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Old 08-09-2009, 04:54 AM
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Default [O/O] Week 96: Bulls on Parade

This takes place directly after the Orph. collab. Not sure if it warrants PM tags.

Daisetsu Rafa - Nanocarp
Masato Fujikawa - Niero
Word Count: 3853

Rafa wasn’t sure how to feel about Absalom’s adjournment of the Orpheus gathering. This man was little more than a bodyguard – who was he to call an end to the meeting? The young bartender grew even more tense when he realized that the Englishman did so at such crucial moment, right after Aragon had rallied his troops with talk of both physical and mental conditioning that they would likely need to survive the oncoming onslaught in this Hueco Mundo place. It wasn’t hard to see why Rafa was just a little bit hesitant about diving headfirst into the world of hollows, especially after this ‘conditioning’ that he was told about wasn’t going to happen.

Little by little, the agents that had followed Aragon’s signature calling card began to leave the decrepit ruins of the former Orpheus headquarters. Surely, he thought, they had to feel just as iffy about the abrupt ending to the meeting. But, just like the bartender, they kept mum about it, right? Speaking up out of place never feels like a good choice to make in the pseudo-‘rank and file’ environment that is Orpheus, at least to Rafa….of course, the bartender didn’t exactly fit the bill for the standard Orpheus agent.

In all his thinking, the young bartender hadn’t realized that everyone that had attended the meeting had already trickled back into their respected parts of Tokyo – except for one man. Rafa hadn’t ever been acquainted with this brown-haired individual, nor could he even recall seeing him during Aragon’s talks. He couldn’t be sure of why the man had stayed, but it was never a bad time to get to know your allies.

“Ah, you there,” he called out to the man, who looked roughly around his age, “fun meeting, don’t you think? There’s nothing quite like committing yourself to fight for humanity and such!” He shrugged before speaking again. “I only wish the techniques Aragon was talking about were actually taught to us…”

Masato stood slumped against a ruined wall, musing over Aragon Tenbanto's words. In six days, they would step into hell itself. Masato could only imagine what kind of dreadful and morose world spawned these vile creatures.

Reaching into the innermost pocket of his jacket, he retrieved a crudely rolled cigarette and placed it between his lips. Flicking his lighter open, the tiny flame danced innocently in the cool night breeze. Taking a long drag on the smoke, he stared up into the starry night sky, captivated. He wasn't sure even their leader knew exactly what they were getting into.

His thoughts drifted back to the meeting. What did Aragon plan to teach them in such a short time? Not to put anyone on the spot, but some of his fellow 'agents' seemed...doubtful. They were green. Greener than green. How would they manage on the Demon's home turf? Hopefully the Lieutenant had some kind of a plan.

Masato was so lost in his thoughts that he failed to notice that everybody was taking their leave. An unfamiliar voice snapped him out of his daydream.

"Ah...Um...Yeah." he said halfheartedly to the other agent. "I wouldn't exactly call it 'fun', but..."

Tearing his gaze away from the starlit skyline, he glanced down at the man who was addressing him.

"" Masato mumbled. "I didn't catch your name."

He seemed to be asking about what Aragon planned to teach them. Unfortunately, Masato was as clueless as he was. Still, the thought conjured memories of his comrade, Dajuan Washington. He had taught Masato quite a bit, despite being rather new himself. Maybe Masato could help this agent out as well. He certainly seemed like he needed it.

"What did you wanna know..?"

Not fun? Rafa muttered inside of his head concerning the man’s take on the meeting. You’re living the life of a secret agent man! Fighting monsters and protecting the city and wearing disguises and all that stuff! I don’t think it gets more fun than that!

As of yet, the bartender was still blissfully unaware of what it really meant to be an Orpheus Agent. Sure, he’d taken on a few hollows before, but every time he fought one of those beasts it was for his own personal gain. He had yet to come into contact with ‘whitecoats’ or ‘The Order of the White Horse’ like many of his brethren, and even though Aragon himself considered them a real threat, Rafa still downplayed their existence. It was a shame that the Lieutenant’s six day training program never got off the ground – maybe it’d whip the bartender into shape.

