Hello my darlings~! Aaah, I know I disappeared on you again. I swear I didn't mean to. Rey stopped cooperating with me and I got a bit busy, I finally got a different job. I'm finally making it into a bakery! Seven months of pain and hell and it's finally worth it. Anyway I'm gonna keep this short. You'll notice that Harlequin has replaced Kindred. Rey decided half way through writing this chapter that her innocence wasn't right but wouldn't tell me what was wrong with it! I swore I was gonna rip my hair out. Finally, after the day from hell (today) she answered my unending question so hopefully we'll be back to semi-regular updates. Also, I have one question for you guys, do you think the chapters are too long? Let me know what you think!
Dear Alexc1209, Oh yeah, now the real fun begins. Stand by for madness (mostly Tyki's ;D ) Enjoy the chapter!
Dear Wolfs Child, I do love the story so perhaps at some point it will get revamped. I will take it into consideration. Niko is Rey's younger brother and you'll learn about him and Viola more as the story goes on. For now, just look for clues. Enjoy!
Dear AkemiMimi, Hi! It's nice to meet you! I love meeting new fans! Aaaahh, you're making me blush with your compliments. I have to agree with you there. Tyki doesn't have a lot of decent stories which is a shame because he's such an interesting character. I love hearing that and I hope to hear from you in the future! Enjoy the chapter!
Dear Bloodmoon25, So you think he's Wisely? Interesting. Well, your wait is over. They meet again in this chapter. From hear on out you'll have a steady supply of these two dorks running into each other. I'd love to hear what you think of this mysterious group, who knows, perhaps you'll guess it. As in VIG Allen and Rey are adopted siblings. She's got her own past, separate from his which we'll explore later. Until then, enjoy!
Dear WinterYule, Yay! I was going for creepy! I thought it would be more effective if we saw her earlier. Get to know her, or Rey's version of her anyway. Symbolism? Perhaps. Who knows. Rey tends to jump around and steal things. She likes to sketch things that interest her. Road and Rey will definitely meet again and Rey will find out that Road was the one who stabbed Allen and yeah, it's not gonna be pretty. Allen may have some Komui-like tendencies but he's only protecting his sister so it's okay! Yeah, Rey doesn't really care about vandalism, as you go on you'll see that she's a bit of a criminal. I believe Komui is a bit more worried about Rey's lack of attention to her own health and tends to throw herself into battle without thinking. Nah, she'll just throw something at his head for it. I LOVE Niko. He's absolutely a little shit but a lovable one. They are thick as thieves and at some point you'll see how they met. Whether Cross likes it or not, his children are going to do it anyway. He shoots at them for a reason. Rey reacted that way for a reason that will be explored later. She would. Rey would win hands down. She drinks coffee the way Cross smokes. That's actually something he complains about all the time. She loves to ruffle her brothers' hair all the time. It's getting harder as they grow taller than her but she'll figure it out. Probably flying leap. A lot of people are asking about the mysterious people but you'll have to wait like the rest of them. I agree it's a cool name and I actually really love it. I'm a nerd who collects names. Perhaps it does. You never know! Yep, little does Tyki know he's gonna fall in love with this lunatic who decided to drop a bell on his head. Daisya is reckless and they're worse together which is pretty bad for Komui's blood pressure and Reever's. And Allen's. And Tiedoll's. Mirrors, huh? Hmm, interesting. Yeah the minute I saw the quote I knew it was perfect for this chapter and their meeting. Enjoy!
Dear 15th, Yay! I love dances! I'm glad it made you happy, though it keeps taking forever. Blame Rey. She wasn't cooperating. It's nice to read from you as well, my dear 15th! Rey tends to sabotage herself so she doesn't really deserve sympathy. I love the reference and yeah she probably should. If it makes you feel better she does in the modern AU but then again so should all of the Noah. Tyki spends most of his time arguing with Joyd. Ahh, the mysterious society, yes they are interesting and you'll see more of them. So you think they're responsible for the voice? It's a interesting theory. Keep me updated with them as we go! I love to hear them! Yep! Their relationship is finally beginning but they don't have all the pieces yet since they don't recognized each other XD They're dorks but you gotta love 'em! Thank you so much! I wanted to redo that fight scene for so long. I cringed every time I looked at it. It was so bad before. I like this one much better! I feel like it showcases Rey a lot better and proves her to be a better opponent for Tyki. It made more sense for him to be interested in her. Not to mention that the two of them whooped his ass by combining their innocence's abilities showing off Rey's intelligence more. You know what they say, show not tell. Yes, Rey loves to take other people's things. Especially clothes so a pretty top hat is definitely going into her collection of things that are now hers. Alright, I will see what I can do with the sleeping death curse. I wonder who it should be. Suggestions? I am doing my best but I can't stay home. I now work in a bakery and it's considered an essential but I love bakeries so I don't mind! I hope you enjoy the chapter!
"I wonder what you dream of, what ghosts of fading memory reach out to reclaim you?"
"Master," Rhea questioned, looking up at the man leaning forward on the stone wall smoking a cigarette, "what are we doing here?" He didn't look at her. "Why are we watching this clown?" Still he didn't look away from the clown preforming with a dog in the street below.
"Brat, go back to the hotel room." She glared at him, ignoring the tired sigh.
"No, we've been here for weeks! I'm bored! You haven't taught me anything new. How much longer are we going to stare at the same four walls? The only time we see anything else is this clown. I thought you didn't like clowns. Don't they remind you of the Millennium Earl?" Finally he turned his scarlet gaze to her. "Well that struck a nerve." She noted, with a sour expression.
"Brat, do as I say." Rhea contemplated the man that had taken her in for a moment.
"Huhnt!" She pulled herself up with her arms and vaulted over the wall in a single fluid motion. Landing on her feet in a crouch, she ignored the few children staring at her, having see her leap over the barrier, fall several meters, and then walk away as if nothing happened. Weaving through the crowd, she felt his eyes on her but ignored him, and stood at the foremost part of it, right in front of the clown. He smiled at her and she smiled back, showing too many teeth. As his show ended his dog ran up to her.
"Eh? Allen?" The clown called. Immediately a brilliant grin spread across her face.
"Puppy!" She cheered, bending down to pet the dog happily. Giggling when he licked her face. "Aww, you're just the sweetest doggy, aren't you? Aren't you?" She cooed at the dog.
"He likes you." The clown commented, towering over her, a warm smile spread across his face.
"Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to interrupt your performance." She apologized, rubbing her hand along her arm, though Allen kept licking hr face, as if trying to comfort her.
"There's no need to apologize, Little One. Allen likes to make new friends." Rhea smiled at him and continued to pet the dog. Something to her right caught her eye. A girl, several years older than her, with short spiky hair and striped stockings. Turning her head she focused on the girl. A small black cross became visible in her aura. Sighing, she patted the dog on the head once more before straightening up.
"Thank you for letting me play with your dog, but I have to get back. My father is looking for me." Waving one last time she ran back to where Cross stood, not having moved a centimeter since she left. "Master, who is she?" She didn't need to point the girl out.
"The Noah of dreams, Road." Rey's eyes widened.
"That's a Noah?"
"Yo, Cross Marian." The Noah now stood to his left. He moved, subtly hiding Rhea from her sight. Rey stood quietly as the pair talked, she didn't say a word but absorbed every word said. The clown WAS the Earl, she questioned to herself. He seemed so nice. And who the hell is Neah? Her thoughts swirled around through her Master's next words cut through them like a knife.
"Don't you think it's pitiful? Seeing him like this? He's breaking to pieces and it's your Noah's doing. Pretending you're family, for thousands of years, you've used him." Rhea tilted her head to the side.
"Used the Earl?" She asked quietly.
"Do you really despise "The Pillar" that much?"
A searing pain shot through Rhea's chest and she sat bolt up in bed.
