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The Full Combo od DoA
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--Chapter I--

The horizont was slowly lulling the red globe of dying sun to sleep, while the city of mid-20th century London was bathing in its vaning rays; shades becoming as black as a moonless night and light morphing into carmine red, the colour of freshly spilled blood.
There, in filthy suburbs of the crimson-lit city, was a 16-years-old boy laying on the ground, covered in mud, grass-stains, bruises and blood. As he looked up to the darkening skies above his head he wondered...
"Is the freak dead yet?" asked a hoarse voice.
"No, sir. Not yet," said another voice belonging to a man in early twenties. Quickly, he exchanged his looks with his 'friends' and encircled the boy laying still on the ground.
Suddenly, somebody's silhouette shaded his face from the blood-red light.
'Ah, so they decided to finish it for the day... Finally...' he thought as he closed his eyes, just to open them again after few minutes of unexpectedly pleasant yet so disturbing peace and quiet.
In their red, sunbathed faces he could instantly recognize a surprise, a wonder and malicious, mocking grins as they faced a black figure at the entrance to the backyard they were currently in. As he watched the person he contemplated who this might be, no-one he knew; that at least he was sure of. But then  to his utmost surprise the person spoke his name:
"Tom Marvolo Riddle," said the person in a high-pitched melodic voice of a child. He couldn't help but stare at the girl not really sure whether  he should be more shocked about her knowing his name or her – a mere child – being able to catch more attention of the thugs than him. Just who the heck was she?
"Well, well, well..." said the hoarse voice of the leader of the gang. "If it isn't Black Cat," he continued in a seemingly amused voice, but the boy could feel the badly hidden menace seeping from every word he'd spoken.
The thugs didn't move an inch since the moment their boss refered to the kid as 'Black Cat' whatever that might've meant. The boy turned his head directly to the newly-arrived girl as he pondered what will happen now. Though the gang didn't seem much eager to bully him anymore, he couldn't dismiss this option. His stream of  thoughts was interrupted by the quiet sounds of each step the girl made while  closing in on him. When she stood right next to him, he couldn't force himself to look away anymore. There was something off, a strange air to her, perhaps. He couldn't name it properly as he was not really sure. He could feel a fear that those thugs around him emitted as the girl approached, though he couldn't understand it; she was a girl, a kid... He focused again on her; why would they be scared of a muggle child...
'Yes, muggle... But then again, what is this feeling that it seems so familiar?' he thought.
"Marvolo," she said quietly as though only a whisper. Shivers run down his spine when her soft child voice reached his ears. He frowned when he noticed as she smiled faintly. Only an instant later he noticed that his 'mask' had betrayed him, leaving his face uncovered by his usual expression devoid of any emotions. He closed his eyes for a second or two to regain his composture.
"Who are you?" he asked unintentionally whispering; imitating her manner of speech.
"I was meaning to become a friends with you," she said, ignoring his question.
"You were meaning to, you say... Is that not the case any longer?" he asked frowning at her words, yet still not really unerstanding who she was, nor why she'd wanted to befriend him... well, why would anyone want to befriend him, for that matter.
"People were saying you were a freak, so I'd initially thought we'd get on well with each other," she said ignoring his scowling at being called freak, but he said nothing so she continued with another faint smile: "But they were wrong."
"They were wrong?" he asked before he could stop himself from doing so.
"Yes. You're not a freak," she said simply. The girl was looking at him without uttering a single word for a while, then she sighed, earning another surprised look from the boy. "Pity... But no helping it, I guess," she said and stood.
"What do you mean?" he asked curiously.
"It doesn't matter," she dismissed him instantly. "Just run for now."
"What?" he spat in disbelief.
"Run," she repeated calmly. "I'm sure there's no hidden meaning behind this word."
"Marvolo," she cut him softly. "They won't attack you for I have their attention now. So use this while and leave this place."
"But why? I mean, why wouldn't they attack me?"
"Let's just say I'm more... desired target in their eyes."
"But they'll hurt you," he breathed out, surprise showing clearly in his face as he was too shocked that he would ever be able to show such concern for another, and muggle to boot.
"They won't... much... Now go."
"Why would you help me?" he asked, still not too sure what to think about his current situation.
"Well, it's been a fair while since I've had a chat with somebody. And so far, you haven't called me a freak or anything of the kind, so I guess I'm glad to have met you. Let's just call it repaying a favour, if you hate being helped by another."
Before he could come up with a retort of some kind, a low growl interrupted their quiet exchange. Both of them looked in the direction the sound came from just to see the leader of the gang, heavily panting as though trying to maintain his calm, and failing to do so.
