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Signed In Red: Rise of Valentine is an article created by Achrones150. Use is allowed with the permission of the owner, with the exception of collaboration-created articles.

Signed In Red: Rise of Valentine is an article that belongs to Wahpah. Don't touch it, unless he gives you permission. Then you can touch it.

It was late in the day, the district of Rukongai filled with many people. The air was filled with the sounds of chatter and excitement, the aura of the day positive and promising. The sun shone down cleanly on the city, not a cloud within the sky. It was a perfect place for constant activity, a perfect place to not have to stand still and waste time. Everyone was working, and yet everyone was carefree at the same time. Even the children, who had gotten out from their cruel studying, had enough energy to run around and play without worry of anything.

In the midst of the constantly gathering citizens, two particular figures were making their way down the sidewalk.

One of them was a young man in his twenties, with long, red hair that was wrapped in a pony-tail, and near-crimson eyes. He wore a short-sleeved shirt with black lines running down the area were buttons would've been, olive-green pants, and casual boots. His accomplice was a female who was a bit older than he was, with dusty brown hair that was neck-length and brown eyes. She was wearing a trench coat of sorts, with an entirely black suit underneath. One would wonder why such visual opposites would be walking side by side with each other as if they were friends.

They were.

"I still don't see why you have to do this." The woman said in bored exasperation, a German accent being heard through her English-language words. "He's dead and gone, so obviously he's not going to see what you're going to give him...." As her eyes drifted towards him, he flinched slightly, but kept his composure. He continued to walk, shoving his hands within his pockets.

"He raised me well." He replied calmly, his own accent of Japanese showing. His eyes drifted to the ground slightly for a moment, thinking back to a time before. "I wasn't much of a thinker to actually give something back. All I could do was hug him and tell him I loved him.... but, he did that and so much more for me. This is the least I could do for him." He felt a bit better as he spoke the words, a small amount of cheer coming into him.

However, it was immediately shot down when he heard the girl sigh. "Sometimes, I worry about you, Shou." She remarked. "Your sentimental values are going to get you killed some day. We've taken quite a risk coming back here. Do you realize that?"

Shou, as he was called, frowned a little in disdain. "I know."

"You're very lucky authorities here aren't as tenacious as a few years back. Otherwise, I would've never allowed you to come here."

"I know."

"Whatever you're going to do, you'd better not be too long. I don't want to be out here when there's work of my own to do." The girl warned, stopping in front of one of the buildings. "If you're not out here quickly, I'll leave without you." This made the man smile a little, obviously amused by her threat.

"Oh, I'll do my best not to waste your time, Angelika-sama." He said jokingly, making her roll her eyes. Afterwhich, he placed his hand onto the door, pushing it open and stepping inside.

Ding!

The bell hovering oh-so-slightly above the door gave a signal as he entered, alerting the day-dreaming woman at the counter to the costumer's presence. It was evident she was taken by surprise; she scrambled off the stools he was sitting on and smoothed out her dress, fixed her hair, and checked her appearance in the mirror; all the while glancing back at the man who had entered her store to check his position.

"Welcome!" She called out finally. Doing her best to put on a cheery face, she planned to let him browse a bit more before finally helping him with whatever he was looking for. Flowers, of course. He was in a flower shop. Flowers decorated the walls; they were on shelves, behind the counter, on the counter; even the bell that had signaled his entrance looked like a flower. A tulip, to be precise.

Sayama waited patiently, and expectantly. The first costumer of the day! Maybe he would buy a lot of flowers, and give her lots of money!

His foot stepped in through the door. "Kon'nichiwa." He answered politely, giving her a polite smile as he closed the door behind him. His eyes looked around, obviously attracted by the various types of flowers hanging around at the store. The scent was quite overwhelming, of course; he was in a flower store, after all! However, he needed only one bundle of flowers.... but the problem was, he had no idea what type he needed. Colors for graveyards were usually black. Were there any black flowers around? He'd have to ask the clerk.

When his eyes fell on her, he couldn't help but take a second glance. The woman looked kind of.... what was the word?.... cute. Long, blonde hair that slung down past her back. A pink dress that seemed to exude charm. Brilliantly blue eyes that radiated with a positive aura. Certainly, she would seem to fit the type that would run a flower store. A voice in his head was nagging at him for more, curious as to who this woman was. But he shook it away. He was only here for the flowers, not to waste Angelika's time talking. He allowed himself to walk up towards the counter.

"I'm looking for a flower that would be good to place on the beds of the deceased." He spoke, keeping a formal tone and yet still retaining conversation within. "But, I'm afraid I do not know which ones those would happen to be..."

"Oh..." The woman's eyes flashed emotions: sympathy and sadness. "I'm sorry such a thing is what brought you to my shop... Commonly, people leave roses for the deceased, but if you feel that a particular flower here represents your bond better, feel free to look around." Sayama explained, flashing a small smile. She didn't want to make the man gloomier than he already was. Motioning to the flowers around her, she said "Feel free to look around."

"Arigatōgozaimasu." With an acknowledging nod, Shou stepped away and looked around for a moment more. Roses were red, right? That should be easy to spot in this colorful garden of beauty. He stuffed his hands within his pockets, walking around the store with a curious look on his face. "I wonder.... are you working with anyone else? This seems like quite a burden to find all of these flowers for one person."

