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Dark Sector Sekirei

Chapter 01

Sekirei. Translation meaning Wagtail. It would seem odd for someone to be titled as such, but to those caught up in what is called the Sekire-Plan it can mean much more. Sekirei are in fact individuals with incredible power and abilities no normal human can comprehend. In ancient times they were the basis of Gods and Demons, myths and legends. But in todays modern world they were young men and women who saught after something. More precisely, someone; their so-called destined one. When that person is found, whether it be man or woman, they seal their bond to that person through a kiss. This process is called winging. The one they kiss is called an Ashikabi. This person is the key to a Sekirei's true power, which is unlocked upon a kiss. An Ashikabi's powers increase with the number of Sekirei they wing.

Unfortunatly for one this is not the case. One Sekirei cannot be winged. Due to a botched procedure in her creation and growth, she was winged mistakenly without an Ashikabi. Because of this she bares the Sekirei mark on her forehead, which gives her the title of being a 'scrapped' Sekirei. Her name is Akitsu, Number 07 Sekirei, and by those who brought her into this world, a failure. Her hair was short and colored brown and her eyes were a gray/green color. Currently all she wore on her being was... simple to say the least. After escaping her place of birth all she wore was a simple pair of black panties and a torn and bloodied lab coat.

Her location at that moment was on a park bench. It was dark, the sun having set long ago. She had nothing to call her own. No one to call her own. The plan was going to go into effect any day now, and she was left with no way of being winged. It was heart wrenching when one understood what it meant to be winged, and then could not. Her 'brothers and sisters' were all slowly becoming winged, either by their true destined one... or forced by one that is not. Even if an Ashikabi that wasn't or was her true destined one was to kiss her, she would not react. Her wings would not appear.

Since knowing this would happen to her, she has shown no emotion, her expression a continuous blank stare into nothing. If an Ashikabi was to force a winging, she would accept it. She had decided this long ago. It would be better than to not be wanted.

And it would seem one perhaps had located her. She could hear someone approaching slowly, heavy footsteps in the shadows. When he came under the light of the park lamp she didn't show any form of surprise at his appearance. He was a tall man judging by his build. He wore a long coat that stretched to his ankles, with a poorly sewn hood added to it. The coat itself looked to have seen better days with the edges torn slightly and poorly sewn patchs here and there. Even his hands were covered in tight fitting gloves. Though the right one looked different than the left. It was old and cracked, looking to be in the sun for too long. The other... the left was odd. His steps grew heavier as he approached, almost terrifyingly so. The only form of emotion Akitsu did show was a slight rise of her brow.

The man looked to have noticed her, his step skipping slightly before he regained it with a bit of fervor. He was in front of her, knee resting on the edge of the bench. He looked her over, head moving from side to side. She felt no shame in her appearance. She was finally noticed after all. This was what she wanted. She only had to wait for him to wing her.

"Are you okay?" the man asked, his tone full of concern.

Akitsu blinked. She hadn't expected that to come from him. She stared at him with her blank expression with nothing to say. She still couldn't see his face as he leaned closer, his right hand gently moving at her bangs and brushing them aside to see the mark on her forehead. She cringed slightly, leaning from his touch. When he stopped and moved back, she cursed inwardly. She shouldn't have done that. She didn't want to be alone. She didn't want to be abandonned.

"Sorry, sorry," he said, his hands held up and away. "Look, I'm not going to hurt you. I saw the blood on your coat and wanted to make sure you were ok."

Akitsu looked at the coat she wore, which barely held any of her modesty. She had forgotten she had fought her way out of MBI. Her former 'tuner' being the first she had struck in order to escape. It was probably his blood. "It's not mine," she said in a low tone, but not so low as he could not hear her. She watched his shoulders sag, his head dipping a little.

"That's good," he said. His head rose again, looking over her figure. The light caught a bit of his face, allowing Akitsu to see a sharp jaw line and the tip of a perfectly shaped nose. "But that begs the queston of who's blood is it. And from the look of your state of dress, I'd say something happened." His hand rose to her, palm up and open for her to take. Akitsu hesitated for only a second before she placed her hand in his. His touch was gentle. "No defensive wounds, though I see some blood under the nails."

Hearing that, she did recall clawing her 'tuner' in the face before blasting him aside with a wave of ice. "He had it coming."

His head tilted. "He?" His tone had darkened only a fraction. "How long ago?"

"Almost a day."

"You've been out here on your own without any help for a whole day?" She nodded, and his head dropped. "People these days."

She watched him stand to his ful height, his hand leaving hers. When his touch left hers, she nearly cringed. But it didn't go far. He still held it out to her for her to take. Her lips parted slightly to ask him why, but no words came. She just stared.

"Come on. I'll take you to a hospital."

"If you're going to do that, you might as well leave her with me instead."

The stranger turned sharp. Surprisingly fast at that for a human. And with that speed the edge of his coat flaired, letting Akitsu catch sight of what he wore beneath it. It was not normal dress for a man to wear, that was fore sure. It looked military, but nothing she had seen in MBI. When his coat fell back down, she looked to the new arrival. It was a boy, probably in his mid teens. He had long unruly blonde hair and wore an all white dress suit. The smile on his face showed arrogance, which perfectly matched his tone. He was clean, obviously pampered and maybe even spoiled. But she could tell he was an Ashikabi. Though a 'scrapped' number such as herself, she could still sense her 'siblings'. One was close by. A rather strong one at that.

The hooded man relaxed a bit at looking at the boy, his hands dropping closer to his sides. The right hand flexed a little, the leather of his glove stretching to the brink of teaing. "Wasn't expecting a kid," he remarked. "I knew someone was in the shadows hiding." His head turned slightly to the left just where the light of the park lamp ended in darkness. "I guess he's the threat I'm feeling."

Another figure moved out into the light, this one Akitsu was familiar with. He was a tall Sekirei with gray hair and near matching silver eyes. He wore black pants with matching long sleeve shirt. It was open in the front, stopping just a few inches below his solar plexus, with crisscrossing bands of leather forming an 'X'. He wore a belt that looked more like an accesory than an actual functioning one. The only other distinguishing feature was the fingerless gloves and orange scarf he had wrapped around his neck and shoulders. This was Mutsu, Sekirei Number 05. In his hand he carried a traditional styled katana, his thumb resting against the tsuba.

When Mutsu said nothing, the boy simply grinned and started towards the 'scrapped' number. The stranger in the coat turned back to him. "Get back," he warned. "Don't know what's going on, but the girl isn't going anywhere but a hospital."

The boy paused, confused for only a second before he started to laugh. "Are you serious? You really don't know what she is, do you?"

"What are you implying?"

The boy blinked, a slight look of innocent confusion on his face. "So you know nothing of the Sekirei-Plan?"

His head tilted just slightly. "The what?"

The boy laughed even harder, nearly doubling over. "A foolish gaijin such as yourself doesn't even know who or what she is, and is standing between a true Ashikabi and his future Sekirei." He gave an unpleasant wave of his hand, standing straighter now. "Mutsu, remove this pest so I may wing my next toy."

"As you wish, my Ashikabi," the gray haired individual now known as Mutsu said.

The hooded stranger turned his attention to the swordsman. Akitsu watched silently, her expression still emotionless as ever, but a part of her felt something in this confrontation. She couldn't identify it though. But seeing the boy try and casually approach made her feel one thing: ill. The expression on his face was something she had expected from an Ashikabi to have when it looked to force a winging. She was just a prize to him. Something to claim.

She turned back to the stranger and Mutsu, the two seeming to be locked in a staring contest. She thought about the touch of his hand. He was gentle. She remembered his voice and how it sounded concerned for her well being. And with the brief exchange of words they had, he knew nothing of the Sekirei-Plan, Sekirei themselves, or what an Ashikabi was. He knew nothing of it and had shown he wanted to help her. Her brow dipped just the slighest.

Mutsu blinked, ready to draw his word till the tempreture in the air suddenly dropped, a wall of ice erupting in front of him and the individual he was about to face. Even his Ashikabi, Hayato Mikogami, was shocked, his mouth wide enough to let a bird fly in. They were both seperated from the man and the Sekirei they had planned to aquire. Mutsu however moved quickly when he felt a sudden killing intent come from the opposite side of the wall of ice, running quickly over and snatching up Hayato just as a spray of bullets tore through the wall of ice, cutting through enough of it that it began to crack and fall, kicking up a thin mist into the air.