"Tonigh I'll be sending you to the netherworld personally, monster-cat," he growled to the girl. "And you," he turned to the boy, "will be following shortly after her. You can rant all you want to on the Other Side."
In that instant, as though the leader's words contained some command, the thugs grinned and slowly motioned themselves to the boy, just to stop again, as the girl stood in from of his still laying figure.
"Go, Marvolo. They won't be following you."
"You can't..."
"Leave now," she growled, and from a kid like herself it sounded kind of cute, though it wasn't the intention. Nevertheless, from the tone of her voice he assumed that this conversation was over. He shot   a sudden-death 'nobody orders me around' glare at her, but as it seemed to take no effect, he closed his eyes for a split of a second to recollect himself, frowning and grumbling. Then he got himself up and headed for the exit.
"You will pay for this," the leader uttered the hoarse threat.
"Should we follow him, Boss?"one of his men asked.
"No. We will make that freak regret this later. For now," he turned his attention to the girl, "we are going to make sure the 'Blackest Night' is properly avenged. After we'll have finished with her, she will be begging us to kill her... and I'll gladly comply," he grinned evilly.
"Oh, come on, Doggy, are you still crying for your brother?" she asked mockingly.
"I'm no 'doggy' you bitch. I have a proper name, and that is Cerberos," he growled, rage dripping from his voice.
"Cerberos is not a name of yours, you idiot. It's a nickname you've came up yourself to maintain you 'bad boy' image... Unnecesarilly, so to say, as without your precious big brother you're just a Doggy; all bark and no bite."
Another unintelligible growl  came from his mouth cutting their 'conversation' as his minions assumed it'd been an order to finally launch an attack. And so the unreadable whirlwind of their bodies begun. And the girl was truly a Cat as her 'name' deemed her to be, too quick for them to catch her and fierce no less, fully taking advantage of her shortness; evading, parrying, even literally slipping between the very hands and legs of her assaulters...
He leaned against a wall and cursed lowly as he recalled the recent scenes. Leaving that place was the correct decision, he never asked for the attention of the thugs and bullies, never did he interact with other people, nor did he hurt them – unless taking revenge – and yet he seemed to be a magnet for the likes of them.
"Yes, leaving that backyard was a right thing to do," he said loudly as to ascertain himself of not being wrong. He frowned. Then what was that feeling he had? Why was he feeling so... He shook his head, as  even after few seconds he couldn't find a proper term to name the feeling. He sighed, stood steadily again and continued on his way back to his place: orphanage. With each step he'd taken, however, the feeling was only growing stronger and stronger, until he couln't stand it anymore and he stopped. Uncertain, he looked back, and after few seconds he sighed again. Worry. The word flashed through his mind, but he only shook his head to erase it. No, he wasn't worried about the girl, not even about the outcome of that onesided fight, as it didn't have anything to do with him anymore and as such it was of no importance. He didn't feel bad about leaving her at their mercy, or lack thereof.
He stood motionless for few minutes, frowning. Then a small, barely noticeable smile lit his face. Yes, he was curious about what was happenning in the backyard. He nodded and slowly, step by step, he was taking the route back to where he left the thugs behind. He stopped frowning as he found a reason satisfying enough for him to return.
As he was just few steps away from a rusty iron fence and the backyard hidden behind it, it started to rain; just a few small drops at a time, but when he finally closed on the entrance to the backyard it was already pouring hard. He removed wet, black locks of hair from his face to see clearly, but as he was able to see without any obstacles in the way of his sight – be it walls, the fence, the gate, or his hair – he couldn't believe what was taking place in front of him.
The girl – Black Cat, as they called her – was pressed against a stone wall of a building, hovering few inches above the ground, as the  strong arm of the gang's leader was holding her tightly, gripping at her neck. 'I have to help her,' he thought not even bothering to question his sanity this time, there will be a plenty of ocasions for that later. But as he stepped into the backyard he froze at the sight which have for some reason escaped his attention until now.
The thugs. Not attacking, no, not even moving... All of them were laying on the ground, scattered throughout the whole place. He looked at the one who was laing closest to him. The thug's eyes were closed, blood still comming from his mouth, but when the boy came few steps closer to him, he noticed a slight,uneven movement as his chest was falling and rising to the rhythm of his shallow breathing.
'Still alive,' he noted indifferently, when his eyes widened from sudden realization. The only possible explanation for them laying around the place was that they were beaten, and the only possible person to have done that – no matter how wrong it felt – was the girl. With disbelief in his eyes, he turned attention to their boss, just to hear the man scream out in pain. There was a pair of falling-sounds.
