Wildfox: Welcome to the second chapter of the Hanging! I'm sorry I took so long on updating but I was really busy with my hotline. However, it's been terminated because it was too much like chatting (sobs). Oh well, now I can focus on my other fics and maybe have some time for some other stories. Thanks so much to the people who did participate in my hotline though. It was a good fun experience while it lasted. (sobs) I think however, that I might have made some difference with the readers since my bladers did help some people. Anyway when we left off, Alex and the guard were going to Kai's cell. Enjoy, and thanks for the reviews!

At the exact second of thirty minutes since she'd entered the jail, Alex and the guard reached Kai's new home. He took out a large ring of keys from his pocket and fiddling with it for several seconds, he chose a long white skeleton key which he fit into the lock and turned. The door creaked open as dust flooded from its surface and a small amount of light entered the dank and dark room before the two figures. The guard told her in Russian that she had thirty minutes with him and that he would return for her then. She nodded as she entered and he closed the door behind her.

She was almost too frightened to go any further. Her leg muscles felt like jelly and her brain seemed to say over and over again that she should go back and come back later, but her heart and will to see her brother pushed her on.

It was rather large in size but still quite small at the same time. However, it didn't smell like the rest of the jail. It had an almost welcoming smell like Kai's room at home had been. Obviously they weren't too hard on him if they cleaned his area up every once in a while. Heavy breathing was all that reached her ears for a time until she was only a few metres from her brother's corpse. At this point she heard mumbling and almost panicked whispers almost like he was begging for help from the gods. She knew she had to go closer because he couldn't hear her over his own rambling to himself. What if he didn't remember her? (one metre closer. . .) What if he died while she was here? (thirty centimetres closer. . .) What if he was hurt? (thirty centimetres away. . .) What if they were killing him? She was now so close that she could hear his words. He was praying in Russian to their god as pained coughs escaped his throat. He lay against the back wall of the cell closest to the tiny bared window. One knee was up to his chin as the other leg lay flat against the floor almost limp. His left arm was positioned across his upright leg and like the other his remaining arm lay limp. His face was invisible at the moment but through the dark she could almost see his lips move.

"Alex?" he asked, not sounding like himself at all now. "I-is that you?"

She knelt down to his level now touching his once soft pale skin sending warmth throughout his body and something he hadn't felt for years, love. She knew her presence was known by now. His skin was now cold and clammy and his shirt was reduced to rags. He might as well have not been wearing one at all. His blue stripes had long been washed away and his once brilliant crimson orbs were dimmed and forgotten. They resembled only pits now and all life had left them. His slate hair was more messed up than she had ever seen it and his face reviled pointy cheek bones and other bones that Alex had never seen on her brother before. He lifted a hand to her face as if checking to see if she was real. She held it close to her cheek as she felt even more visible bones.

"You came for me." he choked, managing a small smile. "I knew you would."

Quiet tears streamed down her face as she hugged her brother close to her. He was so light as if there was nothing to his body anymore. His spine poked out his back as his shoulder blades clenched heavily together. All his muscle had left him and he barely had the strength to hug her back.

"Oh Kai I'm so sorry. They wouldn't listen to me. They're just so convinced that you're guilty. They haven't done anything to you have they?" she asked, letting him go as he tried to get up.

"Other then not feed me and keep me in here till they think I've just stop caring no. No of course not."

He was up by now but not standing his full height. He looked almost crippled or like he hadn't gotten up for a while. Knowing Kai he probably hadn't. At last he looked into his sister's eyes as if finally realizing that he wasn't alone anymore. He had another human being to associate with rather than just dirt and stone. He began to walk now towards her and just a few centimetres away he brought her into a tight hug as if returning the one he could not before.

"I can't believe it's you." he stammered. "Everyday I beg for you to come and visit me and well get me out I guess."

He coughed again this time for a matter of seconds as Alex caught a glimpse of his eyes closing in pain. She held him closer not wanting him to die on her.

"What's wrong?" she asked, letting him go and facing him yet again.

"Nothing. I've been like this for a few months now. I haven't had water for two days. I'm afraid that my throat's gonna close on me." he choked again, and from Alex's eyes shivered.

She looked around but saw no sign of warmth. No blanket no nothing. To her that was more punishment then anybody deserved let alone Kai. Looking at his still shivering corpse she took off her own jacket and placed it upon his shoulders.

"You need it more than I do Kai. Please keep it until I get you out of here. I won't stand for this any longer. It isn't right!"

