She had watched him for weeks.

Eyes. Red eyes and blue eyes, bloodshot from lack of sleep, skipping over the sidewalk. It was midnight, and it was dark, but the place was perfect. This was where he lived, where he stayed, where he had grown up. It absolutely reeked with his presence, the sidewalk where he must have walked to school, the trees that he must have passed beneath, the lawns where he would have laid and stared up at the sky, watching the clouds drift past him. He was here, in every fiber of the landscape, in every breath of air, he was here. And she was going to find him.

It was a quiet night, quiet but for the sound of the van she rode in, its muffled rumbling breaking through the air inconspicuously in the dark. It was quiet, but she knew that he would be out. She had seen him leave his home, and it had broken her heart to lose sight of him as he walked away, but she couldn't follow him directly without leaving herself open to being caught. If there was anything that she couldn't risk, it was being caught.

Heiden was painfully aware of all of the other risks that she was taking tonight as she stared out through the car's window, her face so close to the glass that she fogged the cool pane with every breath she released. She was running a risk just by being out, really, for her looks were incredibly distinctive, far more than enough to get her caught; she was a tall and gangly girl, taller than most, and the strike of lordosis had already given her spine an odd shape and her shoulders a bit of a forward bend when she stood straight up. Her mousey brown hair was short and a bit stringy, not even falling to her shoulders, and was prematurely streaking with white. She was becoming an old woman at the age of twenty-eight, a fact that most people tended to notice. She had tried to hide it tonight, wearing a sweatshirt with a hood to hide her spinal curve and her hair at the same time, but she was still incredibly worried to be caught.

"You're aware that this is completely insane, correct?" Drawled a voice to her right. Heiden jerked her head around roughly, sending a glare towards the man who sat in the driver's seat. He looked much like her, though lacking the spinal deformity and the white hair, a fairly attractive if androgynous man with short hair of the same mousey brown shade. Her twin looked bored with the situation, simply staring ahead into the street as he made minute adjustments to the steering wheel where necessary, but when she caught his eye he gave her a skeptical glance. As if he were one to talk.

"Shut up, Simon," Heiden hissed at him, and turned back to look eagerly through the passenger's side window. "Not like you've never done something stupid before."

"Not for a man," Simon sighed, but he hushed up after that. The interior of the car fell back into silence, not a sound but their breathing and the faint clamor of the car radio on his favorite classic rock station. Heiden should have made him turn it off; it was messing with her concentration, and she couldn't have her concentration waver at a time like this. Not at this crucial time.

In fact, she was just about to reach out and crank it off herself, but she was halted by the sight that she'd been waiting all night to see. There, twenty yards ahead, was a familiar back. A familiar walk. A familiar teenaged walk, with dragging heels and slumped shoulders.

It was him.

"Simon!" Her voice was a squealing hiss, high-pitched and worried, her fingers flying to the window and pressing hard against it. "Stop the car!"

Simon drew the car to a halt, maddeningly slow and easygoing in contrast to her terrified manner, but even after he stopped she was frozen. She could only sit there, staring at the retreating back ahead of her, going over her plan in her head but unable to move to execute it. Where was her follow-through? The moment of truth had arrived, and she was too scared, too starstruck, to do anything about it.

It was now or never.

"Go, Heiden."

She sucked in a breath at the sound of her brother's words, hesitating for another moment. His encouragement, however, was all that she needed, and after that moment she wrenched open the car door, slithering out onto the street. Rambling steps carried her quickly towards the figure, the one she had watched, and all of the sudden she could smell him. His smell was in the air, the faint musky scent that permeated this place, the smell she'd learned by heart. It drove her adrenaline to the breaking point, and she found herself reaching into her sweater's deep pocket, hunting around and rummaging through its deep folds and corners until she found her prize. Slowly she retracted the heavy sock, filled at the toe with nickels and dimes. It was a primitive way to go; she would have preferred to use chloroform – there was less potential of seriously injuring her precious, beloved prey – but she couldn't afford it with her salary, and the use of something like that would only put her further into risk.

