A/N: Okay, so with so little interest in the story, this will probably be the last chapter I post. For those of you who have read so far, I thank you. If you would like me to continue with this, please let me know through PM or review.
Back in his apartment Jin sat in quiet contemplation before the hidden shrine to his ancestors, burning incense adding an exotic tinge to the air. This time he kept his senses firmly grounded in reality, contemplating the actions that he should take or not take. It wasn't always easy to decide on a course of action, but Kume relied on training and experience for those moments. It had been an hour since he left Drake's office, who had thankfully stayed in his office doing research into the situation he was working for his son. Jin sighed, letting his eyes open slightly, feeling the need to leave the building for the first time in months. Well, he mused, it is about time, I suppose. He stood, snuffing out the burning cones of incense and walked into his bedroom. He pulled on a leather coat that was a darker shade of grey than his pants, wrapping a grey and blue keffiyeh around his neck. Done with that, he made his way to the stairs and down, exiting onto the night streets of San Antonio.
The air was heavy with the stink of exhaust, asphalt, and the myriad of other scents that were incorporated into the city. While not entirely unpleasant, it was a far cry from the clean, clear air he had known in his youth. Jin took a moment to let his senses attune to his surroundings before turning and walking down the street to the nearby bus stop. He could feel the eyes of the predators upon him, the two legged kind who thought that they were dangerous because they ran in gangs and carried guns. And he could feel the other predators, the kind that really were dangerous. He sat down at the bench at the bus stop, giving no sign that he knew there were others out in the night, waiting for see if he might be an easy mark for something, though nothing came near enough to be a threat. It was only a short wait before the late night bus rolled into the stop and Jin boarded, paying his fare and turning to find a seat.
The bus was fairly crowded for the hour, leaving Jin to find a place to stand and grab hold of the rail to support himself as the bus pulled away from the stop. It had only gone a few feet when a young black man wearing baggy pants, tank top and leather jacket stood up. A blue bandana was hung from his belt, and Jin could tell he was carrying a firearm as well.
"Yo, pops," the man said, scooting towards Jin. "Why don't you take my seat?" Jin smiled at the man, nodding his thanks. The man held his hand out to Jin and helped him over to the vacated seat to make sure he didn't fall.
"Thank you, young man," Jin said as he sat down.
"Don't mention, pops. My mama did her best to raise me right, and I can't just sit by and let you stand," the man replied with a shrug. He moved away after a moment, standing in silence as he looked out the window. Jin couldn't help but feel a pang of sorrow for the young man. He sat in silence for a long while as the city passed by outside the window, stopping occasionally to let people off and on. Finally he knew what he had to do, consequences be damned. The young man started to move past him as the bus neared a stop and Jin let his cane slide out into the aisle, tripping the young man.
"My apologies," Jin said, reaching down to offer his hand to the stranger.
"No sweat, pops," the man replied, picking himself up. Before he could regain his feet, though, the bus pulled away from the stop. "Damn, missed my stop."
"Sit down you should, next is my stop," Jin said as he slid out of his seat and pushed the man into it, so smoothly and quickly that the man didn't register he was sitting for half a heartbeat. Jin's gaze was fixed outside of the bus where a small group of young Hispanic men wearing tan plaid shirts and black bandanas stood. He watched them carefully until the bus had pulled well away from the stop.
"Thanks, but I still don't feel right about you standing," the man said, trying to push himself up from the seat, but finding Jin's hand rested lightly on his shoulder was a near immovable force. The man looked puzzled, unsure of why he wasn't able to move against the pressure of an old man's hand.
"A taxi you should take, perhaps," Jin said as he reached into his jacket and pulled out a couple of bills. "Safer it would be for you." He pressed the bills into the man's hand before removing his hand from the man's shoulder.
"Look, pops, I don't need no…"
"Karma in all things, young man. A good deed you have done, and good has come back to you," Jin cut him off gently. "For your mother do this, not for yourself." The man looked down at the bills in his hand for a long moment, then back up at Jin.
"Thanks," he said at last, his voice soft. The bus stopped and Jin made his way off, knowing that, for this night, at least, the young man would get home safely. It was only a brief stop for him, though. He walked across the parking lot and into the 24 hour grocery store to pick up a box of extra strength trash bags and a bottle of acetaminophen, then back outside to call for a taxi. Where he was going there was no bus route, especially at this time of night. The taxi dropped him off outside the gate that led to a house set back from the road. He had seen this house a handful of times, but he had never come closer than the edge of the road. There had never been a need for it before. He waited patiently for the taxi to leave before springing nimbly over the gate and making his way up the drive towards the ranch style house.
