Reven remembered the apple he'd eaten, what seemed like an age ago. He examined the feelings in his body - the pain of his wound, the shock of all that had happened - and he was a little surprised to find that he was hungry.

It was a sign that he must be feeling better - he'd always had a healthy appetite, when he could get hold of decent meals. One of Chad's girls used to feed him regularly, find him extra food; she'd said he was still a growing lad, needed his fuel. He wriggled slightly on the bed - just to get more comfortable. "Yes, sure," he said, almost brightly. "Whatcha got?"

"Sit still," Inoue muttered, striding to his closet and removing a pair of tight jeans, sliding them on and zipping them up before walking out of the room.

There were noises of a microwave closing and the fridge opening and shutting several times, followed by strong scents of food cooking...

The redhead returned into the room with two bowls of noodles, one with a white sauce and one with a dark sauce.

"Thai Peanut-Sauce over rice noodles; it's the only protein easy enough on the stomach for a body in shock that you can put on noodles. Eat," he said quickly, putting the bowl and fork on the night stand before taking a seat on the edge of the bed, shovelling a forkful of his own creamy noodles into his mouth hungrily.

Reven struggled to a sitting position, eager for the food. It was good stuff, he thought, swallowing the rich, steaming sauce, trying to take his time. He was torn between eating quickly, because food had so often been snatched away from him, and taking it slowly to make the pleasant sensation last. He watched Inoue finish his own bowl, swiftly - he had a damned healthy appetite too!

He sneaked another look at the man's body, now only his torso naked. He was well-built - there was strength in the tight muscles, coupled with a flexible grace. And the tattoo on his arm - it flexed as his upper arm muscles moved, forking the food into his mouth. It was magnificent - and it was eerie, too.

Inoue glanced at Reven as he wolfed down his own meal, making sure the boy was eating. When he was finished his food, he placed the bowl on the night stand and stretched his arms above his head.

At least the kid had the sense to take his time eating.

The redhead stretched his left then his right arm above his head, then behind him, then in front of him, bending down and keeping his legs straight, holding his palms flat on the floor. He parted his legs and stretched from one side to another, then stood with ankles together once more, putting his hands above his head and leaning back until his hands touched the floor in a bridge position, stretching his stomach.

Inoue continued the stretches for some time, working up barely a sweat as he moved silently and swiftly, his actions feline and calculated as he shifted positions at the foot of the bed like he did every day, twice a day.

Reven watched, fascinated. He knew he was slender and pretty wiry himself - he could run well. Couple of people in the past had said he had a good body. But against this display, he felt like a clumsy kid. He carefully stretched out his good leg, but the tug on the injured one made him wince. Guess he wouldn't be running anywhere any time soon!

He stared again at Inoue's exercises, and he saw what he might be, if he was a man like Inoue. What he could be. He wanted that! Strong, and clever, and he bet no-one kicked Inoue's ass! There was a twinge in the pit of his stomach, watching the tensing of the man's stomach muscles - the lengthening of his thighs. The stretching of his shoulders; the gentle glisten of beads of sweat at the hollow of his neck; the soft hairs of his armpit. He barely breathed - he was in full control of himself. Reven quickly licked his lips, which seemed to have gone suddenly dry.

When finished stretching, Inoue stood back up and ran the back of his hand over his forehead, wiping away the perspiration that had collected and glancing back over at Reven. He had a sixth sense for when he was being watched, and normally it was only the slightest feeling in the back of his head.

With this kid, it was like somebody was jamming a screwdriver into his neck, and not noticing it was like forgetting there was a knife embedded into your gut.

He decided to put his mind on other things rather than what he could pretty well guess Reven was thinking, and left the room again, returning with six large books, two of which probably reached half of the kid's own weight.

These he placed on the nightstand, before picking up the empty bowls and leaning down near Reven, giving the boy a good, long look at the body he knew the kid was gazing at openly.

"You'll be training physically with me as soon as your body can handle it; for now, make this stronger." He lifted one hand and touched his fingertip to the middle of Reven's forehead. "Learn everything in these; it'll be useful at some point in your career. Knowing which pills to take when necessary has saved my life on many occasions and will save yours as well."

