Hunted

By starian_nightzz

Action / Thriller

Murder is My Business

Pairings: Izuki/Tamaki

Warnings: AU Universe. OOC. Gender swap. Nice Akashi. Assassin Generation of Miracles. Violence. Gore. Character deaths.

Disclaimer: I do not own Kuroko no Basuke and any of the characters, but the OC characters belongs to me

Chapter Two: Murder is My Business

"Courage is not having the strength to go on; it is going on when you don't have the strength." - Theodore Roosevelt

XXXXXX

The light chimes of the piano key echoed around the music room of Seirin High as Kuroko Tamaki pressed down on one of the piano keys with her index finger, letting her fingertips run over the white piano keys of the black grand piano.

Back then, when she was younger, all of them—Tamaki included have been trained in etiquette, politics and even musical instruments—not just hand-to-hand combat and weapons training. After all, no one would be wary of a child—hence, child assassins are able to slip into most places without any suspicion from arousing.

All the members of ICE hold at least black belts in judo, aikido and even taekwondo. Tamaki herself held a national best championship in kendo during her middle school years as well, when the ace of the kendo club broke his arm during her second year, and the captain was despairing of ever finding anyone good enough to replace him. For some reason however, he had heard how good Tamaki is with kendo, and had dragged her into the competition against her will—promising that it'll be just that one time, much to her annoyance.

…No one had been able to best or equal her in kendo however—if you don't go by the title of the Generation of Miracles or ICE, that is.

The teal head then sat down on the piano seat, letting her fingers run over the piano keys before she started playing—with her fingers almost flowing over the keys of the piano as her body remembers just how to play the songs. She shut her eyes, letting her muscle memory do the work for her.

Music had always been a way to vent her frustrations back when she is locked in that place, and forced to do nothing but kill and kidnap innocent people—women and children included. Her weapons and hand-to-hand training also helps her to vent her anger and guilt. Even now, sometimes when she gets nightmares from that period in her life (not that it happens a lot now), she plays the piano.

Outside the music room of Seirin High, Izuki Shun raised an eyebrow as his ears pricked up, hearing the melodious tunes of a piano. It is almost professional level—and he should know—he had been to a few music tournaments ever since he was little due to his mother who had been a pianist and a music critic. Who in Seirin could play like that?

Nothing against his school, but as Seirin is a pretty new school, they couldn't exactly manage to hire professional musicians to teach the students who'd joined the only music club in the school to play on professional level. As it is, Seirin had never managed to win a single tournament ever since its founding—both sports and culture. That is only part of the reason why the basketball club is so determined to bring back a championship—not only to prove something to themselves but also to prove to all of Japan that a new school and a new team like Seirin could reach the top with hard work.

Izuki's eyes widened when he saw who had been playing the piano as he looked through the glass window of the music room—allowing those on the outside to look into the music room.

Tamaki.

He had never even known that she plays the piano—and at almost professional level too. Though Izuki is starting to realise that there is a lot that he doesn't know about their quietest and youngest member—ever since he'd started helping Tamaki out with her 'manager' duties. Officially, Seirin doesn't have a manager, but unofficially, ever since Tamaki had joined Seirin, she had been doing what she does best—intelligence gathering and devising strategies and training regimes for the team.

As the work involved is too much for one person, and Riko had to concentrate on the training for the team, the brunette coach had asked the only person in the team who at least understood a little how to devise strategies and gather information—Izuki himself to assist Tamaki. Furihata sometimes helps out too, as he is going to be the next Point Guard of the team after Izuki once the current second years graduate.

To be blunt, Furihata has zero experience and knowledge in basketball, only joining the team because of Fukuda and Kawahara, but is quickly learning to love the sport and the game. And honestly, Izuki feels as if Tamaki prefers it that way too, as she is basically teaching Furihata how to strategise and gather information on a clean slate. After all, there is a good chance that Tamaki might end up having to take over the coaching once Riko graduates, and it'll help tremendously if someone knows how to do some aspects of her job to take the burden off her.

Izuki frowned as he stared at Tamaki—finding that he likes seeing her play, looking so serene and at peace, with an almost small smile on her face. She doesn't really express her emotions much or even smile, even after their victory against Kaijo High during that practice match about two weeks ago.

Honestly, that is one eye opening match.