Set far back from the street, the yard leading up to the house was dark, nearly pitch black. The house itself would have been hard to see if not for the immaculate white painted wood-over-brick walls. Sensing the need for stealth, Jin paused, tucking the box of garbage bags under his arm and making a quick series of finger knots. Thus centered he continued his approach to the house, knowing that he would not trigger any sensors along the path. Mysticism ran deep in his family, deeper after their fall from grace, when they turned from the path of Samurai to that of Ninja. For many it would have been an unbearable fall, but the Kume clan relied upon its duty to the Empire over their status as nobility. He was about halfway up the drive when he heard the rattle of the gate behind him followed by the sound of footsteps both on the drive and in the grass. He stopped where he stood knowing that there was not time to hide from the approaching men. While he was a blank space to the sensors he was sure surrounded the house, the men would be able to see him quite clearly.
"Here you should not be," he said as he turned. The footsteps slowed as they approached him and he saw the half dozen men spread out in a loose line. One of them, the leader by appearances, spoke in a guttural language to the others, pointing at Jin. The line began to collapse around the old man, nearly encircling him. "Impolite it is to speak in a foreign language. Manners you should learn, yes?" Jin said, resting both hands on his cane, the box safely tucked under his arm.
"This does not concern you, old man," the leader spoke in thickly accented English. "Leave now and you will not be hurt." Two of the men edged closer to emphasize the point, but Jin seemed to pay them no mind.
"Leave I cannot until my errand is complete," Jin replied casually. He let out a breath, centering his spirit and emptying his mind of all extraneous thoughts, only allowing the presence of the six men to filter through. Time seemed to slow as Jin perceived the scene from outside of his body, taking in every detail. He knew then that these were not ordinary men, they were in fact vampyres, the undead.
Their attack was coordinated, almost choreographed as the two vampyres at his sides rushed in first, attempting to grab hold of his arms to immobilize him. At the speed they seemed to be moving, though, Jin had plenty of time to analyze the situation, determining that it was best not to be rude to either man by standing in their way. Quite the opposite, he decided that he needed to help the creature on his left, so he stepped back slightly, turning to assist the vampyre along his path and into the creature that came from the other side, causing them to collide with bone crunching force.
The other four vampyres had not stayed still, and two of them closed very quickly with Jin, one throwing a punch directed at the old man's head, while the other launched into a jumping side kick that would have devastated Jin's midsection. The solution to this was obvious enough as Jin leaned slightly to his right to allow the punch to sail past his head with no resistance. At the same moment he grasped the leg of the other vampyre and swung him around in a circled, smashing him into the vampyre that had thrown the punch. The pair flew across the lawn for half a dozen feet before crashing to the ground in a heap of twisted limbs. Jin knew that they would not be down for long, but it would be long enough as the last pair charged in at him, deploying snap batons as they approached. Needing both hands free to deal with the last two Jin threw the box of trash bags into the air and set himself to receive the charge of the vampyres.
He leaned back and to his left to avoid the down swing of the first vampyre, then performed a short front flip to clear the second swing that came in at his knees. He reached into an inner pocket on his jacket as he landed, retrieving a pair of lacquered chopsticks that he held in one hand, his cane held in the other. The first vampyre recovered quickly and spun the smash Jin's head with the baton, but the old man was no longer standing there, ducking under the vicious swing and coming up behind the vampyre's arm, his chopsticks stabbing into the creatures chest. For a moment the creature seemed to stand stunned before exploding into dust and smoke, dropping the baton onto the grass. Jin turned to the second vampyre, parrying a savage swing of the baton with his cane before thrusting the head of the cane into the vampyre's face. The creature back pedaled from the blow, then quickly turned to dust as Jin threw one of the chopsticks into the vampyre's chest, destroying it immediately.
The four other vampyres had all gained their feet and were warily approaching the old man now, but Jin didn't have the time to wait for them. He leapt forward, coming down in a brutal side kick to the knee of one of them. The vampyre cried out in surprise and pain as the knee cap was shattered and the knee pushed backwards, causing him to fall forward. Jin met him half way with his remaining chopstick angled to slam into the vampyre's chest at heart level. He barely waited for the vampyre to turn to dust before he had launched at the next, crossing the distance in a blur of motion. Jin caught the vampyre under the left arm with his cane, the sound of snapping bone accompanying the softer sound of wood striking flesh. Jin let the recoil guide him around in a quick turn, sliding the cane through his hand and stabbing the foot hard into the vampyre's chest. The broken bones parted easily for the cane, and the vampyre's heart was destroyed, followed quickly by the body.
The last two vampyres rushed in, hoping to catch the old man off guard as the creature he had just killed turned to ash around him. Jin was ready, though, as he spun around, his last resort suddenly shimmering in his hand. The blade was bright silver in the moonlight, and seemed to leave a glowing after image as it came around in a single arc, severing the heads of the last two vampyres in a single stroke, their bodies falling and turning into ash. Jin held his posture for a moment, scanning the area with his other senses to be sure he had dealt with all the threats before holding his hand out to catch the box of trash bags before it hit the ground.