"That... that barbaric brute!" Hayato shouted over the shoulder of his Sekirei. They were on the opposite side of the small park when Mutsu had stopped running, only for him to move again when another spray of bullets tore at the air where they once stood. "He's insane! He's actually trying to kill us!"

"I need to get you to safety, Mikogami-sama," Mutsu said in a calm voice, though the anger in his eyes showed his true emotion. He was not pleased that someone willingly aimed at his Ashikabi. "I will get you to a safe location before I return to deal with the threat and aquire Sekirei No. 07."

DSS

Akitsu hadn't expected what had happened when she erected a wall of ice to seperate themselves from Mutsu and his Ashikabi. The minute the wall was up, the stranger had pulled a gun from under his coat; an automatic of some kind. She wasn't very versed in the type of firearms humans used, but it rapped loudly in the air, a long flame coming out at each burst as he fired through the ice. Perhaps she had surprised him, and took as a threat from Mutsu. He had turned, dragging a line of consecutive fire along the wall before stopping. She watched a blur towards the other end of the park before she felt a hand grab hers. She felt a tug and looked to the hooded stranger. His hood had been blown back now, his head completely revealed to her. He had dark eyes, nearly black as the color of his hair, long and unkept to where it touched the edge of the collar that was tight around his neck. Obviously he hadn't had a proper cut in some time. But all that black helped his pale complexion to stand out. It was like he had never been touched by the sun for wearing the hood for so long.

"We need to go, now!" he barked.

She didn't resist as he tugged her to her feet, the two quickly running in the opposite direction of Mutsu and his Ashikabi. She was strong, there was no denying that. And fast. Being a Sekirei gave that advantage but this man... was no normal man. Though she knew she could still go faster than him, he was moving fast for a human. Her enhanced senses allowed her to pick up his breathing, and she could tell it was steady. A sign he was physically at peak condition. A soldier maybe. But his state of dress didn't scream MBI. Looking at his face she could see he was mixed heritage of Japanese and perhaps English. His accent told her maybe North American.

They were out of the park and running through the streets in no time. The streets were barren, with them being the only signs of life in the late evening. But it wouldn't be long before Mutsu would come. He would not take kindly to someone attacking his Ashikabi. No Sekirei would. "We aren't safe," she whispered in a monotone voice. "Go North." She had heard the stories back in MBI. A place that no one was allowed to go unless given special entry from the one who ran it. The Hannya of the North. Being a single number, she knew who ran that area and was sure Mutsu wouldn't dare venture there when they made their way there. If they could get to that territory, they would be safe.

He looked back to her, dark eyes questioning her. "What's in the north?" he asked before looking ahead again.

"A safe place," she answered in the same tone.

They turned down the next street, going where she had suggested. She could still hear his breathing and it was still calm, even after running a few blocks already. He didn't even look tired, though he was sweating. She glanced up when she felt one of her kind close by. She just caught a glimpse of something black dash over the roof above them, though she wasn't sure if it was Mutsu or someone else.

"So you notice them as well?"

Akitsu looked to the man, a little surprised he had noticed. "Yes."

"When we get to this safe zone, you're going to have to explain to me what that was back there and what I've gotten myself in to." He looked back but then looked away. "Think we may need to get you something else to wear as well."

Akitsu blinked before looking down. She hadn't noticed once that the front of the stollen lab coat had opened in the front, her bare chest open to the world. "Thought it was a little cold." And uncomfortable considering there was nothing to restrain the large assets. She then moved her free arm to cover them, and to hold them in place.

"I bet," the man replied.

DSS

The figure that was following them was not Mutsu, though they shared similar hair color and styles. This Sekirei was dressed all in black, even with a mask that hid his features from those who saw him. His name was Homura, Sekirei Number 06. Also known as the 'Sekirei Guardian'. Like most nights till the start of the God aweful Sekirei-Plan his mission is to protect unwinged Sekirei so that they may find their destined one. Of course he was just one man, scouring over an entire city in order to protect those he could. He was aware that there were some he could not get to, and only hoped that though forced that their Ashikabi was at least a decent person, though a good percentage of the time they never were.

He had been doing his nightly run when he had heard the gunfire. It bothered him a great deal if someone was using firearms, and had gone to investigate even though it was coming from the southern region. It didn't take long before he noticed a man running from the south dressed in a similar fashion as himself, though he could see the man's coat was a bit ragged and patched. He ran just ahead of a Sekirei he was familiar with, her hand held firmly in the others grasp while she attempted to hide her modesty with the other hand. They were racing to the north. He noted it was a faster pace than what a human should be able to move at that.

Homura's hazel colored eyes narrowed. What was number seven doing with him? He couldn't be her Ashikabi. To his knowledge she couldn't be winged. He was about to move when he felt another approaching, and turned in time to see Mutsu leaping up to the roof of a building a block away, and was quickly racing towards Homura. He blinked and turned back to the two running away. "So that's why." He turned back to Mutsu, the No. 05 Sekitrei. Upon noticing Homura, the winged Sekirei slid to a stop. His normal calm demeanor was cracked, but just slightly. His brow was creased and he sported a frown. Those were the noticable signs. Whoever that man was, he had angered No. 05 quite a bit. "Out for a stroll, Mutsu?"

"Step aside," Mutsu said, his thumb pushing up on the tsuba of his sword, the blade glinting from the city lights. "That man needs to pay for attacking Mikogami-sama and I need to retrieve that Sekirei."

Homura flexed his fingers. "You know I can't allow that. Besides she seems to want to be with her Ashikabi." He was banking on Mutsu believing she was already winged by the man. Maybe that notion would deter him from pursuing.

"Like all others, we recieved word of her condition from Hiroto," Mutsu stated. "We know she cannot have an Ashikabi. But because of her broken state she will bow to whoever takes her."

Homura smirked. "Looks taken to me."

Mutsu didn't waste another word. With a powerful upward swipe of his sheathed sword, the roof tore forth, a scar forming in the wake of his swipe. Rock and metal tore through towards Homura, the Fire Sekirei leaping back an impressive distance, a wall of fire springing in front of him to block most of the bebris coming at him. The second the wall was down Mutsu was only inches from him, another swipe of his sheathed sword nearly connecting with Homura's ribs had he not ducked at the last second. He twisted again in the air, avoiding a kick Mutsu had lashed out after his previous attack. As he fell, Homura raised his hand, a wave of fire forming in his palm before unleashing in a brilliant hell storm. Mutsu simply slashed virtically with his weapon, the flames completely splitting in half to harmlessly pass him.

Homura was not blind. He knew of Mutsu's stregnth and this wasn't going to be an easy battle. He simply just had to stall Mutsu long enough for the two to escape and get out of his range. Even now, Homura was feeling his 'sister' fading from his senses. Focusing on the fight, he leapt again as Mutsu came down, his weapon cracking the roof of another building with such force it nearly crumbled under his feet. Mutsu however didn't continue the fight. The moment Homura was setting off on the adjacent rooftop, Mutsu was on the ground dashing after the escaping Sekirei and Ashikabi. He let out a curse before giving chase himself, sticking to the roofs to have the high ground. He let loose a single fireball to slow down No.05 but Mutsu simply leapt over it, while the second one Homura threw he cut in away in a swingle swipe of his sword, the ensuing shockwave from his swing caving in the face of the building to his side.

Homura cursed, the roof nearly giving under his next step because of Mutsu's attack. "That Ashikabi must have really pissed him off," he said as he regained his footing and continued to chase his 'brother' as he rounded a corner, the Earth and Steel Sekirei having gained some distance due to the small slip in step.

DSS

The stranger that held onto Akitsu's hand had looked back when he started hearing what seemed to be explosions going on from the direction they had escaped from. The 'scrapped' No. 07 looking back with her signature bored expression. Though the the strange man leading her had no clue as to what was going on, she was sure that it was No. 06 and 05 who were fighting. She had knowledge of only one Sekirei who could use fire, and he must have been the one who had been on the roofs when they had passed. But what was he doing fighting Mutsu?

"That sounds like its getting close," the strange Ashikabi said, turning his gaze foreward then to the side.

"They're coming," Akitsu said almost hypnotically with that monotone voice of hers.

He looked back at her past the long bangs that hung over the dark pools that were his eyes. "How do you know?"

"I can feel them. We can sense one another."

"Shit. So no matter where we turn, he'll follow us?"

"Unless we get to the north. They will not follow us there."

