His eyes glinted dangerously as he watched the young woman scrounge through the trash. He watched her shapely body move as she searched for anything that she could trade in for money. She cried as she brought a finger to her face and sucked on the wound.

"You're injured," he said as he walked up to her. She drew back and he grimly smiled. She pushed back her aqua hair and she blinked her magenta eyes.

"It's all right. Please don't turn me in," she said and he grinned, much in the same way a snake does when its stalking prey.

"I'm not going to turn you in. Come on with me. I'll help you out."

"Thank you."

"Come on. I think I can use you."

"For what?"

"Never mind. Just come with me. You won't get anything out of that trash can."

"You are being very kind," she said and he darkly smiled.

"Not exactly," he muttered and she looked at him.

"Who are you?"

"My name is Vicious. What's your name?"

"My name? It's been so long since anyone's asked me that. It's Rei. Vicious…is that your real name?"

"It's the name I go by. Come, let's get out of here."

He led her out of the alley. She watched his silent movements, wondering why he had come to her aide. He glanced at her, not sure himself why he came to her aide. Could it be that she somehow reminded him of himself?

She glanced up at him and he turned away from her. She lowered her head and tried to pull away from him. She should have been left in the streets to fend for herself. She stopped when his grasp on her hand tightened.

"You're safe. For now."

"For now?"

Vicious said nothing as he led her into the spaceport. She gazed at the machinery as he led her to his ship. He forced her to sit down as he walked into the bridge.

"Why are you doing this?"

"I don't exactly know," he replied as he switched on the ship's engine. She sat back and looked around the ship. She stood up and walked to the bridge. Vicious glanced at her and frowned. Why had he been so…nice to her? It wasn't her looks that had driven him to her. She wasn't ugly, he had to give her appearance that, but there was something else that had drawn him to her.

"Sit down," he said and she did as she was told.

"Why? I mean, I've had everything happen to me. I've been chased by stay dogs, harassed by thugs…all sorts of things? Why did you take me?" she asked.

"You're hungry, aren't you? There's some food over there. Have some."

She walked over to the corner and opened a box. She took out a package of wrapped food and carried it back to her seat. She opened it and began to eat ravenously. Vicious watched her for a moment then turned his attention back to navigating. He was still unsure why he had plucked her from the gutter. Was it because he felt sorry for her? He shook his head at the thought. He was above such feelings…wasn't he?

"There's a room to the left of you if you feel tired," he said and she slowly smiled.

"Thank you. Thank you for everything," Rei said as she stood up. She walked into the other room and sat on the small cot. Why was he being so nice to her? Why did he take her from the alley? What did he want with her? She sighed as she lay down on the cot. It felt good to lie on something more substantial than a ripped blanket on concrete. She closed her eyes and sighed. The life that had just opened for her could be no worse than the life she had been living.

***

Vicious lit another cigarette as Rei walked into the room. He threw her a shirt and she lowered her head in thanks. He watched her walk out of the room and narrowed his eyes. What was it that had drawn her to him? He drummed his fingers on the table and frowned as he tried to figure out why he had taken her from the gutter. It was not like him to care for others. She walked back into the room and sat down. He glanced at her sitting huddled in the corner and narrowed his eyes. What was it about her?

"You must be rich. This is your ship, isn't it?" Rei asked.

"Yes," Vicious replied.

"It must be nice to have steady work. I'm sorry. You don't like to talk, do you?"

He said nothing as he turned away from her. She watched him for a moment, sensing his coldness and wondered why he had been so kind to her. He didn't seem like a very kind person. Perhaps it was his silence that made him seem unkind.

"Maybe it would be best if I say in the other room," she said and stood up. He watched her and narrowed his eyes as a scar on her leg caught his attention. He stood up and walked towards her. She watched him and took a nervous step backward, not sure of what his intent was.

"That scar, how high does it go?" he asked.

"The one on my leg? Pretty high. It's shaped like a cross. I don't remember how I got it," she said.

