The middle aged woman looked at the little girl and smirked. It had a been a while since she had started looking for requites and the best place to start would be there. Sure, it was a bit unethical to train children to be future assassins. But, it would save the trouble of looking for a stealthy young lady by just teaching little girls how to become one.

The type of girl she wanted had to be young, but not too young. Taking care of some helpless little girl was not on her To-Do list. After all, she was a very busy woman and had no time to take care of a baby. Thats basically why she never had children in the first place, save for Pristine. But then again, nobody ever knew if that was her real daughter or not.

Thats why Mai was the perfect candidate for her "program", as she called it. Mai was exactly eight years old and didn't really need anybody else to take care of her. The girl practically leaked independence. So, taking the girl as one of her daughters could honestly be put as a smart move.

"This girl was found alone in a parking lot not far from here. Though she has run away from here a few times, all in all a good girl. Nice attitude and pretty mature for her age." one of the social workers summed up.

"You're acting as if you're selling me livestock. Let me see her." Geneva demanded.

Once the social worker brought her to the area where the kids were playing, Geneva made her way over to the lonely girl with the odd color socks. The young girl was drawing a picture, which was probably better than what an average girl her age would draw.

What drew her to the little girl (no pun intended) was the stone cold look on her face. It was as if anything could happen to her, and she wouldn't care. Putting on one of her trademark smirks, she looked over to the girl, who was now staring directly at her.

"Hey, what are you drawing?" she asked in a sickly sweet voice.

"Just a tree." she quietly replied.

"Why a tree?"

"Trees are the basic givers of life. They grow off the land and give us with air. I don't see anybody ever thanking them, but I thought that they might be happy if I drew one of them." she explained.

"You care weather or not trees are happy?"

"No, but I thought if I put on a cute innocent kid act, then you'd take me out of this hell hole." the girl sighed.

"Heh, kid I like your style. My name is Geneva, but from now on, you call me mother. What's your name?"

"Mai." the girl replied.

The rain poured down like the sky was crying. Water pattered on the glass windows of Mai's new apartment. Mai especially liked it, because it was on the top floor and nobody knew it was there. If you were to walk into the hallway where her apartment was, you'd think her front door was the supply closet. She thought of it as a bonus to living on her own.

It wasn't like Mai used to live at the agency, though. They supplied her with her very own mini-apartment when she was thirteen and let her live there ever since. It was just that she didn't feel like living on the same grounds as twenty other ruthless killers who weren't her allies anymore. Also, she wanted to be free, and that would have happened if she had stayed.

Sprawled out on her beat up couch, Mai stared at the rain drops out of boredom. If she were still at the agency, she would either be on an assignment or chatting it up with one of her colleges. She couldn't call them friends, because if any one of them had her as a target, they would take her out as if they didn't know her at all.

This didn't bother her though, because most of the girls there had problems that she didn't want to even try to get into. And she thought her life was messed up. All her parents did was leave her in a parking lot to die. Other girls had parents far worse than that.

Suddenly, a knock came on her door. She first found this hard to believe, because her door was so very small, but the knock came again. Leaping off of the couch, Mai opened the door to find a young man before her.

"Uh, hi. My name's Drake. I noticed that you just moved in today and came over here to give you you're watch. You must have dropped it." he stated.

"Alright. Thank you." Mai thanked as she reached for her watch.

"So, what you doing?"

"Excuse me?" Mai questioned.

"Well, it must be boring on the first day you move in. Electronics aren't hooked up, boxes all around, the usual moving gig. You know, there's a jazz club across the street." he explained.

"Really. And that would interest me how?"

"Feisty, aren't we. Just a suggestion."

"I don't like jazz. I don't like clubs. I like sitting in my empty place staring at moving boxes. But, thanks for bringing me my watch." she retorted as she slammed the door.

The next two months were quite boring. There was nothing to do. The only thing she really found herself doing was taking walks around the neighborhood that she once knew. Being the same neighborhood she was left in and had fled to every time she ran away.

She also found that faithful place where that boy saved her. The puddle had long since dried up, but the memories were still there. On few occasions, she found herself staring at the puddle just to relive the scenario. And this is how she found him.