Reven bit back one of his more imaginative curses when he saw the books. Dammit, they were paving slabs, weren't they, not books? He was more used to a comic, or some kinda trashy novel. He peered at the titles; he struggled not to move his lips, but the damned titles were more than he could understand!

'Essential Clinical Anatomy', he breathed out. "Dynamic anatom - anatomical -" Fuck! he thought. He didn't dare look up. He was sure Inoue would be laughing at him - or be angry at his rusty skills. "The Discovery of Aggressive Toxicology -" he gave a heartfelt sigh, and he really didn't give a fuck what the man thought of him! His headache was already starting!

Ah, here was what he had been looking for; so his suspicions about the boy's literary skills were right.

Inoue sighed quietly, understanding perfectly. "I suppose I could make it a one-night slaughter, work for thirty hours straight and take them all out non-stop before they can gather forces..."

He picked up the Toxicology book and opened it to one of the key pages, running a finger down the page. "Rosary pea (Abrus precatorius), Castor Bean (Ricinus communis), and Water Hemlock (Cicuta genus, several species) are the top three most poisonous plants in the world. We'll start there, and work our way through the different plants you can use when in danger with nothing but your wits to survive with...."

Inoue read to Reven for hours, until he noticed the kid had dozed off, though he had tried his best to stay awake, a determined frown on his face.

The redhead nodded in approval; he remembered his own days of struggling to learn more, always more...

Standing, he took the books off Reven's lap and placed them on the floor, pulling the heavy furs around the boy carefully before heading to the dresser drawer and removing two knives; these he strapped to his thigh and calf, before he slipped on a t-shirt and a long black coat, leaving the apartment silently.

Reven woke slowly, wondering what the sharp light was at the side of his face. His eyes flashed open, shocked, it was a torch 'praps, Chad had found him, or a streetlight, he was back in the alley -!

He struggled to calm his breathing when he realised it was just sunlight - a shaft that shone through the blind of Inoue's bedroom. Everything came back to him in a flash. He was vividly aware of the shifting of the waterbed underneath him - the warmth of furs wrapped round him - the tiredness of his eyes, having struggled to look at pages of those damned books, listen to Inoue's low, firm voice, absorb every damned word and instruction like it'd be a matter of life or death one day -

He rather thought that it would. And it had been fascinating, he realised - it had been stimulating. never had his brain had to work so hard - never had anyone treated him in quite that way - as if he were worth teaching anything.

He shifted himself to sit up, the furs falling away, realising he was still naked. He had to get his jeans back on - find his shirt. He stretched his legs over the side of the bed before he remembered his leg, and he groaned softly - it was fucking stiff, that was the truth, but he rather thought he'd had enough of lying about like an invalid. He didn't think Inoue would put up with nursing him longer than necessary.

It was as he limped back from the bathroom, long hair wet, and clinging darkly around his neck from a hurried wash, pathetic clothes wriggled back on, that he appreciated the silence of the apartment. Obviously the man had gone for a while - Reven had no idea for how long. Was he meant to get on with his studying? He looked down at books and grimaced. Or what?

Gotta know who I'm dealing with, Reven reasoned to himself, even as his legs hobbled him around the room, over to the dresser. He licked at his lips. Gotta know something about him, haven't I? He pulled open the top drawer, as quietly as he could. Clothes - underwear. All neatly folded. No knives - he laughed at himself. As if Inoue would leave them where anyone might find them! He wondered if Inoue had them with him - his thoughts shied away from what that might mean.

Another drawer - gloves, more clothes, a couple books that looked as 'entertaining' as the other stuff he'd been reading. Nothing suspicious - nothing alien. Nothing to tell him what or who Inoue was.

He opened the lower drawer, his thigh protesting as he knelt. There was a binder of papers here - a wallet. His heart started to beat rather quickly. He could hear his breath coming faster and shorter. He pulled it out, and balanced it on his lap - flipped it open. A bus timetable - some business cards for local restaurants. A couple dollar bills. Nothing odd at all - Reven was disappointed.