"Little One? Little One? Are you okay?" The voice asked in concern. Rhea tore at her chest, scratching her skin with her long sharp nails. Thousands of needles stabbed into her heart in all different directions. She clawed harder, desperate to make it stop. "Little One! Little One, stop! You're hurting yourself!" Still she flailed and raked her nails over her skin. "LITTLE ONE!" He roared, his voice booming her head. She gasped, pulling her nails away from her chest as the pain subsided. She looked down at her hands, glaring at the dark blood that stained her fingers. Drops of blood and flecks of skin wedged under her nails. Her chest heaved and her shoulders shook as a dry sob freed itself from her lungs. "Little One, calm down. Just calm down." The voice tried, unsuccessfully, to get her attention.
"Just focus on me, Brat." Her master's voice caused Rey's head to snap up. In front of her face Rhaps played a clip. Cross knelt before her, his single visible eye staring directly into hers. "Now, just breathe in," following his direction she sucked the much needed oxygen into her lungs, "and breathe out" She expelled it from her body at his command. "Again, breathe in," he took a deep breath with her, "and out. Again. In." Deep inhale, "Out." Long exhale. The clip played for almost two minutes and when it ended, Rhea's breathing returned to normal.
"Are you okay, Little One? You didn't even respond to me." She nodded, still mostly focusing on her breathing.
"Yeah, I'm okay now." She turned her attention to her golem. "Thanks, Rhaps. I needed that. You saved my ass." She petted the golem gently. "It's been a long day, huh?" Closing her eyes, she rubbed them before reaching out and felt the presences of the others. In the other room, Daisya, Kanda, and Marie all slept peacefully.
"It has been interesting." The voice agreed.
"Man, what a day." Rhea sat back allowing the events of the day to wash over her. Groaning she threw the covers off and slid out of her room and down the hall to the receptionist's desk.
"Is everything alright, Ma'am?" He asked her, brown eyes full of worry. She smiled softly.
"Oh, yeah, everything's fine. I was just wondering if I could use your phone. I need to make a call."
"Of course!" He handed her the phone and she pulled it over to a leather armchair and collapsed in it. Exhaustion rushed through her limbs. Her arms ached and the muscles burned. Damn it, she cursed internally, I've GOT to remember to keep it locked. I can't do that again, she groaned, rubbing her sore muscles as Rhaps picked up the cord. Slowly she dialed the number for Headquarters and waited to get through all the protocol.
"Hey Reever." She greeted, kicking her bare feet up over the arm of the chair, uncaring that her sitting that way would be considered unladylike.
"Rhea, it's early, shouldn't you be asleep? Marie called earlier, said the four of you were alive and would check in with more details in the morning." She sighed at his words.
"Yeah but I can't sleep so I might as well tell you what I can. Get a head start on all this shit and all the fun stuff." She traced patterns into the bare skin of her legs, unaware of the rising blush of the clerk, watching her out the corner of his eyes. "Besides," she managed a tired smirk, "it is technically morning."
He snorted, "I'll get Komui for you." Reever rushed off as she tugged, her, Lenalee's, shorts down a bit, the chill in the lobby caused her skin to prickle slightly and she shivered, wishing for Allen or Niko to curl up with.
"Rhea!" She winced at the volume.
"Komui, don't shout. It's quiet here. The sudden change is NOT appreciated." He chuckled at her words.
"Whoops. My bad~!" He sang. Her eyes narrowed. He didn't sound sorry, not in the slightest.
"How are you possibly this happy?" She demanded, sharp nails digging into her flesh slightly, leaving long angry red marks on her thighs.
"I'm happy that you're alive! I was worried sick about you! You didn't check in like you said you would," his pointed tone cut straight through her and she winced, "and then Marie called and said that you were with him and that you four had survived the attack!" She sighed.
"I didn't call because I didn't have time. The attack on Barcelona was already well underway by the time I got there! I had to jump right in. Kanda, Marie, Daisya, and I were up all damn night fending them off." She explained, exhaustion lacing her voice. "And then, of course, it got worse." She rolled her eyes and waved her free hand.
"And how," Oh no, she knew that tone, "exactly did it get worse?" The calm tone, though just a facade, he spoke with gave her no way out of the conversation. Dread filled her chest.
Taking a deep breath, she answered him, "It got worse when Daisya ran into a Noah." SMASH! She winced as she heard his coffee cup hit the floor.
"Hope that wasn't the pink bunny cup he loves so much." The voice snickered in her head. She smacked then shoved him back into the corner.
"But Marie told me all four of you are alive." His voice quivered and she knew he expected the worst.
"Yes Komui," she deadpanned, "I'm calling from beyond the grave." She rolled her eyes.
"This is serious Rhea!" He scolded disapprovingly. She shrugged.
"We are. All four of us are alive and intact." She could see him arching his eyebrow at her in her mind.
"The Noah just let you leave?" Rey squirmed in her seat, suddenly uncomfortable, yet no matter how she moved, she still couldn't settle down. Gods above and below I don't wanna tell him this part, she groaned and the voice grinned at her some more.
"Not," she paused, sighing, "exactly."
"Do tell." When she didn't immediately answer he tried a different approach, "Rhea, tell me everything. Right now." The sharp order, biting in her ear.
"I don't know how it started. He and Daisya were already fighting when I got there. Daisya's golem was making weird noises and strange bits of conversation were coming through. If you want that part call Kanda or Marie, Daisya's golem is totally trashed by the way. He needs a new one. The thing hardly comes in which had been worrying me all night. I got a weird feeling and tried to call him but he didn't answer so I went looking for him. I couldn't just assume he was okay. So when I found Daisya hanging upside down from a lamp post needless to say I jumped in. Harlequin snatched Charity Bell before he could destroy it." She cut the story down as best as she could.
"He?" Komui cut in.
"Yeah, the Noah was a man." She listened as he ran around, grabbing things and knocking even more over.
"Okay, I'm recording so give me a clear description." Rhea sighed but nodded even though he couldn't see it.
"Tall, well built, mid 20's is what I would guess. Wore a suit and top hat. Without the Noah coloring he would've looked just like a regular noble. Obviously he had their dark skin, gold eyes, and the stigmata," She paused thinking back for more details.
"How did you know that's what those markings are called?" Her eyes widened and she waved her hand.
"Oh, I heard somebody say it at one point. Unfortunately, I can't remember who it was, but I heard somebody mention it. Don't be so suspicious, Komui. I mean, come on! It's just me." She laughed, covering her mouth with one hand.
"Right, sorry about that. How silly of me!" He sang back, but something in his voice told her she'd have to be more careful in choosing her words. "Anyway, anything else about him? Hairstyle? Texture? Thick? Thin? Distinguishing features?" He prodded.
"He kept his curly hair pushed back, it looked thick, the hat didn't hold it in place so maybe held back with a hair tie or just slicked back with something. Dunno what though," She shrugged, her free hand coming up to tangle in her own hair, loosely pulled back into a ponytail and tied at the base of her neck with a ribbon that might have been Kanda's at one point. Absentmindedly she tried to straighten out some of the curls with little luck. They immediately jumped back up into the haphazard forms. She let out an annoyed huff, blowing her bangs out of her face. "He had a nice face though, even I won't deny it, I liked the shape of his eyes," she hummed, twirling a long strand that had fallen over her shoulder around her finger, over and over. "They were intense, like staring into molten amber that would scorch you. He had nice lips too, full and kissable." She giggled, tracing her own lips at the thought.
"Rhea?" Komui called, trying to get her attention and bring her back to the present.
She snapped out of it, "But he's got a mole under his left eye that should help you find him." A smirk crossed her lips as an evil idea popped into her brain, "I wouldn't let him anywhere near Lenalee, she'd fall in love with that pretty face at first sight." As predicted, Komui immediately went into a tirade about his pure and sweet Lenalee. Rhea cackled. "I wouldn't be so sure." He didn't hear her.