They turned a corner down another street due in part of the road stopping at a corner. They would have to go around another block before being able to continue north. "How can you be sure?"

"I just know," she remarked cryptically.

Another explosion went off, one not too far from where they had turned. Cursing again, the man immediatelly turned into an alleyway. Akitsu tilted her head when they stopped running, the man glancing out the opening of the alley before turning to her. "This is going to be a bit weird, but trust me," he said as he pulled his hood over his head. He stepped in closer, causing Akitsu's back to press to the brick wall behind her. "Now put your arms around my waist inside the coat, not around." Her expression never changed, but her left eyebrow did arch just the slighest as she followed his command, her arms encircling him beneath the longcoat and under his arms.

The touch of his... suit was strange. It wasn't like cloth. It felt more like armor. Some areas her hands touched felt like metal then leather along with strange latches or buckles. He stepped closer, her bare chest pressing into his chest as he pulled her into an embrace. It was warm. She dare say she felt... safe. And then they vanished in a wave of blue static. And for the first time Akitsu's expression was noticable if one could actually see her shocked expression. Her whole body tingled like nothing she had ever felt before. Her hair felt like it was going to stand on end. She turned her eyes to his face but saw nothing but the street at his side, a small spark of energy waving over her view for only a second. He whispered for her not to move, and she complied. Then Mutsu ran past the alley they hid in, Homura now on the ground chasing after him.

They didn't go far though. Akitsu could feel them stopping. But the fight was still on as a wave of heat washed down the street, followed by an explosion with shards of rock and concrete flying through the air. Mutsu slid back into view, turning in order to draw his sword almost as fast as she could blink, and sheath it, the wave of air he caused tearing the ground up and towards Homura who was just out of sight. Mutsu turned to the alley, pausing as he looked to be staring right at them, but did not move.

Mutsu was of course confused. She was there, he felt her. His eyes narrowed, looking to the shadows but of course could see nothing. She was there but... there was nothing. He stepped forward, but Homura fell from above, landing easily in front of his fellow Sekirei to impede his path. Homura had quickly glanced back and then back to Mutsu... then looked back again. Even he had a difficult time trying to locate Akitsu. It was like she was there but there was no sign of her.

Confusion surrendered to alerm when sirens were heard coming in their direction. Most likely the nearest fire fighters and authorities coming to deal with the bit of fire that had been set on the buildings. Not surprising. That amount of distruction could never go unnoticed. Mutsu fumed, looking at the approaching lights before glaring at Homura.

Homura moved into the shadows of the alley while Mutsu leapt up and onto the nearest roof, dashing on towards the south. Homura sighed, sweat pouring down his face. Mutsu had only looked winded in their bout, and Homura looked ready to fall down. He hadn't slept much of course so he added that to his current condition.

With a sigh he turned to leave. But a gun materializing in the air while pointed at your face would make anyone freeze. Especially when the suddenly materializing gun continued on with an arm, and then a body which held onto the No. 07 Sekirei. The man's hood hid his face but he could see those eyes glaring at him, his arm never shaking while holding the weapon at Homura's face. He slowly raised his arms out to show he was not going to fight. "I'm not a threat," he said. "I'm on your side..."

"Explain," the hooded man said. No, demanded. His tone all but said he was not in a playing mood.

"All will be explained, but right now the authorities are coming, and I do not wish to deal with MBI's private sucurity force." He then picked up on the sound of a helicopter. It was faint but it was drawing closer. He groaned, knowing full well who it could be. "Or the Disciplinary Squad." The man's eyes looked past Homura, seeing the lights in the sky of the approaching helicopter. The sirens were getting closer. He lowered the weapon, tucking it to his waist under the coat. Homura watched him move from Akitsu, the Sekirei taking his right hand in hers. Homura stared at the joined hands, then to the man. His hands slowly dropped at his sides, and cautiously he moved around the pair. "Come. To the north is a safe haven for Sekirei and Ashikabi alike. There, Mutsu nor MBI's goons will not follow you."

"Lead the way," he said.

Homura nodded before sprinting off towards the opposite end of the alley, the man and Akitsu staying pace with him. When they emerged out the other end, they turned right and continued on north. The Sekirei Guardian looked back to see the man eying him cautiously. Though they kept pace, he was a good few feet behind him, well out of striking reach. "Can I get a name?" He looked at Akitsu. "And why is she dressed like that?"

"I'll be the one asking questions here," the man barked. "I stop to help her out, the next thing I know a wall of ice pops up, and this nut job taking orders from a kid tries to chase us down. And she tells me you can sense one another. What the hell is this Sekirei and Ashikabi bullshit and what is this plan I've heard about?"

Homura glanced back then back ahead. "Where did you hear it?"

"From some kid in a white suit."

"That was Mikogami Hayato. He controls the southern sector."

"A kid? And what is this whole sector buisness? And this MBI?"

Homura actually stopped in his running, looking dumbfounded. "You honestly don't know?" He instantly regreted that as he felt a vice like grip take hold of his neck. The man was strong! Homura felt his body lift and turn, his back slamming into the wall of a some store which the name of he didn't care to know. He felt his feet dangling, and no matter how much he stretched his toes, he could not touch the ground. "Wha..."

"I'm getting answers, now." Again the gun was drawn and aimed at Homura's knee. "I ask, you answer. We clear?"

"Yes!"

"Okay then." He lowered Homura down to stand, but his hand remained on the 'Sekirei Guiardian's' neck. "MBI. What or who is that?"

Homura coughed a little before answering, "Mid Bio Informatics. Its a conglomerate based in Teito Tower in this city. It basically controls all of Tokyo. Its private army is what keeps the peace here, and not your regular police officers."

"Sekirei. Ashikabi. I've heard these words before but know nothing of what they mean. What are they?"

Homura blinked. Could this man honestly not know after having ran across the city with one in his hand the whole time? "You don't know?" Another mistake. The man pulled Homura back and again slammed him into the wall with such force the brick began to crack. That was not normal for a human. "Sekirei are special beings who are released from MBI to find their destined one; an Ashikabi. They are bonded by a kiss, linking them to one another."

"What kind of ideot do you take me for!?" The barrel of the gun was beginning to dig painfully into Homura's knee, the grunt of pain he released showed his discomfort. "Now answer the question."

"Its the truth!" Homura barked, his face leaning closer to the man, giving his own glare. "She and I are both Sekirei," he added, nodding to Akitsu. The 'scrapped' Sekirei stood passively with a bored expression. If she had any reaction to what was happening, she sure didn't show it. "We are all released from MBI to find our Ashikabi in order to take part in the sick game MBI's founder has planned for us."

"And who is the founder?"

"A mad man named Hiroto Minaka," the guardian said venomously. "A self proclaimed genuis. He plans to use us as pawns in some game, the other players being the ones who control the other sectors of the city along with other Ashikabi that have winged a Sekirei."

The man was silent, his eyes looking down as he thought over the information in his head. Homura remained still and silent, letting him go over the information he had given. He sighed when he felt the gun leave his knee, the man slowly putting it behind his back. When the hand left his neck, Homura slowly reached up and rubbed at the spot where the hand had been. He was sure it would leave a bruise. May have to wear something like a scarf for a while when he was to work at the club. Couldn't risk the guests seeing the marks and start asking questions.

He looked to Akitsu. "Is he telling the truth?"

"Yes," she answered in monotone.

Homura blinked at how quickly she had answered. "It would seem she has taken a shine to you," Homura commented, though backed up a bit when the man glared at him. "Unfortunate though that she cannot be winged."

"I'm not looking to be 'winging' anyone or anything," the man commented. "I'm just passing through. And when this heat calms down, I plan to leave this city."

Homura gave a 'hmph', which looked to irritate the man. He crossed his arms, casually leaning against the broken brick wall behind him, though he winced when he leaned on a possible growing bruise. "I hate to say it, but your actions may have gotten certain individuals attention."

"Like who?"

"The one from earlier was Mutsu, Sekirei No. 05. His Ashikabi is Mikogami Hayato, who controls the southern sector. He won't like that you managed to escape with a possible Sekirei he could have winged. The other being the very CEO of MBI, Minaka himself. He has cameras everywhere except in the northern sector and he has a staff watching at all times, monitoring the city for any abnormalities within his great plan." The man cursed, turning away from Homura and pacing past Aktisu with the girl turning in his direction as he moved, making sure he was within her eyesight. Homura couldn't stop the twitch in his eye as he saw she didn't bother to try and cover herself like she did when they had been running. Her chest was near completely exposed, the edge of her stollen coat just barelly covering them. He looked back at the man. "Look, come with me to the north. There, you can hold up. Maybe get cleaned up and she can get some clothes to wear."