"Oho."

Sayama fixed the man a condescending stare. "Are you implying that a woman can't handle running a shop all by herself?" She asked. She was teasing, but she had a good feeling he would take it seriously. Mentally, she laughed at him. He'd fall over himself trying to assure her he wasn't sexist, and she'd enjoy every second of it!

Immediately, his eyes widened at the words, clearly surprised with the words. An amused smile came across his face, but he kept his eyes averted in order to find the rose. He crouched over what would've been a bundle of them. "Of course not, miss." He kept his careful way of speaking, a slight jesting tone within. "But if I implied anything, it would be that you certainly are quite a class above most women." As he continued to speak, it was almost as if he was speaking to himself as well. "Looks, personality, and all.... the males that come here must fall at your feet, don't they?"

Certainly, she wasn't expecting this! A faint blush spread over Sayama's cheeks, and diverted herself to the flowers behind her to keep him from noticing. "I-I... uhm... Not a lot of males come to a flower shop..." She replied, barely able to manage the words. Oh, this one was a charmer. She would have to keep her cool! It wouldn't be professional for her to start flirting with a costumer.

"Not even for bringing flowers for the dead? How disappointing...." Shou muttered, raising his finger to point at the flowers identified as roses. "Could you help me out here? I'm not sure how to gather these...." He felt like an idiot for asking such a thing. But, she was the clerk, after all! She knew how to gather and wrap the flowers in order for proper selling! Ugh, why didn't he learn about these things when he was younger? He should've paid more attention to his father....

"If you wanted roses, you should have just asked for them." Of course she would have the most popular flower ever bought behind the counter. Made things easier for her; easier for her costumers. "I told you to browse only if you wanted to find something different, silly. How many would you like?"

"Whoops."

Now Shou felt stupid, almost tempted to raise the back of his head. However, the only sign of it was a faint blush of the cheeks, as well as a lopsided frown. "Oh. Sorry...." He muttered, unable to think of anything else to say. Rising up, he allowed himself to walk towards the counter and stop in front of it. "I think ten would be enough for a bundle, wouldn't it?" He began to hear that voice once again peck at his head. Now, they were face to face with each other, and he could see her face clearly. The curiosity was taking hold, and this time it took a bit of effort to shove the voice back. However, it did manage to win in the smallest ways; it caused him to lean over slightly in order to place his arms horizontally onto the counter, knees bent a little.

"Ten sounds perfect." She chimed, sending a reassuring smile his way. Somewhat... intimidated by the way he was leaning on the counter, he stepped back from it in order to give herself room to do what she did best. Picking ten roses from the shelf behind her, she wrapped them carefully in a clear plastic wrap (with white frills on the ends), and finally, wrapped the midsection of the plastic in a pink ribbon. Returning to the counter, Sayama placed it at the middle of both of them. "That'll be... 3,000 yen, please." She chimed. If he thought it was pricey, she was sure he'd be able to find some other flower shop in Soul Society.

Normally, it would be pricey. Mentally, Shou winced a little at the price. Was this one of the reasons why many pe--

Oh, wait, she did say "males" only. Maybe plenty of females had come in order to get flowers. But, no matter how he thought about it, that possibility struck at him in an odd manner. Wasn't it always the men buying the nice stuff for the girls? As he fished for his wallet and pulled it out to rummage through it, he couldn't help but think of the subject a little bit more. But, as he flicked through the pockets, it couldn't helped but be seen that he had an abnormally plentiful amount of cash, more than the common folk. So it wasn't shocking that he managed to pull out 3,000 yen in the shortest amount of matter possible to give to the cashier.

"Arigatō, miss....."

Then, he remembered. He had never gotten her name! How silly of him, if he knew he was going to address her as such. Therefore, he trailed off purposefully in order to imply the question: "What is your name?"

"It's only polite to ask someone else's name after you have given your own." Sayama replied, nodding. She just wanted to know his name first. That was acceptable, wasn't it...?

"Heh....true, true...." Shou admitted, the grin once again returning to his face. Shifting his wallet back to its proper place, he extended his hands out, accepting the flowers from her and holding them within his arms carefully. "My name is Yoshizawa Shou."

"Makoto Sayama." Sayama replied. "I'd say it was nice to meet you, but you were about to leave, weren't you?" Sighing, she sat back down on the stool she was resting on before he entered.

"Don't worry."

With a turn of his heel, he made his exit, not bothering to look back as he spoke. "If everything goes well for me..." He remarked, stopping that the door in order to open it. "I just might be coming back here later on." Closing one eye and allowing that smile to grow a bit wider, he allowed himself to leave the premesis and shut the door behind him. He hoped his words would linger, and his presence wouldn't be forgotten as a simple customer so easily. He hated those types of moments, after all; just meeting and already being forgotten from the mind. People just had too much distance in order to remember brief meetings....

He turned towards Angelika, who had a leveled gaze towards his person. "She suspect you?" She questioned immediately.

Shou shook his head to show negativity. "Not one bit. It seems that I've been forgotten in this district for the moment. It'll make things easier for us in the long run." He reported, smile fading into a more serious look. "How long will we be staying here this time?"