“Daisetsu,” the bartender replied to the man in his best James Bond impersonation, “Rafa Daisetsu. I guess my title would be Agent in Training.” He hadn’t expected the young man to be much more experienced within Orpheus than he himself was, but from the way he carried himself, Rafa could tell that this wasn’t this guy’s first rodeo. The brown-haired man couldn’t have been too much older than Rafa – hell, he was probably younger – but he emitted an aura of maturity that the bartender would likely never be able to duplicate. His words provided further backing to his agent experience.

“Uh, what did I want to know?” Rafa asked rhetorically. “Well, anything useful that you can teach me, I guess. Anything that might keep me alive out there, you know?”

Masato cocked his head to the side slightly. Something that would keep him alive in the Demon's realm? Hell, Masato didn't even know if he'd be coming out of this, either. Still, It wasn't like him to leave an ally in need out in the cold like that. He would do what he could.

"Hmm..." the young agent huffed, raising a hand to his chin. He wasn't sure exactly what he could teach this Daisetsu Rafa fellow. Pondering this for a moment, it finally came to him. If they were headed into enemy territory, the best thing to do would be stick together, but there was no guarantee that everyone would be able to do that once they arrived. It would be useful to know the whereabouts of ones allies. The handy little trick Dajuan showed him should do just that.

Rafa already seemed to have some knowledge of reiatsu tracking. How else would he have found his way to the meeting? It would make things easier. When Masato had learned this skill from Dajuan, he couldn't even sense reiatsu, let alone track someone from a distance.

"Okay, Rafa. I've got an idea. You're gonna have to trust me on this one, though."

He reached back into his pocket and grabbed his lighter for the second time. The rectangular metal box was emblazoned with an intricate and unique design. Masato examined it intently.

"Did you ever play 'Hide and Seek' as a kid?" Masato laughed, handing the trinket over to Rafa. "This is the same idea..."

He turned his back and started to walk away. "Find me using that!"

He hoped the other agent would get the hint. He was sure to let his reiatsu spill out as he left. With luck, Rafa would be able to use the reiatsu signature on that lighter to pick up on the trail.

Sighing, Masato sprinted off into the blackness, leaving Rafa alone in the rubble.

"I'd better get that back..." he mumbled to himself.

“Um, what?” Rafa muttered aloud. No one heard. With the brown-haired man’s sudden departure, only the bartender occupied the ruins where the meeting had earlier taken place. Was this a joke? Rafa was all for fun and games, but even he thought a round of ‘Hide and Seek’ right now was a little bit dumb. And what was with this ‘Find me using that’ bullshit? The young bartender gripped the expensive-looking lighter tightly. What did he mean by that?

And then he realized it.

The feeling he had gripping this lighter…it was just like the one he felt when he held Aragon’s reiatsu insulated playing card. Just by holding this intricately crafted lighter, Rafa could feel his reiatsu; he could sense his trail of spiritual pressure. Before, when the young bartender held Aragon’s calling card in his fingers, he felt a similar sensation that allowed him – unconsciously, at least – to track the Lieutenant’s reiatsu to the Orpheus ruins. This time, however, Rafa could feel his senses alerting him to this mysterious man’s reiatsu signature. He felt totally in control.

Of course, knowing someone’s whereabouts and then actually catching up to them were to different things entirely. The young agent had a substantial head start on the bartender, and even if Rafa knew exactly the route he had taken threw his new found perception, reuniting with his fellow agent wasn’t a sure thing. And all this standing around while he got farther away definitely couldn’t be helping. Dismissing his thoughts immediately, Rafa did the only thing he could do – he ran. The trail was there and he was going to follow it.