He looked between the two, his shoulders sagging slightly. He pulled the hood from his head, revealing the tired look on his face to Homura. "You sure the north is secure?"

"Minaka and all other unwanted Ashikabi know better than to go there. It is guarded by the Hannaya. They won't cross her."

The man arched a curious brow, but said nothing about it. "Names." He looked to the Ice Sekirei. "Both of you."

"I am the Number Six Sekirei, Homura. Also known as the 'Sekirei Guardian'. I try to protect the young, unwinged Sekirei from unworthy Ashikabi."

Akitsu focused solely on the man. "Sekirei Number Seven, Akitsu."

Homura tilted his head. "And you?"

The man glared at Homura, but it lacked the intenseness from before. "Tenno. Hayden Tenno."

DSS

The once peaceful night was lit with the blinking red and blue lights of MBI's private police force and fire fighters. They were scattered a good few blocks to try and contain the fires, managing to bring it down enough so it wouldn't spread. Not far, parked on a roof large enough for it to land, was the personal helicopter of MBI's Disciplinary Squad. The three young women that made up the squad stood at the edge of the roof, staring passively at the flames and the attempts of the men and women below trying to contain the fire. Well, two out of the three at least. This one stood back, as close to the center of the roof as she could without looking week due to her acrophobia. Her disheveled grey hair swayed slightly in the wind with the tattered dark kimono she wore, narrow eyes glaring at the edge like some arch enemy. Like most female Sekirei she had a striking figure with it completely covered in bondage-wrap. Her hands to her elbows were adorned by a pair of specialized gauntlets armed with scythe-like, barbed-tipped claws with metal bracers. They hung loosely at her sides, the tips clicking together as she waited for their leader to respond to... whatever it was she was looking for. This was Sekirei Number 104, Haihane and despite the boring situation she was currently in, she couldn't help but enjoy the cool night air.

"Stupid monkeys," commented the shortest and youngest member of the squad. She crossed her arms over her chest, just above the large red/pink sash she had tied around her black kimono-like shirt. She wore tight fitting sport shorts, allowing anyone to see the fine toned muscles of her legs, while her shirt hid the rest. Seeing the red gloves and their slightly padded nature gave her the appearance of a close quarters figher, which she was a very tallented practitioner of. Her hazel colored eyes closed, her head turning from the scene in a fit of boredom. Her pink hair was tied into a single ponytail on the left side by two daisy clips, adding to her youthful image along with a comically small 'chest'. This was Sekirei Number 105, Benitsubasa. "Wish they would hurry up already. It's just a stupid fire." She looked over to their leader, the woman standing a little bit from them while on her cell, listening to the details of their current objective which none of them knew anything about.

Karasuba, Sekirei Number 04, the only remaining member of the original Disciplinary Squads and oldest of the current one was listening to what information MBI had as to what had caused the fire. Her right hand held the phone to her ear, but the left carried her weapon of choice, a nodachi. Her attire goes back to the first generation Disciplinary Squad that female members wore; black leather top with a black miniskirt and stockings along with a brown belt that functioned more for appearances than to have an actual use. The grey haori was even from the first generation, still with the Sekirei Crest engraved onto it. And like most Sekirei it would seem her hair was gray, tied into a ponytail with matching eye color.

When Karasuba pulled the phone from her ear, she glanced at the screen, security footage playing over its screen so she could see what had started the whole mess before her. Tired looking eyes watched passively over the exchange of events from one angle to the other. Nothing too new except for the fact that the Ashikabi she watched running with No. 07 had actually used a gun to fend off another Sekirei, Mutsu. Then came Homura to interfere, which was no surprise. That at least explained the fire.

"So?" spoke Benitsubasa. "What's the deal?"

"Akitsu," she responded, flicking the phone closed and pocketing it. "The little failure isn't even out that long and is causing this much of a mess."

"So we going to deal with her?" Benitsubasa asked, a feral grin spreading on her lips as she palmed her right fist in her left hand. She then pointed over her shoulder at the scene below. "Because this is just a waste of time."

"The guy she's with, an Ashikabi." Karasuba nearly spat, not liking to have to say 'Ashikabi'. "He's headed north with Homura leading the way. They have a head start and by the time we would catch up, we'd probably run into 'her'." She turned towards the north, a fanged grin spreading. "So we better get moving before they get too far." She leapt from the roof, gracefully falling to the ground below. The minute her heel touched the concrete, she rocketed down the street.

Benitsubasa pumped a fist into the air, letting loose an excited squeal. She dashed to the edge and with a mighty boost of her legs she was in the air, sailing far before coming down on a building nearly a block away. Haihane gave chase, but decided to stick to the roofs. She had an issue moving towards that edge. She knew it wasn't that far a drop and could make it. But why risk it?

DSS

Hayden didn't know what to make of the situation. He had seen some weird shit in his day, and had been 'involved' in some weird shit but this was a whole new experience. No where near as earth shattering as a possible virus outbreak or monster infestation as he had come into contact with in the past, but people with powers such as theirs? During their run to this 'safe haven' Hayden had asked Homura more questions on the subject of Sekirei. Come to find out that wall of ice that seperated him and Akitsu from the man called Mutsu and his so-called 'Ashikabi' had been formed from Akitsu herself. When he asked why she had done such a thing, she simply shrugged, and Hayden left it at that. He didn't voice it, but he could see it in her appearance. Something was wrong. He'd seen others like her in the past. Whatever that had happened was fresh; a wound that hadn't had the chance to heal. The blood on that coat was also a dead giveaway. Though dry, it still held a good shade of red, telling its age to the former CIA agent.

Homura was a different story. Hayden couldn't tell if the guy had been lying to him or not, but when the guy lit a flame from the palm of his hand, Hayden was quick to believe the guy had the power over fire. He had assumed the guy had been throwing grenades around when he had been fighting Mutsu. And to find out that man had skills and abilities of his own too? The former agent just didn't know what he had dragged himself into this time.

At his side Homura touched at the spot on his neck where Hayden had grabbed him, the familiar feeling still there. It was frightening really. He was sure he could have broken from the man's hold on him but the sudden force and sheer strength from the man had caught him off guard. Homura had nearly thought the man was a Sekirei himself. And lets not forget that little disappearing act he pulled with Akitsu. He was actually invisible! And he made her invisible with him. No Sekirei had that kind of power. Sure, most had abilities that defied logic but that was unheard of.

And out of all of that Homura felt no reaction to the man. For that he was thankful for. God help him if there had been one. This Hayden Tenno his Ashikabi? He shuddered at the thought.

"Problem?"

Homura looked over, seeing a stern glare coming from the man. "Sorry. Just a bad thought is all. Nothing to worry about." Hayden let it drop from that, and looked ahead. Homura gave a sigh. The man was human but so intimidating. "So Tenno-san..."

"Look, I'm not one for honorifics," Hayden said, his hand giving a low wave at the subject. "Either Hayden, or Tenno. Either works fine with me."

"Of course, Tenno. I hope you don't mind me asking but what business do you have here in Japan? You don't strike me as the type to take root and settle down."

"Like I said, I'm just passing through." And he said nothing else to add to it.

Homura didn't like how tight lipped he was being. But everyone had secrets. And it wouldn't be much of a surprise if Hayden were to have plenty of his own. And Homura wouldn't pry. The last thing he needed was to be choked to death or shot. But that had him worrying over the safety of their third party member. Akitsu had hardly uttered a word since they had exchanged names, and she was staying close to the man as she could without down right being clingy. She probably sensed he wasn't the type to have someone so close. Homura was a little surprised. He would have never expected this of her, though her state of mind could be questioned.

Homura looked to her again, giving a gentle smile beneath his mask before looking ahead. Akitsu continued to be silent, ignoring his proding glances. It didn't bother her any. So long as she was close to her 'Ashikabi' she didn't care. Looking to the man in question though had her mind racing. What was he thinking? Where had he come from? Why was he dressed as he was? Again she never voiced any of her thoughts and just continued to stare at him, the man never bothering to look back at her. Perhaps she had chosen wrong? To let herself get swayed by the man like that must have been foolish to another observer. Maybe.