Angelika put on a pondering face, allowing herself to think. "Hmm.... I'd say about two weeks tops. Then it's off to Aether in order to run some errands." She answered, a glib and prepared response being made out of her words. "For the moment, we're on break. Why do you ask?"

"Well...." Shou looked a bit hesitant. "Truthfully, I just might be taking a liking to someone--"

"A liking?" He didn't like the rather annoyed tone that seeped from her mouth. However, it faded away immediately after she spoke again, her face falling into her palm. "We're in this district for only a day, and already you're allowing yourself to fall for women. We're only here for three weeks before we leave, so what would be the point of that?"

Shou huffed. "First off...." He retorted. "It's not like I'm going to be marrying and settling in any time soon. I've actually met a person who hasn't tried to kill me yet. I'd prefer making more friends than enemies, thank you very much." However, Angelika merely allowed herself to snort, her expression skeptical.

"That's because she doesn't know who you are, you idiot."

Her words immediately snapped his mood again, and gloom fell onto his expression once more. "Yeah...." He murmured in agreement. "She doesn't. And I hope that's the way it will stay."

Angelika sighed heavily, reaching over to place a hand on his shoulder. "Don't get too attached, Yoshizawa." She said in a reminder tone. "Remember what I said before. Emotional bonds are something that people like us would get killed by. They're nothing worth holding, and will cut your hand like a piece of broken glass. If she finds out anything about you, she'll be just like the ones that pursued you - your enemy, and nothing more. Do you understand?"

"Hai. I understand."

"Good...."

With that, she took his hand off of her shoulder and stuck it, as well as her other one, into her hand. She walked off, with Shou following close behind her. She looked over his shoulder at him, a smile crossing her face.

"So... Oliver Holmes and I were planning to go to the local bar in order for a drink or two. Once you finish up here, you're free to come with us if you wish." This made Shou smile weakly, despite his rather gloomy mood. Heck, it even washed a small part of it away, just enough for mirth to peek in an eye.

"All right.... but I just hope that Oliver doesn't overdo it again...."

"...."

A bar? That sounded nice! Sayama was glad she had decided to eavesdrop. Even if the first part of the conversation didn't make much sense to her... And... it sounded like he already had a woman...

But if he was hitting on her, it meant they weren't together, didn't it? This made her happy. She let out a little giggle, and fixed her hair slightly in the reflection of the shiny counter, as if he was still here watching. She'd go there tonight and surprise him. Maybe even get a little drunk!


It was later on in the day.

After Shou had delivered the flowers, he and Angelika set out for the said bar. It was a surprise that it was still open - after all, they were in No. 9, and therefore still in the law-enforced zones. Maybe it was because it was to a lesser degree than the first eight districts? Whatever it was, they were quite lucky to have such a manner of entertainment. The three met up in front of the bar, completely prepared to have a little fun.

However, they first had to get past the two huge bouncers, which were sitting right in front of the door. One of them extended their arms out. "Weapons, please." He ordered firmly.

"Oops."

Shou had neglected to put his katana, which was currently sheathed onto his waist, away for the time being. Taking it off of its waist and keeping it within its sheath, he handed it over to the bouncer. Then and only then he was allowed passage into the bar doors. Next, of course, was Angelika. She was never one to carry any weapons on her, so she passed without hesitation. As they passed through the doors, they stopped at the doorway to wait on their third and final friend. He was attempting to go in without the bouncers inspecting him.

"Hold it, Oliver. I believe those Glock 17L's are in order....?"

"Ah, tits!!"

Angelika shook her head, and Shou laughed at Oliver's irritated expression as he removed his two pistols from their holsters and handed them over to the bouncer. "How do you guys keep catching me like that?" He demanded, gritting his teeth. "I was hiding them out of everyone's sight this time!"

"Not ours." The bouncer replied, smirking and jerking his thumb towards the door. "Now get in there, or we just might be keeping your guns."

"Tch...." Oliver scoffed at him, but decided not to argue any further as he followed his friends inside. "You do it, and I will bury your ass in your own blood. Got it, Wheaties?" He remarked threateningly. However, the only response he got was an indifferent nod from the bouncer before he turned away to face outside of the doors.

"Oh! Yoshizawa!"

As Shou entered the building, he was immediately intercepted Sayama. "I've been waiting for you..." She purred. Her hair was done up nice; she was wearing a black, skin-tight dress, which seperated at the hip to show off her thigh. As she led him away from his friends, a white purse slapped her side medolically, matching the pace at which she walked. Her face, resting against his bicep, which she had her arms wrapped around, featured a faint pink blush spread across it's cheeks.

She was drunk.

"I-I had to wait... I didn't know what time you were going to come..."

"M-Makoto-san? W-wait, hold on for a second, what are you doing here--?"

The man couldn't even get words out right as she dragged him away. As she did, Angelika could only shake her head and smile in amusement. Oliver himself couldn't even restrain himself, his laughter hearty and moderately loud. However, the noise of the other occupants in the bar were quick to match it. "Oh, man!" He exclaimed. "I'd never thought the ladies would be hooking on to Jap so quickly!" He nudged Angelika's arm with his shoulder. "C'mon, boss. How about I kick your ass in a game of drink?"

