Author: Doctor Yok PM
Kanda takes an escort mission, and it goes awry when he is stranded in South Africa with a baby and only one destination - Cairo, Egypt. Unexpected parenthood, a tribe prophecy, his past, and Afrikaan voices follow him on his trek towards his destination.Rated: Fiction T - English - Humor/Family - Kanda Yuu - Chapters: 13 - Words: 88,986 - Reviews: 69 - Favs: 26 - Follows: 24 - Updated: 04-27-13 - Published: 09-15-11 - id: 7385105
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
He woke up and just knew it'd be a bad day. It may be due to the nature of his birth or something about his composition. It could be that all the intensive anticipation training he'd gone through with Tiedoll had spilled out into his everyday life. Sheesh, it could be that his freaking gut was psychic. Kanda was incredibly intuitive to his surroundings, and even right as he woke up he could make an assessment.
One day he'd had that feeling and ignored it. He never saw the bucket coming down as Lavi dropped it from a second story balcony on accident. He'd ended up with bleached blonde hair for about a week before he had to dye it out of vanity.
Another day went by, this one foreboding despite how sunny it had been. Kanda had the worst case of sunburn the Order doctors had ever seen, and no, his regeneration ability did not extend to already-dead epithelial cells, as if to add insult to injury.
Yet another day had the same, unspoken harbinger of doom, and, lo and behold, he managed to get five Finders killed in one mission, his Exorcist partner ended up stabbed thirty different times before bleeding half to death, and he'd met Allen of all people.
He could wake up and just know that it was going to be a bad day.
Today was going to be a bad day.
"Rise and shine, dear one! The birds are tweeting, the sun is shining, and there's a hot shower calling our name!" Ellis sang cheerily through his tent opening. Kanda just barely managed to refrain from throwing one of his boots at her immaculately prim head. He rolled over and shoved his head under the pillow, hearing the sounds of clattering cookware as Din made breakfast outside of his tent. They were only thirty minutes from the nearest town, but the hotel hadn't been open at two in the morning. They'd resorted to camping instead.
Nthanda seemed to be of a more optimistic mindset, because he scrambled out of his makeshift crib with a tumble onto the ground before gently slapping Kanda's shoulder. The swordsman peeked out from under the pillow to glare at the baby as Nthanda seemed to reprimand him in garbled speech about something. Kanda half-seriously shoved the baby over with a single hand, and Nthanda whined indignantly at the treatment. Kanda finally hauled himself out of the mess of bed sheets he called his bedroll, and he began to pack for the day.
Nthanda 'helped', shoving random, small items clumsily into the pack, and Kanda watched, nearly amused, as the baby quickly crawled this way and that, fetching things. Nthanda was much, much more responsive now than he'd been nearly two months before. The once-forlorn child was more grumpy and annoyed than anything else, a personality trait that made Kanda wonder if he was rubbing off on the tyke.
He finally picked Nthanda up and took him outside of the tent, finishing off his morning routine by breaking down the tent while Nthanda played in the dirt. Din, who was always up early, had already broken down his tent and things before cooking. Ellis had been the second one up, if only so she could annoy Kanda with her off-key singing right when he woke up. Vanya was almost always the last to wake up, preferring to sleep in after she'd spent all night painting spell tags, whetting her knives to razor-sharpness, and pinning more exotic bugs to her various corkboards.
Din looked up at Kanda with his usual, luminescent smile. He held up a pot with one, gloved hand, and he stated, "Got soup. T'ink Nthanda ken eat it?" Kanda looked in the pot critically, noting with disgust that it had salted pork in it. He hated salted pork. Still, food was better than an empty stomach.
"Take the pork out of it, and he'll be fine," Kanda said.