When Masato was reasonably sure he had put enough distance between him and the other agent, he slowed down to a casual stroll. Slowly, he pulled his reiatsu back in check. It would be more difficult for Rafa to find him, but he wouldn't want to attract any wayward Demons either. Plus, a little challenge would help his comrade develop.

Striding down the rather vacant street, Masato couldn't help but notice how utterly deserted everything was. Granted, it was rather late at night, but usually one could find Tokyo alive and bustling through all hours of the day and night.

"Strange..." he whispered to himself. He strained to sense any traces of malevolent reiatsu. Nothing. Taking a deep breath, he sat down on the curb. He really was too suspicious. Then again, after everything that had happened, one couldn't blame him. Resting his head on his hand, he closed his eyes. He could feel Rafa's reiatsu in the distance. Hopefully it wouldn't take the agent too long to find him.

He had almost dosed off when another reiatsu signature snapped into being. This one was closer. Much closer, in fact. Opening his eyes, he saw a raggedy looking Grim standing across the road from him. Pulling himself slowly to his feet, he eyed the man. His robes were torn and bloodied, and he seemed to have a dazed look in his eyes. Fortunately, he didn't seem to take notice of Masato. Turning, the young agent started to walk away down the street. The Grim's reiatsu suddenly leapt forth. He was practically on Masato.

"What the--?"

There was a dull clunk as the Grim's blade smashed against the Shouheki. The man gave Masato an inquisitive look.

"Oh? An interesting one, huh?"

The young bartender could feel himself closing the gap between he and the brown-haired man. It was apparent that as long as Rafa could follow this reiatsu trail, he would eventually catch up to the agent he was chasing. Also, by feeling for spikes of spiritual pressure in the area, he had a general idea of where this young man had run off to. All he had to do was follow the trail laid out in front of-

It was gone. All of a sudden, Rafa couldn't feel the agent's distinct reiatsu signature on the night air, nor could he feel the familiar spike of energy. The intricately designed lighter that the bartender clutched tightly in his hand offered no clues. The trail had gone cold. The agent had eluded him. Whatever this game of 'Hide and Seek' was supposed to teach, Rafa wasn't doing a very good job of learning it.

He took a deep breath and looked up at the starry sky. Come on, Rafa! he thought. The trail is stll here! You can still follow it...but you need to focus!

The bartender cleared his mind. It was faint, but there still was a trail to follow. He could feel it. He could follow it.

Immediately, Rafa took up the chase again. As he was following it though, the bartender felt a sudden spike of spirit pressure in the vicinity - and it didn't feel at all like the other agent's. It felt...dangerous. Tonight just got a bit more eventful,eh? he thought while increasing his pace.

Masato leapt away from the Grim and drew his Peacemakers. Trouble always seemed to find him at the worst times. The man's reiatsu wasn't particularly spectacular, but it was nothing to scoff at, either. The young agent would have to stay on his toes.

"What are you doing?!" he hissed, "I don't want any trouble."

The Grim stared Masato down with a look of dismay plastered on his features.

"Well you certainly found it, Human. Fight me."

"Hmph. Suit yourself..."

What kind of a Grim went around looking for fights? This man...he didn't seem like the others Masato had met. He seemed...deranged. A rogue, maybe. Regardless, if he was threatening Masato, that made him an enemy, and he would be dealt with as such. Hopefully he could finish this up before Rafa arrived.

"You should leave..." the young agent whispered, "or you'll regret it."

A sly grin snaked its way over the Grim's face.

"Not a chance!" the man laughed, swinging his blade about in wide arcs.

"Then I can't waste any time. Prepare yourself."

Masato's power manifested, and the Shouheki flooded over his entire form. Taking a step forward, he raised his guns. Squeezing both triggers, two shots rang out into the night. The battle had begun.

The combined sound of the two gun blasts pierced Rafa's ears. He was close - that much was evident by the smell of gunpowder lingering on the night air. A flare of reiatsu accompanied the shots, and it wasn't the same as the one he deemed dangerous earlier. The spirit pressure belonged to the agent, of that much he was sure. He had finally caught up to him - but it appeared someone else had, too.