Sure, all of them know what the members of the Generation of Miracles are capable of—one doesn't gain a name like that without being monsters in basketball. But the practice match against Kaijo High and Kise Ryota is the first time when all of Seirin had seen a clash between two members of the Generation of Miracles—Kise Ryota and Kuroko Tamaki. Even Kagami who is easily the powerhouse of the team could barely keep up with the two. And even though the rest of the team are totally outclassed by Tamaki, she still managed to weave her plays and tactics with the rest of the team. It is probably one of the reasons why they've managed to win the match against Kaijo with a full ten points ahead of them.

"She should smile more. She looks better when she smiles." Izuki murmured absent-mindedly as he went on his way, with the light tunes of the piano echoing in the background as he did so.

In the music room, mere moments after Izuki Shun had left—not that Tamaki is aware of it—the light ringing tone of her cellphone from her bag caught her attention, and she stopped her piano playing.

Frowning to herself, the teal head reached down towards her bag by the side of the piano, fishing out her light blue cellphone with the keychain of a black and white dog hanging from it, answering the call without even looking at the LCD screen.

"Hello?"

"Tamaki? It's me. Yase." A voice echoed through the phone—with the voice belonging to ICE's 'handler' of sorts—Ashiya Ayase—a Public Security officer who was sent by the Prime Minister to 'keep an eye' on them so as to speak, and also to act as a messenger of sorts. He is also kind of their guardian—there to make sure that no one knows of their other life or their pasts.

"How is it?" Tamaki asked quickly, knowing what this is about—since she'd actually gone to Yase on Friday night after her visit to the Prime Minister's residence, asking him to perform a background check on their target.

Typically, ICE doesn't always issue a headhunt and then an assassination on a target the moment they're given a job. They actually checked out the reasons first before determining if they should kill the person or not. While some others might find it disrespectful—that it is almost like ICE doesn't trust the Prime Minister and his men—the Prime Minister himself as well as the heads of SP and Public Security understood why.

The members of ICE have been used a little too much in the past—being used as human weapons. After getting out from Black Sun, they hate being ordered around and killing people whom either don't deserve it or whom are just in the wrong place at the wrong time. That had been one of the conditions that ICE had set when Interpol and the Prime Minister had first granted them political immunity and have set up new identities for them. They refused to allow themselves to be used any longer.

"It's as you said." Yase said solemnly. There were sounds of rustling paper on the other end of the line. "The target—Kawobe is ex-militia. He was given a dishonourable discharge for abandoning a comrade on the battlefield and left to die. After he was discharged from Black Ops, he joined a few other PMCs in other nations—usually the war-ravaged countries."

Tamaki frowned. PMCs. Private Military Company. Basically, guerrilla groups. So their target is nothing more than a war nut—thirsting for bloodshed and battles.

"And then again, I'm sure that you knew all this already." Yase said almost sarcastically as there were the sounds of rustling paper on the other end of the line. "He returned to Japan about five years ago. And like what we know, is wanted for the murders of several people—politicians and even civilians with high connections. Apparently, he was hired as an assassin or something. Public Security has cracked down on those who've hired him—and they are currently serving their sentences. It's just Kawobe whom they couldn't seem to charge—as the evidence disappear every single time they're about to charge him in court—with any witnesses either mysteriously disappearing or even ending up in an accident of some sort. Clearly, someone wants to keep him out of prison."

Tamaki let Yase's words run through her mind for several moments. Black Ops. Ex-militia. He isn't going to be easy to deal with then. "…I'll contact the others. We'll assemble at Ashiya's tonight," she said, balancing her phone in between her cheek and her ear as she picked up her bag, swinging it over her shoulder. Ashiya's is the café-cum-bar that Yase operates in downtown Tokyo as his cover—where it turns into ICE's base after closing hours.

"All of them?"

"Nope." Tamaki replied as she exited the music room. "Only those of us still in Tokyo. And Kise-kun too. We'll be there tonight."

"Okay." Click.

XXXXXX

A little after midnight that night can find four members of ICE in downtown Tokyo, in Ashiya's—all dressed in casual clothes as they're just there for a strategy session and not going on a mission.

"Kawobe. No last name known." Midorima Shintaro frowned, passing around the folder that the Prime Minister had given Tamaki just days earlier. "Former Black Ops member. Ex-militia. Served in several PMCs in nations like Russia, Israel and Uruguay. In other words, he's extremely battle tested."

