Piper Carr stared out the window of the moving train. Her eyes where fixed on the desert scenery moving past her. The compartment door opened and she turned her head towards her weapon partner, Danny James, who had two Styrofoam cups in his hands.

Danny shut the door and handed her a cup as he sat down across from her, "So," he took a sip from his cup, "How much did you sleep last night?"

Piper fixed her eyes on him, there were dark purple circles under her blue eyes and her ginger hair was in a sloppy bun with a failed attempt to cover her eyes with her bangs, "What do you think?" she took a sip from her cup, earl grey tea, Danny really knew how she worked in the mornings.

"Knowing you, you were up way longer than I was just reading over the information we collected then it took you even longer to just fall asleep. Then you woke up really early and just lied there waiting till I woke up to go get myself coffee and your tea."

"Bingo," she smiled taking another sip. Danny knew her like the back of his hand, then again they had been together since before DWMA.

"It's the dreams again isn't?" his brown eyes looking at her with concern, she looked away from his gaze. She didn't want to admit it, even if he could see right through her. "They're getting worse." It wasn't a question.

She sighed looking back at him, "Yes."

Danny ran his hand through his brown hair, "We have to find this damn Kishin, otherwise…" he trailed off he didn't want to think about it, neither of them did.

About a month ago Piper and Danny were sent on a mission in a small town in Mexico where children had been mysteriously falling ill. They would be up for days complaining of nightmares and never being able to sleep. Then they would just collapse falling into a coma and be practically on their death beds by the next day. Quite a few children had died, at first many thought it was a virus but the doctors found nothing in any of the tests.

Lord Death grew concerned, yes it was his job to collect human souls and bring them to peace, but this was too much, they were just children! So he sent Piper and Danny, two of the best and youngest graduates of DWMA, Piper was a 3 star ranked Meister and her weapon, Danny, was a Death Scythe who ironically was a scythe. They had been in the field for many years after their graduation and had proven themselves to be one of the best Meister and weapon pair, so much so that Lord Death had stopped calling on Danny for solo missions and started calling them both to work as a team.

When Piper and Danny got to Mexico they checked the hospital first to get any information about the children that were still around. Piper and Danny didn't find anything that they didn't already know so they talked around town seeing if the town's people had anything to say. They still got the same, nothing. They were there for 2 weeks until they got any new information.

An old man approached them on the street; he was a scruffy looking and looked like he has spent his whole life working in the sun. He said that he had seen this once before when he was young kid and it was cause by a demon. It would plague the children with nightmares keeping them awake; making them weak until they collapsed then it would wait until night and suck their souls out of their bodies. Piper and Danny knew the demon that the man was speaking of had been a Kishin. They followed the man's info and waited outside the hospital till the Kishin showed.

Piper and Danny waited until almost 2 in the morning till it appeared. They had spotted it climbing up the side of the building towards the children's ward of the hospital. Not wanting to start a fight near the hospital Piper and Danny performed a few minor attacks getting it to retreat from the hospital and they chase it into the nearby jungle.

It wasn't a very hard fight; they ended up cornering the Kishin in a denser part of the jungle and killed it with on good slice. The next morning the children were waking up. Piper and Danny thought it might have been a little too easy but the Kishin had only been preying on children so they thought it was weak one. They thought their job was done and left on the last bus leaving town that night.

Piper and Danny had their guard down on the bus, something they never should have done. Piper had her head resting against Danny's shoulder and was lightly snoozing and Danny was not far from sleep ether with his head resting on top of Piper's. Suddenly there was a loud bump on the top of the bus and the driver stopped the bus. Danny and Piper got up telling everyone to stay in their seats while they went to go check it out. They check behind the bus just to find a large branch. They shrugged it off thinking that was what had made the noise. They turned back towards the bus to continue on when Piper felt something. She quickly tackled Danny to the ground as a large creature flew over them it landed on the ground and faced them.

Piper and Danny scrambled up from the ground, Danny going into scythe form falling into Piper's hands. The creature faced them and they were shocked to see it was the Kishin from town. They figured it was its mate. Again they fought it this time it was a little tougher but they defeated it. However the creature had bit Piper's arm during the fight. They didn't think too much of it and patched up the wound. They had both been bitten by Kishin's and they healed fine despite a few scars.

Their bus dropped them off at a town just outside the border between Mexico and the U.S. where they both got a hotel room for the night. They got ready for bed, changed Piper's bandages, and curled up facing away from each other in the queen sized bed. They were used to sharing a bed in their travels it was cost effective and most of the time in the middle of no were the only rooms open had a queen. They both fell into what was supposed to be a relaxing sleep. That is until the nightmares started.

Danny woke to Piper kicking and screaming next to him. He grabbed her to try and keep her still and shouted her name until she woke up shaking and panting. She explained it was a nightmare but never gave him any details. Danny held her until she stopped shaking and fell asleep.

They eventually went back to the town a few days later to see if the Kishin had come back, since Piper's nightmares hadn't stopped, but the town was happier. The children were recovering and there were no new cases since they left. They eventually found the man that had told them about the creature in the first place and explained what was happening. He looked frightened when Piper showed him the bit mark. He said she was cursed that the monster now was tracking her.

Piper and Danny were confused they thought they had defeated the Kishin and its mate, but they hadn't. The Kishin they killed wasn't a Kishin at all it was just an underling of the real Kishin, created to gather energy for its master, and it saw something in Piper and followed them out of the town. The bite marked her and the demon could slowly consume her soul waiting until she was weak enough to take it completely.

Danny and Piper looked at each other in shock they had to find it. They asked the old man if he know where it might be. He didn't know, the demon would have moved by then maybe tracking her maybe moved on to another city to wait it out. They had informed Lord Death about what they found right after they talked to the old man and he gave them the okay to search giving them his best.