Lost in her own world, Akitsu bumped into Hayben when he stopped, Homura standing still beside the man. Hayden had turned, his hand gently resting on her arm. "You okay?" he asked, and again Akitsu felt her chest warm over. "Look a bit spaced there."

"Just tired," she answered.

"I can relate," Hayden responded before facing Homura. "How close are we?"

"Still some ways to go. But its just a straight path from here. Keep following this road to the residential area. When you come to a T-intersection you've arrived at the destination. It won't look like much, but believe me, you and your Sekirei will be safe there."

"You're not coming?"

"I have my duties to attend to. There are still plenty of Sekirei wandering about in search of their destined one." He reached into his coat, withdrawing a simple flip phone, his thumb going for the speed dial. "I'll let my associate know you are coming that way."

"She trustworthy?"

Homura smiled. "She'll treat you like one of her own. Just be sure to follow her rules. She's very stubborn when it comes to her rules being broken." And with that, Homura turned and began to walk away, the phone going to his ear.

Hayden and Akitsu just watched the flame Sekirei continue on down the road. He gave a tired sigh before facing the girl. With a shake of his head, he reached up and gently closed the front of the lab coat she wore, trying to hide her modesty as best as he could. "Definitely will need to get some new clothes." He would lend her his coat but...

Akitsu watched Hayden frown suddenly, his right hand balling into a fist before unclenching. She reached for it slowly, but he withdrew from her touch. She must have shown a hurt expression for he started to appologize. "Sorry. Just... theres this wound on my arm. It carries some bad memories and... I just have some issues with someone touching it."

"Well thats too bad!"

Hayden instinctively moved in front of Akitsu, his modified SMG in hand quicker than the ice Sekirei could blink. He pushed back, free arm snaking around Akitsu as his his SMG let out a spray of rounds before the weapon was cut in two. He dropped the remaining half he had to the ground, dodging a fist directed at him from a second assailent, feeling the padding of the glove grazing his cheek just slightly. He lashed out with a kick, rewarded with his knee colliding with the pink haired girl's side. She gave a gasp pausing in her attack, giving Hayden enough time to strike with his free hand. His fist struck home, her head snapping to the side harshly with her flying away a few feet like a ragdoll before she rolled into a crouching possition. He turned to the first attacker, the older looking woman having closed the distance nearly as fast as he could blink before a wall of jagged ice came up to impale her. She easly leapt over it and them both to easly land next to the other girl. The pinkette looked to be seething, her hand reaching for the spot Hayden had struck her.

Benitsubasa growled, her fists clenching tightly. "You damned monkey!" She couldn't belive the embarressment. He had actually managed to not only dodge her strike, but had not once but twice landed a blow onto her! HER! She would not let this go unpunished.

Karasuba gave a small smirk. "Well, seems like this little Ashikabi has some moves." She glanced at her subordinate. "Did he hit you that hard, Benitsubasa?"

She wouldn't admit it but it did hurt. Not enough to slow her down but she wasn't expecting it. Not from a human. Even her jaw was throbbing. "Hardly," she lied, standing straighter now.

Hayden looked between the two oddly dressed women before turning his head slightly to Akitsu, the girl still holding a bored expression on her face but the slight shift in her eyes to what passed as a glare said she was ready to fight. "You know them?"

She pointed to the one carrying a sword. "Karasuba, Sekirei No. 04," she answered. She pointed over to second one, pausing for the longest before saying, "I don't know the washboard."

"WHAT WAS THAT!?" cried Benitsubasa, a slight vein popping on her forehead out of pure rage. To the side came hysterical laughter as Haihane stepped into the light... well staggered mostly. She was laughing so hard she could hardly walk straight. "YOU SHUT UP!" shouted the pinkette, her anger now focused on the third arrival.

Ignoring the current display Hayden asked, "Who are they?"

"MBI's Disciplinary Squad," Akitsu answered.

"Homura mentioned them." Another discussion they had when walking to the safe zone. Hayden had asked who the Disciplinary Squad was and had given a mild discription of a team that dealt with any Sekirei trying to escape the city or those who acted against the Sekirei plan. And that they wouldn't hesitate to kill.

Karasuba took a step forward, a predatory glint in her eye. "You two have caused quite a bit of a mess tonight," she said, eyeing the Ashikabi. She knew a fighter when she saw one, and seeing his movements just a second ago confirmed that he was no ordinary human. Had Benitsubasa not alerted him to their attack, they would have had the jump on him. But the minute he felt threatened he had acted faster than she had predicted. "Shooting another Ashikabi isn't in the rules of the plan, you know."

"Wasn't my intention," Hayden answered. Akitsu had tried to step forward but he held her back, his left arm blocking her movements. It bothered him a little that she seemed hell bent to protect him. He didn't need it.

"Still, can't have someone running around willing to shoot the compition before the games start."

"Sorry to say, but I'm not playing in this game your nut-job of a boss has planned."

"You either play, or die." She gave a tired shrug. "Doesn't matter either way, you still die in the end." Karasuba reached for her sword, only to jump back when Akitsu threw her arm up, launching a half dozen of ice shards her way. The dark Sekirei quickly drew her sword, cutting them down with ease before evading another wave fired at her.

Akitsu circled Hayden, charging at the the No. 04 Sekirei. In the rules of combat between Sekirei, it was proper edicat to introduce your name and number before battle. But this was no ordinary fight. So Akitsu didn't feel oblidged to do so. The woman grinned evily, sword ready to strike the ice girl down till she jumped into the air, ice spears flung from the sleeves of her stollen coat. Karasuba again cut the shards away, her blade becoming nothing more than a blur. She charged towards Akitsu, intended to cut the girl down when she landed, but she had other ideas, sweeping her arm up to form a wall of jagged ice that would have impaled Karasuba if she hadn't had leapt over the ice and its creator.

While the two single numbers were battling Benitsubasa took this moment and charged the mysterious Ashikabi, who remained in place but looking ready to fight. To her this would be a quick victory. He was just a human after all. A lowly monkey to her. She wouldn't be caught off guard again. So imagine her surprise when she swung her fist, intended to take his head off in a single strike, and he blocked it. He had stepped in, his left arm coming up and blocking her blow with ease. Quickly following was a sharp jab to her face, and three quick blows to her mid section which left her winded. WINDED! And with a quick elbow blow to finish the combo, she was knocked off her feet rolling back a few feet before ending up in a kneeling position. The spots where she was hit stung, and she wanted to sneeze from the blow to her face. This was twice she was pushed back from the little monkey! How was this possible? There was no way a normal human could fight that fast. And looking at him from where she kneeled, she could see him ready for a second round, arms up and waiting for her next attack.

But it was Haihane who attacked next, the laid back Sekirei rushing in with her metal claws splayed out. She came in with a downward swipe of her right claw, the Ashikabi leaning away from the strike. Her left came forward in order to stab him in the chest, but he ducked below the thrust, catching her arm and in an impressive display of a Judo flip, took Haihane off her feet, over his own body and onto her back. The blow actually caused the concrete to crack a bit, and leaving Haihane gasping for breath. She was saved from the man when Benitsubasa came in for another shot at the Ashikabi, her battle cry echoing in the empty street. She was hell bent on getting him back for beating her earlier, evident by how she was increasing her attack speed. Haihane was surprised though when she noticed the man was keeping up, the two exchanging blows that were either blocked or countered. Benitsubasa was proficient, that was a given, but this man fought with experience and the proficiency of a veteran fighter by getting inside her wide swings so she had no way of blocking. Benitsubasa would use her smaller frame to weave around him to land a blow, but he was fast enough to block, allowing some of her stronger blows to push him back from her reach. Haihane, fed up with watching, got up and charged into the fight.

Akitsu dodged a swipe from Karasuba, the dark Sekirei grinning while she attempted to cut down her 'sister'. The Ice Sekirei looked to Hayden, shocked to see him fighting the other two Disciplinary Squad members. Not that he was fighting them but doing so on even ground. And both at the same time. Even Karasuba had paused in their fight to look at how the Ashikabi was fairing, and would never admit she was slightly impressed. Her squadmates were no pushovers, especially for a human. So to see one facing her subordinates and not be cut to pieces or pummeled into mud was not something to shrug off. "Looks like you picked a good one," she commented as she swung her blade, a gust of wind following up that whipped Akitsu's coat wildly as she avoided the strike. "He doesn't seem like the other weak Ashikabi that are running around!" With a cry she swung up, the blade passing so close to Akitsu, it cut away the last few buttons of her coat, exposing her front side completely.