"Oh? Been naughty, Little One?" The voice questioned, poking her back gently.
"Don't you know? I never kiss and tell." She waved him off.
"Well if you're gonna screech all day, then I'm gonna go."
"That's a pretty thorough description, I thought you just saved Daisya. How close did you get?" Komui asked, suspicion coloring his voice.
"Pretty close." She answered warily.
"How close is pretty close?" He almost growled at her.
"Well," she drew out the L as much as she could as she considered just hanging up on him.
"Well?" He demanded she continue.
"Okay," she shrugged, deciding to get it over with, "I punched him."
"You did what?!" He roared loud enough that she pulled the receiver away from her ear, though she still heard his chair smack against the floor. "I told you to be careful and stay away from them!"
"What was I supposed to do?" She shouted back, "He was going to kill Daisya! Neither of us died and Charity Bell and Harlequin are both still intact! I think I did fucking fantastic!" She heard him sigh, pick up his chair, and collapse in it.
"Can you tell me anything about his powers?" He asked, tiredly.
"Sorta?" She grimaced.
"Sorta? Rey, what does that mean?" She heaved another sigh.
"You've been doing that a lot." The voice commented. She pushed it away and started to answer Komui's endless questions.
Tyki opened his eyes and immediately regretted it. His hands flew to his ribs as the searing pain shot through them. In his chest his diaphragm began to expand and contract irregularly. His head pounded like a drum, the ringing in his ears did little to help and blood began to flow from them, his eardrums still burst. He opened his mouth and immediately regretted it. His jawbone and muscles burned, like they'd been doused in gasoline and then lit on fire. The muscles were still exposed, his skin having yet to regrow, the memory no doubt focusing on the more severe injuries though it still took a moment to grunt a few choice insults at him. Dragging himself from the bed to the bathroom he stopped, grabbing onto the wall as the room began to spin. When his vertigo stopped, he stripped and stepped into the shower. The warm water relaxing his aching body. His glared as the water ran red.
A knock sounded at the door followed by a voice, "Tyki? Tyki, are you awake?" Sheryl asked. He opened his mouth to answer but closed it instantly as pain shot through it once again. "Tyki?" Sheryl called through the door again. Rolling his eyes, he chucked one of the many bottles at the door. It crashed to the floor with a thud. "Okay, okay, I get that you don't want to talk, but please come down for breakfast before you leave. We haven't seen you all day. The Earl said you were leaving on a mission but one of the maids informed me that you came home early this morning." Tyki rolled his eyes as he brother prattled outside the door as he showered. He hissed and whimpered when the shampoo rolled down his face and into his open wound. Jolting back, he hit the wall and slid down, clutching his throbbing ribs. "Tyki? Tyki! Tyki! Tyki, answer me!" Sheryl started banging on the door.
"Damn it, Sheryl! Leave me alone!" He snapped through clenched teeth, his jaw protesting against the movement. He waited until Sheryl left after muttering something that Tyki didn't catch because of the ringing. Drying off, he stalked back to his bed and crawled in intent on sleeping his injuries off, or at least until it didn't hurt so damn much.
Rey opened her eyes again, rubbing fatigue from her eyes, as Rhaps bumped into her head several times, "Okay, okay, okay, I'm awake." Beneath her, Harlequin solidified completely. "I guess I should try and get some real sleep tonight, almost fell asleep out here." She groaned, looking around at the endless blue sea, though up ahead in the distance she could see Sardinia, Italy. "Remind me to call my brothers later." She told the golem as her innocence closed the final stretch and set her down on dry land. "Ahhh!" She fell over backwards, content to lay in the warm sand, allowing her skin to soak up the sun. "It's so nice to finally be on the ground again. As the sun began to set, she got up, brushed herself off, taking the time to crack her joints, and then head to the nearest hotel.
"How can I be of service to you, Ma'am?" Rhea smiled at the young man behind the young man behind the desk.
"May I have a room for the night, please?" Writing something down in his book he grabbed a key from beneath the desk.
"Room 201, is there anything else I can get for you?" He smiled pleasantly at her.
"Is there a phone I could use?" He nodded.
"There's one in the lounge that all our patrons are free to use. If you go down the hall on your left, it'll take you to the lounge. When you're done take the grand staircase and then a left down the first hall you see. That will bring you to the 200s corridor." She nodded her thanks and left for the lounge.
After a long and boring conversation with Komui, Checking in every morning and night sure is a pain. I mean after the first two calls you run out of things to say. Still alive, haven't found Master, haven't gotten arrested, haven't seen anything other than regular akuma, have a nice insert time of day, she thought to herself with a roll of her eyes, ignoring the voice's snicker and suggestion to just skip it.
Finally having finished the mundane part, she ordered with a grin, "Rhaps, connect with Tim and Argos." Rhaps didn't make a sound for a moment, then buzzed and then a second time.
"Rey," Allen's tired, hoarse, and slightly irritated voice came through the phone, clearly she'd woken him up, "why are you calling this early? Shouldn't you be asleep?" He asked.
"Clearly she wants to talk to us, you airhead." Niko joined the conversation and Rhea could practically see him rolling his eyes.
"Hey, if anyone's the airhead of our family it's you." Allen retorted with a snort. "I mean, how many times have we saved you from running into a tree, or a wall, or another person, or an unopened door?" Allen asked, his condescending tone evident.
"Or off a cliff?" Rey added in, a huge smirk spread across her features.
"That was one time!" Niko yelled indignantly. Both Rhea and Allen burst out laughing. "And I was reading!"
"Two times actually." She corrected in between giggles.
"Same cliff." Allen added.
Steam coming out of his ears Niko snapped, "If you two are gonna be like this then I'm leaving!"
"Oh come on, Niko. We all know you've missed us. We've all missed being together." Allen spoke, still snickering.
"For your information, our dear OLDER sister was graced with my wonderful presence just a few days ago. She so rudely tackled me to the floor while I was reading."
"Oi," Rhea interrupted, "why'd you emphasize older like that?"
Niko snorted, "Clearly as the eldest, you'll go gray and saggy first," his smirk could be heard in his voice, "all the while I will still be beautiful."
"You'd have to be beautiful in the first place for that to happen." Allen poked fun at his brother as Niko sputtered incoherently causing the other two to laugh once more.
"Gods above and below, why do I love you two cretins?!" Niko shouted loud enough to cause Rey to cover the phone.
"Not so loud, you nincompoop! Like Allen said earlier, it's well, early. People around us are trying to sleep." She chided.
"You're not my mother." He argued.
"Nope~!" She sang, "Just you beloved older sister, who puts up with your bratty nature and feeds the black hole you call a stomach."
"Hey, if anyone gets the title of black hole, it's Allen!"
"Eh, sad but true." Allen shrugged then continued, "But," he dragged the word out, "if you really think about it, I'm the lucky one. I get to eat more food than you which means I get to taste more and thus am really the blessed one and consequently I feel sorry for you."
"Well that's some backwards bullshit logic if I ever heard it." Niko chortled.
"Oh, right! Cause you and Rey are the pinnacle of logic!" He jabbed.
"Yep!" Niko declared, clearly very proud of himself.
"Like that time in Spain, right after we moved there?" Allen brought up one of the many events that transpired during their year long stay causing all to close their eyes and sink into the memory.
"Oi! Brats! Didn't I tell you to have these akuma corpses cleaned up by the time I got back?" Cross demanded, stalking up to the small cabin that he currently, much to his chagrin, occupied with his three apprentices. All three looked up from their card game to glance around at the steaming hulls around them in the yard.
"No comprende." Rhea blinked up at him as his eye twitched slightly at her comment.
"Brats..." Cross growled, leaving the unsaid threat hanging in the air.
"It left." Allen stated calmly.
"Yes," Cross smiled down at them, teeth clenched around his cigarette just a little too hard, "but since they," he waved his hand at the corpses, "didn't disintegrate it means it's not dead yet. I told you to kill the entire herd."