"He's just a war nut." Aomine Daiki snorted, glancing at the skill set and stats of the guy that Tamaki could manage to attain in just a few days—and not for the first time, he marvelled at the fact that Tamaki could manage to gain this much information on their target in just a few days. "Served as an assassin, huh? Figures. Midorima, you'll be interested to know that this guy specialises in rifles and guns."

Midorima grunted, nursing his bowl of red bean soup in front of him.

"So how are we going to do this?" Kise Ryota asked, passing the folder back to Tamaki even as he sipped from his glass of iced lemon tea.

All four members of ICE—minus three who are currently in Kyoto and Akita respectively—are currently seated at the bar counter of Ashiya's with drinks in front of them. Ashiya Ayase—nicknamed Yase—who despite the name is really a handsome man in his late twenties with light blonde hair tied in a short ponytail at his nape and gray eyes stood behind the counter, fiddling with the computer on his side of the counter.

"He's ex-militia." Tamaki pointed out, looking from face to face to make sure that her friends understood just what they're going to be in for this time around. "Even as good as we are, strength-wise, we're not going to be much of a match for a man nearly two times older than we are, and not to mention bigger and stronger. We can't face him in frontal combat."

"Sneak attack then?" Midorima murmured. They've targeted a few people like this in the past—with a few different plans. "So are we using sleeping pills, the lost girl plan or what?" He asked, running his mind through the few various scenarios that they've used over the past few years. With Akashi, Murasakibara and Ogiwara missing, they're going to be short-handed for awhile, but would still be able to manage.

"Neither." Tamaki shook her head. "Kawobe's routine is pretty standard—especially after Hayato gave me a list of his usual day-to-day routine. He works as some kind of guard for some yakuza member—he has to lie low for a while due to the government after him. Must be pretty good money if he's willing to do that." Tamaki commented before shaking her head and flipping over the next page in the folder. The rest of her teammates peered over her shoulder at the folder. "Every single night, he frequents a bar in downtown Shinjuku by the name of Rose Maiden. It's one of those type of bars." She exchanged looks with her friends whom took several moments to understand what she meant, and Yase chuckled beneath his breath.

Sometimes, he's glad that these seven teens have to grow up so fast, as he doesn't have to give them the embarrassing talk of the 'birds and the bees'. But sometimes, it makes him sad too—as they are forced to grow up so fast.

"Those type of bars…?" Midorima trailed off before a disgusted look appeared on his face. "Oh… I get it."

"Strip dancers. Prostitutes. The usual." Kise sighed.

Every single member of ICE knew just what kind of place downtown Shinjuku is at night—especially the underground areas. Pretty much, the thugs and the few honourable yakuza gangs that reside there made the laws in underground Shinjuku. The police normally leave them alone as long as they don't cause too much trouble, for even Japan needs a place for those who lived in the underground or on the wrong side of the law to prevent worse crimes. Even the gangs have a code of honour to abide by.

"Why do nearly every single target we go after frequents places like those?" Aomine had a disgusted look on his face. Even the pervert of their group couldn't really stand those types of places. "Anyway, what's the plan, Tamaki?"

Tamaki sighed. "Operation Seduction," she answered, sipping at her vanilla milkshake. "Get him drunk enough to not be able to fight back once he leaves the bar."

"Operation Seduction?" Kise echoed. "Are you going to do it? Don't, Tamacchi! Who knows what that pervert will do to you?" He almost wailed.

Tamaki hid a smirk behind her glass. "Who said I'm going to be the bait?" she questioned, sounding really amused.

"Huh?" Kise almost had question marks floating above his head, but the other three guys in the bar seemed to understand where Tamaki is going with this, and identical grins appeared on their faces as they looked at Kise like he's a fresh piece of meat. "Oh. Ohhhhhh no!" Kise finally understood as he shook his head frantically. "You want me to go in there and let him… Ewwww!" He shivered, wrapping his arms around himself.

Tamaki rolled her eyes. "I became 'bait' the last time. It's your turn," she said grumpily.

The only ones amongst ICE pretty enough to pass off as a woman is only Kise and Akashi, aside from Tamaki who is a real girl. However, no one had the guts to ask Akashi to cross dress as a woman on missions—so normally, it falls to Tamaki and Kise to be bait during missions like this. Fortunately, they don't have to do this too often—but the few times they do, Tamaki and Kise normally take it in turns to play bait—though depending on how dangerous it is for the 'bait', Kise does it as he's a guy and wouldn't risk getting himself raped or something.