Breakfast was eaten without much occasion, only interrupted by the waking of a certain CROW member. Kanda shared a look with her, and her visage immediately went from neutral to a dark frown. Afterwards, they didn't even say a word in the other's direction, both of them clearly not happy with the presence of the other person. Nthanda crawled back and forth between them, playing with various things in a rather serious manner, and that was the only time either of them managed to cast a glance in the other's general vicinity. Din and Ellis noted the dark aura that seemed to hang between the two, but neither said anything.
Pretty soon, they were all up and walking towards the town, the sun already a quarter of the way through its daily journey towards the west. It was steadily getting hotter, and the general mood was growing more and more bitter - at least, between the two warriors.
"Somet'in' ain't right 'bout dem two, Ellis. They ain't bin sayin' nasty t'ings to each odher, ain't sayin' a word, not even pushin' or shovin'. They real mad right now," Din sighed to himself as he hefted his pack higher on his back. He could see the heat wafting off the road, almost as well as he could see the negativity radiating off of both Kanda and Vanya. The two were walking side by side, but their usual banter and bickering was absent, replaced by a silence that seemed so much worse.
"Wait, were they like this yesterday?" Ellis asked quietly. Din shrugged.
"Not as I 'member dem bein'. I t'ink I would, 'sidering Mistuh Kanda's near meltin' the road with his eyes," Din commented, and Ellis suddenly started giggling.
"Oh, then I know just what's the matter with them both," Ellis said, her eyes twinkling madly in a way that worried Din considerably. Ellis only ever had that look when she had some juicy tidbit to talk about. And this looked so juicy, it was practically dripping. She motioned him closer, and she began to explain in low tones about the things that had transpired the previous day. Din's eyes widened, flitting between the two.
"Are you sure -?"
"Oh, of course I'm sure! My instinct is never wrong. And besides, this is normal for two capably fit young adults as themselves. This is obviously some sort of lovers' quarrel!" Din looked skeptical, but he shrugged never the less. Once Ellis had an idea in mind...
"Maybe we should split them up before we get into the town? Talk to them a bit? After all, they are young. They're confused," Ellis suggested. She'd never really worried much about the predator-like behavior the two had showcased around each other, but this was much more human, and, so she postulated, romantic in nature.
"I dunno, Mum, they look a bit... unstable," Din sighed, but Ellis was already marching her way up to them, obviously intent on fixing this.
Kanda tramped across the dusty road into the town with a weary sigh, finally glad to be somewhere civilized with running water. The swordsman was not the epitome of pampered, but certain amenities were nice to have, one of them being plumbing. Nthanda squirmed in his arms, tired of being carted around. He was so much more active these days, and Kanda hardly had the ability to keep up with him, along with keeping an eye out for Akuma. The kid's teleportation ability definitely wasn't helping, because he'd just poof at random moments of the day. The older Nthanda got, the more frequent his disappearances became. Kanda wouldn't admit it, but it worried him what he'd do when the kid started walking. If his instinct was right, though, he had the feeling that Nthanda would start running before he started walking.
It took him a moment to realize that Ellis was hot on his heels, but once he knew that she was coming, he immediately felt his mood drop lower. She was bad news. She tended to exacerbate his gut instincts to smash something. Her knowledge of child-rearing was impeccable, but other than that Kanda tended to view her as a nuisance. Of course, she had her moments, but today...
"What do you want?" Kanda grumbled. The dirt road slowly turned to cobblestones, and it was obvious they were coming into the dusty town. It was a little way-place, really just somewhere to stop for a night. Luckily, there was a little market just on the outskirts. They were running out of supplies as it was. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Din and Vanya head toward a meat stand, no doubt for tonight's dinner.
"Oh, nothing," Ellis said innocently, which immediately tipped Kanda off to just how much word diarrhea she was about to spew. She was going to come up with something outrageous, he knew it. He set Nthanda down, being sure to leave him on a relatively clean patch of grass rather than the dirty, fluid strewn ground.
"I don't want to hear it," Kanda stated simply. Ellis seemed taken aback by this statement.
