Chapter 2 - Back To Work
"Kid, I swear, if you leave this house- no, if you even think about leaving this house..." XY-EZ trailed off, hoping it made his threat that much more threatening.
"I know, I know..." The younger sighed, waving his hand lazily, "Boss'll be mad if he finds out we've been back for almost a day and you haven't gone to see him. Actually, he probably already knows, so just go already."
Boss was XY-EZ's, well, boss. He had to have a name, but he never told anybody what it was, saying it was never important, so to everyone he was just known as Boss, even if you didn't work for him.
XY-EZ straightened his mask and grunted, "I'll be off then, I don't know when I'll be back, but we should have enough food to keep you going for a while." He ruffled Chihiko's hair, then grabbed his coat and house keys and left.
It was a long walk to the Inbetween - the part of Palatra that was in between the Outskirts and the Centre - but he didn't feel the need to rush. Boss was a patient man, he could wait an extra hour or two.
XY-EZ stopped along the way to help some kids find their ball, he stopped to pet a stray cat and he stopped to help an elderly woman carry her groceries home. It wasn't like he disliked his boss and wanted to avoid him for as long as possible or anything, the man was nothing kind to him, but what was the point in hurrying? It would just tire him out.
He looked up at the sky, judging by the position of the sun, it was about two in the afternoon. He left the house at ten. Oops. It wasn't supposed to take that long.
But oh well, what's done is done, it didn't matter, he could see the huge doors with the guards on either side now anyway, then it was just a short walk to the house where Boss lived.
"Who goes there?" One of the guards asked in a loud voice.
"XY-EZ. I request entrance to the Inbetween, I need to see Boss about my recent trip to the town of Falcor." The teen explained politely, though if you had known XY-EZ for a long enough time, you would've heard the venom lacing his tone.
Stupid guards, they knew who he was, he passed though the gate almost everyday, yet they still asked that question every damned time he came. They couldn't have forgotten him in the two weeks he was gone, it just wasn't possible, so why?
XY-EZ was snapped out of his thoughts by the low rumbling of the doors, thanking them, he hurried through and turned right. A few turns and he was on the oh-so-familiar street, with the nice looking houses and the small shop on the corner.
The teen strolled down the street until he reached the snow white house with the blood red door. He lifted up a small sitting fox statue by the door and grabbed the key underneath. He opened the door quickly, then placed the key back in its hiding spot, stepped inside, and closed the door quietly. And then called, "Boooss! Boss! where are you?"
"I'm in the shower! Give me minute!" A low voice called back.
XY-EZ sighed and wandered into the kitchen, he opened the fridge and grabbed a carton of milk, then poured himself a glass. He sat on the sofa and drank his milk as he waited for Boss to come downstairs.
Boss's house was a lot nicer than his own, the furniture was clean and neat and he a constant power supply - unlike XY-EZ's house when the power came and went as it please - and he had a some basic electrical appliances.
The raven was completely silent as he waited patiently, then the wait wasn't long as his boss didn't like to keep people waiting, and of course, that meant he didn't like people to keep him waiting. XY-EZ turned his head and saw the pale figure of Boss, standing in the door white a fluffy, white towel wrapped around his waist. Hair whiter than white, still wet, dripping water. Two scars ran from the man's right cheek to just above his left eye. His eyes were a dark crimson colour.
XY-EZ watched as Boss reached his arms above his head and stretched, showing off his muscles, and the teen just arched an eyebrow, "What are you trying to do, Boss?"
Boss just ignored the question, "It's nice of you to finally show up XY-EZ, a little Warning told me you've been home since yesterday morning, that same Warning also told me it's been six days since you last ate anything."
"We had to rest and the kid needs the food more than I do, and he never stops complaining when he's hungry, we barely had any food to eat when we were away" XY-EZ explained, almost angrily, but he managed to stay calm.
"How was your trip to Falcor?" The albino asked, taking a seat next to the raven.
"Completely useless, no one knew anything, not even the travelers in the market place." The teen hissed clenching his fists. "We aren't any closer to finding out who we were before the incident six years ago!"
"Don't give up, OK." Boss smiled reassuringly and put and arm around the teen's shoulders, "I promise you that you will find out."
"How can you promise something like that?"
"I just can."
"Whatever, we haven't got any money, so I would like to start work as soon as possible, who do I need to see first?" XY-EZ asked quietly.