"Come on, Kise. Do it for the good of the world for ridding us of filth like him." Aomine teased, slugging his arm around the unhappy Kise—using the same lines that the blonde had used on a very annoyed Tamaki during their last 'seduction' mission back during their second year of middle school.

"When are we doing this?" Kise mumbled into the countertop.

"Tomorrow." Tamaki answered. "The faster we kill Kawobe, the better. We don't know when he'll he leaving the country."

"Fine…"

XXXXXX

"Man Kise, you make one fine woman!" Aomine joked the next night in Ashiya's as a very unhappy Kise—dressed as a woman walked down the steps of the bar from the second level where there are bedrooms where ICE normally crashes if they're too tired to go home.

As a girl, Tamaki had been taught during their time at Black Sun to apply makeup and even etiquette. And all of them have been taught to seduce members of the opposite sex, and even members of their own sex. Seduction had been part of the skills of an assassin after all.

And even though the members of ICE have all seen Kise dressed up as a woman more than once, they still couldn't help but marvel at the transformation. This time around, Tamaki had made Kise look like one of those hookers from the red light district—dressed in a rather revealing red dress with slits down the right side—applying cushioning for 'breasts', and had a purple shawl around Kise's shoulders to hide his rather broad muscles gained from basketball training.

Come next year, Kise won't be able to pass off as a woman anymore unless he wore long sleeves. Kise is also wearing a long blonde wig the same shade of colour as his real hair—being held in place with hairpins so that it doesn't fall off—with black stilettos so high that Midorima and even Aomine wonders how Kise could even manage to walk in it without falling over.

A little makeup also goes a long way in making Kise looks like an adult woman, rather than a teenager.

"Shut up." A very unhappy Kise pouted. "All I have to do is just to get him drunk, right?" He looked at Tamaki for confirmation.

The remaining three members of ICE were all dressed in their mission clothes—typically all black with black boots and gloves to prevent leaving behind fingerprints. Tamaki however had a black scarf around her neck—once she is out on the frontlines, that scarf will be used to conceal the lower part of her face and her hair.

Tamaki who is checking over her weapons—her handgun, her daggers and even an extremely sharp hairpin that she'd tucked away into her pouch looked up and nodded. "We'll be on standby," she explained even as she fixed the communicator device onto Kise's dress—hiding it enough so that it couldn't be seen.

"I'll be on the roof opposite the bar. Ring the alarm if anything happens." Midorima told Kise from where he is at the bar counter, examining his sniper rifle. "I really don't want to kill him in the bar where everyone could see, but sometimes, it happens." He shrugged his shoulders.

"I'll be the driver this time, since Ogiwara isn't here." Aomine shrugged his shoulders. "I'm also going to be your ride to the bar. Come on, princess." He grinned as he mocked bowed and held out his hand for a very annoyed Kise whose eye is already twitching dangerously, his hand inching towards his right thigh where a hidden dagger is concealed. No member of ICE goes about without a weapon—even when they're at school. They just knew how to keep those weapons hidden on their person.

Yase chuckled from where he is standing in a corner, watching them do their preparations.

"I'M NOT A GIRL!"

XXXXXX

"I didn't even know that she could play—and this well too." Izuki Shun was telling his parents excitedly at dinner as he sat down at the dinner table, watching his mother place the large pot of soup in the middle of the dinner table. "Kaa-san, you might be interested in her. She's really good. I think that she could easily go professional if she wants to."

Izuki Shinsuke chuckled as he exchanged looks with his wife—both whom looked rather amused at their son's endless chatter. They have never seen him talk this much about someone before. Ever since the start of the new school year, and this girl had joined the basketball team, their son could never shut up about her.

"Shun, you seem to be talking a lot about this junior of yours lately." Izuki Mizuki smiled at her son.

Shun blushed at the implications behind his mother's teasing words. "I-It's nothing much," he insisted, scratching at his cheek with the habit that he always had whenever he's embarrassed. "It's just… I've never seen any girl like her before. All the girls that I know—outside of Riko—does nothing but just giggle and point."

His father laughed. "Ah, the mysteries of women," he said. "Why don't we sit down later after dinner and have a good long talk about the mysteries of women, and how they seem to assume that we men can read their minds?"

His wife looked annoyed. "Shinsuke, do you really want to sleep on the couch tonight?"

