As I flew towards the Headquarters, explosions were heard. Worried we were under attack I accelerated, ready to strike. When I finally got to the Tower entrance, I saw the Guardian Statue screaming 'INTRUDER!' as Kanda-jerk attacked a young boy with white hair and a curse mark over his left eye.
Instantly, I dropped my guard and fall on the ground between them, my wings keeping them apart.
"That's enough, Ba-Kanda" I intervened, then turned to the boy. "Allen, it's good to see you again!"
"A-Ary! You work for the Order?" he suddenly realized. "How come I never knew?"
"I thought Cross would have told you" I simply shrugged. "Hey, Komui! It's fine, he's Marshall Cross apprentice!"
"Yes, yes, I found the letter. It's okay, let him enter!"
I sighed heavily, and let go of Angel, before turning to Kanda, who was watching us with narrowed eyes.
"So, still alive, Jerkface?"
"Go die" he said flatly.
"Age before beauty" I rolled my eyes, before turning to Allen again. "How come you're here? Finally gave up on Cross and ran away?"
"Actually… he kind of told me to come here before knocking me out with a hammer" he admitted, scratching the back of his head.
"Of course he did" I shook my head. "And…"
She hugged me tightly, and I bite back the groan of pain that threatened to escape me. I gently pushed her away, but she caught my wince.
"Are you injured?" she asked.
"Of course not, just a little sore becau-FUCK!"
Doubling in pain, I crumbled on the ground clutching my ribs. I glared at Kanda, who stared back at me as if he didn't just hit me with his scabbard.
"Fils de pute! Non mais ça va pas, la tête? Espèce d'enfant de chienne, je vais te…"
"Ary!" cut Lenalee, worried, amused and annoyed at the same time.
"I'm fine!" I repeated, getting up.
This time, there was a definite 'CRACK' as Kanda-jerk struck my side with his bare fist. I punched him before collapsing again, this time unable to get back on my feet.
"Bitch" he growled, massaging his jaw.
"Son of mine" I spat back between my teeth.
"Cut it out, you two! Kanda, don't injure her even more! And Ary, don't lie about your health! You are not fine!" intervened Lenalee
"I was until Jerkface here decided to explode my fucking ribs!" I snarled.
"You're pathetic, I barely touch you, Akahato!" he scoffed.
"Okay, you two, that's enough flirting for now. Lenalee, give Allen a tour of the place. Kanda, you bring Ary to the medical wing"
Allen looked at Kanda, than me, than Kanda again, with a look of pure confusion on his face. And was that amusement too?
"Okay, nii-san. Ary, I'll come see you later, okay?"
"Lenalee, you traitor!" I whined. "Don't leave me with Jerkface, or I'll turn into a bastard too!"
For only answer, Kanda swatted my head, and I growled at him.
Allen waved, and followed Lenalee as I struggled to get on my feet.
"She can get there herself," said Kanda-jerk, walking away.
"If you don't get her there in the next three minutes, you'll be on paperwork duty for the rest of the week. Now get on with it!"
The radio cut, and I finally managed to sit. Kanda's scowl deepened as her turned back on his heels.
"Come on, Akahato" he grunted.
Glaring at him, I sat more comfortably and crossed my arms.
We engaged in a glaring contest, and I could see him getting more and more agitated by each second passing.
In a way, I could understand his nervousness: no one wanted to be on paperwork duty. And usually, I wouldn't be cruel enough to impose it on anyone. However, today was different: I just came back from my fifth mission in a row, meaning I was really tired, and the three Finders on my team had died only a day sooner. I was hungry, cold, injured and he really hadn't chose a good time to piss me off.
So no, I didn't feel generous today.
"Get. Up" he gritted through his teeth.
"N-O" I repeated stubbornly, even though the pain in my lower body was growing.
He sneered at me and, suddenly, I was cradled in his arms. Stars danced before my eyes as my ribs cracked even more in the less than comfortable position, and I started hitting wherever I could.
"Let me down!" I screeched as he ran through the corridors.
I managed to get his chin and, apparently done with my attitude, he roughly pressed a finger in the back of my neck.
Before I knew it, I was slipping into unconsciousness.
"Go… fuck… yourself…" I mumbled as my eyelids dropped.
He had the galls to whack my head before I was completely out of it.
When I woke up, I was in the Medical Wing. Instantly, I pulled out the needle of the IV and sighed as I slowly regained the rest of my senses.
It had been an awful mission and the three Finders that I had come to know during the last week of mission had been killed during a surprise attack on our way back. One of them had died while protecting me when I was sent on the ground. They didn't stand a fucking chance, and the only one who could have saved them didn't manage to do it.
I know blaming myself wasn't fair. I had been in danger too. I did all I could, really. But it wasn't enough either way.
My fist clenched tighter, and I grabbed my necklace for some comfort. One day, I would make the Earl pay for each and every life that was taken because of him.
Jumping a little, I saw Lenalee entering the room with a small smile.
"Hey, Jumper" I smiled back. "How long was I out for?"