"What?! What you do you mean, 'don't want to hear it'? What I've got to say is very important!" Ellis indignantly challenged. Kanda scoffed, crossing his arms. He glowered at the passing shoppers and vendors, some of whom glared back. The air seemed to shimmer with the mounting heat, and Kanda once again wondered why he'd decided to pick up this mission in the first place. He should've figured it was bad luck from the start. It'll be easy, he said. You'll be back in a few days, he said. This thought seemed to push Kanda further into his cloud of growing pessimism.
"Fine. You won't shut your mouth anyways, so spit it out," Kanda grumbled, waiting for Vanya and Din to hurry it up. It was obvious that the two were spending an inordinately long time on picking a cut of pork, so whatever Ellis was about to say, Din was rattling off as well.
"Well! I was going to tell you, my dear, that you and Vanya shouldn't be confused about your feelings. I don't understand what transpired between the two of you, but I do know that when a man and a woman love each other very much and become heated, that sometimes things happen, and that's nothing to be ashamed of -"
Wait... what? This wasn't what he'd had in mind -
"- and you should talk these sorts of things through, you know. It's not any use to get mad at each other. After all, it doesn't mean anything, it's just a fling. A physical altercation, you understand? Of course, I'd expected better considering you're working together. So you both should kiss and make up, and get on so that we can travel in, at least, some modicum of normalcy without you two giving that brooding silence to each other -"
What was she getting at?! Where did this all come from!?
"- I mean, I would think you'd be in a much better mood than usual, not worse. It must've been terrible, if that was the case. Then again, you were in the woods and hot and dirty, but some people like that sort of thing -"
Kanda shook his head, his brain feeling like it'd explode any minute.
"Stop stop stop. What, exactly, are you trying to tell me, because you're not making any sense," Kanda ground out between pressed teeth. He didn't have the patience for this sort of nonsense! Ellis seemed rather surprised herself.
"I do believe that we are not on the same page, so to speak," Ellis stated, straightening sheepishly. Kanda gripped his sword hilt in a death grip, his temple-vein coming dangerously close to bursting from his growing blood pressure.
"No, you don't say?" Kanda stated sarcastically in his most vehement voice. Ellis seemed to ruffle at this statement.
"I was only trying to help! After all, seeing how you both were yesterday - "
"Yes, yesterday. I am more than highly aware of the circumstances. There really wasn't much to conclude from it," Ellis told him imperiously, feeling quite superior, as if she'd solved some great mystery and was using it to her best advantage. Kanda thought back to the former day, trying to remember - Ah! That little... problem. Kanda glowered at Ellis.
"You're joking. It wasn't what it looked like," Kanda spat. He should've figured someone had seen that. After all, what with Vanya being difficult and all the hubbub going on and clothes flying everywhere, it was foolish of him to have thought that nobody would notice. He should've just explained outright. He rubbed the bridge of his nose, trying to beat back a headache that seemed to be squeezing his brain down his spinal column.
"Of course, of course," Ellis demurely acquiesced, deciding that sooner or later he'd have to own up to it. Kanda decided he'd had enough, and he went to pick up the kid so he could go and look for the hotel. They were wasting time. He bent down to pick Nthanda up off the ground -
- except there was no baby to pick up. Kanda stared for a moment at the spot Nthanda had originally occupied, this lack of child not quite registering. Ellis caught on quite a bit quicker.
"Oh dear," she breathed. Kanda felt panic suddenly invade his brain as he looked around the busy market, frantically trying to catch a glimpse of a dark-skinned baby crawling around.
He was gone.
Nthanda crawled faster after a man in a bowler hat and a cane. The babe was quite adamant to catch up to him - it seemed more instinct than actual thought. Most people didn't realize just how intelligent Nthanda happened to be. Despite his late bodily development, Nthanda was incredibly intelligent, almost adult in his thought processes. He still had to get used to the fact that he couldn't truly speak yet (no teeth and no muscle control), though he had to admit that the use of a diaper was particularly liberating. He sincerely wished he'd never have to go back to potty training.