Before Shinsuke could appease his wife, there was a loud bang on their front door just then.

"Open up!"

Shun's eyes snapped towards the direction of their front door where someone was furiously pounding on the door, almost seeming like the front door is about to get broken down anytime soon.

"D-Dad?" Shun felt rather uneasy, and a little afraid behind the venom in that voice as well as the fact how they seemed to be trying to break down the door. "Who is that?"

His father's face was grim, and his intelligent gray eyes snapped towards Mizuki who looked grim, and concerned as well. "…Mizuki…"

Mizuki locked eyes with her husband, and a silent conversation passed between the two for several moments before the woman nodded. "I know," she said. "They're here."

"Who's here?" Shun asked, feeling more afraid by the moment—especially when his father left the kitchen and returned moments later with his handgun in his hand. His father had been a cop—and a damn good one as well, with his name often appearing in the papers with some arrest that he'd made or even some drug ring that he'd busted.

"Shun, come here!" Mizuki ordered, grabbing hold of her son by the arm and pulling him to his feet. The two, along with Shinsuke, then headed to the living room before Mizuki knelt down to the ground by the leather sofa, pushing it back slightly and pulling up part of the floor, much to Shun's surprise. A secret entrance?

"Kaa-san, what is—?"

Mizuki cut Shun off even as he opened his mouth, looking over her shoulder, a scared look on her face before she turned back towards her son. "Listen to me, you need to hide in here."

"But—"

Mizuki shook her head. "Do as I say," she said with a gentle but firm tone.

Something in his mother's eyes and tone—along with the serious and urgent looks on both his parents' faces made Shun obey, and he quickly slipped into the small space beneath the secret entrance—just big enough for one person, and he could barely fit himself in there—having to fold his legs up beneath him and made himself as small as possible. The air was dusty in there—with a thick layer of dust that made Shun want to choke.

"Shun. Son." Izuki Shinsuke knelt down by the side of the secret entrance—opposite his wife as he grasped Shun's hand, and the teen was startled to find that his father's hands were clammy. The man had a sad smile on his face. "Listen. No matter what you hear later, remain silent and don't come out! Do you hear me?" He asked urgently.

"Dad, what is going on?" Shun asked, scared, even as the bangs on the front door increased in both volume and ferocity.

Izuki Shinsuke shook his head before pressing a crystal CD case into his son's hands. "Keep that safe—that is what they're after," he said urgently, pushing the case into Shun's pants' pocket. "If you meet someone by the name of Ishigami Hideaki, hand that to him. The head of Public Security." Shun's eyes widened. His father's direct superior? "Listen to me, Shun. You must survive. Find the members of ICE—tell them that I'm calling in the favour that they owe me!" Shinsuke said urgently, keeping his eyes locked with his son's startled gray ones. "Survive, Shun!"

"Hey, open up!"

"Dear…" Mizuki met her husband's eyes, and Shinsuke nodded grimly. The woman then smiled at her son sadly, bending down and kissing him on the forehead. "You made us so proud, honey. Never forget—we'll always love you. Live on, Shun."

Mizuki smiled sadly before she closed the entrance to the small space—covering Shun in darkness that sent him into mild panic momentarily.

…What on earth is going on? Shun couldn't help but wonder.

"Izuki! I know that you're in there! I saw the lights in your house! Open up now!" A gruff voice demanded—sounding muffled to Izuki's ears as he lay hidden beneath the entrance.

"…Fine, I'm coming." Shun could faintly hear his father's voice, along with the sound of the front door creaking open. Immediately after that, he heard the sound of several people entering the house. "…Shiranui-san, what can I do for you? And bringing all these people with you too. They don't seem to be part of the police force." His father's voice was strong and steady—betraying none of his uneasiness.

"Cut the crap, Izuki! I know that bastard Ishigami had you and Goto working on some list for the Prime Minister!" A voice barked. "Hand that list over!"

"I'm afraid I can't do that." His father said bravely. "That list as well as the work that Ishigami had myself, Goto and Kurosawa working on will pave the path for Japan—ridding us of the corruption that have long riddled our ranks."

"Your dedication and loyalty makes me sick." Shiranui sneered. "Hand it over. Or you don't care even if I kill your lovely wife here?" There was the sound of a loud click as the safety of a gun was released.

"…Mizuki…" His father sounded uneasy.