"There's no need to rush, you just got here. Take a shower or bath or something, and have something to eat, I'll make you some steak, OK?" Boss questioned, standing and pulling XY-EZ to his feet with him.
"A shower would be nice." XY-EZ muttered, "But I don't need the food."
"XY-EZ, you are going to eat something, even if I have to tie you to a chair and shove the food down you throat." Boss said with a kind smile.
XY-EZ, completely unfazed, just shrugged and headed up the stairs to shower.
Boss sighed after him, "Teenagers..." He shook his head. He climbed the stairs and entered his room, then rummaged through his wardrobe, looking for an outfit to wear. He layed several clothes on his bed and began the complicated task of decidng what he should actually wear.
His room was quite big, king-sized bed, walk-in wardrobe, en suite bathroom, book shelves full of books and a bedside table with an open book on it.
After another half hour, he finally decided on an outfit and put the unlucky clothes away. The chosen outfit consisted of faded blue jeans, a pair of black, silver-studded, fingerless gloves and his favourite shirt. It was black and had the words 'I'm a pimp' on it in white, but the 'i' in 'pimp' was replaced with an exclamation mark (!)
Boss dried himself of quickly, pulled on the clothes and brushed his hair, putting half of it into a pony tail, the rest coming down to just below his shoulder blades. Then he rushed downstairs to start XY-EZ's steak.
The raven came down not long after, wearing faded grey jeans and a black t-shirt. There was a towel on his head and he was carrying a bundle of clothes. The towel was covering his eyes and his mask was resting on top of the clothes bundle. "Is it alright if I wash my clothes?" XY-EZ asked the white haired man.
"Sure." Boss looked up from the sizzling meat, "You can bring some more clothes over later if you want."
"I'll ask the kid if he can." XY-EZ said, walking into the small laundry room that was connected to the kitchen.
"Your steak should be ready soon!" Boss shouted after him.
"Make sure there isn't any blood, I don't like blood, I'm not like Varo who'll eat a cow that's still in a field eating grass." XY-EZ said as he entered the room again and stared at the slab of meat.
"Ah, that reminds me! Varo wanted to see you and Balcoa apparently misses Chihiko." Boss explained, turning his attention back to the steak.
"Balcoa really said that?"
"No, Varo just thinks that he can read his brother's mind."
"Is it even possible to read Balcoa's mind?"
"No, but then again no one's even tried to find out what goes on up there."
XY-EZ just grunted, grabbed a stool and sat at the kitchen table, then began rubbing his hair to dry it. When it was dry, he found a comb and combed his hair back, then found a mirror and concentrated on separating the orange highlights from the rest of his black hair. His hair naturally curled up at the ends and orange strands of hair framed his face, constantly refusing to stay tucked behind his ears.
The albino slipped the steak onto a plate and covered it completely with gravy, then placed it on the table in front of the teen then handed him a knife and fork, "Do you want anything else?"
XY-EZ shook his head and politely declined, he stared at the steak and could feel his mouth watering at the sight and smell. Steak drowned in gravy was his absolute favourite food. He had to admit that he was starving and found it difficult to keep from throwing the knife and fork away and just devouring it like a crazed lion.
"How many times do I have to tell you that if you want more food you can just ask for it, your pride is going to be the death of you, I swear. Why do you have to be so difficult?" Boss took a seat opposite of the teen and studied his face, trying to read his emotions, but it was hard to do since XY-EZ kept his eyes close. "And you don't have to hide your eyes all the time."
XY-EZ sighed, putting the cutlery down, "You tell me every time I see you that I see you to never be afraid to ask for things. And I don't like my eyes, they're ugly, I've told you that before."
It was Boss's turn to sigh as he stood, "They are unique, yes, but they are not ugly. I'm going to check your appointments now, you have quite a busy week ahead of you, you know that, don't you?"
The raven nodded, "I figured as much, at least I'm getting paid."
"You sounded a little like Varo then."
The teen grunted and popped a chunk of steak in his mouth, almost moaning at the taste of the gravy soaked meat. He never had enough money to go out and buy fancy food, and usually turned it down when it was offered to him. Unless it had been a particularly slow week and all food had been given to Chihiko, even then, he usually had to be forced to take it.