"But it's gone now. It might not come back." Niko pointed out.
"That doesn't change the fact that I wanted it dead." He starts tapping one foot on the ground.
"Then you do it." Rhea shrugged, tossing three cards to Allen. He set them down and turned to Niko, waving his fingers towards himself in a 'gimme' motion. Niko tossed all five cards to him with a sour expression.
"Brat." Cross snarled, fingers snapping his cigarette in two. Rey groaned and got up, brushing grass from her black pants. Her brothers followed her up to their Master.
"The stars are not in position for this tribute." She told him seriously. Slowly Cross looked up at the clear blue sky, shining sun, and the gentle breeze blowing through their hair. He saw no stars.
"Stars." Niko joined in from Rhea's left. "Can't do it." He popped up on her right, shaking his head. "Not today." He finished on her left again, a huge grin spread across his face.
"Brats!" Cross yanked Judgment from it's holster and fired.
"Man," Niko groaned, shaking the memory away, "that hurt like hell. I swear I can still feel those bullets even now." Subconsciously he rubbed where they had once hit trying to rid himself of the phantom pains.
"You were the lucky one," Allen argued, doing the same as his brother, "you weren't training so you didn't get shot as much."
"Nah," Rey cut in, "Master mostly just clonked him on the head with it instead of shooting him. I think he was hoping that one of them would turn his brain on."
"Yeah, that hurt too." Niko rubbed the top of his head as well. "Hey!" He protested when her second sentence registered.
"Hey, guys, give me a sec," Rhea told them, nodding at Rhaps to disconnect from the phone but not drop the call. Waving at the receptionist she went back to her room, padding through the hall silently on the balls of her feet she returned to her room.
Grabbing the blanket from her bed, she settled on the window sill, wrapped up in her blanket. Slowly she lent against the window, watching as people began to trickle out into the street. She narrowed her eyes at the meager number of people. Gradually her eyes blinked, taking longer to open them each time, until they stayed closed.
"Rey?" Niko called. She jumped, head whipping back and forth in search of danger.
"What? Yeah? I'm awake!"
"Rey, are you okay?" He asked, concern evident in his tone. Sighing she rubbed her left eye.
"Yeah," she sighed, "I'm just tired. Couldn't really sleep."
Niko hummed thoughtfully rifling through something, turning the pages of whatever book he'd grabbed before suggesting, "What about combining chamomile, passionflower, and nutmeg into a tea and try that? Or maybe mix them in with some cocoa? Dunno which would taste better." He shrugged.
"It might help, but I don't..." She trailed off.
"What is it, Little One?" The voice asked.
"I haven't told them about what happened in Barcelona. I don't know if I should. Allen needs to focus on finding Master and more importantly his own health and there's nothing Niko can do to help. I don't want to nor will I drag him into this war. It's bad enough I can't get Allen out as it is." She told it, quietly, even in the confines of her own head, her voice hardly above a whisper.
But..." Her brother asked together, looking for an answer.
"But maybe it's not a good idea to try something new when I'm in the field alone." Her tone turned cheerful, "What if I slept all day? Komui would have a fit." She giggled. "He'd lose his mind if I didn't call to check in." She breezed through it, laughing quietly at her own jokes.
"Can you nap a little before you head out again?" Niko questioned.
Rhea huffed, "If I could fall asleep." She took her nail file out of her bag and began to fix a chipped nail from the fight with the Noah. Idly she wondered how he fared after their battle. Her legs and body still showed the signs of it and would for a while. Bruises and cuts littered her body. Nothing serious, she noted thankfully. A sharp movement causes her to wince as she jostled her bruised ribs.
"What about a song?" Allen asked. Both Rey and Niko perked up immediately.
"Yeah, I wouldn't have offered if I wasn't serious. I don't mind sharing it with you two." Rhea smiled and put away the nail file.
Settling down in her makeshift cocoon of blankets, Rhea spoke, "Whenever you're ready." With years of practiced ease the song flowed and all three relaxed. Slowly they fell asleep. Allen finished the song and then yawned.
"Good night, sleep well." The golems ended the call as all three slept peacefully as if they were all together again despite being far apart.
As she finished dressing, Rey bent backwards, only straightening up once several loud pops pierced the silence of the room. Slowly she rotated her arms until her elbows made the same sound, then she tilted her neck from side to side, emitting the loudest of snaps and finally she laced her fingers together and cracked them. Rhaps nudged her mistress as she looked out the window once more. Again her eyes narrowed as she observed the streets. Mostly quiet, only a few people could be seen on the road, many of the shops had their doors closed with nobody straying too close to the windows. She arched an eyebrow and left her room.
"I'm just saying it's weird, Komui!" She argued, trying to keep from sighing.
"We have no reports from that area. It's probably just the off season or something. Unless you've seen an akuma, which you just said you haven't, there's no reason for you to stay. I know you don't really want to see General Cross but you can't make things up to avoid catching up to your brother and searching for him." He scolded her.
"I'm not making it up!" She snarled, cracking the handle of the phone beneath her grip, "I don't like leaving Allen alone out there! Trust me, I hate it but I'm telling you something is wrong with this town or island or whatever it's called." Her teeth clenching and her left eyebrow twitching slightly as she resisted the urge to slam the phone and hang up on the infuriating man. "Look, just let me look around for a few hours and I promise that I'll leave immediately if I don't find anything."
"He's not alone, Rhea."
"What?" She questioned.
"Allen, he's not alone." He clarified. "He's with Lavi, Bookman, the new exorcist Krory, and my dear sweet Lenalee~!" He sang happily as he brought up his sister causing her to roll her eyes. His tone grew serious once more as he said, "Please remember that it's not just you and Allen against the world anymore. You've been with the Order long enough to know that we're a family and we take care of our own. Lenalee would never let anything happen to Allen, and neither would the others. You don't need to worry about him being alone." Rey sighed at his words, I wish that were true, she thought to herself, almost mournfully. Surprisingly the voice didn't say a word.
Still she lied, "I know, I know. I'll still feel better when I'm with him."
"Then why do you insist on staying there any longer than you have to?" Komui asked, exasperated.
"Because something's telling me that things aren't right here! I can't tell you what it is. It's like this buzzing in the back of my head. It won't let me leave. There's something here, for me, telling me to stay! Just a few hours, please Komui?" She heard him sigh over the line and knew that she'd won.
"I suppose a few hours couldn't hurt. Just to be sure. Swear it to me, Rhea. Just a few hours."
"I swear I'll only stay just a few hours." She grinned and hung up before he could get another word in.
Alone in his office Komui looked at the phone, still making the disconnected sound, and blinked several times, then sighed, "What am I going to do with her?"
Wandering around town with a scowl on her face she turned to her golem, "I just can't place it but I swore something felt off!" Her scowl turned into a pout, her bottom lip stuck out. "Man, am I really wrong? Gods, if I am, Niko will NEVER let me live it down." The golem bobbed sympathetically. She sighed running her fingers through her bangs, "Maybe I'm finally losing it." Her scowl returned as the wind blew through her and she pulled her coat tighter.
"It could just be," The voice intercepted her train of thought, "that you're traveling on your own and your instincts are in overdrive to make sure you survive. It's not unheard of. After all you just barely fought off that Noah." It reasoned before the thoughts could run away with her. Without looking, far too preoccupied by her thoughts, she strode down the road until she crashed into something hard and warm. Scrunching up her face, she whined lowly and then stepped back, looking up. A man in his early 30s also took a step back.
"My apologies, Miss." He brushed his wild brown hair out of his face. "The wind blinded me with my own hair for a moment."
"It's not your fault. I wasn't looking where I was going. It's not a good habit." She answered then shrugged, "But I still do it. My brothers are always telling me not to." She laughed a bit, brushing a loose piece of hair behind her ears.
"I clearly wasn't looking that much either. I didn't see you, let me make it up to you." She arched an eyebrow at him.