But to the task at hand! That man in the bowler hat with the cane was a danger to the general populace! The chanting voices that only Nthanda could hear obviously thought so, speaking of the dead walking and the demons inhabiting human skin. Nthanda had heard them all his life, and through them he'd been given the gift of several lives lived already. However, his mind was his own, and he could do as he wished. And a simple touch was all that he needed to turn that thing walking around like a human into dust.
As if God himself were trying to impede his progress (and Nthanda was very familiar with God's work - Kanda was proof of that), a dog came up to the baby at exactly the wrong time, just as Nthanda was able to grab at the man's pant leg. Nthanda could only crawl so fast, and luckily that man was old! The dog sniffed Nthanda as the baby babbled irately at the canine, and the big dog panted in the baby's face. Nthanda pouted (an action he picked up from Ellis - such an interesting facial expression, one he'd never encountered in his former, loaned memories!) as dog breath wafted over his face. Oh, fiddlesticks!
The man suddenly turned around to see the commotion, only seeing a small child and a dog. The street was fairly empty, seeing as it was market day, and the man abruptly took on a harsh cast to his face. His wrinkled face morphed into a smile as the baby tried to shove the dog away. He started to chuckle, eyeing the circle in the middle of the child's chest. He knew full well what this baby was - an Exorcist, sworn enemy of all who wield Dark Matter and served the Earl. To find something so powerful yet so defenseless was tantalizing at the least.
And then, as if to subvert the attempts of murder on both parties, the dog picked the baby up by the diaper, much to the baby's displeasure, and ran off with him. The man stood there, staring at the space the baby had occupied much like the baby's former caretaker, with a look of perplexity before the man cursed and hobbled as fast as he could after the speeding dog and the baby.
"You LOST HIM?!" Vanya's voice reached a range of decibels Kanda did not think possible for the human voice to achieve. His eyelid twitched, and he rubbed underneath his eye as he tried to tamp down his ire and irrational panic.
"This old biddy distracted me!" Kanda shouted back, pointing at Ellis. The old lady ruffled and 'harrumph'ed in an offended manner, though she did look like she partly blamed herself for the baby's disappearance.
"It does not matter. YOU lost HIM. I ken not belief you! I zought some clodhead like you vould hef learned yoor lesson by now!" Vanya shrieked. They were drawing a veritable crowd of people. Din was phoning the local authorities to be on the lookout for a young child, about a year old, with a gold circle in his chest.
"It doesn't matter any more. Get out there and find him, instead of standing here and screaming at me!" Kanda rebutted, and Vanya glared at him darkly. The two were already on rocky ground as it was, and this current crisis was not helping. They went looking towards opposite sides of the market.
"Incompetent buffoon," Vanya grumbled under her breath as she went.
"Stupid, naggy whelp," Kanda spat, just loud enough for her to hear.
"At least I hef enough brain to keep an eye on a baby," Vanya muttered as Kanda darkly retorted, "Ignorant CROW, can't even do anything besides blame someone and complain."
"Exorcist vith his head in ze clouds, pfeh!"
"I'm the one who takes care of him, for the love of God, and I can't even screw up one time."
And, as matters would have it, as they continued to spit and curse the other, they managed to bump into each other at the same place they'd started with Ellis worriedly standing next Din and the phone.
"HEY! Watch where you're going, piss-for-brains!" Kanda irately stated. Vanya stood toe to toe with him, and she said in that deadly calm way only an angry woman could manage, "Maybe if someone hed been vatching vere dey vere going you vouldn't hef hit me." The two of them glared at each other for a solid thirty seconds before Ellis couldn't take it anymore.