Danny and Piper started there screech for the Kishin but they came up empty, they did find a lot of lore on it but not the real thing. They even check neighboring towns but still nothing. One thing they found was the further they moved away the better the nightmares got but they would eventually come back. Danny guessed that the further they got away from the Kishin the less of her soul it could take so the less nightmares the closer the Kishin seemed to be the worse the nightmare were. So they were now heading back to DWMA to see if they could get any help.

They were deep in thought when the crackle of the intercom system got their attention and the perky voice of the female conductor could be heard, "Attention ladies and gentlemen we will be approaching Death City in 10 minutes."

"Well better get ready, Lord Death expects an update as soon as we get in," Danny stood up stretching.

"Yeah," Piper sighed, she hoped they could get some answers.

Lord Death was currently looking over all the missions that he had to separate and assign most where low level and they could be placed on the DWMA board for the students however there were still quite a few that he would have to specifically assign to a higher team, and then there where the few he needed a Death Scythe to look into. For some reason there was a giant increase in all of these missions and he couldn't keep up, he even had Spirit doing some of the filing.

"Gah! Why is there so much paper work! I haven't seen my Maka in weeks," Spirit whined giving a pout.

"I don't know Spirit, I think we might be seeing an increase of madness," Lord Death replied, "And Maka and Soul haven't stopped going on missions for about two weeks so they have been busy too."

"That's another thing I don't like her always being with Soul," Spirit said going into his over protective father mode, "That boy is trouble and Maka needs to stay my sweet little girl forever!"

"Spirit they're 20," Lord Death dead paned, "Maka and Soul are not little anymore and they have their responsibilities especially since Soul is a Death Scythe. I'm surprised that they haven't tied the knot yet."

"What! My Maka is not marrying that albino hot head," Spirit fumed, "And the last time I checked they weren't even dating!"

"What are you going on about, Spirit?" Stein asked rolling his chair towards them, a pile of papers in hand and a cigarette in his mouth.

"He said that he's surprised that MY Maka and her weapon haven't tied the knot yet. They aren't even dating!" Spirit yelled pulling at his red hair.

"Hm they're not? Damn I lose this bet," Stein sighed.

"Yeah me too," Lord Death agreed, "At least I still have other slots." Stein hmmed in agreement.

"Wait," Spirit said suspiciously, "What are you two talking about? Are you two having a bet to see when my daughter and her weapon get together?!"

"Yup," Stein said.

"Pretty much," Lord Death responded.

"Gah! All of you want to send me to an early grave!" Spirit yelled and began one of his rants.

Stein ignored the Death Scythe and preceded his business, "Lord Death, here are some of the files you wanted me to look over. My notes are on top." He handed the papers to Lord Dead and adjusted his glasses, "The train will be arriving soon with Piper and Danny."

"Ah yes, they know to come straight here I have much to discuss with them," Death said looking at the files Stein handed him.

"Lord Death I would like to do an evaluation on the two," Stein said looking at Lord Death seriously.

Lord Death nodded not taking his eyes off the files, "Of course Stein they have been through a lot so a psychological evaluation would be good for them. Danny has also been informing me that the sleeplessness is getting to Piper."

"That's what I'm afraid of," Stein said, "I want to make sure madness doesn't take over her mind before the Kishin takes her soul."

Spirit had stopped is ranting at this point and joined in the conversation. "Lord Death I know that they have to come back for help, but aren't you worried that that Kishin will follow them here as well?"

"Yes Spirit," Lord Death said sadly, "But they will be safe here for a bit until we find something to help them. Piper and Danny haven't seen it since the day it attacked them. So this Kishin is smart and willing to wait out its prey. We can't lose another Weapon and Meister."

"So what is the plan? This Kishin will eventually come after Piper and probably the citizens of Death city is well," Stein brought up a good point and Lord Death had been thinking about it since he got the news.

"I have been thinking about that," Lord Death said, "My soul surrounding the city can protect everyone for a while but there are ways for a Kishin to get in. I have decided to start having those who are not actively on missions to start patrolling at night both students and graduates." Spirit and Stein nodded.

"What shall we tell the students?" asked Stein.

"Tell them it's a training exercise, sometimes their mission is going to be going on patrol while they guard someone or let a higher level Weapon and Meister handle a larger job," Lord Death said, "We'll occasionally pair them with already seasoned partner so they can learn something."

"Sounds good, will we be informing what is happening to the graduates?" Spirit asked.

"Yes, once we have as much information as we can get from Piper and Danny we will have a briefing. If it gets worse we will inform the students what is happening. Spirit I'll let you set up a patrol schedule for the graduates and Stein you work on a schedule for the students. You two pair up and set up a schedule for the pairs. They don't have to be paired every night but get the students to feel like they are getting some instruction from this." Spirit and Stein nodded, "Now let's get some of this work done before Piper and Danny get here."

The train pulled to a stop and passengers started collecting their things. Piper was about to grab her bag from the upper compartment when it was snatched away, "Danny I can carry my own bag. I'm tired, not weak."

"I know," Danny said shouldering the large backpack, "But this in my bag. Your bag is in the seat."

Piper looked at the seat and sure enough there was her bag, "Oh sorry." She said sheepishly.

"Could have happened to anyone," Danny said turning and walking into the hall. Piper shouldered her own pack and followed him. She knew Danny had brushed it off as nothing and it could have happened to anyone, if there bags had been the same color. Danny's bag was black and Piper's was bright green. She was losing it, she knew it and Danny knew it but he was trying to hide his worry as well as make her feel better.

The heat of the desert hit them both as the exited the train and started to make their way towards the DWMA.