His eyes finally found them, the man kneeling down and bent over as if in an attempt to cease the pain even if only a little bit, and the girl sitting with her back against the wall, gasping for air, as her lungs were most likely deprived of it, having had her throat strangled by a tight grip. As she seemed to be the first one to compose herself, she begun to crawl away; from which one could gather she wasn't alright at all. Her attempt to leave was interrupted just a few seconds later, as the man caught her by her leg, twisting it until the bone cracked, the sound being covered by the groan that escaped through her tightly sealed lips.
The man hovered over the girl just to reestablish his strangling grip on her neck again. Her lungs started to yearn after the air in a matter of seconds now, as they were still strained from the previous ordeal. Her left hand was flailing almost panicky over the ground, searching for anything that could be of some use to her, and finding it. She gripped the object and with no hesitation whatsoever she hit the man's right temple with all of her remaining might. It took only two hits to the same spot for the man to loosen his grip, and falling atop her. With no regard to the heavy, unmoving body that laid on her, pinning her to the ground, she took a deep breath and coughed up from the oxygen filling her for-so-long-tortured lungs. After the short fit, she breathed out in (a?) way calmer manner, wiping tears that run down her cheeks with a free hand. After a few moment she mustered all her strength and pushed the body, until it moved aside with a loud thud. It took her another few seconds to notice, that the man was no longer moving and she trailed his neck with her hand in a search for signs of life, not finding any.
A sigh escaped her mouth, and she looked up to the sky. He was dead. She calmly assesed the whole scene of the backyard and knew how it looked, though from her position she couldn't see any of it. She frowned a bit; she knew she had to leave this place asap, but she couldn't bring her body to move anymore; there was no strength left for such common task as getting up, let alone walking away.
The girl felt somebody's presence, and she flinched having heard a scrapping sound of steps. After few stressfully long seconds she caught a movement in a corner of her eye. After next few steps, the person came to her view and she couldn't supress the surprise, that showed over her face. Tom Marvolo Riddle.
"Is he..."
"Yeah, he's dead," she said in quietly, her voice sounding strangely calm. Marvolo looked at her, arching one eyebrow. Then he frowned, as he, too, came to see whole situation and knowing only few possible ways out of it. He focused on the girl.
"Can you stand?" he asked simply.
"No use," she shook her head immediately, she had tried already, but to no avail. Marvolo seemed to be lost in his thoughts for few seconds, only to sigh when he came to again. He kneeled next to her and helped her sit up.
"Get a grip, or you will end up in some hell of a place," he said darkly. Leaving him with no reply, she only enwined her arms softly around his neck, as he'd picked her up from the ground and positioned her overly-passive-at-the-moment body over to his back.
"How did you do that, Black Cat?" he asked after countless minutes of silence as they were slowly proceeding down the road.
"Gray," she said quietly, as if too tired too speak, which was most likely the case.
"That's my name. Black Cat is the nickname someone came up for me,  as I have no reason to introduce myself to every person I meet. My name is Gray Black, you – at least – should know it, when I call you by your name too."
"Okay, then," he complied, glad to have acquired at least some information about this strange kid. "Say, Gray, how did you do that?"
"Do what?" she asked solemnly.
"You took out the whole gang, it's not..."
"Normal? Yeah... I guess it isn't," she said, and he felt her smile, though there was nothing cheerful about it. "That's probably the reason they call me 'a monster', 'a freak' and... well, the usual range of those names..."
"They call you a freak, because you're stronger than them?"
"In a way, yeah... I'm no stronger, though... I'm a kid, after all, there's barely any physical strength to even mention... But I'm small and quite fast, if you can apply some tactics to those 'strengths' you can win, that's the only difference."
"True enough," he nodded, though for a kid being able to think this way was probably the strangest thing out of everything.
"But it had to start somehow, this circle, I mean. If they didn't attack first, they wouldn't know you can beat them, right?"
"Yeah, I was called a freak even before."
"What do you mean 'why'? You didn't notice?"
"Notice what?" he asked genuinely surprised, apart from her overly-mature way of thinking, there was nothingn 'freakish' about her.
Suddenly, he felt as the girl leaned onto him more than necessarily and moved her head side to side with his. He looked in her direction, only to shudder when seeing her face properly.
"Enough to be called 'a freak', don't you agree?" she said airily, yet he could hear all the sadness buried under the seemingly carefree tone of her voice.
"Yeah," he nodded, the image still flashing in front of his eyes; the white, the black and the red of her eyes leaving no space for any other colour to be added to this intimidating-looking mix. He couldn't but agree, there's no way she would not be called a freak with eyes of colour of the life-giving liquid; blood.

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