"How long have you had it?"

"Five years I think. I vaguely remember being involved in a fight of some sort."

"Five years ago. Were you in a bar when it happened?"

"I think so. Why do you ask?"

"I was there."

"You were?"

"Yes. You were an innocent bystander in a barroom fight."

"I don't remember that."

"You were unconscious after the cops took the fighters away. How did you end up back there in the gutter?"

"I lost my job and couldn't pay my bills. Now I remember you. We had plans for the evening."

"Perhaps we can still do that."

"That sounds interesting. You know that I was choosy when it came to accepting offers."

He smirked as he turned away from her. Now he knew why he had rescued her. Apparently that night had been locked within the confines of his memory but when he had seen her, the memory had been set free. He walked back to the controls and sat down. She watched him then sat on the chair behind him. She ran her fingers down her legs for a moment then watched Vicious' movements. He gazed silently out the window, lost in his own thoughts. She watched him for a moment then stood up.

"You don't have to go," he said.

"You do better alone. You didn't say much when we first met either," she replied and he smirked.

"Simply because I don't like to talk doesn't mean you have to leave me alone."

"Would it make you feel better if I were in different attire?"

"I don't have an abundance of women's clothes," he replied and she smiled.

"If only I hadn't lost so much in those five years."

"Everyone hits the bottom of the barrel at one point in their life. It's the way things are."

"You've been through a lot, haven't you?"

"Yes."

She turned away from him and stared out the window. He glanced at her then stood up. She watched him for a moment then pushed up the sleeves of the shirt that she wore. He watched the bottom of the shirt expose more of her legs and pictured her attire when he had run into her at the bar.

She had worn a tight fitting outfit that consisted of below the waist pants and a metallic looking tank top. Her hair had been much longer back then and she had lost weight due to her lifestyle but she had basically stayed the same.

"I probably should leave you alone," she said and he grinned slightly.

"It's all right. I suppose I can drop my guard in your presence," he said.

"What do you do that leaves you so cold?"

"I work in the syndicate."

"Isn't that dangerous?"

"Everything is dangerous."

"You've got a point there. Do you have any other clothes? I'd at least like to have something on my legs."

"You're fine. I don't have any other spare clothing anyway. It's too bad you don't have that outfit anymore."

He watched her unzip the shirt that she was wearing and sat back down. She completely opened the shirt and he watched with interest. She gazed at him and smiled as Vicious slowly stood up and walked towards her. He took her hand and opened the shirt that she was wearing even wider.

"Have you missed a lot of female contact over the years?"

"My work seldom involves pleasure," he replied as he touched her. She watched him and closed her eyes as she felt his hands on her skin.

He watched her and darkly smiled. She was so trusting. He shook his head at her gullibility. He could easily kill her if he wanted to. He ran his fingers over her skin. He wasn't going to kill her. Not yet at least. He kissed her neck as he took off her shirt. He'd give her what she wanted now to gain her trust than manipulate her later.

He watched her actions with interest and grinned. He would use her to her full potential and the beauty of it all was the fact that she'd be completely unaware that she was being used.

"I really miss that night," Rei said as she opened her eyes.

"Anything can be relived," he said as he kissed her.

"I've needed someone like you in my life."

"Enjoy it while it lasts."

"What?"

"Nothing."

"I'm not getting myself into something I can't back out of, am I?" Rei asked and Vicious looked at her.

"What makes you say that?" he asked.

"What you've been saying. It worries me."

"Don't let it worry you."

She watched him walk away from her and zipped up the shirt. She sat down again, wondering what she had gotten herself into. Her hands shook nervously as she sat back in the chair. She was, most likely going to die on this journey but the chances of her survival where she had been was extremely slim.

"We're landing soon. You might want to take a shower. There's a washroom in that other room," Vicious said and she stood up once again. He watched her walk out of the room and grinned as his mind began planning her manipulation.