His fears were confirmed when they finally came into eyeshot. The agent he had been following, now sporting a couple of Orpheus issue Peacemaker revolvers not unlike the one Rafa kept holstered on his side, was engaged in battle with what looked like a shinigami. There were likely a number of reasons why this reaper was here picking fights, but the bartender didn't have much time to rationalize

Rafa pulled out his own gun and channeled his spirit pressure through it, transforming it from its normal revolver shape into a large and intimidating rail gun replacing his arm. Wasting no time to get into the action, the bartender fired off a small reiatsu shell right at the shinigami.

"Found you," he said through a grin to his comrade. "Just in time, too"

The reaper turned to the Orpheus agents. The fight took a whole new turn.

Masato was rather shocked when his fellow agent arrived. The phrase 'Never judge a book by its cover' seemed to fit the situation perfectly. Despite his apparently goofy, care-free attitude, Rafa was packing some serious heat. Quite literally in fact. The man's power was interesting, to say the least.

"Good timing!" Masato smirked, "Lets get this over with."

Taking aim, he fired off several rounds. The Grim deflected most of them with the flat of his blade, but a few managed to graze him. Leaping backwards, he wiped a trickle of blood from his cheek.

"Two on one? This is hardly fair." the man laughed. Raising his sword, he dashed towards Masato. His movement was almost instantaneous. In the blink of an eye, he was directly in front of the young agent. The man's blade struck hard against Masato's shoulder, but failed to even mar his earthen shield.

"I told you that wouldn't work..." he scoffed. Raising his fist, Masato struck back at the man. Again, he seemed to disappear. His movement was so quick that the young agent couldn't even track it.

Reappearing a few feet away, the Grim smirked slyly, brandishing his sword towards the new arrival. "Well then, how about this one?"

For a moment, he disappeared from Masato's sight. He barely had time to yell to his fellow agent.

"Rafa! Look out!"

The shinigami disappeared right in front of Rafa's eyes. He was somewhat shell shocked by the instantaneous nature of this sudden movement - and found himself unable to react immediately because of this. If it weren't for the agent's words of warning beforehand, it was unlikely that he would've reacted at all.

The reaper seemingly reappeared right behind the young bartender, his blade at the ready. Luckily, the rogue seemed unable to attack within his quick movement - a flaw that allowed Rafa a little bit of time to dodge the sword strike. Perhaps 'little bit' was an overstatement, since the bartender couldn't fully get out of the sharpened steel's way. The result was a shallow cut along his back. It wasn't a life threatening wound by any means, but it hurt. A lot. Suddenly, Rafa wished for the defensive power his ally obtained.

"Close..." he muttered through his grimaced face, "but no cigar. I think it's about high time that you've gone back to wherever it is you came from."

The shinigami scoffed at his words and readied his blade once more.

"Have it your way. I guess me and my friend here are going to have to show you the way out!"

The bartender's face beamed with pride. That line was soooooooo cool.

He shot a few curving reiatsu rounds from his arm gun at the reaper to accompany his words. They hit, but not with the amount of power befitting a superhero. If he wanted to protect the city from rogues like this one, Rafa would need to deal some more damage somehow. He looked at his comrade. It seemed as if his normal Orpheus bullets were doing abnormal amounts of damage...but why?

Masato heaved a short sigh of relief. Rafa had managed to avoid being skewered by the Grim, but just barely. The man flashed out of sight again. Counting the seconds, Masato raised his guns. As soon as the Grim reappeared, the young agent opened fire. A few rounds hit their mark. The man jumped back, clutching at a wound on his shoulder. So Masato's assumption had been correct. He'd met, and fought with many Grims of this level. Their high-speed movement technique was certainly a sight to behold, but it wasn't perfect. At least in the individuals he'd encountered, there seemed to be a latency period between each step; A moment where the Grim was vulnerable. If he could exploit this opening, he could end this quickly. Fortunately, it seemed that the bloodthirsty Grim was unable to get by Masato's power. The same couldn't be said for his comrade. The wound on Rafa's back wasn't deep, but it sure looked bad. Judging from the agent's power, he would have a far grater chance of dealing a critical hit on this rogue. The blast from that bizarre cannon of his was much faster than Masato's reflexes and bullets alone. He also seemed rather adept in its use.