Akitsu ignored her state of near undress, putting her hand to the ground to unleash a wave of ice that forced Karasuba away. But that wasn't her intention. The ice continued on till it sprung up into shards by Haihane that forced her to back off of Hayden. Taking advantage, Hayden spun around, snatching off a piece of the ice to use as an impromptu club. He brought the weapon down on Benitsubasa, the girl blocking with her forearm. It broke across her arm, but the boot to her gut from Hayden sent her rolling back. Turning he threw the rest of the ice club in Karasuba's direction. The dark Sekirei didn't even turn when she blindly cut the ice away, but pausing in her fight with Akitsu she drew out her phone with a sneer on her face. Even Hayden could hear it vibrating from his position. It was almost like a beakon for Haihane and Benitsubasa, both quickly moving to their leader's side while Akitsu rushed over to Hayden's.

Whatever was said ove the phone, Karasuba looked visibly irritated and angry, the sword in her hand shaking slightly from controlled rage. Akitsu would worry about it later. Turning to face Hayden she held back the urge to blush as he was quick to look her over, finding no harm done to her body, though the labcoat looked worse than when he first met her. One sleeve was gone and nearly all the buttons were gone. She hadn't noticed. But there were no cuts, or bruises. Hayden though had a few close calls that had been missed in the melee with the two Sekirei. A slight cut to his chin and one above his left eye. But nothing else.

"Hey!"

Hayden looked to the three as a phone flew through the air towards him. His hand reached out and the phone looked drawn to it instantly but no one from either party aside Hayden noticed it. He held the device in his right hand, hesitant at first but slowly rose it to his ear as he stared at the three Sekirei, Karasuba looking the most displeased. Benitsubasa continued to glare at him, her arms crossed over her chest. Haihane just... stood there, the one eye visible looking around as if she was bored. "Yes?" Hayden asked over the phone.

"Why hello there, Mr. Mystery Ashikabi!" cried an overly energetic male voice that made Hayden want to cut off his own ears. "It is a pleasure to talk with you! Sorry for the delay, was asleep really. Didn't know all this surprising entertainment was going off..."

"Who the hell is this?" Hayden demanded, already growing tired of the man's voice.

"Oh my, so rude!" The man on the other end didn't sound the least bit insulted. "But its to be expected from an outsider such as yourself. Must say, the minute we got your image on camera we've been trying to run facial matches and to be honest we've come up with nothing! At least in Japan. We're currently running matches in other countries, but it would do us such a favor if you would be kind enough to give us a name."

"Who. Is This."

"Oh that's right, forgive my manners. My name is Hiroto Minaka. The Game Master, if you will, and CEO of MBI."

Hayden looked to the three Sekirei. "You work for this guy?"

"Not like we want to," Haihane said waving at a small bug that flew in front of her face.

"Now about that name... hello?"

Hayden wasn't listening. He was quickly looking around them till he spotted at least five different security cameras. Each one aimed in their direction. "Akitsu," he said, getting the Sekirei's undevided attention. "How good is your aim?"

Akitsu followed his line of sight. Understanding immediately what he was getting at she let loose an ice dagger for each camera in quick succession. Each one landed their mark, destroying the cameras with a shard of ice through the lens.

"Hey! That wasn't very nice at all! Those cameras aren't cheap you know. Now about that name..."

"Save it," Hayden said. "I'm not playing any game, especially not one like the one I've heard about."

"Oh but you see you have no choice! Becoming an Ashikabi, you have no other choice but to participate."

"And why is that?"

"If you don't, I just may be forced to shut down No. 07 there. Or at least have her transfered over to another Ashikabi that would be willing to take her in even with her current condition."

Akitsu took a slight step back when she noticed Hayden's expression darken. "Shut down?" Hayden questioned, looking to the Ice Sekirei.

"That's right. Each Sekirei has a shut down system and if they were toever escape the city or broke any of my rules, they drop at the push of a button." Hayden wasn't sure what he hated most. The fact he had such a system placed inside living beings, or the fact he sounded so smug and giddy over it. "So, that name."

Hayden's right eye twitched. "Tenno," was his answer, before promptly crushing the phone in his hand, the remains falling to the ground at his side. It was only a few seconds later he could hear some cheery J-pop song coming from behind Haihane, the bored Sekirei giving a sigh before drawing out her own phone. She got odd looks from her squadmates before the girl sighed and tossed the phone to Hayden, the man giving a growl when he caught it out of the air as the Sekirei said 'keep it' and turned to walk away. "What?" he answered, already long since knowing who it was.

"Again so rude! You must have some very deep seeded anger issues Tenno-san. Any chance we can get more of your name?"

"How about you come and ask for it face to face? Maybe I'll give it then."

"Oh, as tempting as it is to see you face to face, after watching you face not one but two Sekirei at the same time, I think I'll pass. Which asks even more questions about you, Tenno-san. But that all aside, we'll talk again when I've gotten more rest. I've ordered the Disciplinary Squad to return to base so you are free to go. Keep the phone. I'll be in touch."

To his word, the three other Sekirei were slowly walking away, opposite of the direction Hayden and Akitsu were taking to the north. Of course Benitsubasa glared at him, a finger dragged across her own throat before pointing at him to make it known she would get him another time. Hayden paid it no mind. He stood silently with the burner phone in hand before it too was crushed in his grip, the remains grinding almost into a powder in his grip before released into the wind. A part of him felt sorry for those three if they were subjugated to a man like that Minaka. And then there were the ones like Akitsu. "Is it true?" he asked, looking to the girl.

She was silent before giving a nod. "Yes."

"So at the push of a button he could kill you?" She gave a nod, and that seemed to incease his building rage meter. His left hand dragged across his own face, fingers rubbing at his temples before dropping back down to his side. "What have I gotten myself into now?"

And with a boom of thunder over head to signal the downpour that was to come, Hayden's shoulders drooped a little. Tonight was just not his night.

DSS

The click of heels in a quick paced, frustrated march echoed in the hall as one Sahashi Takami made her way towards Minaka's office with one cancer stick stuck firmly between her lips which made up part of her scowl. The bandage over her eye only added to her intimidating look. It wasn't long ago she had finally gotten to sleep when she had recieved word of a fight breaking out in the city involving not only a few Sekirei but a possible Ashikabi. Said Ashikabi had actually used a weapon on a Sekirei and their Ashikabi, before fleeing on foot with No. 07. Following that, a fight broke out with a block engulfed in fire thanks to Homura and his attempts to safeguard the two newly joined pair. What agitated her though was that Minaka allowed the Ashikabi to remain in possession of Akitsu instead of brining him in for his actions.

The moment she shoved his office doors open, the man stood at his full hight, white cape on... over a pair of striped sleeping pajamas. Her eye twitched and the tick in her forehead seemed to grow larger at the sight of him. She herself had at least the decency to get dressed in working pants and clean blouse under her lab coat. This fool only threw on a cape. But she knew the man more than anyone, and was sure he probably slept in it. As she approached, he greeted her as normal, arms out as if to embrace her and shouting of a sweet nickname for her, till she grabbed the front of his pajama top and shoved him face first onto the table. "You ideot. What have you done now?"

"Why, Takami my sweet," he said, shrinking slightly at the intense glare she gave him, arms folded beneath her breasts with one finger tapping impatiently on her arm. "Whatever do you mean?"

"You didn't capture him," she said bluntly. "He assaulted another Ashikabi."

"Hardly against the rules."

"With a gun."

"...I see your point. But things are cleared up and we won't have another incident like that again. Plus!" He turned and went to his computer, bringing up what looked to be a video file. "He will bring something most interesting to the plan."

Takami glared at the man as he stepped aside, the glare from his glasses hiding that sick glee in his eyes that made her want to gouge them out. Pressing play, she saw nothing unusual till she spotted Akitsu being led by the Ashikabi in question. They ducked into an alley, but not far enough to be out of view. Her eyes narrowed when the Sekirei was gently pulled into an embrace... Her eyes widened the second the two vanished into thin air. The image remained, even after Mutsu and Homura came past in a battle that Takami found herself ignoring. When the fight ended, and Mutsu left, Homura stood at the entrance of the alley, and paused when the man and Akitsu reappeared, the two holding a brief conversation before all three turned and ran.

"What..."