"…I know. I don't care. I fell in love with you and married you because you're loyal and righteous." Mizuki said so softly that Shun could barely hear what his mother had been saying. "I'll rather die, knowing that my husband stayed true to his heart and beliefs—than be the one responsible for the ruin of this nation!" His mother didn't sound afraid at all. "Shiranui-san, my husband told me about the threats that he had been receiving of late. We are both prepared to die. But even if you killed us, you will never escape the arms of the law or even justice itself."

"Justice? Hah! I am justice itself!"

"No, you're not. You're just nothing but a corrupted official only looking out for his own ass!" Shinsuke snapped. "Even if we die here, someone else will make sure that you pay."

"Kill them!"

There were muffled sounds of what seems to be gunshots just then, and Shun covered his mouth with both hands—muffling his scream, his eyes wide in horror even as he heard two loud thuds as something hit the ground.

"Pathetic."

"Sir, what should we do with these corpses?"

Shun felt his body starting to tremble as he heard those words. Corpses…? Then his parents are… This can't be happening…! They were just sitting down for dinner just minutes ago!

"Leave them here." The voice—Shiranui, Shun remembered his father saying, said uncaringly. "That bastard Ishigami will want to investigate the death of his own man himself. If he's busy with this, then the less he will interfere with me and the rest of us. Besides, he'll never find the one responsible behind the death of Lieutenant Izuki Shinsuke!"

With a loud laugh, heavy footsteps then echoed on the ground, and the house fell silent.

Shun doesn't know how long that he'd remained within the small space beneath the floor. His legs almost felt as if they wouldn't obey his commands. Finally, Shun managed to get it together enough to rise on his legs gingerly—with his legs having fallen asleep on him, and pushed the entrance to the space open slowly, creeping out of it.

The first thing that he saw were bright red puddles of blood spreading across the floor—with two bodies on the ground—his parents' bodies. Shun's legs felt weak, and he almost fell to the ground.

"…Dad…" Shun whispered. "I… What should I do now?"

XXXXXX

"I got him as drunk as I could. He's leaving Rose Maiden." Kise's voice cackled through the communicator at a little past ten. The blonde sounded rather disgruntled. "I want to go home and take a long bath. His hands are all over me!" He sounded disgusted.

Aomine's chuckles could be heard through the communicator. "All right. Stay put, princess. I'm coming to get you." The sounds of the car engine being put into motion could be heard just then.

"Aomine-cchi…" Kise growled menacingly. "If you call me 'princess' once more…"

"If you two idiots are done fooling around, can you get out of there as soon as you could?" Midorima's voice sounded annoyed. There was a rustling of fabric from his end just then. "Tamaki, he's heading north east—towards the north ward of underground Shinjuku. Seems to be awfully drunk." He murmured. "Kise, just how much did you make that guy drink?"

Tamaki sighed, readying her dagger. "Okay. I'll meet you guys back at Ashiya's," she said before she then launched her grappling hook towards the rooftop of the next building—heading towards the northern side of underground Shinjuku, with her black clothing allowing her to blend in with her surroundings due to the lack of decent lighting in this part of town. Then, Tamaki let herself land onto the ground in an alley, leaning against the wall, the fingers of her left hand wrapped around the hilt of her dagger.

She waited.

Tamaki didn't have long to wait, as the drunken out of tune singing of a very drunk man reaches her ears just then, and she shifted her right foot—ready to spring out and drag him into the alley where she is. There is a reason why ICE have decided to make Kawobe as drunk as they could. No matter how well trained a soldier is, or even how physically strong he is—he wouldn't be able to fight back if he is drunk.

The sounds of dragging feet and the drunken singing were getting louder, and then, as Tamaki watched the ground near the alley—a shadow of a man was visible, with said man swaying from side to side. As the first signs of booted feet appeared in her vision, Tamaki leapt out and grabbed the man—hooking her right arm around his neck and dragged him into the alley.

The bottle of liquor grasped loosely in his hand clattered and rolled to the ground as she did so.

Tamaki tried to hold her breath as much as she could as the strong smell of alcohol reaches her nostrils—thankful for the help of her black scarf that is currently covering the lower part of her face and her hair. Due to how drunk the man is, he is basically laying against her body as she hooked her right arm around his neck.

Squinting slightly in the darkness, Tamaki noted that the man is indeed Kawobe—their target for tonight. Seeing the man about to scream for help, she used her right hand to cover his mouth—thankful that she is wearing gloves on her hands.