The beef was consumed within minutes and XY-EZ found a spoon so he could drink up the gravy that was left on the plate, no point in letting good food go to waste, right? He was just about to dip the silverware in the pool of gravy when he noticed his reflection. He glared at the miniature clone of himself and a growl began to rise from his throat. He hated his eyes and his eyebrows. They were just plain ugly, which is why he wore his mask.
XY-EZ finished his meal and dumped his plate and cutlery into the sink. His fingers gently traced the markings on his mask, before he slipped it onto his face and shifted it until it was comfortable.
Boss sauntered into the room, a small, black, notebook in hand, and a wide grin practically splitting his face in half, "You'll be surprised to hear who your first client is."
"Who is it?"
The grin grew wider, if it was possible, as XY-EZ started choking on air, "K-Kotoba?! How did you convince him to request my company?"
"I had nothing to do with it, apparently Varo actually managed to convince him."
XY-EZ calmed down immediately, "Suddenly it doesn't seem so surprising anymore. That manipulative little whore could convince anyone to do anything."
Boss nodded in agreement, "He comes in handy though, and you speak as if he isn't your best friend."
XY-EZ moved his now soaking wet clothes to the tumble dryer, "He is my best friend, but our relationship was founded upon insults, and he's the only person I know who is about my age and will actually listen to what I have to say."
"Exactly." Boss said, "Well your appointment with Kotoba is in an hour and you're expected to stay with him for the night, you'll meet him at the Kyeetan Hotel, then he'll take you to the Centre. "He explained.
"OK, can you keep an eye on the kid for me? Like make sure that he goes to bed at a reasonable time and make sure he eats too."
"Of course! now, do you know where Kyeetan is? I can walk you there, and it is getting kinda late..."
"Yes, I know, I'll be fine, it'll take thirty minutes at most to get there. I'm sure I can stay out of trouble." If only he knew how untrue those words were...
Not long later, XY-EZ found himself wrapped tightly in his coat, keeping to back alleys to try and shorten the walk to the Kyeetan Hotel, and avoid crowds. Nights in Ravven-kel were considerably colder than the day. The teen looked up at the darkening sky and saw the four moons beginning to show themselves.
He was almost at the hotel, just another five or so minutes. But it seems Kotoba was going to have to wait as XY-EZ was roughly slammed into the alley wall.
XY-EZ let out a long, exaggerated sigh and look up at the tall, strong-looking man, "And you are?" He asked, perfectly calm. This happened a lot. "Actually, I don't care. I need to meet someone, can you let me go?"
"You're XY-EZ, right? I've heard a lot about you. Apparently you're one of Boss's best whores."
And now the raven was getting annoyed, he didn't like it when people ignored him. And he hated it when someone called him a whore. He wasn't a whore, Varo was the whore.
But he tried to act like he wasn't ticked off, "Oh, you know about that do you?"
The man looked confused for a second, the he just frowned, "What are you trying to pull? Everyone knows who you are! And everyone wants a piece of that ass..." He smirked, and held the teen's wrists tightly with one hand, the used the other to roughly grope XY-EZ's ass.
"Well I'm sorry to disappoint, but you'll have to talk to Boss before you do anything to me." XY-EZ hoped he managed to supress the irritated growl that tried to force its way out of his throat, though he wasn't in the mood to get raped tonight.
"And if I don't want to?" XY-EZ's attacker asked with a grin.
"He won't be happy if his best worker is out of commission for a week or two. I've already missed enough work as it is. So I advise you to let go of me now, and neither of us will lose our ability to walk." And a smile was evident in the raven's voice.
The stranger just shook his head and made to yank XY-EZ's mask off, but his brows furrowed when the mask didn't budge.
"Fool. Didn't you know that my masks are special? They cannot be removed by anyone but myself. Isn't that neat?" XY-EZ allowed a small laugh to escape his lips.
The man just grunted, "It doesn't matter to me whether I can see your face or not, just as long as I can hear your screams of pain." He said angrily.
The raven could feel himself being flipped around, his attacker grabbed his hair and jammed the side of his face into the wall roughly. Before XY-EZ could even blink, the stranger had stripped him of his coat and shirt and was already tugging at his belt.
Then the man stopped.
XY-EZ stayed still until the hand fell from his hair, then turned and saw the man slump down lifeless, the tip of an arrow poking through the middle of his forehead.
XY-EZ looked around, scanning the area quickly, then he noticed the shadowy figure standing on top of the building in front of him...