Angelika rolled her eyes. "And what makes you think you'll be able to handle it? I had to drag you from here the last time we did that...." She remarked dryly, causing his eyes to immediately widen.

"Yeah? Well, I learn from my mistakes, I can take it now!"

"Fine by me. But I'm only giving you an option out of being humiliated again in front of this bar."

This caused Oliver to growl, clearly miffed by her smug tone. "All right, then, you goddamn kraut, we'll see who's passing out after this!"

"Shhh!"

Sayama placed a sloppy finger on his lips; only, in her drunken stupor, she allowed it to slip higher, into his nostril. "Hee..." She giggled, pulling it out slowly. Luckily, no snot could be seen on it. "Come on... sit down..." She beckoned, dragging him to a stool. "Buy me a drink."

Sniffling a little out of reflex as her finger was pulled from his nose, Shou unconsciously rubbed his nose while staring at her through one open eye. If anything, it was quite obvious that she had dressed to attract. He couldn't help but stare a little at her most attractive features, not skipping the curves. And especially the...

He mentally slapped himself. No! That was not how he should be thinking! Angelika should've actually slapped some sense into him, if he knew that this was going to happen. He took in a deep breath before exhaling, trying to clear his head. "All right...." He spoke carefully. "What would you like?" After she said, he was going to call over the bartender in order for their order.

"A martini would be nice..." She replied. Idly, she fiddled with his hand while she waited for him to order. Pushing all his fingers down, except the middle one, she giggled at the gesture. "Look..." Sayama ordered, holding the hand up to his face.

....god, this was one "two shades to the wind" woman he had here.

"Woah..." He raised an eyebrow at her, not bothering to fight off her fingers. "Are you trying to tell me something, Makoto-san?" He asked dryly, raising the folded fingers in order to clasp between her own. "I mean, we've only just met...." Briefly, he turned his attention over to the bar, where the tender was just approaching them. Upon seeing the two holding hands, he scowled and cocked an eyebrow of his own.

"Ah, don't tell me this is another case of lovebirds!" He complained.

Shou grinned, albeit a bit helplessly. "Sorry, sir.... but could you care to bring us two martinis?" He asked politely.

"Sure.... but I don't want anything funny done in here. Your lady already looks a little drunk." With that, he went to go fetch the drinks.

"Hic. I'm not drunk... You're drunk." Sayama replied, releasing Shou's hands. Indignantly, she rummaged around in her bag before finding a bill. Pulling it out, she didn't noticd her make-up... Lipstick, powder, eyeliner... all spill out of the bag. Swiftly, she handed it to Shou, before giving another small hiccup. "What're you waiting for..?"

"Uh....." Shou could only stare blankly at the bill handed to him. "What do I do with this....? I already ordered the drinks, and I have more than enough money...." He insisted, simply handing the bill back over to her. As he did so, he eyed the stuff that had fallen out of her purse. "And... the stuff in your bag fell." After she took the bill, he would help her pick it up. After all, it was what a gentleman did, right?

"I-I got it..." Ignoring the bill he was returning (it seemed she didn't remember handing it to him in the first place), Sayama fell off the stool to the floor; now on her knees, she picked at the make-up on the floor, dumping them back into her purse. Her hair had fallen over her face.

She'd been waiting there since he left the store! And so many nice men had offered her drinks... she couldn't say no; it'd be impolite...

"Makoto-san...."

A look of pity fell upon his face, and he slid off the stool, ignoring the bartender as he placed the two drinks in front of where they were sitting. He kneeled down to her level, reaching up to brush the hair from her face. The drunken blush spread across her cheeks was surprisingly cute... even if it did make him wince a little knowing that it was simply out of drunken stupor. "I don't think you're in any condition to keep drinking any more...." He said softly, his tone soft and kind. "You should go home and rest yourself. After all, you have your flower shop to run, right?"

"No..."

Sayama scowled at him. "If I want to... If I want to drink--hic--I... I'll..."

Vomit.

Vomit was everywhere. Well, happily nowhere on Sayama, but all over Shou. It pooled up in his lap, then spread down his pant legs; it'd probably seep into them, too, and soak his underwear! It would also leave a nasty stain where it had hit... right in the square of his chest. None of it would get on his face, but the impact of it undoubtably left some drops on the bottom of his chin, and on his neck.

Sayama giggled again. She found it funny.

And, apparently, those around her did as well.

"Ooooooooooooooooo!"

Immediately, after that chorus was said, the whole bar started laughing at Shou's misfortune, even as he sat there covered in Sayama's bile. He had never felt so.... dirty in his life! He was shivering under the disgusting and initial warmth her puke covered him in, as well as the chill that swept through him once he faded away. "S...see? You're going to get yourself sick if you keep this up...." He managed to gasp, trying to keep his shakes under control. He would have to take off this shirt later on.... "F...fuck, this is disgusting....!!" He thought he was going to vomit!

Finding no other choice, he promptly bent over and slid his coat and shirt right off in order to shed the defiled clothing.

"Hey! I thought I said no funny business!!" The bartender shouted.