"Oh? And how would you do that?" A grin spread across his face.
"Why with a cup of coffee and perhaps a light snack of something sweet?" Rhea paused, the thought of a hot cup of coffee after several hours of nothing suspicious sounded heavenly. He hasn't attacked me yet so he's probably not an akuma, she thought hopefully.
"Sure," she smiled softly, her eyes darting away from his and then coming back. "Coffee sounds delightful. Especially a hot one." She almost drooled at the thought, "Oh! How rude of me, I've yet to introduce myself." She offered her hand, "I'm Rhea." He took her offered hand, bent at the waist and kissed her knuckles lightly.
"It's truly a pleasure to be graced with your presence, Miss Rhea, my name is Rhakshos."
"It's nice to-" The words died on her lips, as the wind blew through his bangs revealing two red spots resting on his forehead. She jolted back but he kept his firm grip on her hand. Slowly he raised his head, green eyes boring into hers.
"Is there a problem, Miss Rhea?" He purred.
"Let go." She hissed through clenched teeth, her eyes glued to his forehead.
"Oh, you know what that means. Well," He straightened up, pulling her closer, "I must say that this is a pleasant surprise."
"Let go." She said again, pulling back until her wrist hurt. A few people stopped to stare at them.
"Are you really sure you want to make a scene?" He questioned, innocently. "My offer of a cup of coffee and a nice civil conversation still stands." She reached for Harlequin.
"I wouldn't do that if I were you." Magic glittering at his fingertips. She glowered at him.
"I won't say it again, let go." He grinned at her.
"Make me." She seethed as he challenged her, red slowly clouding her vision.
"Well, if he insists." The voice suggested, a manic grin spread across his face. Magic flowed through her veins, flickering to life.
Rhakshos' eyes widened, his jaw going slack though he managed to stammer, "What? You can do that?" Her eyes darkened.
"You have no idea what I'm capable of." Her voice melded with a deeper one as purple lightning shot out from her hand. Rhakshos flew back, crashing into the closest building, sending spiderweb cracks all through it. He staggered to his feet, glaring as his own magic appeared, spell tags floating around him.
"How are you alive? We killed ALL of them!" In her mind the voice took form for the first time but she barely noticed.
"Finish him." He whispered in her ear. She nodded as Rhakshos lunged, spell tags whipping towards her. Darting forward she ducked under the attack and closed the distance. Purple magic crackled between her fingers as they connected with his chest and rushed through him. He crashed through the wall and into the building. Rhakshos didn't move. Taking a deep shaky breath, Rhea forced the magic back, deep down. Pushing it as far down as she could. Her hands began to tremble and her eyes returned to normal.
"I shouldn't have done that." Whether she spoke to herself or the voice in her head, who dissipated, she didn't know.
"Witchcraft!" Jumping away, her head snapped up to see an older man pointing at her. "I saw it!"
"No you didn't. You're mistaken." He took an unsteady step towards her. His hands held out slightly as if he were about to grab her.
"Stay away from me." She ordered taking a step, still he drew closer.
"I haven't seen one of you in decades. I was just a little boy." He took another step towards her. "They assured us they were all dead."
"I don't know what you're talking about." She started to walk away.
"An Au-" He didn't get any farther, magic jolted through him, shocking him and throwing him across the road before he could finish his sentence. Turning on her heel, Rey bolted.
Running down the side streets and dark alleys Rey only slowed when she could no longer sense the man's presence. Looking around she found the street to be sparsely populated. Fluttering by her head, Rhaps began to play an audio clip. An old song but one that she loved quite a bit. As she moved down the street, her footsteps fell in time with the beat before the rest of her body followed. Humming along with the song she found herself wandering down a completely deserted street, shrugging it off, she let the music soothe her soul. Every time the man's presence got close she simply turned another corner and lost him. She arched an eyebrow when she realized that the voice hadn't said a word since the incident but shook it away. She smiled softly, the music floating on the breeze with the sun warming her skin as she danced.
RING! Rhea jumped, her head whipping around in search of the loud sudden noise. Her eyes snapped into focus on the payphone attached to the building on her right. RING! It rang again. She looked around, not seeing anybody, she closed her eyes and felt for a presence but found none. RING! She jumped again.
She scowled at it for a moment, then frowned, and asked, "What? How can you be ringing? What's that about? Ringing? What am I supposed to do with a ringing phone?" RING! Glancing around one last time, she shrugged and picked it up.
"Hello?" She asked, unsure of what she would get.
"Tyki-pon?" Her eyes grew wide as she recognized the voice of the Millennium Earl. "You sound kind of funny, are you still in pain?" With a yelp of shock, Rey threw the phone back onto the receiver.
"That was the Millennium Earl!" She said to Rhaps who bobbed up and down, agreeing with her. "I just hung up on the Earl!" She started to laugh at the complete lunacy of it all. "Why did he call a payphone?" She questioned to the golem. RING! Rhea turned back to the phone, ringing once more. Again she picked it up.
"We must have gotten cut off-" Slam! Small pieces splintered from the receiver.
"What the hell is he doing?" Rhea looked around, taking time to look in windows and doors. "There's nobody on the street. Nobody's even watching from a house or anything, so why call here?" RING! "I shouldn't do this," She let an impish grin spread across her face, "bu~t I'm gonna do it anyway!"
"Tyki, this isn't fun-" Rey hung up.
"I think it's hilarious!" She grinned wider at her golem and then waited. "Wonder how many times I can do this?" RING!
"Tyki-" This time she cut him off.
"Frank and Lynn's Zoo: Snake Department, Jeffery speaking! How may I help you?" She chirped, filling her voice with as much as Lenalee normally had.
After several long moments of silence he finally spoke, "Uhhhhhh, I think," he let out a nervous chuckle like she had never heard before, "I think I may have dialed the wrong number." The Earl didn't sound too sure of himself.
"That's no problem! I'm always happy to help in any way that I can," she cringed at the way she sounded, struggling not to giggle, "Have a fantastic day!" She did her best to sound like Komui when he'd made another Sir Komlin. The line went dead and she set it back on the receiver. "Well, I guess that finally scared him off." She started walking away from the phone as she contemplated out loud, "I wonder why he was calling anyway?" She turned to Rhaps. "Do you think it's something I should be worried about?" The golem bobbed up and down until- RING! "Guess not!" She shrugged and answered the phone. "Frank and Lynn's-" SLAM! Pulling the receiver away from her ear, Rey stared at the phone for a moment then turned to the golem, "He hung up on me! Well, that's new." She watched the phone for a few moments before RING! "You gotta wonder if he's double checking the number each time or not. I sure hope he is."
"Tyki?" The Earl asked, hope lacing his voice. She turned to Rhaps and mouthed a few orders. The golem pulled up an audio clip and played it into the phone.
"I am Prince Na-" A shriek, rather high pitched for a man, sounded before the dial tone played again. Rey began laughing and kept laughing. She let go of the phone to clutch her sides and stagger back against the wall before sliding down it as tears started to prick at her eyes.
"Oh gods! Rhaps, I can't breathe!" She gasped in between fits of laughter. RING! She scrambled to her feet, hurrying to answer it.
"Hello...?" A young girl's voice carried through the phone. Rey's eyes grew wide and her mouth fell open, as the memories flashed. First from many years ago and then from Paris. "There's nobody on the other side." Road told the Earl.
Tentatively he spoke, "Hello? Is someone there? Hello?" She snapped back to the present and quickly responded to his question.
"Then," he stopped and started once more, "who am I talking to?"
"Earl?" Road questioned, stealing Rhea's attention again. Still she responded.
"Who me? I'm just a figment of your imagination!" She swung her head around drawing out the last word.
"You lied!" He shouted at Road as he hung up. Rhaps floated over and nudged Rey when she didn't move.