"Be quiet." Tamaki said in a low dangerous voice even as she whipped out her dagger with her left hand—the silver blade glinting in the darkness. Even though she couldn't see it, Tamaki knew that Kawobe's eyes have widened in horror. "…You're a hard one to find, Kawobe." Kawobe stiffened as she spoke his name. "…Hell is waiting for you."

She then slit open his throat.

Kawobe was dead before he even hit the ground, a puddle of blood pooling around him.

There was the sound of a light gasp, and Tamaki's eyes widened as she looked up. The moon came out from behind a cloud just then, shining its light down onto the streets of Shinjuku. Tamaki's eyes widened a slight fraction when she recognised the teen standing at the entrance of the alley—ashen faced with light specks of blood on his clothes.

Izuki Shun.

What the hell is he doing out here at this time of night? And in this part of town even! And why in the world is he walking around without a jacket on?

"What…? Who…are you?" Izuki could barely get his words out, eyes wide with fear and horror at having seen a murder happen in front of him.

Tamaki was quick to avert her face to make sure that Izuki didn't see her—even though she knew that he wouldn't recognise her with the scarf covering her face and hair. The assassin then shot her grappling hook up towards the rooftop once more and took to the roof, leaving a very confused and terrified Izuki Shun behind, and one dead body.

"…I messed up," was the first thing that Tamaki said the moment that she entered Ashiya's and saw that her three friends along with Yase were waiting for her—each with a drink in front of them as they waited.

Kise had already long changed out of his disguise, and had clearly showered too—judging by his damp hair. Heavens only knows how long he'd spent in the shower, trying to scrub off the feeling of having Kawobe's hands all over him.

Seeing enquiring and curious eyes on her, Tamaki took a deep breath, pulling down the scarf around her face and her hair—letting it hang around her neck like how she usually did when not on the frontlines. "Someone saw me."

"What?"

Aomine's eyes widened a slight fraction in surprise before narrowing again. "That's unusual," he commented. "You normally never let anyone see you." The other three nodded—apart from Akashi, Tamaki is the second best in ICE when it comes to assassination techniques.

"I…don't think that he recognise me though." Tamaki said hesitantly even as she took her usual seat between Midorima and Kise, nodding a grateful thanks to Yase who handed her a warm cup of milk. "I mean, I had my hair and face covered."

"Then I think that it's fine." Midorima said with a frown. "After all, murders and crimes happen often in underground Shinjuku. The yakuza gangs make the laws there. The police typically don't interfere in matters there unless something major happens. Even the civilians know that."

Kise nodded in agreement. He was about to say something when the phone of Ashiya's rang, nearly causing him to jump. As one, the four members of ICE snapped their heads towards Yase who picked up the receiver.

"Ashiya," he said as a manner of greeting. His eyes then widened a slight fraction before narrowing. "No sir. Uh huh." He glanced at the four teens in front of him. "They're right in front of me. All right." He then placed the receiver back onto the phone and pressed a button, switching to loudspeaker mode. "Goto, you're on loudspeaker."

Tamaki's eyes widened a slight fraction. Goto? Ishigami's deputy in Public Security?

"I assume that you've finished your latest assignment?" Goto asked. Before either of them could answer, he continued, "If so, I need you four on an urgent assignment. Ishigami told me to. And this time, it's not an assassination job. We need you to find someone for us."

Midorima frowned. "Who and what for?" he asked. "Technically, we don't even exist."

There was a sigh from Goto. "Izuki Shinsuke was found dead in his house a few hours ago—him and his wife," he said, and the eyes of all five in the bar widened. Izuki Shinsuke had served in Public Security alongside Ishigami, Goto, Kurosawa and Yase, and had been an excellent cop.

"What?" Aomine almost upset his cup of tea at that.

"We received a distress signal from Izuki hours earlier. But by the time that we got to his house, he and his wife were both killed." Goto answered, sounding rather stressed. "For months now, Ishigami and us have been working on compiling a list of corrupted politicians and government officials. The Prime Minister is planning on coming out with a new system for the police force—one that will benefit our country and the justice system. But it would also make lots of people uncomfortable. Izuki had been the one to compile that list. Clearly, he pissed off some people in the process—people who are desperate to keep their names out of the list. Now both he and his wife are dead, and their son has gone missing. We need you to find him before one of those on the list gets to him."