The only odd thing was Inoue's writing, all over them - a strange, sloping shorthand. Well drawn letters, but completely unintelligible to Reven. He’d noticed the same on the books - like Inoue made technical notes as he read.

He pushed his damp hair back over his shoulder, and started to push the wallet back into the drawer. Something crept up the back of his neck - some goose bumps. He had a sixth sense for this - for people creeping up on him. Chad had often said he was like a weird little demon - he seemed to know what was happening even before it did. Like it was difficult with Chad, he thought scornfully. But the feeling was back - there'd been no noise, but there was something in the apartment with him – someone...

He shivered; his heart almost stopped.

He whirled round, losing his balance, and falling heavily on his butt on the floor.

Inoue stood behind him.

"I thought i told you not to get up," Inoue said with very little patience in his voice, a darkness under his eyes like sunken bruises and his lip split open. He appeared worn, and his breathing was slightly laboured as he picked Reven up and carried him to the bed, placing him on it a little roughly.

The redhead threw the covers over Reven's body, and walked unsteadily towards the bathroom, where he turned on the taps while dropping his coat on the floor and peeling a ripped shirt from his body, revealing two deep, bloody gashes across his stomach.

"You won't find anything about me in this apartment; you won't find weapons, or strategy books, or anything slightly incriminating. So don't bother. You have questions, you ask me," he kept on talking steadily, keeping himself trained and calm while opening his personal first aid kit and removing iodine, cloths and a needle, pre-threaded.

The iodine wasn't the issue here; he poured it over the wounds apathetically, before putting the bottle down and slipping the needle into his flesh, his left eye twitching twice before he pulled the needle out and sliding it back in once more for the first stitch. "Nnaaaghh.... ah..." He grunted and bared his teeth before continuing to talk, his breathing laboured. "There are many ways to kill a man with your bare hands. Are you listening to me? Ahhh... Attacking is a primary factor. A fight was never won by defensive action. Attack with all of your strength. At any point or any situation, some vulnerable point on your enemy’s body will be open for attack."

"Your balance and balance of your enemy are two important factors; since, if you succeed in making your enemy lose his balance, the chances are nine to one that you can kill him in your next move. The best over-all stance is where your feet are spread about shoulders width apart, with your right foot about a foot ahead of the left. Both arms should be bent at the elbows parallel to each other. Stand on the balls of your feet and bend your waist slightly."

He growled and clenched his teeth together while pulling the last stitch on the top wound closed, knotting it and cutting off the medical thread before starting up on the second wound closer to his hip. "There are several vulnerable places on the human body. Nose: Extremely vulnerable-- Strike with the knife edge of the hand along the bridge, which will cause breakage, sharp pain, temporary blindness, and if the blow is hard enough, death. Also, deliver a blow with the heel of your hand in an upward motion, this will shove the bone up into the brain causing death. Ears: Coming up from behind an enemy and cupping the hands in a clapping motion over the victim’s ears can kill him immediately. The vibrations caused from the clapping motion will burst his eardrums, and cause internal bleeding in the brain."

He had to release the needle, letting it stay embedded in his stomach as he slammed his fist on the sink, cracking the stone. "Fuck!" he hissed under his breath, shuddering as his body tried to collapse from the pain.

He continued to talk, his voice shaking as he tried to continue to stitch with trembling fingers. But, there was no way he could do it properly by himself, and he did have a new apprentice who needed to learn... "Get in here, Reven; I've changed my mind. Get up, now."

Reven was white. He'd been scared that Inoue would go for him, finding him at his personal stuff. Seemed like the guy had other things to occupy him, though...

He'd been too surprised to protest at being dumped back on the bed, and then Inoue had started this talking, talking, as if he had to get the message out to Reven, as if it was he who was in danger, who was on the attack...

He slipped off the bed - he stumbled to the bathroom door. Inoue was doubled up over the sink, panting. There was sweat all down his back. Reven could see bloodstains on the man's hands - he clutched at his stomach convulsively.