She suddenly shoved the two away from each other, profusely exhorting, "E-nough of this nonsense! I will not stand for you two antagonizing each other while this child is in danger! As you are both his caretakers and substitute parents, you should be helping each other look for him, not biting each other's throats!"
The two of them continued to glare at each other, but they were more subdued than they had been a few minutes ago as they realized how futile their bickering happened to be.
Din walked up to the three, and he said, "Deh police be lookin' for him now." It seemed to settle on them, finally, that they could've very well lost him.
"Where could he have gone," Ellis sighed to herself, notes of worry causing her voice to tremulously waver up and down. Kanda looked down morosely.
"I have no idea," he stated. "I'm going to go look. I'll take the first five streets. Vanya, take the next five." Vanya looked slightly put-out by the sudden order, but she didn't object as Din had thought she would.
"I'll tek deh north streets abohve you, Mistuh Kanda," Din volunteered. Ellis nodded.
"If that's the case, I'll take the north with you, if you'll allow an old biddy," Ellis asked graciously, and Din nodded before the two headed off. Kanda wasted no time walking towards the first five streets, hoping he'd catch a glimpse of the toddler. He hated to ask other people if they'd seen him. He was the best at communicating his thoughts politely.
As he walked, he only had his thoughts for company. Vanya had left for the prescribed five streets already. When Kanda was finally alone, the full force of his separation from the tyke smacked him in the head like a barreling sledge hammer. Actual worry filled him as he thought of something so young somewhere out there, vulnerable to every sort of danger. Crushed, run over, bitten by dogs, carted off by some one else, killed by an Akuma - all of them were so so possible. Kanda felt a shuddering within him.
No. The kid wasn't going to die. He'd already shown himself tough, even at such a tender, tender age. He wouldn't give up so easy, but that did nothing to abate the biting hunger of panic. He wanted to tear his hair out and scream. He was so utterly helpless, unable to do anything but look. It welled up in him, that dangerous scream that threatened to burst from his throat. There was a spiked ball clogging his windpipe, almost seeming to make it impossible to breathe. He'd never felt this way before -
but yes he had. Once upon a time, he had felt like this. Felt so helpless, felt so lonely, felt so distraught and terrified. But those had been different circumstances, so long ago, totally unrelated to the events of now, and yet he couldn't help but seem to tie the two together. The panic crescendo'd within, but he refused to let it control him. So he kept patrolling the streets, hoping for a glimpse, wondering just where, oh where did that baby go?
Nthanda fussily began verbally abusing the dog the minute the large canine had dropped him in the middle of a sidewalk. The baby tried to stand up shakily, but he only ended up falling down on his behind. He'd already crapped once, and he felt very uncomfortable. The baby suddenly felt a spike of discouragement as he noticed how far away he was from where he'd originally started. He'd been aware that when he'd crawled after the man with the bowler hat he could make his way back to the market easily. Grumpily, he soon began to realize that getting back to Kanda and the others was going to be a hassle. This dog had taken him half across the world!
However, Nthanda didn't have much time to think on this. The baby heard growling, and Nthanda turned as well as he could to find the source of the noise. The baby froze for a moment as he saw several large dogs begin circling around them. For several minutes, they assessed the baby and their compatriot, taking what Nthanda thought was a unnecessary amount of time sniffing each other and his courier. The dog that had carried Nthanda to this sidewalk, which was more of an alley really, lowered his head demurely with a whine as the lead dog, a large mastiff with splotches of gray, approached Nthanda. The dog sniffed the baby experimentally, but Nthanda would have none of that.
He slapped the dog right on the nose with an indignant 'bah!'
The dog, not at all used to such abuse from something so small and insignificant as this babe, reared back in surprise before growling menacingly. The baby didn't seem all that perturbed. After all, Nthanda had seen Kanda fight things much bigger than this ball of fur, and Nthanda himself was cocky enough to believe that he himself could deal with such a nuisance if ever he found the need.