"I can't believe I didn't recognize her. How did I not recognize her? She hasn't changed. In so many years and she hasn't changed. I don't even know how that's possible. Rhaps, remind me to ask Master more about the Noah." She thought for a moment, "You know, when we find him." She sighed. Footsteps drew her attention and she hung up the phone. Rushing away she saw the man from before run by. Instinctively she shrunk back. As she stepped back onto the road she heard a new voice.
"This way, Master Noah." The hissing voice beckoned, sending Rhea scrambling around the side of the building again.
"Harlequin, up!" The harsh whisper scratching her already dry throat but she ignored it. Flattening herself against the roof she crawled to the edge, peaking over just slightly. RING!
"Hello?" A deep baritone answered the phone.
"Rhaps, record!" The golem fluttered closer until Rey pulled it back by the tail, "Don't be seen." The golem nodded and flew closer, hovering over the edge by the top hat the Noah wore on his head. She grinned as the Noah sounded distressed though she couldn't make out his words.
"Your doing, is it not?" The voice chimed in for the first time. She merely shot a smug smirk at him as the conversation over the phone ended, the Noah hung up, and walked away. She only saw the glint of the light from the silver buckle on the ribbon of the hat before the Noah vanished around the corner of the street.
"Rhaps, replay, skip the yelling. I'll listen to it later." She stood up, stretching, backwards, then side to side, before finally cracking her neck. Each movement gave a lovely sound causing her to sigh in content.
"I know that you have your list of people that I wanted you to delete," Rhea arched an eyebrow at that.
"Delete? The hell does that mean?" She questioned to herself. Sighing again, she added it to her ever growing list of questions that she had for her master about the Noah, and motioned for Rhaps to continue the recording.
"But, the akuma have located a piece of innocence. I need you to pick it up and destroy it before the Order hears about it. So far there's been no sightings of those pests, so please get it before they show up! Then continue on your journey! Be safe!" She snickered as the Earl stopped talking.
"Understood, My Lord." The recording cut out.
"Ha! I told Komui there was something going on!" Rey cheered bouncing on her toes until Rhaps smacked into her head. "Oh yeah, kinda have to save it from the Noah first, before I can shove it into Komui's face. Whoops. Forgot about that part."
Cackling at herself, she took off after them. Giggles left her lips as she ran across the rooftops, bounding from one to another, loose tiles crumbling from beneath her boots. Her heart thundered in her chest, pumping blood and giddiness through her veins. Millions of thoughts rushed through her head as she slunk up on the group of akuma gathered in a clump she ordered, "Harlequin, activate!" The liquid slid from her skin, down her left arm, forming a long glossy whip, barbed with thorns. She inhaled deeply as the familiar weight settled in her head. Snapping the whip out, it sliced through three akuma like butter and wrapped around a fourth one, barbs digging into it's metal flesh. With a smile she yanked it causing the akuma to explode. Flicking Harlequin out, Rey swings over, avoiding the poisonous fumes from the akuma. Her feet touched the roof as the level one erupted.
Running with silent steps, her eyes focused on the Noah's receding form. With a loud screech a hideous baby like akuma appeared in her way. Harlequin melted from the whip and deflected it with a simple flick of fingers. Ahead of her the Noah crushed the casing of the innocence, revealing the glowing green cube. Shrugging her shoulders, she called her innocence back to her. It wrapped around her arms and legs in armor, right before she punched the akuma in the face. It shrieked as it flew through the air, crashing into the Noah. The innocence tumbled from his hands and bounced down the road. Grinning she yanked the akuma back.
"What the hell?" The Noah whirled around but found nothing. He stood alone in the empty street. The houses around him stood silently, only a few broken roofing tiles lay on the ground. "Useless creatures." He groaned with a roll of his eyes.
"Oops!" She yelped as it smashed into her and they both hit the wall. She groaned as the tiles dug into her side. Beneath her feet, the akuma struggled against the innocence encircling it. Vainly it tried to yell for the Noah or to warn him through the innocence wrapped around it's head. Rey merely looked at it in boredom before she clenched her fist and the akuma's head popped off. Grabbing the roof, she flung herself up to the top. Spying the hat that lay on the ground, a huge grin spread across her face. Excitement rushed through her as the whip snapped out once more. Flying forward it knocked the innocence into the air as it wrapped around the hat. Getting yanked back, the innocence fell neatly into the hat.
"What on Earth?" The Noah demanded, his eyes following the hat.
"Nothing up my sleeves." Rey grinned, making a show of tugging on her sleeves before she caught the hat. Bowing, she allowed him to see the innocence in the hat before straightening up and setting it down on her head. "And now the magic word: Abracradabra!" She grinned at him as she spoke, "And," pulling the hat from her head, she allowed the piece to roll down her neck into the safety of her hood before bowing once more so he could see the empty hat. "Ta da!" She stood, waving her hands, giddily. Finally Rhea took a moment to examine the Noah. Metallic green met gold.
"Ah! You!" The shared moment of realization echoed in the streets rather anticlimactically. Rey immediately burst out giggling. She clapped her hands and struggled to get oxygen into her aching lungs between fits of laughter.
"How did you get here so fast?" He demanded. She smiled causing him to scowl.
"Ah, well that's a secret. Sorry." She shrugged, pressing her index finger to her lips.
"No you're not." He accused.
"Got me there!" She grinned and his scowl deepened. She laughed even harder. "I was right about one thing, though." Rey trailed off, letting it hang in the air.
"Oh? And what is that?" He questioned arching an eyebrow at her.
"You sure do clean up nicely, Specs." His eyes widened and his mouth hung open slightly slack jawed.
"You-you you recognize me?" The Noah tripped over his own words, as he tried to come to terms with this new knowledge.
"Come now, Specs, do you honestly think getting rid of your glasses, changing your clothes and coloring means I wouldn't recognize your face? It's still the same. Just a different color!" She giggled, walking along the edge of the roof. She paused, a pout pulling at her lips. "Hmmm, guess I can't call ya Specs anymore." She sighed then shrugged, "I'll have to come up with something else I suppose." She tapped her bottom lip as she contemplated a good name for him.
"So the herbalist was just a lie?" She turned to him, cocking her head.
"The herbalist stuff. It was all just a lie. How did you know I was a Noah and why didn't you attack me, you could've taken me by surprise."
"Oh that." She waved him off, as a song began to play in her head. She started moving to the beat, humming along to it though the words hung on the outer edge of her memory. Just out of reach.
"Don't you "oh that" me!" He snapped and she jumped, eyes growing large.
"Hey! There's no need to yell!" She yelled back. "You don't have a reason to yell. The herbalist stuff isn't a lie. I really do have that knowledge." She shot him a side smirk. "Eeeze will be fine." She winked and he took a step back, mouth falling open again. "Don't worry. I won't tell anyone the big bad Noah cares for a sick little kid and his human friends." His mouth snapped shut.
"You have got to be the weirdest exorcist I've ever met." He sighed, shaking his head.
"Oh? I'm the weird one! The Earl just keeps calling and calling! Like it would magically change!" The Noah's eyes narrowed at her words and he shifted his weight, "What kind of a system is that?!" She demanded, throwing her hands up into the air so violently she almost threw herself off balance and off the roof.
"It was you!" He lunged for her. Shrieking, she fell from the roof. Rhea threw herself onto the next roof, cutting her palm on the sharp uneven edge of the roofing tiles she grabbed. Staggering several steps as she turned to face him.
"That was rude!" She chided.
"So was hanging up on the Millennium Earl! Several times!"
"Duh." She retorted. "Honestly, I just made that up as I went along and he kept calling. Each time he sounded so hopeful."
"I got yelled at for almost 20 minutes because of that. Even longer when I tried to tell him that it wasn't me." He leaped to her roof and she grinned but didn't back up.
"I know, I was right above you the whole time." He stalked towards her.
"Aren't you going to run away?" He questioned.