"What happened?" gasped Reven. "What have you done? What's happened to you?" He stepped forward, scared of provoking Inoue, but feeling the worry rising up in him. "Shit, let me help, won't you? What can i do?"

Inoue stood upright and braced his bloody hands on the door frame, on either side above Reven's head. The needle sat embedded in his flesh, the end protruding from the hook-shaped surgical steel and waiting to be pushed in the rest of the way. "Stitch it; twice forward once back, looping the thread in a knot for every stitch on the surface. Work swiftly and steadily, and pull hard on the knots to seal the wounds shut for a clean scar," he hissed. "This isn't a choice; do it."

He then continued with his lesson, needing to keep talking. The only other time in his life he'd had to have this kind of surgery performed on him without a local anaesthetic was when he had been nearly passed out, and his Master had done it for him...

"Kidneys: A large nerve that branches off to the spinal cord comes very close to the skin at the kidneys. A direct... Ahhh! Hnnn... ah.... blow with the knife edge of your hand can cause death."

Reven felt the bile rise in his throat. He'd seen plenty blood, and fights, but never an open wound like this. And not one that he was being asked to fix! Inoue's eyes were hard on him, his voice still talking, instructing - Reven understood instinctively the pain that the man was in, and his need to keep control.

There was a mist in the violet eyes; a grimace on his face that was involuntary. Inoue had said it himself - this wasn't a choice! Help him now, or maybe he'd bleed to death, here and now, on the cool, luxurious marble floor.

Reven reached out a hand, terrified that it'd be shaking, but it seemed to be quite firm. He took a deep breath, and grasped the needle, ignoring Inoue's sudden shudder. He pushed it against the skin, felt it sink further in. He stepped even closer to the stooping man, who nodded impatiently at him. He took the strain of the needle, and began to stitch as instructed.

Twice forward - once back, he chanted to himself, teeth gritted together. There was blood everywhere, obscuring a clear view of the flaps of skin - he had to grasp at them, slick and slippery, to pull them together. The needle sucked into the skin, then burst out on the other side. Loop the thread in a knot, went Reven's thoughts. He felt shaky himself, but the job was nearly done, and he was concentrating on making it neat and quick.

Inoue's eyes slid shut as he talked, and it was getting harder to keep them open. He looked up at the beam of sunlight from the setting sun on his bed, right where he had left Reven sleeping, and imagined that was what had woken the kid.

Sleeping peacefully in the large bed, his lips parted slightly and his breathing soft...
There, that was an image that could keep Inoue alert-- all he had to do was think of Reven's vulnerability and he was back on full alert, and a thankful heave of breath left him as he felt the last stitch pulled closed.

"Perfect; you did well," he said quickly, taking the needle from Reven's bloody fingers and slipping in one last firm knot before cutting off the thread and placing the needle on the sink's edge.

The redhead turned around and walked sluggishly to the shower, unzipping his pants and dropping them to the ground, turning on the hot water and stepping into the shower before it was even warm, closing his eyes as the water ran over him. "Wash your hands," he said quietly, leaning back against the back of the shower and feeling the water stream across his face. "We have work to do tonight; the only one left is Chad himself."

Reven let out a breath he didn't know he'd been holding. Inoue's praise heartened him; the horror of what he'd just had to do was fading. He'd seen something in the man's eyes as he'd worked, beyond the pain and determination. Something that looked almost compassionate - something that brought back that ache in his body; that sent a shiver of delight down his spine.

Perhaps the guy had meant it - that they'd start this weird and astonishing partnership! Maybe he had some feelings for him, Reven, that were less than harsh...

But what did he mean about Chad?

Reven washed his hands quickly, watching Inoue in the shower out of the corner of his eye. How could he cope like that - losing blood, bearing the stitching - and still be upright? But he'd be the same, right? His wound had been considerably less than those jagged slashes on Inoue's stomach; bright scarlet, oozing, vibrant slashes across the tight, shuddering muscles of his belly. Reven shivered again - he could cope with this, right? He was ready for whatever Inoue wanted him to do. He didn't want to let him down!