Aomine scowled. "Hah? And how do you expect us to do that when we don't even know what the hell he looks like—"

"Actually, I do." Tamaki interrupted, a frown on her face. Izuki. The same last name as Izuki-sempai… And she definitely remembers Izuki-sempai mentioning once that his father is a cop. "I have a senior in the basketball team that goes by the name of Izuki. It's probably him."

"…Find him."

Tamaki closed her eyes briefly. "…Very well."

XXXXXX

Izuki has no idea how long he'd walked, or even where he is going. Even as the cold winds whipped at his body, causing him to shiver, he didn't even notice it. His mind kept replaying the murder of his parents as he lay hidden in the small space—and even what his father had said.

Shiranui.

That is the name of the man who had killed his parents. He felt for the crystal CD case in his pocket, relieved to find that it's still there. He couldn't just go to the police about this, as he has no proof, and furthermore, he hadn't seen the murder, only heard it. And judging by the way his father had addressed the man, he is probably somebody high up in the police force—probably even a politician or something.

Shun felt anger almost consume him.

His father had been a good and righteous cop. And he couldn't even get justice done for his parents' sakes, and see to it that their murderers are charged?

Suddenly, Izuki stopped in his tracks, recalling something that he'd once heard—of a rumour that had gone around the internet, and even amongst the students at school. An urban legend of sorts. 'As long as you pay, they'll kill, steal, do anything at all'.

Assassins.

They're also known by another name…

"Vigilantes…" Izuki murmured to himself out loud.

He then remembered that man who was murdered in the back alley in underground Shinjuku earlier. Was he assassinated on someone's orders? Crimes and murders happened so often in underground Shinjuku that no one would really care if some small thug or yakuza turns up dead in there. And that person in the dark clothes… Is he a vigilante?

Izuki clutched his hands into fists.

Will…they accept his request?

It felt odd—creepy almost by being at the deadly silent shrine at night. Due to the lack of believers, most of the shrines in central Tokyo and Shinjuku have been torn down, leaving only this small shrine intact.

Gulping, Izuki gathered his courage and went towards the board next to the offering box of the shrine where all those wishing for something or the other wrote their wishes on plaques and hang them on white offering ropes by the board.

With shaking fingers, Izuki picked up the black marker by the side and wrote his wish: 'Avenge my parents', hanging the plaque on a white rope. According to the rumours that he'd heard, there are various ways to hire the services of the vigilantes.

One of them is via a website of some sort which seems to be one of the more popular ways. And then again, they don't take every single request either. According to the rumours, the vigilantes only take on the assassination jobs if they determined that the target indeed deserves their ire. One of the other ways to contact the vigilantes for jobs is to write the request on a plaque and hang them in this shrine.

It is smart in a way, Izuki admits. After all, what they're doing isn't exactly legal—and this way, the cops can't track them down. Even Izuki had heard that their website couldn't be traced, even by the nation's top computer experts.

"Please…" Izuki murmured, reading his wish that he'd written on the plaque. "I just want the man who'd killed my parents to pay for what he did. They don't deserve to die. Please… Make him pay…"

For several moments, Izuki could hear nothing but silence. The only sounds surrounding him were the loud howls of the wind and the quiet whispers of the leaves growing on the trees around the shrine.

For a long moment, nothing happened. And just as Izuki was ready to give up, a hand shot out of nowhere and wrapped itself around his mouth, muffling any shouts or screams that he otherwise might have given. An arm wrapped itself around his waist—entrapping his arms to his body—and Izuki could be wrong, but he swore that this person is both a female and shorter than him.

"Be quiet please." A voice spoke from behind him—a voice that sounded oddly familiar. And for the life of him, Izuki couldn't remember where he'd heard it. His voice was also muffled by the hand covering his mouth—not that he could scream even if he wants to! "Don't struggle. Just remain quiet and don't move."

Izuki's eyes widened a slight fraction in horror as he felt what is unmistakably a gun poking into the side of his leg.

…Who is it? Is it the same person who has killed his parents?

Is he going to die here?

A/N: Anyone who could guess the very slight crossovers of whatever games that I've used in this chapter will gain a cookie! I'm not going to give any hints here. Let's see if you can guess what games I played regularly! Anyway, I hope that you like this chapter, and please read and review! Reviews give me inspiration to update!

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