"Nope!" She popped the p with ease. "Tell me, do those three know about this side of your life?" She asked, tilted her head to the side.
"Why would I tell you?" He grabbed at her but she danced out of his way, twirling round and round on her toes to the other side of the roof.
"Oh come now, we're friends aren't we?" She asked, knowing smirk spread clear across her lips.
"No." He scowled. Her smile dropped and her eyes lost their sparkle till she looked like he'd kicked her puppy.
"What?" She asked, sorrowfully, "But I helped you." She stuck her bottom lip out at him. "I didn't even charge you for it. Just as I promised." He attacked her again. She dropped backwards out of his reach, landing on her hands. He lets her feet phase through him, she frowned at the feeling.
"You stole my wallet! Which I want back!" She laughed at his demands and springs away onto the next roof causing him to frown at her.
Shrugging as she straightened up, "I don't have it. Sold it." She locked her hands together behind her back and leaned towards him. "Why? Did it have something important in it?"
"Yeah, my money." They jumped from roof to roof, with him always just a few steps behind her.
"No it didn't. Trust me that was the first thing I took out of it." Taking a moment to examine her nails, making sure they were all even and the paint hadn't chipped, she pulled out her file, fixing one of them.
"Are you even paying attention?!" He snapped, seeing her fiddle with her nails.
"No," she glanced up, meeting his eyes for a second, "not really." She shrugged, leaning back against the wall of a taller building.
The Noah groaned and threw up his hands, "You're completely mad."
"We're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad." She responded with ease.
"I'm not mad." He argued.
"You must be," she said, "or you wouldn't have come here."
The Noah dragged his hand down his face as he asked, "Lewis Carroll?"
"I do. Obviously, as I just identified it but why are you quoting Alice in Wonderland at me?"
Rey opened her mouth to answer when another voice cut her off, "Come out, Witch!" Her head snapped in the direction in which the voice sounded and pulled a groan from her lips. The Noah took his opportunity and pinned her to the wall. She yelped in surprise and thrashed in his grip.
"There, that's much better. I guess you should've been paying more attention." She raised her head to meet his gaze as she stilled, much to his surprise.
"Did you ever consider that perhaps I want you here? Maybe you're playing into my hands right now?" He cocked an eyebrow at her question.
"Why on Earth would you want to be pinned between me and the wall?" A massive grin spread across her face for a moment though he still leaned slightly away on instinct. As quick as the grin appeared, a softer look replaced it.
"You're an attractive male specimen," she fluttered her eyes at him, for effect as she purred, "maybe I wanna explore you." Rhea pressed against him, feeling his grip loosen as his jaw hung slack and his eyes blinked widely at her. The grin returned, "Activate!" Her innocence slid down her left arm, creating a gauntlet. She punched him in the face, freeing herself and sending him staggering back. Not wasting a moment, she turned on her heel and bolted, laughing as she went. Her cackling only grew worse as he thundered after her, cursing as he went.
Jumping down from the roof, Tyki looked around, ignoring the throbbing in his cheekbone and the sniggering of the memory in the back of his head. He didn't see the exorcist. The memory continued to mock him til he shouted at it, "Oh will you shut up!"
"Are you talking to yourself?" The exorcist asked, causing his head to snap around. He finally located her. She walked over to the edge of the roof right before him and sat down. She cocked her head to the side with her question as she crossed her left leg over her right.
"That's none of your business." He snapped.
"Eh?" She whined, lips pulling down into a frown. "Why not?" He stared at her for a moment, her mischievous eyes meeting his without even a hint of fear.
"Shouldn't you be trying to kill me? We're enemies after all." He pointed out.
Her frown turned into a pout with her bottom lip jutting out as she fussed, "But you're all the way over there." Making a show of flailing her arm in his general direction halfheartedly as if it would prove that his distance warranted her laziness.
"The effort you put into your job is absolutely astounding." Sarcasm dripped from his words as he glared at her. She ignored it with a sunny smile.
"I know!" She threw her hand back over her face, as if she were wiping sweat from her brow. "It's exhausting!" He sprang at her once more. He grit his teeth as she rolled back onto her hands and vaulted away. She landed on her feet a few meters away.
"Still quick on your feet." He noted sourly, standing where she had just been sitting.
"That was scary!" She mocked, covering her mouth with her hand. She did nothing to hide the coy look in her eyes.
A chuckle broke through his lips at her cheek, "I doubt that."
"You could've hurt me doing that." She continued to play her innocent game. He rolled his eyes though the smile still tugged at his lips.
"That was kinda the point." He offered.
"How cruel," she whimpered, "and here I thought we were friends." Her bottom lip quivered and he resisted the urge to apologize. Instead he busied himself digging another cigarette, purposefully dropping his gaze from her face. Before he put the box away he held it out to her but she merely shook her head, "No thanks. I don't smoke."
Rhea huffed silently as he looked away. The puppy dog pout didn't have any effect on her opponent. Her heart still beat wildly in her chest, the adrenaline coursing through her. Her fingers twitched at her side, itching for more.
"So now what?" The Noah asked casually, still smoking. A smile tugged at her lips as the image of her master momentarily overlaid the Noah.
"We go separate ways and promise to keep in touch?" She suggested, the smile twisting into a smirk. He looked up at her, raising his eyebrow, for a moment before returning the gesture.
"Sure," now she arched her eyebrow in response as he kept talking, "if you hand over the innocence along with your own piece I'll let you walk away. You saved Eeeze's life so I'll spare yours." Before he realized what happened, her fist connected with his face. He flew across the street, destroying several buildings as he crashed through them. Rey stomped his cigarette out as she stalked towards him, teeth grinding together.
"You no-good, cocky, arrogant, self-important, son of a bitch!" She roared, ignoring the twinging pain shooting through her left arm. "Spare me," she spat as if the words were poison, "how dare you imply that I need your mercy! Ha! What a pitiful joke! You haven't even laid a finger on me. Gods above and below, get your damn head checked." Rhaps fluttered around her head, before bumping into it softly but she ignored it. Her innocence slid from her arms, slithering across the ground and yanked him out, via an iron grip on his left leg. With a flick of her fingers the innocence began to thrash around, slamming him into every nearby surface. When she grew bored she waved her hand and it flung him away before it glided back. It climbed her body and returned to it's place. "Deactivate." Rhea jumped down to the road and started back towards her hotel, still muttering under her breath.
Tyki staggered out of the wreckage, wincing as the movement. The shock of her suddenly hitting him has caused him to forget about his abilities. Pain shot through his chest and he couldn't feel the cracks in his ribs. "Where the hell did that rage come from? Jeez, I thought she was just a giggly airhead." He groaned at the pain as the memory howled in the back of his head. "Shut up! That isn't helping." His eyes immediately flicked to her retreating form and he contemplated leaving her be then his wounded pride reared it's head and he started after her.
A purple light exploded centimeters to her left. Rey shrieked and dove out of the way, rolling across the ground. She whirled around to find the Noah again. He stalked towards her, eyebrows furrowed with a sneer on his face. She straightened up, cocking one hip out with her arms crossed over her chest.
"Back for more?" She snorted at him.
"And you say I'm cocky. At least I have the power to back it up." He snarled at her.
"Right, and who's bleeding?" His eyes widened in surprise and slowly he reached up to touch his forehead where the blood seeped down, just above his stigmata. He pulled his hand away to stare and the blood and his ruined gloves. Then the blood dripped down into his eye. He wiped it away.
He sighed, "Alright, fine. I admit that's impressive." He smirked at her, "None of your comrades have been able to do that and you've done it twice now. Perhaps you'll be more interesting than I first thought."
"Oh, thank you, Your Majesty. I shall treasure your compliment for the rest of my meager insignificant existence." She responded sardonically as she bowed. He chuckled again.
"Well you seem to have a sense of humor. Try to keep it after this." Rhea screamed as the area around her exploded. The air swirled around and around until she fell to her knees, the vacuum stealing the oxygen from her lungs.