"The whole night" she shrugged, handing me a glass of water. "How are you feeling?"
"Annoyed. Depressed. Angry," I listed, counting on my fingers.
She gently swatted my hand, and I rolled my eyes.
"I'm fi- I'm better" I corrected myself at her glare.
"Why can't you show more concern about yourself?" she shook her head.
"Because I know my limits, Jumper" I replied. "So stop worrying yourself over nothing. And if I ever die because I decided to go to bed instead of the Medical Wing, than you can bitch a little and say 'I told you so', okay?"
"Fine, fine. You hungry? We can go eat," she proposed.
"Let me change first"
She waited for me outside as I put on my uniform. It was similar to hers, but the back was open. That way, I could activate Angel without worrying about my clothes all the time. I then glanced at the door.
Lenalee was really sweet, and she was a great friend. However, sometimes, I fear that she forgets that we're human too. We can suffer, we can fail and we can die like anyone else. She doesn't want to see her family broken, she told me herself, but I know that we can't possibly survive through this war without losses on our side too.
I put on my boots then followed her to the cafeteria.
"So, how did it go with Allen? How is he?" I asked, curious.
"Accommodating" she shrugged. "He's nice and all, but I think he's not used to people standing besides him"
I hummed and, as we entered, we were met with the sight of the white-haired boy and Ba-Kanda glaring at each other. There was a crackle of electricity between the two Exorcists, and I rolled my eyes at their antics, walking in between to break the fight.
"Kiddo, Jerkface, that's enough" I ordered. "The both of you calm down before I make you!"
"Tche" Kanda bumped roughly into me as he walked out.
"Bastard" I grunted.
Timcanpy placed itself on my head and I patted him gently.
"Are you okay, Allen?" asked Lenalee.
"Yeah. What's his problem? It's as if he doesn't have any consideration for the rest of the Order!" he remarked, distressed.
"Kanda is… a touchy subject. He…"
"Plainly said, he's an ass" I cut in, making the rest of the Finders chuckle.
"Aryane!" protested my friend.
She shook her head, exasperated, then looked back at the white-haired teen.
"Allen, my brother wants to see you in his office for your first mission" she told him.
"I'll be going then. Ja!"
"Be careful!" called Lenalee.
"And kick some Akuma ass for me!" I added.
"Will do! Come on, Tim!"
The golden Golem rubbed himself against my cheek before following his current master. I laughed softly.
"He hasn't changed" I remarked.
"How did you to met anyway?" asked Lenalee as we went to Jeryy.
"Good morning dears! What can I get you?" asked cheerily the chef.
"Rice balls for me" ordered simply Lenalee.
"And what about you, Ary-chan?"
I thought for a moment.
"I'll go with four toast with jam, two bowls of cereals, three glass of orange juice, a few pancakes, four eggs with bacon, and a pack of roasted potatoes with maple syrup please" I listed.
"Right on it!"
A few minutes later, we were seating at a table.
"So, I met Allen three years ago. He had just became Cross's apprentice at that time. Remember when I had to find the man to deliver some orders? Yeah, that was then. The poor kid was fighting around ten Akumas alone while the womanizer sat back and let him do the job. I took pity on him and destroyed the rest, but the Marshall decided to double the poor boy's workload for not being able to defeat them alone. I felt bad, so I worked my ass off for the next two weeks before handing him my whole pay and some candies as an apology. You should have seen his face! It's as if he never thought Exorcists could actually be kind" I shook my head fondly at the memory.
"And after that?"
"Our path kept crossing. Rare were the times where Cross was actually with him, but I always passed him some candy when I saw him. It became some sort of a running joke" I shrugged.
"He seems like a nice kid" she smiled.
"He is. A little too much, to be honest. Some times, I really wonder why Innocence has to choose people like him" I sighed.
"From the girl who worked like a slave before giving him her whole pay because she felt bad for saving his ass" she retorted.
"Don't mock me" I whined.
"You're too kind too!"
"Am not! I'm a vicious, dangerous…"
At that moment, my stomach grumbled to remember me that I still needed to eat.
"Hungry?" she completed with a raised eyebrow.
For only answer, I sent some of my potatoes her way, making her laugh.
The rest of the day and the one after were spent in a less cheery atmosphere. I passed it in my room, organizing my grieving. The rest of the Order knew of my ritual, so no one bothered me that day.
It was only when the moon was high in the sky on the second third night of my return that I finally ready. Gathering everything, I activated my Innocence and flew at the top of the Tower. There, I placed in a half circle the three pictures of the Finders that had died two days sooner. I lightened the candles around, and clasped my hands in a prayer.
"Elvis Daenim… Maes Hughes… Steven Prime…" I muttered, my voice echoing in the silence. "I thank and honor your sacrifice. I swear your deaths won't be in vain. Please, may your souls rest in peace"
With the back of my hand, I pushed one of the candles on the pictures, which quickly took fire. Then, placing my Pan flute against my lips, I started to play an air that was becoming horrifyingly familiar.