"My shirt has been vomited on, sir, and I would prefer not to stick with it much longer." Shou replied firmly, quickly moving behind Sayama in order to pick her up around the waist, as well as to slide her arm on his shoulders. "Now, up you go...!"

"H-Hey, get your hands off of me... hic... P-Pervert...! Help..!" Sayama screamed. Sluggishly, she tried to pull herself out of his grip. It wasn't working. Really, it was more like he was shifting around in his arms. But, it was enough to attract the attention of the surrounding bar people. Dozens of angry eyes shifted towards Shou.

Even Angelika and Oliver stopped their drinking contest in order to watch the scene. Oliver snickered. "Harbor-Bomber's in trouble...." He said tauntingly.

Shou, however, rolled his eyes at all of them. Now they were paying attention to them? He wondered how his two friends could even stand being in a bar full of stupid people such as these. He decided not to notice, keeping Sayama within his hold and gently escorting her to the exit. "Angelika, Oliver, I'll see you guys later when you're done....!" He called over his shoulder.

"My... My martini..!" Sayama shouted. Her arm craned out towards the counter where the drinks were situated. They were already out of her reach, but she kept acting like if she stretched her arm just an extra inch, she could reach one. "Get off of me... pervert..."

"No."

Shou answered in a blunt reply, even as he forced the door open with his foot. Then, without warning, he twisted her around and hefted him onto his shoulder like a sack of flour. It would look incredibly odd, but he needed a way to keep her restrained! At least, until they got back to.... wherever her house was. Now, if he could just find out...

"God damn...." Oliver muttered, staring at the door in which they exited. "You think he might get some tonight?" In response, Angelika raised a hand to clutch her head in mock pain in an expression of displeasure. The alcohol wasn't affecting her, but it might as well have been with the way she was putting it.

"I hope to God not. The last thing I want is a kid running around my HQ...."

"I'm gonna kick your assk--hic..." She was slurring, now. It was getting hard for her to formulate words; it wouldn't be long before she passed out. Still, she struggled, weakly kicking the air and punching his stomach. "Jussst wartch me kick yer assk..."

This made Shou pinch the bridge of his nose in frustration. The blows were not very strong against him, so there was no reason to retaliate against her. He used his free arm to wrap around her kicking legs in order to keep her from loosening herself from her. However, this only brought the voice back full-force. This time, he could've sworn it was talking to him from outside of his mind instead of within!

"You're such a naughty boy, taking advantage of a woman like this...."

"Shut up! I'm not taking advantage of her!"

"Says the guy who has his shirt off and walking around carrying her like a prize."

"Agh! I told you to shut up!!!"

Finally, she stopped struggling.

Sayama fell limp on his shoulder, arms swaying gently from side to side as Shou traversed the dirt road. Her dress was slightly wrinked from the incident in the bar, her hair now a tangled mess... It draped over her face like a curtain, and was almost long enough to begin dragging on the ground too. Something slipped out of her bra and landed on the ground behind them.

Money.

That was the safest place to put it! Someone could just take it from her bag, but she'd notice if someone tried to cop a feel.

"Huh....?"

Noticing it immediately, he bent over to release her legs momentarily to pick up the bills. He frowned heavily, before stuffing it within his pocket and moving on. He was always tempted to just rob her of it and pick it up for himself. After all, she was careless enough to lower her protection of it.... however, it was rightfully hers. He wasn't on a mission to take it up. Not to mention, she'd probably have the police all over him if he did so. He would give it back to her once he reached her home....

....or, maybe the flower shop?

Her purse was hanging idly; slapping against his chest as he walked. He could check it for her adress; he wouldn't find it, but he'd find the key to the flower shop. Unless he planned on breaking a window and replacing it later, that'd be the place to go.

With that notion in mind, Shou decided to change directions. Ignoring the pointed stares, he walked down the sidewalk with his free hand into his pocket, the other one still keeping a firm hold on his "cargo". Without word, he reached into the purse, fiddled around with it, and found what he wanted; her keys. It wasn't sooner after that he reached the door of the flower shop, sticking the key in to unlock it and taking her inside.

How did he know?

Simple.

If she was carrying all of that other crap within her bag, surely there was a key somewhere. After all, she wouldn't lock herself out.... right?

Right.

The fragrence of flowers drifted through the doorway, welcoming them both home.


"No boobs and no ass... what the fuck is she doing at a bar?"

"Well, she's not fat..."

"Who's the clown she's with? Screamed out 'tits!' when he came into the bar. And they're both wearing suits..."

"They're not from around here, that's for sure."

"Looked like they knew that one who left with the flower girl over his shoulder. The stripper."

"That one had a nice rack."

Laughter exploded from one side of the bar, booming over the rest of the noise. Some locals were talking amongst themselves; often glancing with rude facial expressions towards the two obvious outsiders who appeared to be having a drinking contest.

Crash!

A bottle landed and broke on a wall curiously close to where the two were sitting. Beer dripped down it's length, slowly staining it a dark blue. The people gathered around the table supressed drunken laughter.

"Huh--?!"

THere were dozens of bottles beside the two, and the two wasn't showing much signs of drunkenness themselves. However, upon the loud crash of the beer bottle, he jerked his head, a comically shocked expression on his face. "Hey! That hic almost hit me, you assclowns!" He shouted. "Do it again and I'll drop ya!"

