When they stepped inside, they were greeted by the sight of Claudia hanging up the telephone with exaggerated care. Dark eyes lifted to start at them bleakly before she turned and marched into her bedroom, throwing carelessly over her shoulder the words, "We have a mission."
Michael nodded at her back. "I need to start changing then."
"You're not going active this time, Michel."
She shut the door on him as she answered. "You're not going active on this mission. You're riding back-up with the new boy."
Surreptitiously, Ken picked up the telephone and punched in "*-6-9", even as Michael continued arguing with the closed wooden door. "But it's too dangerous for you to go out alone!"
"I'm not," she replied very calmly.
"Maki's going with me."
Just as quietly as he'd picked it up, Ken set the telephone back in its cradle and stepped up to stand beside Michael. "You trust Maki enough for that?"
The door opened, and he found himself staring flabbergasted. The light-haired woman he'd never seen out of baggy jeans and shirts in the week he'd been there looked... different. Words failed. She wore a skin-tight outfit of shiny black leather - or maybe it was vinyl, but either way, it shone in the light - that reminded him more than vaguely of the outfit he'd first seen Michael in. The top, such that it was, barely hid the essentials, more like a bra than a top, revealing a startling amount of cleavage, scarcely covered by a thin layer of almost transparent flimsy black cloth that went up to the equally black choker on her throat. The bottom at first resembled a micro-mini skirt, but a second glance identified it as a pair of shorts. Black boots covered up to her thighs as she balanced herself perfectly in the ridiculously high heels. Fingerless gloves that ran to her upper arm completed the outfit. She was pulling on a sleeveless high-necked trenchcoat - also shiny but in red - on over the entire ensemble. "I trust Maki more than I trust you, newbie," she was saying.
"Maki has a private agenda in this..." Michael began.
"An agenda that matches my own. No more arguements now, bishounen. It's not going to do any good." She stepped between them and opened a drawer on the small desk behind them. A huge handgun was produced from it, and she tucked it in a holster hidden in the back of her pants.
"You stole that outfit from Gackt," Michael stated. He was so obviously pouting that it was cute.
"Not entirely," answered Claudia distractedly. She was currently loading wooden stakes into pockets hidden within the coat. She stopped, though, long enough to check her watch quickly. "Maki'll be here in ten minutes. That should be just about enough time. It'll be close though."
"Enough time for what?"
Michael's emotions change so quickly. I don't think anyone else could go from pouting to this curious so quickly... Ken thought to himself, smiling softly to himself, despite the frown Claudia was sending his way. He might as well be bouncing up an-
"This," Claudia stated finally, poking a slender finger against Ken's forehead.
For a split second, all he could do was wonder what the hell she was doing. Then the world exploded into bright lights and pain. Even the darkness that swam up to swallow him hurt, but at least the light was gone.
~ * > ^ - ^ < * ~
Strangely enough, it was the light that brought him into the darkness that drew him back out of it. Flashing behind his eyelids, red, blue, green. Other than the brightness, the first thing he noticed was that his entire body was cramped and his head rest on something that felt like... someone's lap. He tried to stretch his legs out, and his feet encountered something that refused to give.
"Don't try that. The car isn't big enough for stretching out," a soft voice murmered to him. It took him a moment to place the voice as Michael's.
"Wh-what happened?" he forced out of a sudden hoarse throat.
"Can you open your eyes?" the young man asked instead of answering.
For a long and rather frightening moment, he couldn't force them to obey. With a suddeness that was also a bi frightening, then, they popped open and the pale bue light assaulted him again, forcing him to squeeze them shut again.
"What did you see?"
"Maki?" There was a slight sound of agreement somwhere to his left. "Light."
"Light?" the Oriental repeated curiously. "What kind of light?"
"Blue. A light blue light."
"Calm your emotions down, Michael," that smooth, almost emotionless voice continued. Beneath his head, he could feel Michael slowly relaxing his body. "Now open your eyes, Ken-san."
Relunctantly, he tried it again. The trobbing light - and corresponding headache it caused - had dimmed. Slowly he forced himself to sit up. Once again he found himself in the backseat of Maki's car. This time he was listing rather badly and leaning against Michael - who was surrounded by the blue light he'd seen earlier.
Desperately, he glanced to the front seat. The light surrounding Maki held a small twinge of the blue, but mostly it was just a dark brown colour that blended in with the night outside the vechile. Claudia... her light was strange. It held the blue also, not as much as Michael but more than Maki, but it was mixed in with the dark brown, a green shade, and an overwhelming fushia. As if sensing his eyes on her, Claudia turned to him and slid her sunglasses up onto her forehead. "What?" she asked sharply.
"What did you do to me?"
"I activated all your latent powers." She glanced closer at him. "It looks like you can see auras. That'll be useful." She slid her black sunglasses back in place and tapped Maki's shoulder lightly. "Let's get to work." A nod of agreement, and they both stepped out of the car. Claudia leaned against the partial open window by Ken's head and continued, "Ken-kun, keep an eye on everyone. Michel, keep a listen out for us." He glanced over at the young man quickly, disturbed as he merely nodded. "Well..." she glanced up at Maki, who had circled the car and laid a pale hand on the blackness of her outfit, "wish us luck."
16 November 2001
"And we are caught in the fire
The point of no return
So we will walk through the fire
And let it burn..."
>^_~< I guess I shouldn't listen to songs from the Buffy musical when I'm trying to write. Anyway, here's a new chapter. Hope you enjoy.