"Wait," Minaka said sickly, his grin growing. "There's more."

She watched on, the footage following them till they stopped, Homura parting ways with them and leaving the two alone. It was only a minute or so later that they were attacked by two members of the Disciplinary Squad, and the Ashikabi had performed an evasion that no normal man could have done against a Sekirei of Karasuba's caliber. She watched on as the combat continued with the Ashikabi not only fending off Benitsubasa but Haihane in hand to hand combat! And though she wasn't a fighter herself, Takami could see the man was skilled. And not just in one on one fights. He knew how to handle himself against numbers, demonstrated by how he would go back and forth between the two Sekirei. They would get a hit or two in but he would continue on, demonstrating he had experience in a fight. For a human against a Sekirei, it was unheard of.

The head scientist leaned back when the ice shuriken struck the camera, killing the feed. Turning to Minaka, pointing at the screen she said, "And you did nothing?"

"I welcomed him to the Sekirei Plan," the self proclaimed game master said, stepping back from the woman. "Though he seemed very hesitant. Couldn't imagine why."

"He is not normal."

"I noticed! Isn't it interesting? This Tenno-san is showing to be a very entertaining fellow."

Takami blinked. "You have his name?"

"That I do," Minaka said joyfully. "And less," he added as he typed onto the computer. "The moment our people saw his actions, we began to try and do a facial matching. Only to find nothing within our country. Extending our search however..." his finger tapped the last key, and he again leaned back.

On the screen were various images, some too blurred but some came close to the image of the man they called Tenno. Last was what looked like a dossier littered with nothing but lines of black ink. "This file is incomplete," she said as it looked to cut off.

"That's because it came from a CIA filing system."

"You hacked into North America's CIA files!?"

"...yes?" A swift punch to his gut had the mad game master doubling over with a coughing fit. "Why..."

"You are a complete ideot! Breaking into their private systems is just asking for an investigation that could tear us down. And with the Sekirei unleashed into the city and no longer under our complete control, we would not win this fight."

"Don't worry, my sweetness," he said, ducking away from another punch. "We took extra precautions and covered our tracks before we were hit with any proxies. If anything, they were cut off at one of our backdoors in Germany."

"You are dumber than I ever thought you were. This has got to be..."

"It matters not!" he cried, a dramtic turn and flap of his cape. "The plan will continue as it should. One little wild card added to the mix won't change a thing!" Lightening flashed in the night sky as he took a dramatic pose.

"That one little wild card is capable of turning invisible and can fight on par with a highly trained Sekirei." Takami said, arms folding just beneath her breasts. "You may have quite possibly allowed something in that could ruin everything."

DSS

Hayden stared at the rain from the shelter made of ice, curtousy of Akitsu's special abilities. A simple dome with an opening hastily constructed between two buildings. Said Sekirei sat to the back of the shelter, knees to her partially exposed chest with her arms wrapped around them. Hayden was sure it wasn't from the cold. She didn't even give a single shake. Still...

Hayden approached the Sekirei, partially removing his coat so it still covered his right arm. "Care to trade?" he asked, failing to fit in a humorous tone. Her eyes locked into his, never wavering. "That one isn't covering up very much."

Akitsu looked at the tattered lab coat. She hadn't even really noticed. "Sure." She stood, bare feet patting the cold water of the rain. She removed the coat, watching curiously as Hayden took it. She slid on the trench coat, pulling it tightly around her shapely form. Having it on her, she took in Hayden's scent more clearly. The coat carried his smell, along with dust and a bit of the sun. It also carried the smell of gun powder and looking at the inside where it was patched, she could see what she guessed may have been bullet holes. Turning back to Hayden, her jaw dropped but a fraction when she took in his... attire. It wasn't like any suit she had seen, though by its design it was made for combat. It was gun metal in color with touches of steel and blue. Her ruined lab coat was wrapped tightly around his right arm, his glove covered hand the only thing still revealed. "Thank you, Tenno-sama."

Hayden tightened the wrap around his arm before looking to the Sekirei. "You don't have to call me that," he said. Looking down, he grimaced. It had been some time since he had exposed the suit to the open like this. He was thankful though he had Akitsu remove any more cameras in the area before setting up the shelter. The last thing he needed was that Minaka hounding him with questions, or worse sending his personal Disciplinary Squad to drag him in. He'd give them a hell of a fight though.

Thinking back on the fight he had earlier, he groaned a bit in discomfort. He was sure his suit buffered some of that girl's blows but it didn't mean he could ignore them. He could only imagine there being heavy bruising beneath. He shouldn't have underestimated her due to her size. She was young, highly inexperienced but her punches were like being kicked by a mule. It was only by his training that Hayden stayed on top of the fight, even when her friend joined in. He was damn close to using the glaive to even the odds. Still thinking on the fight, he looked to Akitsu. "You did well back there," he commented. "Back in the fight. You held that one with the sword off pretty well. Mind if I ask who trained you?"

"I wasn't trained," Akitsu answered flatly, her eyes still focused on her Ashikabi.

"Never trained?" Hayden asked, a little surprised. She nodded her head. "Could have fooled me."

"It was all instinct," she answered.

"Is that how the other learned to fight?" he asked, crossing his arms. "That explains how the little one was able to fight, yet not know how to fight." He turned his attention outside as a flash of lightening cracked the sky. "The one with the sword was different though," he remarked as he looked back to Akitsu. "She had experience."

"She's been a part of the previous Disciplinary Squads and had fought several times before."

"Fought who?"

Akitsu shook her head. "I'm not sure. I do know MBI and we Sekirei have been targeted before."

Hayden was sure he knew by who. When he was still part of the CIA, he had come across reports about US battle ships being relocated to an unknown location. Nothing big; a small contingent that could be over looked. But that was years ago. But could the Sekirei truly be strong enough to stand against battle ships and trained soldiers? "I doubt it was just her though."

"There were others. Mutsu was one."

Hayden sighed. "Why am I not surprised." The man did carry a sword like Karasuba. "Wonder if its manditory to carry a weapon in the group." Akitsu just shrugged. He was about to ask her more, needing to learn as much as he could about the situation he had gotten himself into, but a cry echoing in the barren streets drew his attention away.

Akitsu stood, hearing the cry as well, along with a sense washing over her. "An unwinged Sekirei is close by." She looked to Hayden and again he surprised her. Flaps made of the same armor he wore rose from his shoulders and back, closing on his head like a flower would when closing its petals. Gone was the image of a man, replaced by armor with a mask with no eyes and a stubbed horn that was bone white. She had almost missed him saying 'Stay here' before he disappeared in a wave of blue static. A second later she could just barely make out his silhohette in the rain as he moved, his feet splashing as he ran towards the source of the scream.

DSS

Sekirei No. 84 Yashima thought she had the worst luck that could befall any living being. Not only had she been unsuccessful of finding her destined Ashikabi, but she had been chased by a monster of a man who wished to forcefully wing her. And during the chase, it had begun to rain. Her string of bad luck didn't end there, as she had slipped when running from the man, her prized hammer lost in the fall and out of her reach. She didn't get the chance to stand, to run. He was on her, forcing her on her back with her arms pinned. No, she didn't want this. She didn't want this Ashikabi. She tried to turn away from those small, beedy eyes that had no sign of compassion in them. She could feel those eyes looking her over, screaming that bad things were to come to her...

The weight was gone in an instant. His hands were away from her wrists as she again felt the rain washing on her as his body was gone. Confused she looked up to see just the dark sky, lightening cracking briefly. She looked down, her jaw dropping in shock. The Ashikabi was held in the air, feet dangling fruitlessly in an attempt to touch the ground. His hands reached for something at the front of his neck but for the life of her, Yashima couldn't see anything. Looking closer though, she noticed the rain was hitting something that wasn't there. She then finally noticed that there WAS something there. The rain was making an outline of a person, one who was holding the Ashikabi by the throat. The invisible person pulled back and then thrust the Ashikabi forward. He sailed the short distance to collide with the brick wall, his body going limp as he sunk to the ground.

Yashima just stared at the Ashikabi, only turning when she took notice of a flicker of blue light. She squeeked when she saw the strangely armored man turn towards her, his helmet opening like flower pettals to reveal a man with black hair and matching eyes.

"You okay?" he asked.