It was one night during late August. The leaves fell gently in the cool breeze as Mai hugged her knitted coat even more. She had been out on one of her walks, but failed to realize that it was getting dark. Once she did, she had also noticed that she had company behind her.

"It's kind of late for a girl like you to be staring aimlessly at the ground, don't ya think?"

"I'm only remembering. And why are you always around, are you a stalker or something?" Mai mumbled.

"Worse. I'm your neighbor." Drake sighed.

"Ha. So what are you doing out here. Come to meet your dealer or something?"

"Dealer? Are you implying that I'm on drugs? Well, no unless you count caffeine as one." Drake laughed.

"Yes. It would be quite odd to see you smuggling coffee. So what are you doing here?"

"Just thinking about something." he admitted.

"About what, may I ask? Or is this over the boundries of neighbor and neighbor relationships?" Mai asked.

"No. See I remember doing something over here that I...well I would like to regret. It was back in my younger years." he answered.

"Just how old are you, anyway?"

"Eh, I'll say twenty four. But anyway, I can never forget what I did and where it made me end up."

"What did you do that was so bad?" Mai questioned. 'It's probably not anything as bad as what I've been doing.' she thought.

"I helped this little girl out of a puddle. Stupid to regret right? Some kids were picking on her though. Well, I threw a rock at some kid's head and his mother found my name out. She instantly called the police and gave me a little taste of juvie. From then on, my criminal record become bigger. A few battery charges and one for trespassing. But I wonder, was it all worth just saving some girl who I later found out was an orphan. People like that usually just have a bad life anyway." he explained.

"Think about it like this, then. Do you know what happened to that girl? Do you have any idea what she went through? Can you name every hardship in her life? You saved her from being that snot nosed little crybaby forever. I'll bet she learned how to stick up for herself which might of earned her a better life. You can't just assume she's in jail now. Did you even know her name?" Mai inquired.

"Her name was Mai. Some social worker told me. You know, maybe it would make me feel better to contact her or something." he suggested.

"Well, I don't recommend it, but if you really want to." she insisted.

"Alright then, I will. I want to find out all about Mai! Then, I'll see if that little stunt I pulled was worth it!" he announced.

"Sure. I have to go."

"Oh. Okay. Thanks, by the way!" he called out to her.

Finding her old hero wasn't something that Mai had in mind. Telling her old hero that she was that bumbling little girl wasn't in the cards for her either. The only thing she thought of at the time was convincing him that she wasn't a mistake. Which that could have been her biggest mistake.

Mai was still an assassin. Though she quit her agency, the title of "assassin" doesn't go away in a few months. In fact, she still had a few of her frequent customers still come around her apartment asking her to take out a hit. It wasn't something she could easily get away from.

Having your neighbor find out that you are an assassin isn't something that you want. The agency did a good job covering up her history with some fake documents, but she wasn't sure if they were still protecting her. Sure, no assassins came over to have her head, but who knows if they still thought it necissary to protect a girl who wasn't on their team.

Mai decided that the best move at that point was to wait. He could find her. It was possible. But, there were also too many things saying that he wouldn't and one of them was documentation.

It was a while before he figured it out. In that time, the two neighbors had become close. Drake even swayed Mai into going to that jazz club. She didn't realize how much she liked it until she was there. The way the music flowed in a free endless stream didn't know her until then. She even found herself dancing, something she hadn't ever attempted before.

"I had a great time. We should do this again." Mai curtly stated as she walked over to her apartment door.

"Yeah. You know, it's still pretty early. Wanna come over and watch a movie?" he asked.

"Oh! No, I couldn't." she replied.

"C'mon! I've got marshmallows! It'll be fun!" he tempted her.

"I like marshmallows. Alright, but for just one movie!" she finally gave in as they walked to his apartment.

To be totally honest with you, Mai didn't leave his apartment that night. I couldn't go into detail because of this rating, but you all are probably mature enough to figure out what they were doing. Mai left early that morning, as not to wake him up.

For a while, things were awkward. They never talked. Nobody ever listened. It seemed the only thing they could say to each other was "Hi" and "Good morning". But soon, their hearts couldn't wait any longer. They began to see each other, and this time romantically.