The risk of being caught.

She couldn't think straight anymore. It was hard to, when she was this close to her goal, her prize, that smell filling her head, making her heart pound hard in the back of her throat, making her head spin and throb with adrenaline rush. With barely a though she found her hand lifting, her weapon lifting, rising into the air, she was only three feet away, two feet, barely a foot. And she saw how beautiful he was even from behind, and it filled her head and her heart until she might vomit from the sheer bliss and excitement of it all, but she heard her own ugly voice emerge over it, whispering and low.


He heard. His muscles tightened visibly in response, and he turned his head, catching her in his beautiful brown eyes, doe eyes, catching and holding her in such an innocent, confused gaze. She froze up entirely, only able to gawk back at him, just as suddenly puzzled and mostly likely much more frightened than he. What was she doing? She was so close to him, so close, but he'd seen her, he could see her and now – and now it was – it was –

"Heiden, you idiot!"

She heard the voice before the footsteps, running, fast, pounding and sure on the cracked pavement of the sidewalk. Her prey turned his eyes from her, over to the side, but there was no time for him to react. Before he could even think to run he had been tackled to the pavement by a blur in a blue coat. Heiden could only watch the battle unfold at her feet, listen to the thud and the muffled squeal of fear and surprise. She felt her weapon yanked out of her hand, and that was the last straw. Finally, she had to look away.

She could still hear the sound of the coins slamming into his skull as she examined the darkened house to her right, shades drawn and door closed. The sound made her want to vomit.

When it was done, her twin rose up to his feet, hair disheveled and coat awry, but the victor nonetheless. He sent her a level glare, then looked down to the prone body lying on the ground at their feet, wiping the blood away from his nose. "Help me carry him to the car."

Wordlessly, she did. It took little time and little effort for the two six-foot twins to carry the five-eight boy and load him into the back of the black van, though Simon was rather excessively rough in contrast to Heiden's excessive care. Once the boy was lying on the carpeted floor, his mouth gagged with duct tape, his hands bound with rope, and his eyes covered by a blindfold, it was well near one in the morning, and it was time for the two to leave.

"The things I do for you, sis," Simon scolded as he climbed into the driver's seat, buckling in his seat belt. "He would've gotten away if I hadn't jumped in. Then you'd have no boy at all, would you?"

"Thank you, Simon." Heiden's reply was quiet and distracted as she turned about in her seat, ogling her new prize with something like love, something like admiration or even infatuation in her eyes. It was rather like a girl looking at a new puppy, or a boy looking at his new model train set on Christmas morning. There was a certain glow about her ratty and worn exterior, some sort of happy aura in her eyes. It was a rare sight to see, and it softened Simon slightly as he watched her.

He loved to make his sister happy. Much of their childhood had been spent moving from place to place, hiding from ancient enemies of their delusional war criminal of a guardian, hiding from things that may have never existed, for all Simon knew. As the oldest by six minutes, and by far the healthier of the two, he had always been the one to look out for his twin sister, making sure that she got her medications when she needed them, comforting her when she was bedridden by her illnesses, playing with her when she had no one else. As they had grown, his need to defend her had only grown as well, as she became the woman that she was today, so broken and strange in body and mind. Maybe he was overprotective, and maybe he indulged her too much, but he couldn't help himself. If she had asked him to catch her a wild bear for a pet, he would have done his best to grant her wish.

A man was considerably easier to catch than a bear. Easier to imprison, too.

So he simply smiled at her, and reached over to pat her bony shoulder, then take her spidery hand in his. "No problem. You just make sure you take care of him, all right? I can't be looking after him all day, not with work and all. And do me a favor…"

She glanced to him, her pale blue eyes locking onto his. "Yeah?"

"Don't tell Uncle."

With a small smile of her own, she nodded. "Right."

Simon nodded as well, and removed his hand from hers. Then, turning the key in the ignition, he rolled away from the curb and off towards home. It would be a long night for the both of them. They needed to prepare the house for their newest guest.