She was crying again by now as she looked out Kai's only view of the outside world. In front of her eyes lay the gallows. A large wooden staff with ropes and cuffs attached to its surface. Obviously execution by hanging was still permitted in their country. She hurried to change her thoughts.

"R-ray and I are engaged. Our wedding's in a few years. When I get you out Ray wants you be his best man."

He laughed a little coughing again. "Tell him I'll be there."

Backing up slowly she heard the bars of her brother's cell open slowly behind her. Looking towards back in his direction, she saw him shake even more at the sight of the guard entering his quarters. Checking her watch she saw that she had twenty minutes still so he couldn't be coming for her.

"Hiwatari, Kai?" he asked, glancing at a notebook in his left hand as Kai nodded. "Come with me please. Miss if you could wait here for a moment I just need to speak to your brother." and with that he took Kai as Alex's coat fell to the ground at her feet.

There was a small bed to her left which she sat on twirling a corner of her coat in her hand every few seconds. What could they be doing to him. Suddenly, she heard shrill screaming in agony from the right of the cell. Getting to her feet she walked only half out and looked for the source. Smoke was rising from a bend in the hallway and burning flesh was all that reached her nostrils. Then a voice rose over the screams.

"Quit your wailing and hold still!" it called, as she heard a fist meet some part of the victim's body.

"Oh no, Kai!" Alex yelled, running down the hall.

There he was on his hands and knees with a brander to his back blood pouring from an open wound in his mouth. He looked so weak now as if he'd pass out at any second. He was surrounded by three guards who held him down with ropes and continuously as if he wished to scar bone, the one guard branded his shoulder. Kai screamed only for the first blow and then lay quiet letting them burn his body with no care once so ever.

"All right this one's done. Now they'll be able to tell for sure that he's to be hung." the source of the brander cackled.

"When sir?" another asked, scratching his forehead.

"Three days or so. We'll have to see what the chief says that kid Tala's parents want. If you ask me he deserves to die tomorrow." and with that they brought him back to his cell where Alex had just reached and quickly sat on his bed. "Get in there!" they all shouted, throwing Kai to the ground and closing the cell door as if forgetting that Alex was still present.

For several minutes she didn't know what to do. Kai was bleeding all over the concrete where he still lay not stirring and yet again her legs felt like jelly. She couldn't move. As each second passed by, her face continued to lose colour and the more she wanted death for both of them. Her mouth felt like something furry had died in it, her voice was nowhere to be found and she had no more tears to give. They like Kai had been spent. Finally when she brought up the courage to go to him, she got to her feet and leant down to his level. Luckily his body was still moving with every short winded breath that came through his lungs so he hadn't perished yet.

"Kai please. . . get up." he didn't move. "Kai I'll get you out of here I promise just please, help me first by getting to your feet."

He tried his best to bring his body up from the ground but only fell again this time with a large crack from a now broken nose. His breathing slowed as his body relaxed. Kai was dieing. Alex attempted to lift him and managed to lay his tired head in her lap. He looked horrible as if he'd been brought back from the dead and was keen on going back to it. His beautiful crimson orbs were half lidded and purple bags lay beneath them. He looked sick, tired and warn out and indeed he was.

"They're gonna hang me in three days." he said, weakly coughing up a small bit of blood. It ran quickly down his cheek and splattered on the ground. "Just let me die now Alex and you'll feel better and you can live with Ray and not have to worry about me."

Alex caressed Kai's face with her left hand as she held his with her right.

"You're not going to die. We'll get out of this together. I need you Kai. You're a part of me. If you leave I won't want to live anymore. There'd be no point."

Kai smiled. The kind of smile which was hardly seen on his face but to his sister it remained familiar. She always made him smile.

"Alex Hiwatari?" the guard who had accompanied her in the beginning asked.

"Yes?"

"Time's up. You can come back tomorrow."

She looked into her brother's eyes one more time before she lay her jacket over him again and left his broken body where it lay. She would be happy is he didn't move until she returned tomorrow. That way his safety was confirmed. Alex waved as he struggled to wave back but only managed to smile but that to her was good enough.

The entire course remained the same upon the return journey and when the two reached the front doors of the jail there was Ray just like he'd promised. He waved as Alex only gave a fake smile and walked into his awaiting arms. He kissed the top of her head as he pulled her into a tight embrace. She was safe now but she couldn't help feeling that she shouldn't be there.

Wildfox: Well? What do you think? Not bad huh?

Kai: They branded me? Now that's just weird.

Ray: Read and review and earn a great big cookie!