He soon did find that need, because the dog lunged at him with bared teeth, and the baby did the only thing that came to mind. He transferred, going to that place between places and space and time and light and life, retreated to the place he felt, oddly, the most at home. Of course, the babe knew he couldn't stay forever. Eventually he'd have to come out. The chanting was louder here, more defined and perhaps a little more helpful, but it wasn't the land of the living. It was the closest one could be from the land of the living without having died, after all. Nthanda would know.
So, he reappeared right above the dog who'd brought him to this pack, and the dog yelped very suddenly at the new passenger he'd so rudely acquired. Nthanda slapped the dog's hind in with a clumsy hand, trying to balance unsteadily on the dog's back as he suddenly took off -
-and right into the path of Nthanda's former prey. Aha! Here he was, that most brutal of enemies! That old man had taken a while to get here, of course, but there was no worrying over that now. This was his moment to finally utilize his abilities!
And the old man, obviously an Akuma, was more than happy to oblige the baby, who seemed like an infant knight atop a large, ridge-backed steed of a canine. He highly doubted he'd even have to transform into his true form with the babe as he was. After all, he was so tiny and minuscule. What sort of threat could something so small pose to an Akuma?
The two seemed to square, each eagerly awaiting the first shot from the other, when the dog pack suddenly burst around the corner. They skidded to a halt roughly behind their quarry, and they, too, regarded the situation. All three parties were ready to go at each other, raring for blood and battle.
Except for the steed, who'd gotten absolutely no say in the matter. The poor Rhodesian ridge-back had hoped that bringing the baby would allow the leader of his pack some sort of sympathy, because the dog would've loved to keep the tyke as a pet, if not a snack. Of course, as luck would have it, the babe turned out to make him the pet, rather than the other way around, and now he was paying for his ill-informed decision.
So, he did the sort of thing that dogs in his situation do. He continued his previous action and began running away with the baby still bouncing, rather in a highly irritated fashion, as the dogs lunged and the Akuma bounded.
"Did you hear that?" Ellis asked hesitantly. She could swear she'd heard gunshots, but that didn't seem right. After all, this seemed to be a respectable town, but then again, all towns have their spots of trouble. Din shrugged as stopped yet another woman on her way, asking if he'd seen a baby, about yea tall, really dark-skinned, had a peculiar gold circle in the middle of his chest...
Out of the corner of her eye, Ellis could also see Vanya wandering around, and Ellis thought that awfully strange. After all, Kanda had assigned her the five streets to the left of his own search area, and this was the northern part of the town. She began to walk towards Ellis's portion of street, and Ellis decided to see what she could learn from the Russian CROW member.
"Find him yet?" she asked. Vanya huffed irately.
"Obfiously not. I hev no beby in mine arms, no? Zen I do not hev ze beby," Vanya grumbled, looking uncharacteristically dark. It was a sharp contrast from her usual neutral expression. She was very upset, though she wouldn't dare admit it. Ellis knew better than most how distressing this must be. Why, her husband had lost their niece once, and that had been quite harrowing. She could only imagine how Vanya and Kanda must feel, the both of them so young and inexperienced with young children (though Vanya seemed much more well-versed than Kanda).
"Well, I meant no offense. What are you doing here, per se?" Ellis asked, straightening her glasses. Vanya bit her lip.
"Some children... told me zat zey saw a dog run dis vay wit' a babe on its back. I hed vanted to know if zis vas true," Vanya confessed, obviously looking skeptical now. Ellis nodded sagely. That did sound peculiar, and it was clear they were getting a mite bit desperate. After all, Nthanda had been missing for all of thirty minutes by now. They were bound to get frantic.
"Well, I've seen nothing of the kind. Though equally implausible is the fact that I didn't catch you and your fellow warrior -"
"It vas not vat it looked like."
"Funny, he said exactly the same thing."
