted us."
"I've made a terrible mistake..."
Sugai now found herself at the crossroads of a difficult decision. One where she was now to make a choice that would certainly define the very future of Sakamichi.
"At the summit I pleaded for you to receive a fair trial for your crimes if you came quietly and surrendered your title..."
Moriya simply shook her head; biting at her inner cheek knowingly, "so she would have you believe..."
"What would you have me do?" Yuuka's voice flooded with desperation, unsure of what options she had given the circumstances.
If she took Akane's side they risked losing all their lives.
If she surrendered her perhaps there was still a chance...
The Sergeant sat quietly a few minutes; already aware the answer and also holding onto the hope that perhaps there would be some sort of solution for the Captain and her unit if she renounced her rank and submitted to her transgressions.
"In a perfect life-"
Carefully; Moriya reached out to delicately touch the girls cheek; slowly leaning in to brush her lips with the militant infront of her.
Sugai did not protest and instead; hesitant at first; returned the desire just as gently. Allowing Akane to determine just how far she was willing to go.
As they broke apart; Yuuka felt a tear trickle down her cheek as she pressed her forehead to the Sergeants.
In a perfect life; they were not soldiers with the responsibility of others depending on them to lead.
Though the juncture they had shared had been profound; Moriya could not dodge a question that had been burning at her thoughts since Yuuka had first arrived.
"How did you find us?"
The Captain rolled her eyes, "same old Nen...I had sent Neru out on an operation to scout the surrounding perimeters. By the sound of her reports though it almost seemed to be an impossible assignment..."
Akane shifted her weight as she almost gained a sense on where the tale would conclude.
"But Yone-" she spoke under her breath.
Yuuka nodded, "on her patrol past the hospital; Neru had come across a visual on Yone and tracked her back here. We were quite surprised to say the least that you all were still residing in Tokyo."
"I'm surprised we still are as well...but Risa hasn't been in any condition to be relocated yet...Also; we feared straying too far incase we lost intel on Yui's forces-"
The two militants went silent for a time; relishing in one anothers company they had yearned for.
The duration they shared together however did not last; much to their displeasure.
Interrupted by a drumming on the establishments main door as voices began to converse; muffled by the locked entry they had been concealed behind.
The two girls stood; knowing they could not shun their duties any longer.
After sharing one last look; they filed out of the small room to join the others; greeted by apprehension along with two very fatigued looking scouts.
"Suzumon, Oda; what happened to the report?" she demanded, wondering why they were so late on returning.
Oda; nearly keeling over as she gasped to regain her breath; wiped at the perspiration stinging her eyes, "we did. We got through to Habu but then we were ambushed-" she felt her gut begin to tie in knots as she fought down bile.
Suzumon was leaning forward; resting her hands on her knees allowing the girl to brief their leader.
Moriya shot a look of disbelief in Habu's direction.
"What the hell Mizuho?" her voice beginning to rise.
Habu felt herself withdraw sightly; realizing she had made a grave blunder.
"After the words mission accomplished I had assumed you both were already well on your way back. I thought nothing of it and then with attempting to deter Yone from leaving our refuge to make the trip to the hospital-" she trailed off; admitting to herself that there were no excuses adequate enough to pardon her fault.
Akane shook her head deciding that there would be time for discipline later. For now though she would focus on the condition of her returned scouts.
As Oda had gained enough oxygen to once again stand up right she immediately took notice of Sugai stationed at Moriya's shoulder.
The soldier grit her teeth; snarling in frustration.
"Do not tell me we risked our lives for nothing-"
Suzumon shifted her vision between her leader and Yuuka before laughing to herself; shaking her head and deciding it best to walk away before she lost control.
"So this betrayal was all for nothing-" Oda challenged; her temper becoming more evident. "I'm starting to debate if you truly can make the hard decisions after all Sergeant" she mocked.
Akane could feel the tension rising between the two as Oda began to question her authority.
Perhaps she needed to remind the scout exactly why it was her in charge.
The stressful aura snapped like a brittle twig as the front door; without warning; burst from it's hinges spattering a shower of splinters through the air.
The sudden barrage of militants that flooded the lounge at an alarming rate rendered the rebels defenceless.
Sugai recognized the voice that entered the establishment; watching as it's owner stalked past the soldiers who held all of them at gun point.
"Well done Captain; you found her quicker than we anticipated."
Yui studied Moriya up and down; her stride as she circled the two leaders taunting a reaction.
"What's the meaning of this General? I was given twenty-four hours-"
Yui smirked, "oh Sugai; still so naive as per usual. It's truly a remarkable feat you were ever awarded the responsibility of Captain."
"Did you follow me?" she questioned.
"Of course not. You had others to report to first but with luck on my side I ended up spotting two rats inside my wire. They were easy to tail back here...though it took a little longer than I had expected."
Miyu and Oda snarled as the General ridiculed them; the latter opening her mouth to retort but cut off by the stock end of a rifle to the side of her face. The impact hard enough to break skin and cause her to spit out a bitter mouth full of blood.
Suzumon twitched to defend her comrade but steadied herself as a red dot settled itself just above her chest cavity.
"Don't try anything stupid; girl."
Yokoyama snapped her fingers; giving the order to subdue their victims.
All rebels aside from Yuuka were bullied to the knees. Yone yanked from Risa's side who was still in a deep unconscious state; unaware of her surroundings.
"Watanabe Risa-" Yui could recognize the enforcer; observing her poor condition.
Turning her attention from the weakened soldier she nodded to Okabe who currently had Moriya detained; ordering her to use the shackles hooked to her belt.
"Moriya Akane; you are under arrest for your treacherous misdeeds against the 46 groups. Your punishment for the blatant murder of disarmed troops within Sakamichi is death by firing squad."