"Keep your voice down...." Angelika muttered scoldingly, setting down yet another beer bottle. "We don't want to cause a scene." She could easily ignore the remarks made towards her figure. She never aimed to impress men, and in the cases she did, she wasn't meaning to. It wasn't that she was a lesbian or anything; she just wasn't interested in flirting and love affairs. Who could run their business when their lover's bugging them all the time? It was irritating!

As irritating as the people around her...

In fact, she was considering leaving and letting the American win this little "competition". She had enough for one night, as she was beginning to feel its effects. Though they were minor at best, she didn't want them to turn any more serious and end up having her composure and thinking pattern lost. She set down what she would mark the last bottle she would drink.

Smash!

....

The glass fragments from the battle that had just hit the back of Angelika's head sprinkled over Oliver. The beer that was still in the bottle; the small, miniscule amount that always remained at the bottom; soaked the back of her head, enough to mat down the hair there. It'd smell of beer for however long she went without a shower. The small amount of the small amount that hadn't been soaked into her hair dripped down the back of her neck.

For a moment, all Oliver could do was stare in shock. Angelika's head jerked forward, her matted hair hanging over her face. For a moment, she didn't allow herself to move, making the American think that she had fallen unconscious. However, under that matted hair, a narrowed-eyed, pupil-shrunken glare of nothing but quiet venom. Slowly, she allowed herself to stand, shaking her head in an effort to dry her hair for a moment. However, it was futile. But the notion lasted only for a moment. Angelina promptly turned to face the group, hair hanging over her eyes and the scowl clear on her face.

"I don't suppose the one who did that doesn't have the nerve to show himself?" She questioned dryly, sliding the bottle closer to the corner of the table.

He stood.

Big was an understatement. While, technically, it was because of his girth, the man that stood was easily the biggest person in the bar. The mounds of fat attatched to his arms could easily be converted to muscle if need be. His three necks changed shape to compensate for the grin forming on his face. Teeth were yellow, black; missing in some places.

"I threw it. Got a problem, little lady?" He laughed. This illicited a nervous laugh from his friends, who were looking at the woman uneasily.

"As a matter of fact....I do. You see, I just came here to have a drink and go home. But now you've had to go and ruin my perfect mood."

The bottle was perfect and right into place, angled with the big man himself. She smirked, for she knew what to do. "Now I do believe I have to start some trouble." She finished, moving the bottle a bit away from the table and let it sit there.

"Now I do believe I have to start some trouble." He repeated, mocking her in a very high-pitched, whiny voice. Obviously, he didn't appear to be too intimidated with the woman. His neck fat jiggled as he laughed, and his chest heaved up and down, displeased at the effort of having to move all that flesh up and down in order to create space for his lungs.

She flexed her hand for a moment, looking it over for a minute in boredom....

...then, she reached and wrapped around her fingers around what would be the guy's "nuts". It acted like a crusher on almonds, fingers breaking every blood vessel and possible bone within. The sensation would be incredibly painful, but that would only serve as a distraction for her next move. She leaped up with her legs, using one hand to grab the front of his shirt and another to grab his head. When she descended, she pulled him down, down, down with a display of well-put strength.

The bottle would act like a spear.... and punch right through his head.

Thud.

While the blood from his head began filling up the bottle (quite nicely; pieces of gray matter floated within it too), piss and shit from the man's bowels began filling up his pants. He'd been so frightened, he'd released his bowels before he died! Would have been something to laugh at, if it didn't smell so much. The man's party mates had evacuated the moment she'd crushed his nuts; no reason to get involved with something that the shinigami would undoubtably handle later.

However, Oliver had other plans.

Deciding to add a few kill counts of his own, he reached into the back of his trench coat, pulling out two Glock 17L pistols. The ones that the guard obtained had been nothing more than decoys. The real ones he kept hidden from view, able to decieve them every time. With that, he leveled the pistols at his enemies and unleashed fire upon them all. Several of them were caught in the fire, and they dropped before they could reach the door. "IT'S TIME TO DIE, MY DARLINGS!!!" He shouted tauntingly, a sadistic grin on his face as he continued to shoot them down.

They dropped like flies, all of them.

Dead bodies littered the entrance. The rest of the bar's patrons, the good citizens that they are, stayed at their tables. The bartender took cover under the counter--why should he risk his life? A few stragglers, not killed by the initial bullet, kept crawling towards the doorway, moaning. They were in pain.

Oliver holstered his pistols once more, grinning from ear to ear. "That felt so good...." He declared, chuckling a little. "It's been a while since I've had a bit of fun like that. Only thing I regret about it is that they all ran away like cowards.... and still are." He decided to let the ones that had survived bleed to death. It was a good price for messing with them both in such a manner. He turned towards the bartender, shuffling into his pocket and pulling out a fat roll of money. He tossed it onto the counter, shoving his hands into his pockets.

"Sorry about the mess...." He muttered, before promptly stepping out. He had the courtesy of stepping over them and allowing them to die peacefully. Angelika, however, was not so nice, as she stepped on the necks of a few that got in her way as she exited the door.

