Disclaimer: I do not own Monochrome Factor. Honest.

Akira ran, panting, trying to get away. It wasn't working. The Shin could move as fast, if not faster, than he could. Gritting his teeth, Akira stomped hard on the slanted surface of the next building, praying its derelict roof would hold his weight, and then leaped off into the cold night air.

Behind him, the Shin was shouting at him to wait, stop, I'm not going to hurt you. Akira snorted. He may be relatively new at this, but he wasn't stupid. He recalled what Kou had told him the night he had first tagged along to fight the kokuchi and close the portals -well, mostly just closing the portals, since hyper-protective Kou never let a single kokuchi get close to him. Anyway, right before they left to go on patrol for the very first time, Kou had pulled him aside and said, in an uncharacteristically serious voice, "Aki, you remember what I told you about Shin?"

"Yes," Akira replied immediately. "They are the opposite of the Rei, that is to say us, and they protect the shadow world form the incursion of the light world the same way we protect our world from theirs."

"That's right," said Kou, nodding, "and if you ever meet one out there-" he pointed in the general direction of the warehouse district and beyond-"and I'm not with you, I want you to run."

Akira blinked. "You mean, run away?"

"Yes," he said, maintaining his serious tone. "You're not as strong as they are, so I want you to get out of there as fast as you can."

"But, how come I'm not as strong as them? Aren't we more or less equals in the grander scheme of things? I don't want to fight, but if I have to-"


Akira started. Kou had almost shouted that last word. Kou, who always had an easygoing smile on his face and spoke in a calm yet cheerful voice. Kou, who almost never shouted at anyone. Especially not at him.

Kou calmed down a little and explained in a calmer tone, "No, Aki. You're not nearly as experienced as they are, and you're far too important-" He took a breath and turned his head slightly away. "I don't want to lose you," he said in a softer tone, looking at Akira out of the corner of his eye.

"You mean, since I'm the only one available who can close the portals?" said Akira cautiously. He got the feeling Kou had left something-or several somethings-unsaid, but felt that Kou didn't want to talk about them. So he fabricated this excuse for Kou, who had, just for a moment, looked so worried and upset.

Kou started, a little guiltily, and responded "Err, yes, of course. You are a descendent of the Direct King of Rei after all, so we can't afford to lose you to some random kokuchi, now can we?" he added with a wink. Akira still felt he was leaving out something important, but he trusted Kou completely, so he decided not to call him on it. Besides, he was glad that Kou seemed to have become his usual self again.

"-So will you run away?" asked Kou, once again peering at him from the corner of his eye.

Akira sighed. "Yes," he agreed, resigned. "But what should I do if I'm with you?"

"You already know the answer to that," Kou responded, using a stern voice again. "Follow my orders. Hopefully we won't get separated out there, but if we do, you can consider flee-on-sight to be your standing orders regarding Shin."

And so, that's what he was doing. Fleeing as fast as he could, but damn if that guy wasn't catching up. Maybe they really were stronger than him, he mused as he leapt over a burnt out air-conditioning unit on top of another warehouse. He had led the Shin to the oldest, most decrepit section of the district here in hopes that his greater weight would cause him to fall through a roof. Not that Akira thought it would kill or even seriously injure the Shin, but it might buy him time to escape.

"Wait!" cried a voice behind him. "I just want to talk to you!" Akira glanced back and was disturbed to find that the Shin was almost right on top of him. Becoming a little desperate, he landed hard on top of the next building, intending to leap forward as far as he could in an effort to put some distance between the two of them. But he miscalculated. He had forgotten the reason he led the Shin into this area in the first place; to make him fall through a roof.

An ominous crack sounded underneath his feet as rotten boards gave way. Quickly, Akira tried to escape, but it was too late. The surface beneath him caved in before he could work up sufficient momentum to jump off it, and then he was falling into the building's interior from more than three stories in the air. Normally, the height alone would have been nothing, but there were chunks of debris from the collapsed roof raining down with him, and even if he managed to avoid them while falling they could still land on top of him when he reached the ground. Add that to the Shin chasing him and things weren't looking too good.

Akira was twisting around in midair when something crashed into him from above. Akira's first thought was debris, but the substance was surprisingly soft and seemed to be holding onto him. Looking back, Akira caught a glimpse of a silver braid shining in the moonlight before he plunged into the darkened interior of the warehouse.

It's surprisingly hard to write this from a young Ryuuko's point of view...maybe because he hardly got any screen time in the manga, never mind the anime, so its hard to imagine what he would be thinking. So if my 'Akira' seems a little OOC, sorry. I'll try not to go too off course.

And yes, his name is Akira too. I know that might be a little confusing, but it seemed more confusing to name him anything else. He looks the same as the canon Akira too, since they're so similar in appearance anyway. But my Akira's personality will be as close to Ryuuko's as I can make it, with some variations due to age and inexperience, as well as the differences that would arise from growing up in the human world versus the light (or dark) world.

So, yeah...maybe a little OOC. Just thought you deserved a heads up.