Ahh, he hated being wounded; it made him think of the past, and made memories wash over him in waves more sickening than the burning at his stomach. Lifting one hand, he held it over his stomach, and the other he stretched out of the shower, droplets of water beading from his skin and onto the carpet across the marble.

He held his palm towards the ceiling, fingers curled slightly, waiting for Reven to take his hand. "Come here," he said quietly, needing what he knew he was going to regret later, but not caring. "Take off the clothes."

Being wounded, being vulnerable himself-- those were the times when Master had always shown affection for him, when he was in such great pain. Inoue could feel the nerve endings on every part of his torso like shards of glass were being dragged across them, but his mind was wallowing in memories of his bloody body lying limp as his master showered him with affection, kissing and touching and loving him all the more for the good work he'd done...

He was hardening quickly, and his cock twitched when he felt warm fingers close over his large hand.

Reven stepped forward and took the offered hand. He felt a sudden rush of comfort and excitement, like when Inoue had lain over him on the bed before. God, he looked good, he thought - the tall, tight body, attractive even with its angry stitches - the shadow of other, earlier scars.

The red hair, darkened by the water. The hypnotic eyes, calling him to him, as well as the soft words. He felt his hand enveloped by the wet palm of the older man. As he fumbled at the waist of his tattered jeans, letting then drop to the floor, he felt Inoue's other hand take hold of the hem of his vest, and together they peeled it off. He stood naked again, catching the spray from the shower, inches away from the naked man.

The pit of his stomach was in turmoil - there was a coiled spring, tugging at him. He wanted to touch this man again - he wanted to trace the lines of his wound - he wanted to lick the last remaining bloodstains from his chest. He wanted to belong to him - like Inoue had promised him.

The redhead pulled Reven closer, guiding him until the boy was face to face with Inoue, and his violet eyes looked down into those of his new apprentice.

Never in years had he thought he would take one on.

Never in years had he thought he would ever meet a creature he could feasibly tolerate for more than a few hours, never mind teach.

He pushed Reven slowly, remembering the boy's wounded leg but knowing he had bandaged it well enough that it would be fine as he guided the dark-haired boy onto his knees. "I've been teaching you since we met. Show me what you know," he said in a husky voice, fully erect now as his chest rose and sank heavily, slowly, painfully...

He lived in the pain, lusted within it, needed it to feel completely aroused...!

Inoue moaned and let his head roll forward even though his length hadn't so much as been touched yet; the idea of being enveloped by another alone brought the sound to his lips in a mixture of pleasure and the pain in his gut. "Slowly, properly-- there is no rush, I have everything taken care of," he instructed, the words barely making sense through his sluggish tongue and fumbling lips, too caught in his gory concoction of agony and bliss.

Reven felt the rush of excitement to his head; his lips ghosted at the muscles of Inoue's thighs. His legs were slightly parted - the water ran in rivulets down his skin, then over his knees, some of it spraying into Reven's opening mouth. Reven leant forward - he didn't need the hand on his head, guiding him, he was eager to take it in.

He heard the gasp above him as he slipped his dampened lips over the swollen flesh. He felt the thrill of the other man's arousal, and he slid his tongue up and down the length, savouring the taste. This was so different from the other times - from the tight hands in his hair, bumping him back and forth, forcing ugly, dirty flesh into his mouth! This was something he wanted - very badly...

'No rush', Inoue had said. Reven liked the feel of the man's muscles, under his hands - he clutched at his legs, to anchor himself. He liked his mouth full of the hard, stretched flesh - the wrinkles of the sheath as he moved his mouth on it - the dribbling tip, teasing at his tongue. He felt his own cock swelling, aching between his bent legs. He wanted to take hold of it and rub for relief - but he didn't want to lose touch with Inoue, with the feeling that they were bound together in this intimate tableau.

Instead, he ran his hand up to the man's waist, kneading the flesh, tugging at the skin. Inoue jerked gently, in and out of his mouth. Reven felt the tensing of Inoue's stomach muscles as he reached across his belly. Then he tightened his sucking, laving with his tongue greedily, just as his fingertips reached - and traced - the stitches he'd so laboriously made.