Struggling for breath she managed, "Harlequin! Dome!" Her innocence zoomed over to her, creating a black shield between her and the void encompassing her. Gasping as she gulped much needed oxygen into her burning lungs. "Damn it! What the hell is his power? He walked through walls the last time and now he can create a vacuum?!" She looked at her innocence tightly packed into a solid wall. "Guess I don't have a choice. Come." A piece broke off and for a moment it thinned enough to see that the abyss still surrounded her. The piece crawled up her arm, transforming into a single gauntlet on her left arm. Jerking her arm to the left, she heard the piece click. "Expand!" She waved her arms out, sending the ever-growing shield out, until the vacuum blew apart. The force of the wind sent the Noah skidding back, his arms protecting his face.
He dropped his arms revealing his expression; wide eyed and mouth hanging open he demanded, "How did you do that?!" Her innocence whirled around her like a typhoon, her green eyes deadly serious. Then a crack appeared, spreading like a spider web before she burst. To his complete and utter shock the exorcist erupted into a fit of laughter.
"Oh my gods! You should see your expression!" She covered her face as she threw her head back, her manic cackling growing louder and louder by the minute. The Noah scowled at her as she grasped at her aching sides, trying, and failing, to stop her giggling. Her lungs burned once again for oxygen this time for a different reason this time.
"Are you done yet?" He asked sourly. She wiped a tear away from her eye though she almost started again when she saw the pout on his lips. No doubt he'd deny it, she thought to herself with a cheeky smile.
"Aw come on, don't be like that. It was funny." She tilted her head at him with a grin. The Noah shook his head at her.
"I've never seen anyone switch moods so quickly." She just shrugged at him, a rather nonchalant answer causing him to roll his eyes.
A heavy piece of wood clonked Rhea in the head. Slowly she turned to the man holding the giant wooden cross against her head, blinking as she spoke, "Begone, evil enchantress! Your wicked vows have no power here. Go back to your unholy master and leave these good people in peace!" She blinked a couple more times.
"Are ya done yet?" Behind her she could hear the Noah growing closer. He took a step back, before tightening his grip on the cross.
"I said begone witch!" He raised the cross from her head and started to bring it back down.
"Hit me with that ONE more time and I'll shove that thing so far up your ass you'll be picking splinters out of your tongue." She snarled. The Noah stood right behind her. "I've told you before and I'll tell you again. I am not hurting your town. Nor am I here on the demands of my "unholy master" well," she sighed thinking about the words again causing her to rub the back of her neck sheepishly, "not the one you're thinking of." The Noah's breath moved the small hairs on the back of her neck, his fingers just brushing her skin, hand having slid through her jacket. Her left eye started twitching. Stealing the huge cross she brought it back over her shoulder, Harlequin painting it black in seconds. "Here! Have some God!" She smashed the innocence covered cross into the Noah's head. He staggered back away from her, clutching his head. Whirling around she planted her feet and swung the cross at him. It connected with the Noah's ribs and sent him flying. Tossing it away she turned on the other man once more. "Scram." She ordered, a slightly maniacal grin appeared on her face, "Or else." Not wasting a moment the man ran for his life. She took off, running at full speed towards the hotel.
Weaving around people, darting through alleys, and jumping fences with ease, she arrived at the hotel. Excitement rushed through her. She barely waved at the clerk before she shot over to the telephone. She bounced on her toes as she waited, impatiently, to get through to Komui.
"Hey Komui! It's me!" She chirped. "I'm checking in for the night, don't be mad but I also got myself into some trouble," he tried to cut in but she kept babbling at full speed, "also thought I should let you know that I ran into that Noah guy again," This time Komui's shriek did break through.
"He followed you?!" He jumped to his feet, his chair slamming against the floor. She could hear him crashing around his office like a bull in a China shop, obviously looking for something.
"Komui, Komui, Komui, Komui!" She called, bouncing in time with his name. "Calm down, it was a chance encounter. He was just as surprised to see me as I was him! Honestly his reaction to seeing me was the funniest thing I've seen recently and that includes Lenalee finding out about you stalking her shopping trip." Nothing passed over the line for a moment, no doubt his bottom lip stuck out in a pout at her for mentioning the latest Sir Komlin incident. "Anyway this wasn't meant to be a long conversation, I just wanted to tell you that the Noah seems to be heading East which might be worrisome, our finders suck and we need better ones there was a piece of innocence here that nobody even knew about hell I wouldn't have known about it if the akuma that were here aroused my suspicions also I TOLD YOU SO thus I stuck around to watch for a bit and then the Noah showed up and the innocence was mentioned and I followed him to it then stole it out from under him. We fought for it but I emerged victorious!" She cheered, hopping up and down in celebration. "He makes funny faces though, usually when he's shocked and it makes him even cuter," she waved her hands around as she chattered, almost dropping the phone multiple times from it's place cradled between her ear and shoulder, "but it was so much fun to play with him even if he can't be rude and pompous and jerky and condescending but I showed him because I punched him in the face again and eventually he's gonna learn his lesson," she shrugged, "anyway I gotta go I have another phone call to make but I wanted to tell you that the Earl is communicating with his Noah via payphone I have no idea how or why but maybe you and the science department can figure it out and maybe even interfere with it; wouldn't that be funny as hell? Oh well, I gotta go! Bye!" She ended the call enthusiastically.
Back in his office Komui just stared at the phone, blinking slowly. The dial tone continued to play in the empty room. Gradually her final sentence made it's way through his brain. His eyes grew large and he started shouting.
"Rhea? Rhea? Rhea! Rhea! Don't just hang up after saying something like that! How the hell did you learn that? What does it even mean! Rhea! Rhea~!" He sobbed into the phone even though the girl was long gone.
"Rhaps," Rhea turned to her golem, "connect to Argos!" Still giddy, she couldn't wait to tell her brother.
"Rey, what's up? Did you find Master?" Niko asked as he answered the call.
"What?" She questioned while her mind tried to slow down enough to process the question. "No, of course not. That would be too easy. You know what Master can be like he's the devil or maybe he IS the devil and there's no way that he would make it easy to find him in fact since it's us looking for him he might even make it harder because he's such a major dick but you knew that you were right there with us though I actually think you might have been his favorite just because you were the easiest to deal with!" She snickered.
He sighed, "Rey, please tell me you're staying wherever you are for the night?"
"Eh?" She whined, cocking her head to the side. "Why?"
"I'd rather you not go wandering off when you're like this. You don't know when you're gonna crash. Please don't forget to eat something for dinner. Even if it's something small. You need the calories. Promise me you will." He pleaded. In the background a ribbit sounded, as if his pet were agreeing with it's owner.
"Okay, okay, I promise I'll remember to have dinner. I'll eat when I'm hungry." She waved him off, having finally started holding the phone in one of her hands.
"No, Rey." He told her sternly. "Eat at a normal time. You know you don't always get hungry. Eat at what someone else would consider dinner time. Like six. No later then seven."
She huffed, "Fine," he chortled as she drew out the word in a whine. He rolled his eyes, ignoring the smile that tugged at his lips.
"Now, what's up? I'm sure you didn't call just to babble about NOT finding Master." Remembering the reason her face split into a wide, almost unnatural, grin.
"Oh! I found the-" The line went dead. Her grin dropped and she frowned. "Niko? Niko? Niko, are you there? Nikolai? Niko! Answer me!" Her mind raced as her breathing grew shallow.
Rey shrieked as the wall in front of her exploded. Then her world went dark.
Round and round
Over the battlefield
Ready to feast
Oh no! What happened! Which side cut off first? Are they okay? Who knows! I can't wait to hear from you all and see what you think! I promise it's not the same. As we move away from the strictly canon part you'll find that I'm switching things up! Keeping a few that I particularly love but things will be changing, hopefully you'll agree with me that it's for the better! Cheshire's out~!