I let the wind carry my notes, hoping they would reach the three men and there unknowing families, wherever they were. Not once did a tear escaped me. Out of respect for the dead, I had made an oath to never shed tears for those gone. It was my way to shoulder their fate, because if I cried each time, than it would only mean that I regret their actions and that would be the greatest disgrace I could do to them.
I stopped playing when the ashes were transported into the cold night, and clenched my teeth as my grief slowly turned to untamable anger.
"I will avenge your deaths and all those before you" I assured, the words familiar on my lips.
The moon was, as always, the only witness of my silent screams for justice as it's rays reflected on my necklace.
Walking back to my room, a lone figure suddenly stood in my way, nearly bumping into me. I took a step back.
"Still alive, Jerkface?"
"Why are you still doing this?" he asked coldly.
My mocking smile slipped, letting place to an impassive mask.
"We already had this… conversation, Ba-Kanda. I'm not in the mood for another pointless debate" I snapped.
"They're dead. They're Finders. Dying is what they do. Why do you care so much for walking corpses?" he spat.
"Because they are human beings, just like you and I" I retorted angrily. "You're talking as if you were better than them, but flash news, pretty boy: you're not! You're just a fucking jerk who happened to be a Host and nothing more!"
He stared blankly at me, apparently unimpressed by my outburst.
"They're dead because I wasn't strong enough to save them" I pursued more calmly. "It's not much, but at least, they won't just be forgotten. And you know what? Not being a heartless bastard holier-than-thou like you don't make me weak. It makes me stronger. Remember that next time they die for your sake"
I roughly pushed him aside and ignored as he gazed at my retreating back. I knew my words hadn't reach into his thick skull, but I didn't feel like just beating some sense into him right now.
As I stretched for my training, my Golem activated.
"Aryane! Lenalee and Allen are in town, there's an Akuma attack! The Earl is there too. Go help them now!"
I ran outside as I pulled on my jacket and, without thinking twice, jumped off the cliff.
"Innocence: Activate!" I yelled.
Instantly, the comforting weight of my wings pressed in my back, and I spread them, gaining speed in the process, before flying as fast as I could towards the town.
After two minutes, explosions could be seen above what I knew was the cemetery. Lenalee and Allen were there, fighting off Akumas, but the Earl wasn't present anymore. He must have ran away before I came here.
Too bad. I'd punch him another time.
I closed my wings around my body, forming a perfect cocoon of white feathers, which then turned into sharp blades. Spinning on myself, I propelled myself towards a group of Akuma, going through four of them. Once done, I spread my wings again, taking some height as the four exploded.
"Ary!" exclaimed Lenalee.
"Hey, Jumper" I grinned. "Having fun without me? I'm hurt"
"Just get your job done" she rolled her eyes.
"Aye aye, Captain" I mockingly saluted. "Feathered Blades!"
Again, my feathers turned to blades and I threw them at three other Akumas, who exploded too. Allen and Lenalee finished off the rest and I posed before the Finder who was protecting a crying kid.
I gently patted his head, and he looked up at me, wide eyed.
"Jan, right? Your father is one of the scientists of the Order, if I remember correctly" I remarked, recognizing the kid from a picture on one of the desks.
"Y-yeah" he nodded, looking in awe at my wings. "Are they real?"
"Of course" I chuckled. "It's my Innocence. Are the both of you alright?"
"We are fine, thanks to you and your friends, Lady Exorcist" nodded the Finder.
I grunted at the title. No matter what I said, the Finders wouldn't stop calling me that. Kind of annoying, if you asked me.
"Thanks for the back up, Ary" smiled Allen, joining us.
"No problem. I'll head back first to give Komui a report. Get back soon!" I waved before flying back to the Headquarters.
The doors of the cafeteria opened, revealing Lenalee and a stunned Allen. I grinned at his face.
"We know it's a little late…" started the other girl Exorcist.
"Okaeri, Allen!" we all yelled, lifting our glasses.
His eyes watered a bit as everyone started laughing and chatting. Amused, I went to him and trapped him in a headlock, before rubbing my knuckles against his head.
"Come on, don't be a crybaby, Kiddo!"
"I'm not crying! And stop calling me that, I'm fifteen!" he protested, freeing himself.
"I'm still older than you, though" I remarked.
"Well, I'm still taller!" he retorted.
"TAKE THAT BACK!"
Hello, hello, to anyone who botters to read this!
So, this is my first -Man Fanfic and my third english one. English isn't my native language, so please, forgive all the mistakes you most probably found. Other than that, please enjoy the story as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Also, I want to do a little game, which will consiste by one question per chapter. Anyone who gets the right answer will be allowed to ask a question about Aryane, the plot in general, and maybe get some spoilers!
So, first question: There were two references to another amazing anime in this first chapter. Which anime is it AND, if you're able to tell, what are the references?
Also, for the french traduction: "Son of a bitch! What the hell is wrong with you? You stupid enfant of a..."
Kisses! And reviews!