No one bothered to get in their way as they exited the building. The bouncers had long since departed; their footprints were visible in the dirt road, along with one, deeper set. Deeper because their creator had been carrying someone.

"Guess these are Jap's footsteps." Oliver remarked, folding his arms across his chest and looking at them for a moment. "Let's fetch him before the friggin' Shinigami show up to investigate this." Angelika allowed herself to say nothing in return, only a firm nod. With that, the two walked to follow the deep trail of footsteps to grab their third comrade.

Snore.

Sayama snored loudly from the counter. It fit her body perferctly; the heels of her shoes barely made the edge, but they did, and that prevented total discomfort. Maybe if she had a pillow, she'd be all set! Unfortunately, she did not, and the snoring was occasionally broken by uncomfortable grumblings about some kind of sauce.

Dreams were entertaining.

Shou himself was sitting beside the nearest wall, his arms resting on his upright knees. His head was leaned back to it, his eyes directed towards the ceiling of the place. His eyes were blank, and his eyebrows were furrowed slightly in a manner that one would present when despaired. One would wonder why he was feeling such a manner, as nothing had happened to him as of yet. The only thing that was keeping him from going into complete despair was Sayama's loud and comedic snores.

He was thinking back to his past. It always seemed to travel with him everywhere he and the others went, never leaving him alone for a minute. The voices in his head were a constant reminder that he could never escape from what he had done. He lowered his dead eyes for a moment, staring at his palms for a moment. He could practically see the gun that he once held in his hands, and for a moment, he could even see those four bodies he had the barrel pointed at.

He shut his eyes, heart clenching as he thought of his father that had been slain by the revengers of the ones he had killed. He had never saw them again after his father's death.... but he hoped to God they were suffering. They deserved every bit of it, wherever they were. They didn't deserve to live after what they had done... protecting those bastard children... killing the innocent... it would be both a satisfaction and a plague upon his life, forever more.

Nothing more....

The snoring abruptly stopped. It was replaced by moaning. "Fuuuuuuuuuuuck... I have a hangover... Where am I...?" She mumbled idly. She didn't bother sitting up. She could see from where she was laying that she was in the flower shop.

"You're in your shop." Shou responded simply, his eyes slowly directing themselves towards her. He didn't yet move from his position, opting instead to watch her reaction.

"... O-Oh!... You're that... guy..." Sayama held her head in frustration. "Thanks for... uh... helping. Guess you don't feel like helping me home, though... huh?"

Despite himself, Shou managed to chuckle. Slowly, he allowed himself to stand up and work his muscles out in order to relax them. "Well... do you happen to have some sort of coat or something? I'm afraid I had to carry you out of the bar like...." He extended his arms out in a motion to his half-naked self. "....this, and I don't wish too look awkward." He felt slightly guilty for making a decision to seemingly mooch off of her, but what other choice did he have?

"So willing to wear woman's clothing...?" Sayama teased. Laughing slightly, then frowning as it made her head hurt, she shook her head. "I don't live very far away, so I'm afraid that the only thing I do have here is an umbrella."

This caused Shou to sigh, but he relented. "Very well. I suppose I can stand another moment of this...." He concluded, walking towards her. "Are you all right? Can you walk?" His voice expressed slight concern for her, and he checked her over for a moment to see if she didn't injure herself.

"I can... Just not straight." Sayama giggled. "I trust you won't take advantage of me, in such a vulnerable state." This only served to make her laugh more, before she gave another pained expression and ceased. "It's only a few houses away... Or, huts, whatever you want to call it. Your friends were wearing suits... You someone important?"

"Well...."

The man seemed a bit hesitant to answer, though he didn't hesitate to shove his arms under her in order to pick her up bridal style. Of course he wouldn't take advantage of her! Why would he.... despite the attire she was in.... no! He wasn't going to! "We're really not that important...." He half-lied to her, using his foot to push the door open and make his way to the outside. "Just another group of individuals trying to stand out from the crowd is a way I'm able to sum it up...."

"Oh...? Sounds exciting..." Sayama replied wistfully. Her head leaned against his bicep again. "What do you do? For a living, I mean... I don't get out of the shop much, so forgive me for being so out of sorts today..."

"Don't worry about it...." Shou remarked softly, looking down on her for a minute. A bit of happiness swelled up within him. Yes! It was like those cheesy romance movies where the guy is carrying the girl fresh from a rescue! "But, what we do.... we basically go from town to town in order to help trade goods between companies. It's pretty fun, and you get to travel places while working at your job at the same time...."

"Heh..." She squinted at the smile on his face. "Would you like to stay the night? I'm scared of being all alone in a big house... by myself... It'd be nice to have some company..." She continued to trail off, hoping he knew what she meant. Raising a hand, she pinched one of his nipples. And giggled.

"Gah!" Shou shut one eye at her pulling, a sensation running through his body. "Ajapa! Don't do that, Makoto-san!" He complained, wincing a little. "Besides.... I thought you had told me a minute ago not to take advantage of you in this vulnerable state. I don't want to defy your wishes...."

Sayama frowned. "I see how it is." She pinched harder. "But are you really just going to stand there while I play with your nipples~?"

"If you don't cut it out this instant, I'm going to carry you over my shoulder again."

