The rain drummed down from the grey sky onto the grey cobble stones (apathetically?) soaking both the young white haired boy clutching an infant swaddled in blankets to protect it from the cold and the semi-circle of thugs surrounding them. The most heavily tattooed of the gang stepped forward and pointed at the crouched boy- his gesture made more menacing by the bicycle chain wrapped around his knuckles

"Pay up!" He snarled silently congratulating himself at the impressive figure he struck- those weeks at the gym had been worth it. He clenched his fist tighter to flex his biceps slightly more 'this freak must be terrified of me' he thought, quietly proud of his ability to deal with the kid. The others had been frightened. Something about the kid being devil's spawns. Hah! As if that would scare him! The kid didn't look like anything special. Sure his hair was freaky but anyone with a little bleach could do that.

Allen cursed his foolishness for the thousandth time, you would have thought that after all he had gone through he would know better than to trust people. Keeping his head bowed to prevent them from seeing his scar and to sate their ego he said

"I fully paid both our passages in Japan. I owe you nothing"

Normally he would have taken his chances. With his arm and his agility, there was a fair chance that he could have defeated them but he had Mai with him and he couldn't risk her being hurt.

"Sure ya paid for the passage but what about protection, freak? Two kids alone on the streets- who knows what could happen. Pay us and you've nothing to fear. Don't pay... you get my meaning yes?"

Allen tightened his grip on Mai, furiously calculating his escape route. Mai stirred and Allen's heart skipped a beat as she woke from her sleep to find she was cold, wet and surrounded by the very embodiments of every child's worst nightmare. Fear filled her eyes and she started to cry.

"Shut that thing up!" the leader roared kicking out at the boy.

Allen leapt backwards, his head snapping up

"Don't you touch her" her snarled.

The thug let out a yell as he caught a glimpse of the blood red scar that ran the length of the boys face and he instinctively flicked his wrist out, sending the rusted chain flying towards the boy and infant

Time seemed to slow down as the chain curved its way towards the boy. He immediately twisted his body around shielding the wailing infant with his back, clutching her close to him, wrapping his arms around her small body

He let out a yell of pain as the chain laid open his back and sent him flying to the ground. Gritting his teeth, he opened his eyes and forced himself to his knees. He thrust the child- now frightened to silence- into a gap between the rubbish bags piled up in the alleyway. He rolled himself back to his feet and staggered away from the hiding place, trying to put as much distance as possible between it and him. He reached out with his mind to his innocence.

"Innocence!" He yelled but before he could complete the connection, one of the thugs punched him hard in the gut and the sudden lack of oxygen drove every coherent thought out of his head. Before he could gather up his scattered wits, the rest of the gang plucked up the courage to join in their favourite game of 'beat up the helpless innocent'. The initial wave of overwhelming pain faded off as they continued the beating and Allen's mind re-booted, just as he was about to connect to his innocence again, he saw something which once again drove all coherent thoughts from his head. Mai had picked herself up from her hiding place and was toddling towards the monstrous trolls that were making her adopted papa cry with pain. Her eyes were alights with steely determination as she launched herself at the leader

"LEAVE MY PAPA ALONE!" she yelled, grabbing a handful of the man's trousers and tugging as hard as she could. Now here is a little side-note to all those who wear hipster jeans to look cool- combine low slung jeans with the weight of a three year old child and, well, let's just say any coolness factor given to you by the jeans is very suddenly revoked. Mai fell to the ground, confused, her hand still clutching a handful of the monsters jeans. Bicycle chain man all of a sudden found himself standing comically with his trousers around his ankles and the centre of amusement for the rest of the gang. His eyes narrowed in fury as he looked down at the cause of his humiliation and he raised his hand then snapped it down, sending the bicycle chain flying towards the little girl at an astonishing speed

Allen saw what happened from his vantage point on the ground. As soon as the thug raised his hand, he knew what was about to happen. Despair and fear filled every essence of his being. He couldn't make it in time. He reached out his arm in a useless attempt to reach her