With a rushing sensation Jin found himself back in his body, the six vampyres closing in on him. He smiled. It was over before it had even begun. The fight played out as it had been in his mind, the six vampyres being turned to dust in a matter of seconds. With his sword secured under his coat again, the box of trash bags in his hand, and his cane, chopsticks, and the snap batons tucked away, he turned and began to walk towards Alexandra's house again. He had only made it a little bit further along the drive when he felt another presence behind him.
"Impressive." The voice was deep and accented with something of an Eastern European growl. Jin stopped and slowly turned, his right eyebrow slowly creeping up his forehead as he examined the creature that stood before him. Tall, well built with long black hair and blue eyes, the creature, Jin couldn't really decide on what to call him exactly, was disturbingly beautiful in a very masculine sense. His features seemed chiseled from alabaster with a strong jaw and patrician nose. He made no attempt to hide the fangs that showed in the slight grin that barely kept his features from being savage.
"Belong here you do not. Not yet," Jin said calmly, tucking the box under his arm again. "Disturb her rest you will." The creature seemed about to say something but stopped, narrowing his eyes as he examined the wizened looking Japanese man before him.
"I should say the same for you, grandfather," he replied. "Do you know who lives here?"
"Hai, as do you, I should think."
"Then tell me why I should not crush you like a bug and be about my business?"
"Anger her more you will. Poison her heart against you it will," Jin sighed, feeling the twisting of power in the air around him. Closing his eyes for a moment he could see the strands of silver running from the creature before him into the house, bonds that tied him and Alexandra together tightly, but not tight enough yet. The scowl on the man's face that met him when he opened his eyes did not deter him, though.
"And just what do you think you know?" The creature's voice was still calm, but the hint of threat was evident.
"Time she needs. Much to think about she has. Patience you must have," Jin responded calmly. "Know you I do, though not your name." The man started to speak again but closed his mouth quickly.
"I apologize for my rudeness, grandfather. I am Nikoli." Nikoli bowed his head slightly with the introduction, struggling to keep his manners when he was so close to his chosen prey.
"Tied with her your fate is, Nikoli-san," Jin said with a gesture towards the house. "Help you this night I can." Nikoli looked past the old man for a moment, looking at the house where Alexandra slept, still enthralled in the dream that he had sent her, was sending her. It was difficult to maintain control of it while dealing with the nuisance in front of him, but distraction was something he had long ago learned to deal with.
"What makes you think I need your help? I am perfectly able to do what I came to do by myself."
"Caution you must take, Nikoli-san, or help her you cannot. Your help she will need." The words seemed to strike a chord deep inside of Nikoli as his eyes fell upon Jin once more. There was something of a pained expression that crossed his face at the mention of Alexandra needing his help, though Jin thought that it might have more to do with Nikoli not being able to help her. Nikoli reached into his jacket, pulling out a folded piece of paper and a rose with red and white petals. He held them for a long moment before holding them out to Jin.
"Then would you be so kind as to place these on the pillow next to her," he said softly. Jin nodded as the carefully took the rose and the paper.
"Done it shall be. Wisely you have chosen." With that Jin turned and continued up the driveway to Alexandra's house, knowing that Nikoli would not follow any closer than he was.
The security system for the house would have been impressive and nearly impassable for a normal person, Jin thought as he climbed onto the covered porch. Decades of training, though, gave him an almost unfair advantage. He centered himself, going through the motions of more finger knots, and then strode forward, passing through the locked door and into the house beyond. Yes, Nikoli had gone through a lot of trouble to make a romantic gesture towards Alexandra, but Jin's instinct had been right; she would need the garbage bags when she awoke.
He hummed softly to himself as he went about setting up the coffee pot, dumping out the old, dried coffee and replacing it with a fresh filter and the gourmet blend of coffee that Alexandra preferred, setting her cup up next to the pot. Done with that, he set the trash bags in the appropriate place in the pantry, removing the empty box that was already there. Finally he turned and headed deeper into the house, past the office and workout room to her bedroom. Jin paused in the doorway, watching Alexandra sleep fitfully, tossing and turning in the throes of whatever dream Nikoli had sent her. With a sad sigh, Jin crossed the room on kitten like feet, his step so light that he didn't even disturb the rose petals scattered across the floor. He stopped at the edge of the bed, gently tucking the sheet up over Alexandra, and then replacing the black rose with the red and blue one that Nikoli had given him, tucking the paper under the rose.
Jin tucked the black rose away in his jacket as he turned and left the room, his light steps leaving no trace that he had been there at all. Nikoli was gone by the time Jin left the house, as he had expected. He took a moment to look back at the house before he made his way to the street and called for another taxi to take him back to the office.