"Papa…he is dead," came the soft, almost inaudible whisper, lacing through the tensed, heavy air.
It was met by the harsh, cool voice of the brooding young man with eyes protected by the heavily-tinted glasses.
"It is best that you stop saying that over and over," he said, voice devoid of emotion. He offered no reassurances though. It wasn't stated in his job to console the young Neon Nostrad, his boss.
Neon's eyes watered, but afraid to meet more rebuke from the indifferent bodyguard, she bravely wiped the tears away.
It was a shocker for her, when she was met by the news. Elaiza woke her up in the middle of the night, saying that her bodyguard was back. Only to announce that Right Nostrad, her father, would not come back anymore.
Her first impulse was to…not know.
Her mind went completely blank, and she was too confused to even know when to stop keeping her breath and start breathing again.
Her father… Right Nostrad…dead.
What would she do now?
"There can't be anything done now for him," he said, shrugging. "I'm sorry."
The words of apology failed to touch her heart, console her befuddled soul. He was just too cold.
"You will move to another place soon," he continued. "York New City is a horrible place for someone like you who—"
"Just lost her nen?" she asked softly. "Yes…I am now a nothing, I understand…now that I have lost my nen ability. I wish…I wish Dad took me along with him."
"He didn't," he hissed. "You're still alive. You're still here. You are a nothing, but you're alive."
"Alive." The words rolled out of her lips as if it was a foreign word.
"So I will ask Elaiza to pack your things," he informed her. "Tomorrow morning, I have arranged for a plane charter. I will hand over to her as well the plans for your financial needs."
"Yes, Neon-sama?" he asked, only pausing long enough to give her a swift look.
"It's only normal," he said after a moment. He turned his back on her, and in her eyes, it meant retraction from her situation. His back was cold, hard, and distant.
"What will I do now?" she asked aloud.
"I have everything planned, Neon-sama. You mustn't worry about anything," he said, looking back at her. Still, the contact lenses failed to show through the one emotion she wanted and needed so badly right now. The life jacket that was going to rescue her from the drowning sensation she experienced awhile ago.
With just his few words, he was able to throw everything in her life into turmoil.
"No, I'm scared…really scared," she said softly. "Please, Kurapika, tell me that it will be alright."
"I told you, Elaiza will handle everything," he said in his same sensible voice.
"Hold me…" she said, almost begging.
He was taken aback by what she said, but he still remained passive. "I was paid not to do that, Neon-sama. I was paid to protect you, and comforting you is not my job."
The fears lurking within her like shadows dancing against the malevolent silhouette of her heart were threatening to overwhelm her, take her in, swallow her whole.
Didn't she need protection from that?
"I wish I still have my Ghost writer. It will tell me what my future holds. It will tell me what I should watch out for…what should frighten me. It will comfort me." Neon's voice rang out again.
"You lost it," he said matter-of-factly.
"And tomorrow, you will live as a human being; you will live on your own, without your nen anymore. You must prepare," he said.
"Yes." She got up shakily and paced back and forth restlessly. "I'm scared."
"I advise you not to say that anymore also. If you think of things hard enough, it will only come true." Neon paused, then wiped her tears. "How much is Daddy paying you?"
He was taken by surprise with what she said out of the blue, but he gave her his salary.
"I will pay you all my fortune…everything that remains under my Nostrad name…just…just hold me close." She finally burst into tears. "Just embrace me just this once, Kurapika."
He froze, astounded by the anguish and pain visible in his young mistress' face. It was tugging something within him, a part of his body that he had never acknowledged ever since he started his nen training.
Was it the tears that did it?
He didn't know, but before he could even realize what he was doing, he had stepped towards her and placed his hand on her hair, gently but firmly.
Then with the tenderness of a lamb so meek, he placed her head on his shoulder, smoothing her hair.
And he didn't speak any more about the price, the salary, or the obligations of a bodyguard.
For tonight, for the last night of Neon Nostrad here in the York New City that destroyed her innocence, he would drop his duties as her bodyguard for the first and last time; he would be her friend.