Reloading his Peacemakers swiftly, Masato continued to rain fire on the Grim. It wasn't so much an attack as it was a distraction. He needed to push the man back, if only for a moment, so he could relay his findings to Rafa. Surely enough, under sustained fire, the Grim backed off, leaping backwards down the street, and then disappearing. Now was his chance.

"Rafa!" Masato yelled, "He's vulnerable right after teleporting! Fire at him then!"

The Grim would soon reappear, and hopefully Rafa would get a solid hit on him. Still, one could never be too prepared. Masato sprinted over to the other agent's position and prepared to parry any attack that the Grim might launch. If he couldn't deal with this one offensively, at the very least, he could keep his comrade out of harm's way until he had a clear shot.

The Grim's reiatsu flared as he snapped back into existence. Now was their chance.

"Get ready!"

The young bartender wasn't sure why the shinigami was any more vulnerable after his 'flash step', but he trusted his comrade's plan. The other agent seemed to be much more experienced in fighting these reapers than he was, anyway. His strength lied in his defensive capabilities though - a direct opposite of Rafa's arm cannon. He had no problem defending the attacks, a trait that Rafa's bloody back envied wholly, but lacked the literal firepower to take out the rogue. That's where Rafa's big gun came in.

"Uhh...right!" the bartender shouted as he launched two large rounds rapid fire from the rail gun. The shinigami, already visibly weakened by both his and his ally's earlier gunshots, had a much harder time reacting this time - just like the agent had said. Of course, the constant support fire coming from his Peacemakers did wonders to keep the reaper occupied, too.

The blasts from Rikidou Koukei were direct hits on the shinigami's back - a fitting payback, Rafa thought. With that, the rogue fell lifeless on the cold asphalt. It was a surreal feeling for the bartender...he knew the reaper was unlike the non-hostile types he had met before, but it was still weird to kill one.

"Good shot, huh?" he grinned at the agent. He got over the weirdness quickly.

Rafa dug a hand into his pocket and fished out a familiar item - the agents emblazoned lighter. It was this little piece of metal that started the night.

He tossed the lighter at back at it's rightful owner. "Thanks for the help. How about I buy you a drink? I know a place a little ways away..."

Rafa pondered asking the agent's name, but decided not to. Details like that only make the alcohol taste bitter.

Masato smirked at his comrade, catching his prized lighter. "Yeah. That was a great shot."

The stony barrier slowly receded, revealing the young agent's much more human appearance.

Staring down at the lifeless Grim, Masato's expression soon turned sour. It was strange to see one like this. Sure, he had fought with them before, but he had also befriended some. To him, they seemed nigh untouchable. They were on an entirely different level. To see such a being lying there in front of him was disconcerting to say the least.

Still, this Grim...there was something different about him. He seemed bloodthirsty, and unstable. Wasn't it Masato's goal to protect the living from the beings of the afterlife? Sure, killing Demons was a given, but these Grims were even more dangerous. Rogues like this one were just as much of a threat to the living as any Demon. It was better this way.

For the second time this night, Rafa snapped Masato out of his daydreaming.

"Bar, you say?" Masato questioned, his tone suddenly full of cheer, "I'll have to take you up on that."

Holstering his weapons, the agent heaved a heavy sigh of relief. Tonight had been an eventful one to say the least. Masato was sure he could expect even more of these in the coming weeks. He might not see the human world for a long time. Hell, he may not even come back from this near suicidal field trip into the Demon's dimension. He figured at the very least, he had earned himself a drink or two.

"So, where to?"


credits to Nano
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