"Aaaaaaaaughhh..." It was a rolling moan, seeping with lust and tumbling into agony as the fingers traced across his fresh wounds, and Inoue's hips bucked once at the sensation.

It was as though Reven knew exactly what was needed in order to bring the redhead to the highest peaks, and he gasped raggedly then groaned, baring his teeth and doing his best not to fill his hands with Reven's hair and thrust heavily into the open mouth.

Inoue's climax wasn't far off nor was it hard to reach; he lifted his head slightly and looked down at the kid, eyes half-closed as he panted.

The mouth and tongue, hot along his length, burning up into the pit of his stomach and mingling with the sheer pain of the fingers pushing against his wounds-- Inoue moaned louder this time, his deep voice rumbling from within him as he lifted his face to the ceiling. "Ahh... fuck.... fuck!" he snarled, thrusting once more at the best oral sex of his life.

He was part of Inoue - he was part of the man, and his body, and his thrusting hips, and he could feel the pressure building inside his mouth, prodding at the roof of his mouth, tangling with his tongue! The flesh was growing; the heat was fierce; he could almost feel the ripple of seed ready to burst. He wanted to taste Inoue - he wanted to drink him, to receive him.

He stretched his lips as widely as he could to take more of his treasure, he plunged down on it as deeply as he could, and he dropped his other hand to his groin, desperate to join Inoue in the ecstasy. He lifted his eyes, trying to see the violet eyes, to see Inoue's expression, clutching him as tightly as he dared. The response to his hand on Inoue's belly had been both frightening and thrilling - he'd felt the shudder of the man above him - the gasp of mingled pain and passion. It had been instinctive - it had been his own desire, too.

It came suddenly - the tension in Inoue's thighs as the climax broke free; the sudden warmth of seed, flooding out into his mouth. Reven tightened his lips again - he wouldn't let a dribble of this out - he wouldn't lose a second of this excitement! He slipped his upper hand down to a safer perch on Inoue's thigh, and rubbed furiously with his other hand, nestled between his legs.

Inoue's thighs banged clumsily against his chin - the man's body thrust the climax out, then shuddered with the aftershocks. He was groaning. Reven swallowed - licked - the taste was sharp, and mixed with water from the shower and his own saliva. He felt Inoue start to relax under his grasp.

Inoue let his body slide down the shower wall until he was sitting with his legs on either side of the kid, staring at him sluggishly as the boy bucked into his own hand, then came with a mewl of pleasure.

To the redhead's surprise, when Reven was finished pleasuring himself, he leaned forward and embraced Inoue lightly, closing his eyes and burying his face into the man's chest. It was as though they were both on the same page; as though their understanding was more than that of a teacher and student.

He shook off the feeling but didn't move, allowing Reven several minutes of silent comfort under the hot stream of water before finally moving, getting up slowly and turning off the water. He helped the kid up off the tiles and towelled the both of them down before lifting Reven and carrying him into the bedroom, placing him on the bed carefully.

"Tonight you wear clothes I bought you; all black, all tight, and warm. Good for stealth and for combat to hide any signs of blood or injury. I have Chad some place where only I'll find him, and the first blood on your hands will be his; think of it as a sacrifice in exchange for you to keep on living. Every other threat in your life has been removed but him, and you'll be the one to snuff it out once and for all."

He went into the hall and returned with a paper bag, which he placed on the bed, filled with clothes and shoes in Reven's approximate sizes before heading to the closet and removing his own favourite slaughtering suit; a tight long-sleeved stretchy shirt with a loose turtleneck sleeveless sweater overtop, fingerless gloves, tight stretch pants with rivets down the front and back, heavy steel-toed boots, a black leather trench coat and his hair pulled back in a ponytail.

He looked over at Reven to try and gauge just how ready this kid was for his first kill, and knew that the boy wasn't. Perfect, that's the way it should be-- if he was eager to kill another human being, he wasn't ready to be broken yet.