Yashima just stared, ignoring the storm that was beating down on them. She was still trying to grasp what she had just seen. The man approached, kneeling down just at her feet. She scooted slightly back at his approach, but he held his hands up in surrender. She looked back to the still unconscience Ashikabi and then back to the man. Her jaw trembled slightly.

Before Hayden knew what was happening, the girl had rushed him, tears mingling with the rain as she bawled in his shoulder. To be painfully honest he had never been in such a situation before so he awkwardly patted her back. Her grip tightened and Hayden was a little surprised by her strength, but looking to the large hammer near by told him everything he needed to know. But if she was so strong, why didn't she fight back? He glanced over at the... man. It felt sick even calling him such a thing. He was alive, evidence by his groans of pain and the slight twitch of his foot. Perhaps it was a built in programming done by MBI. To make Sekirei weak when in the presence of an Ashikabi. Would make them easy prey for a winging. The thought of that made Hayden growl.

"Tenno-sama."

Hayden to jump from Akitsu's sudden arrival, the girl kneeling next to them. He simply turned to her, seeing her eyes move from him to the crying girl. He let out a sigh, moving to stand but finding it slightly difficult with the girl clinging to him. So instead he put his arms under her and lifted. She wasn't even that heavy. Still, to have the strength to lift that hammer and only weigh so little? Everything he learned in school growing up was slowly, little by little being thrown out the window. "Hey, its okay," he said to the girl, her sobs dying down. "He's not going to hurt you. Not anymore."

Yashima looked up into the man's face. She felt her cheeks warm slightly, and turned away in embarressment to see Akitsu, the ice Sekirei just staring with a passive expression. "Um... hello," she said, looking directly into the eyes of her fellow Sekirei. She wiggled down from Hayden's arms, her blush still remaining as she walked over to grab her hammer. Taking it in one hand, she lifted it up and rested the weapon on her shoulder. She studied the two, and when it finally dawned on her who the pair were, she shrunk a little, both hands gripping the hammer. "Your and Ashikabi and a Sekirei, aren't you?"

"Yes," Akitsu answered quickly.

"Not by choice," Hayden said, turning to the down Ashikabi. He was sure if he still had his gun he'd put a bullet in his head. But the last thing he needed was to start leavin a trail of bodies now. Especially since MBI had his face and name. "But don't worry, I'm not like this guy. I have no plans forcing any winging."

Yashima visibly relaxed at Hayden's statement. She gave a bow, hammer held tightly to her so it wouldn't fall over. "I am Sekirei Number 84, Yashima."

"Sekirei Number 07, Akitsu." She pointed to Hayden before he could respond and said, "Tenno-sama."

"I told you to drop the honorifics," Hayden said. "Either Hayden, or Tenno." He looked to Yashima. "The same for you."

The three stood awkwardly with the rain beating down on them. Hayden kept glaring at the down Ashikabi, while both Sekirei stared at him. And the longer Yashima stared at him, the more something began to swell within her. It was probably just the scene before her. The way he stood in the rain, back straight, shoulders back. The rain didn't matter to him. The suit, or armor, he wore aided in this image that was building in her mind. He had rescued her from a forced winging, easily defeating the Ashikabi who assaulted her. And now he stood over the fallen Ashikabi. It looked so much like the movies she and the others had watched back on the island. But he was a bit older than the ones she had seen. By Japanese terms, she should think of him as an old man, maybe? But his stance showed he was still full of youth. And his strength! For a human, holding another grown male up by the throat with one hand was no an easy feet. And how was he able to turn invisible? Was he... a super hero!?

Yashima swooned slightly, her breath catching. She remembered watching the shows with colorful characters who would scream 'Henshin!' before changing to fight monsters. Though she doubted he had a giant robot somewhere. She took a tentative step forward, her grip tightening on her hammer. Was she reacting? To him!? Her pulse was racing now as she thought over his actions, brief as they were, and thought over the super heros she had watched on TV. To have an Ashikabi as a super hero...

Akitsu said nothing as she watched Yashima approach her Ashikabi. Hayden was far too fixed on the man slumped against the wall. He was probably decided whether he should end him or not. Must have been hard because he was staring a hole right into him. But who could blame him? And as Yashima drew closer to Hayden, the signs ever present that she was reacting to him, Akitsu couldn't rightfully bring herself to turn away, as much as it pained her to watch. Slowly Yashima rested the hammer on the ground, letting it stand on its own as she moved closer. The thunk on the wet concrete drew his attention, and Hayden turned in time for Yashima to reach him, her eyes glazed over. A confused Hayden found the tiny, strong girl pull him down to her level, lips connecting in the rain. Bright wings instantly sprung forth as the connection was made, and a very surprised Hayden was frozen in shock, with a slightly aching Akitsu watching on with her arms tightly pulling his coat closer to her. The moment it ended, Yashima's wings faded and she gave her pledge to the awe-struck Ashikabi. No longer than a second later, the rain abruptly stopped. Ashikabi nor newly winged Sekirei looked fast enough, but Akitsu did. Looking to the sky, she saw the clouds were gone, forced away by something. Squinting her eyes she just barely made out a shape falling from the sky, falling in the direction they were needed to head to.

DSS

Hayden had no idea what to say as he marched on down the road. To his left was Akitsu, the girl silent as ever and occasionally passing a glance in his direction. That bugged him. To his right however was his newest problem. Yashima blushed furiously with a big smile on her face as she walked painfully close by his side, the girl also chancing a glance at him before turning away, her cheeks seeming to grow a darker shade of red. That bugged him as well. This kind of attention would have been great during his high school days. Hell, college. But a man in his situation doesn't exactly have the time or patience to deal with a woman, let alone two. Not to mention one looks young enough to be his sister and the other possibly his own daughter... he felt really old all of a sudden.

Looking to the sky, his mind wandered onto what had happened to the weather. So fixated on Yashima and her wings... he may never get over that... he never saw what happened to the rain or the clouds themselves. By the shape of the clouds when he had looked up, they had been dispersed. Nearly in a perfect circle. But what could possibly do that? But thinking onto the two Sekirei on either side of him, he wouldn't be surprised if there was one that controlled the weather at this point.

Akitsu stared over at Yashima, the girl giggling happily to herself. It hurt seeing the winging. More so with an Ashikabi she had claimed to be her own. In a normal situation it wouldn't matter, and she would be fine with it. But with her predicament, it was near painful.

"Hey."

She looked up to Hayden, seeing a worried expression in his eyes. She couldn't help the blush when he asked, "Are you ok?"

She turned to hide her blush. "Yes, Tenno-sama." She let slip a smile when he again reminded her to not call him that. "Of course, Tenno-sama." He growled.

Finally arriving at the destination Homura had given, Hayden couldn't help but think he was duped. He expected some form of fortification, with high walls and tight security. What stood before him was a simple, near traditional two level style Japanese apartment complex. The wooden walls barely went over his head and there was no secruity of any kind. There was even a welcome mat at the door and a sign saying, 'Izumo Inn: Vacancy'.

"This is it," Akitsu said.

Hayden groaned. "Are you sure?" She nodded. He sighed.

Yashima looked back and forth, taking in the complex. "It looks really nice though," she said.

"Nice isn't what we need," Hayden said, crossing his arms. He was going to say more as he turned to the girl, but paused when he took in her state of dress. The rain had ended yes, but Yashima was still drenched head to toe, though she acted as if it didn't bother her. Looking to Akitsu, he could see his jacket hadn't survived that much from the rain either. With a sigh of defeat, Hayden approached the door. Before he could even raise his hand to touch the buzzer, the door opened.

Judging by the style of the complex, Hayden had expected an elderly woman to greet them. Imagine his surprise when a woman probably only a few years younger than himself appeared. She was slender, though shapely with fair skin and brown eyes. She had waist-length purple hair with shorter bangs in a hime style with a white ribbon to partially hold her hair in place. Her attire was traditional much like the building; a miko consisting out of a purple hakama, white haori with a sash-like belt. She stepped out, making sure not to step out into any puddle that may have formed from the rain. A warm smile which Hayden imagined a mother would give to her child graced her face. She raised a tentative hand to her mouth. "Oh my," she said, looking the three over. "So many guests tonight." She gave a short bow, hands held together at the front. "Please, come in. And welcome to the Izumo Inn."

To Be Continued...

After so many unneeded complaints about my spelling errors, I went back to try and fix the most of them. The next thing I know, I'm extending this chapter from 5,000 words to near 15,000. Hell of a jump. Now that I got this out of my system I can focus on the others. Till next time.