Vanya turned her head away, spluttering in a wounded fashion at the rebuttal of her reply. Ellis' eye gleamed as she kept an eye out for any more strange happenings as her woman's intuition seemed to sing at this new bit of information about a dog running with a baby on its back. Vanya, of course, looked warily on the older woman as Ellis seemed to be devising a rather fearsome sentence.
"Would you... mind sharing what happened?" Ellis asked innocently. Vanya bit her lip, looking at the ground. It was... embarrassing. After all, they were two grown fighters. They shouldn't have been blindsided by something so primal and base. Before they'd known it, it had happened, and every time they tried to fix the problem, it seemed to get worse. It was like they were two novices again, clumsy and untrained for the situation they'd been thrown into.
"ELLIS, THERE HE IS!" Din shouted, running past the old woman. Vanya was after him in a split second, following, not to Ellis's surprise, a dog carrying a baby on its back away from -
"OH DEAR!" Ellis shrieked as an Akuma suddenly bowled her over in his pursuit of the dog. Luckily, she only received a bruised tailbone for her troubles, but it had greatly frightened her at that moment. However, her fear turned quickly into exasperation as she picked herself up and gave chase after the running trio quickly gaining on the dog and his passenger. She wasn't missing out on this!
Kanda ran on the rooftops of the houses, careful about stepping on the rough corrugated tin. He knew better than to put his whole weight on the rotten metal, and he tended to stick to the tiled houses. As he ran, he thought of Nthanda and what he looked like, how the kid moved, hoping to get an idea of where exactly he'd gone. However, thinking of the kid was near painful, seeing as all he could think about were those things he'd have missed if the kid turned up dead or, worse, not at all. The kid had personality, and Kanda didn't like to admit that he wanted to see how Nthanda would turn out in later years, what sort of person he'd be.
He wanted to be there. He'd never been there for anyone else. Lavi was the extent of his friends, and even then, 'friend' was a very, very loose term to use towards the redhead, who had been the embodiment of detachment. Kanda had missed Lenalee growing up - he'd been too busy on missions to really contribute too much to her growth, though he did feel a modicum of warmth knowing that, after her idiot of a brother Komui, he was the person she ran to whenever things got rough. Don't even get him started on Allen. Ugh! That idealist! He sickened him. But... at the same time, Allen had grown, too, and so much in the time that Kanda had left.
For a minute, he actually thought what it might be like if he were an active participant in Nthanda's life. And in that moment... he thought maybe, it wouldn't be so bad.
And then he remembered moments like this, of gut-wrenching worry over something (or, rather, someone) so small. Maybe... maybe not.
"KANDA!" His head whipped around to find the voice calling for him, and there she was. His mood immediately darkened at the sight of Vanya. Ugh - and he felt guilty too. Like he should actually apologize. Which, of course, was wrong - he hadn't done anything! It was all her fault for getting herself into that mess!
However, after getting his mind off of that encounter, he noticed that Vanya was chasing after a dog that was... wait, was that Nthanda riding the dog? Kanda almost rubbed his eyes to make sure that he wasn't seeing things, but of course doing that was so childishly stupid.
"I SEE THEM!" Kanda bellowed back, hopping down to the street. He was several yards ahead of the dog and Nthanda, and he'd have to pick up both if he wanted to get Nthanda at all. Vanya was slowly catching on the Akuma, and he decided he'd let her take care of that particular battle. She seemed to understand this silent plan, as she began to fling binding tags, slowing down the Akuma as Kanda timed his capture. Finally! The nightmare was over. He reached out for the dog and the kid -
And then Nthanda and the dog flew forwards, a sharp explosion from a missile launched by the frantic Akuma sending them flying forwards with wide-eyes. Kanda watched in horror as Nthanda gripped the dog's fur and suddenly disappeared, teleporting on instinct in order to avoid the fire ball.
And Kanda, of course, was too close. He was always too close. It figured.