"Do that, and I'll start playing with your butt."

Shou closed his eyes for a moment, one of them twitching. "Fine, then. I'll let you off here and let you walk the rest of the way." He countered. "How would that sound?" This was only meant as a bluff in order to get her to cut it out. He could only hope he was nearing their home so that he could finally set her down either way. However, that reminded him of one other thing, something that would've made him blush out of embarrassment. Thank God he had some backbone.

"By the way, am I even going the right way?"

"Oh, you already passed it, but I forgot to tell you~! Clumsy me. I apologize." Sayama hummed, smiling warmly up at him. She wanted to see how much she could get away with! The intensity of the smile could probably melt snow; she hoped it'd do the same to his resistance.

Despite being firm in his decision, the smile was enough to make him feel a bit... comfortable. Automatically, he spun around and walked the other direction, slow enough so that she wouldn't have the same excuse. He allowed himself a small smile of his own. "Ok... which one is it...." He allowed himself to mutter, trying to search for what would be her type of house.

"It's the only one with flowers decorating it." She responded. "Who were your friends? The ones you came in with...? The man seemed a bit... eccentric, and the woman a bit too serious. She isn't anybody special, right? I don't have to worry about anybody coming to kill me for stealing their man away?" Of course, Sayama was already assuming she had stolen him away. "Normally, I don't get excited when men flirt with me, but you seemed special..."

"Firstly...." Shou began, in order to answer her questions one by one. "It's just the way they act. The woman focuses on her job the most, and the man takes pleasure in it. You needn't worry." He moved his arm a little just enough to open the door and let himself in. "Secondly.... there's nothing special about me." For the most part, he seemed to ignore her bold statements about him and her. Really, should he have allowed himself to get so close to her? Eventually, she would know about him, and this was only accelerating the process.

"You've got nice nipples." Sayama countered. With her own strength, she pushed herself out of Shou's arms and leaned against the wall for support. "Can I make you coffee, or something..? Maybe some tea? I need something to fix this hangover..."

"No, no, I'm fine...." Shou re-assured her, looking around. "But you could spare me with some sort of shirt or coat...."

"You could go in my room and snuggle underneath the blanket~...!"

"That's not going to happen...."

"You were so stout about going against my wishes before; what if I wish for you to get under the blankets?"

"I still couldn't do it."

A rather sad expression came over Shou, and he ran his fingers through his red hair for a moment. "We've barely gotten to know each other." He explained. "You may find me charming and "special" so far, and I might find you to be....well.... pleasing...." He couldn't really think of a good word to describe her, so who could blame him? "But that's all we know about each other, isn't it? It doesn't go much deeper than that...."

"Oh..." Sayama sighed. "I guess I'm being kind of easy, letting you have it on the first date, huh? Maybe I'm still a little drunk..." She ran her fingers through her hair, scowling. He carried her around shirtless, and expected her not to get turned on? But then, it was her fault for being so helpless!

"I'm sorry... Stay here a moment, I'll get you a jacket."

"Thank you, Makoto-san." Shou gave her a smile, both showing his gratitude and attempting to soften the mood a little.

Nodding, she left, having more control over her motor functions. When she returned a few minutes later, it was with a coat (that would undoubtably be a bit too tight on him), and gave it to him. "Here you go. Maybe we could do this again sometime..? Well... Not this exactly, but... You know what I mean."

Not one of complaining, Shou slid it on. It still exposed some of him, but otherwise he was much better than he was before. In a way, it looked oddly like a simple shirt on him due to the size. When she spoke, his eyes averted themselves away from her for a moment. "Well, I would be glad to do it without the alcohol abuse...." He suggested, slightly in a jesting manner. Despite this, he didn't like to see the woman stumble and bubble like a depressed drunk. She didn't look as graceful!

"Well... Perhaps you should ask a lady on a date next time, hm?" Sayama's eyes shone brilliantly. Her lips curled into a small smile, and, while she didn't want to give Shou a hint, it was completely obvious (to her) what she wanted him to do. The woman's arms folded patiently, and she watched expectantly.

The man lowered his head at her, a rather helpless look on his face. "Well.... I could do that now." He admitted, folding his arms across his chest and tilting his head to the side. His smile turned a bit casual. "But, the truth is, I'll be leaving in a few weeks due to job activity..." He felt a slight twinge of guilt as he spoke the words. She looked so hopeful about it! He didn't want to crush her spirit by saying yes! It would be too short of time, too short!

"In... In a few weeks...? Oh..." Sayama looked away. "Well... It's been nice meeting you, I guess. Goodbye." Moving towards the door, she planned to show him the exit. Once the door was open, she motioned out of it. "You may keep the coat."

"Yes.... thank you...."

He wanted to hug her, to embrace her one final time and tell her his gratitude for meeting him. But, the cold truth was, it would only bring her closer to him. He didn't want that, for her to start burying herself within his tainted soul. He didn't want her to taste the cold reality of what he had felt in his past. He should've never allowed himself to meet her in the first place.... but now it was too late. The best he could do was distance himself from her and hope she would forget about him.

And so, he stepped out the door, shutting it behind him.

Sayama rubbed her arms for a moment, stole one last look at the door, then headed off to bed.

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