Sugai lurched forward to halt the proceeding; this had not been part of their agreement.
"What is this General? You are sentencing her before a trial like we had discussed!"
The Captain already knew the answer to her own question and shot Akane an apologetic look of distress.
Of course her Sergeant had known all along. How could she have been so blind...this is exactly what Yui had wanted.
As the steel cuffs were bound around Moriya's wrists Yuuka let out a plaintiff cry and began to bargain.
"Take me instead; damn it; arrest me General; I am the one responsible for all of this, she was under my jurisdiction!" she desperately plead. "As the Captain of Keyakizaka it was my job to control these soldiers; so if you are to detain anyone let it be me."
Sugai glowered as forceful hands bullied against her shoulders to subdue her; her eyes refusing to break from the commander; challenging her dominance.
The more Yuuka implored for an exchange the more Yui began to believe it could lead to a better outcome in AKB's favour.
The militant snapped forward; awaiting orders.
"Restrain Captain Sugai; as for the others-" she motioned to the Sergeants detained followers, "arrest them all as well...I want the barracks of Keyakizaka stripped and the unit residing there detained and brought to Akihabara. Seeing as how Yuuka here claimed responsibility for this mess it means every member under her command is guilty" she smirked, "I have big plans for these traitors."
Sugai felt her heart begin to pound against her sternum as anguish began to envelope her.
With one last act of defiance; the Captain dodged her oncoming shackles; stretching out to take hold of Moriya's arm and pulling until their bodies crashed together.
Stiff arms snaked around Akane's drained figure and held tight; fearing if she let go this may have very well been their last moment together.
"Are you willing yourself to die Captain?" Akane asked; burying her face in close to the girls neck.
"I won't allow Sakamichi to witness weakness within their leaders. We will hang on to hope; find them...find Techi" she whispered; non audible to anyone else in the room.
"We will be together again Nen; I promise you."
Moriya fought against all the rage that built. "I am with you; always..."
No matter how much she yearned to say that four letter word and how much her Captain wished to receive it; they both knew a word like that had no place in a world where bloodshed was as common as the setting sun.
The two were soon ripped apart; muzzles fixed on their temples daring them to try a stunt like that again.
Okabe made a gesture towards the unresponsive Risa who remained motionless aside from her shallow breathing.
"What of Watanabe?"
Yui glanced at the injured militant having had experience with others who had succumbed in similar states.
"Leave her. She won't make it and I don't have the patience to wait for a full recovery. Shame though; I could have used such a decorated enforcer."
Yone went to protest; having spent so much effort in stabilizing her comrade and not willing to allow her to die.
Nanako along with Rika and Habu also chimed in; begging for the merciless commander to not abandon their friend.
The medic's pleas fell on deaf ears however; causing Yui to lose her patience with all the noise.
"Enough of this. Take them away."
As the rebels were shackled and lead outside; they were instructed to load into the back of an old artillery truck; sitting on benches that faced one another. It was inside that their ankles were chained to the boards of it's bed.
Akane; instead of following them was lead to a separate vehicle that would be heading in a different direction entirely.
Once the convoy was on the move; Yokoyama sent an order for AKB's unit K to infiltrate Keya's headquarters and place the remaining militants under arrest.
They were to be brought back to Akihabara to rendezvous with the others.
In the wake of the distance they traveled apprehension seeped from Moriya's very core; oozing like a stubborn wound that refused to heal. Throughout her life fear had never been a burden; that was of course until she had truly been forced away from her dearest comrade. A choice she had no part of.
However; this decision had been made by her Captain; a bargain that she may live another day in hopes she could find their missing friends.
All she had ever wanted was for Keya to become a strong and reliable unit that Sakamichi could depend on. Yet suddenly; without the possibility of ever seeing Yuuka again none of that seemed to matter as much as it once had.
In the early hours of that morning; cloaked by the shadows of the lingering darkness; a lone figure had witnessed the ambush that would unravel down the forgotten alleyway.
Laying stealth on top of an old building; Neru obeyed her Captain's previous orders to not intervene if their plan had not gone accordingly.
Watching helplessly as the rebels; now prisoners were forced to load the truck one by one. Aware that the place she called home; her remaining comrades and Fuuchan would be next.
After the scout was sure the location had been vacated and that she was now completely alone; the soldier climbed down from her perch; remaining aware of her surroundings as she made her way into the lounge; certain she had only counted nine captives.
Much to her dismay; she had been correct that one had indeed been left behind the die.
"Risa..." her orbs filled with grief as she hurried to the enforcers side. Dropping to her knees to observe her condition.
"That merciless-" she cut her sentence short; knowing now was not the appropriate time to lose control of her composure. Instead pushing herself to recall the sole task Sugai had entrusted her with.
Neru retreated from the building for a short span of time; making haste as she disappeared down the abandoned streets.
It had taken her the better part of an hour to return to the establishment; though this time; in her wake trailed two other able bodies. One with a smaller stature; the other taller.
As they slinked into the lounge undetected; Neru motioned toward the unresponsive enforcer.
"Watanabe Risa-" the taller spoke; approaching the bench where she lay.
The scout nodded, "Yokoyama I presume left her to expire...I need you both to help me in getting her back to the settlement."
The two cadets nodded in union before moving to hoist the girl up together; one at her legs; the other under her shoulders to share the weight.
Neru took the small vile from the table; reading it's label of Cephalosporins and pocketing it before turning to exit with the girls.
"Kyoko, Kumi" she addressed; causing the two to focus on her.
"Our failure is not an option at this point."
Dipping their heads in understanding; they followed Neru out the front door and vanished once more into the last remaining darkness of the early morning.