The Akuma, more than willing to cash in his chips when he knew that the fight was not in his favor, turned tail the minute that Exorcist crawled out of the rubble with a look like Hades on his face and a sword that looked like molten anger in his hand.
Vanya tried to bind the Akuma just as it left, but it managed to leap the rooftops. Kanda let loose a very ardent lotus strike, completely decimating someone's roof, but the Akuma had already gone. Kanda hadn't truly expected it to reach the Akuma; he was just angry and wanted to destroy something.
Today was not his day.
Vanya caught up with the irate Exorcist, and she said calmly, "You go after Nthanda. I'll take the Akuma."
Surprised by her sudden turn of mood towards him, Kanda quirked an eyebrow. The unspoken question hung there, Kanda unwilling to commit to any sort of truce with the CROW. Vanya, however, was a little more flexible, and the language of silence was one in which she was well versed. Rolling her eyes, she answered his silent inquiry.
"I vill be fine by myself. I ken ashoor you I vill keep it contained until you ken finish it off," Vanya stated, lifting her head high, exposing her neck. Ellis, still trying to catch up, couldn't help but notice the predatorial connotations of such a vulnerable position, the equivalent of a dog rolling on its back in a sign of supplication. Humans were not so far separated from the animals after all.
Kanda sniffed derisively, but he accepted her proposal. In a whirl of dust, he was suddenly gone, fleet footed and searching for his missing charge. Vanya stood there, staring at the spot he'd vacated while Ellis huffed and puffed, finally coming to bear on the CROW.
"What was that about?" she asked, gasping for breath. A lady should not run in a full dress and hose! It was unbecoming! Now her hair was beginning to fly out of its bun, and she was beginning to put runs in her hose. Still, it was nothing a good primp and some clear nail varnish couldn't fix. In Ellis's opinion, there were very things that couldn't be solved with a bit of clear nail varnish...
"Nothing." Ellis looked sidelong at the quiet CROW, and she coughed politely.
"Right before this, uh, development, you were saying something about, uh..."
Vanya rubbed the bridge of her nose as she took a deep breath.
"It vas... a very hot day... so I vanted to take a bath..."
A/N: So the next installment of Afrikaan Voices is here! It's amazing what will pop up in your mind while you're just sitting there. So, without further ado, there it is! And, luckily, I had to split it into two, so the second half of this chapter should be heading in soon on its heels, preferably in a week's time.
A big big thanks to karina001 and Lotus seed for their fantabulous reviews. I love how indepth you two get whenever you're commenting on the chapter as a whole - it gives me warm fuzzies, and I like having my questions answered (as well as input of your own).
My mighty Team Subscribe has grown by a magnitude of... one! Welcome, fading ink! Every single person counts!
And on Team Favorite (who basically run as my little ad campaign - after all, what else are the story favorites for! Except... well, keeping track of the stories you like to read over and over... which is its intended purpose), I have quite a few new favoriteers: a big warm welcome to Annie Matsukaze, karina0001 (better late than never!), fading ink, LatheJoiye, Derrian, and nekozuki666.
Remember, feel free to send me PMs for questions, suggestions, pointers, etc. Don't be shy - I like feedback, even if its negative, and I promise that I don't bite.
Now, for your favorite part: los preguntas discursos! (ooooh, that time, they weren't italicized - it's slipping into the vernacular): What do you make of Kanda's 'bad day' intuition? What sort of emotions are invoked upon reading this chapter? Is the switch between Nthanda's point of view and the rest of the gang's jarring or enjoyable? Is Nthanda's point of view interesting to read? What do you make of this chanting that Nthanda hears as well as his already-present world knowledge? How do you like the dog? What, exactly, can you imagine has put Kanda and Vanya in such a bad mood towards each other? Has Ellis been Flanderized (if you don't understand the term, go to and look it up - it's an enjoyable site that will ruin your life)? What characters do you wish to see more of? Any other thoughts on this chapter?
Well, that's all folks! God bless, and happy reading!