Chapter One: That Which Lurks Below
Authors new note: Good grief... you mean... she lives? Oh yes. Fear me. I'm retouching this fic, almost 4 years after I started it. Forgive me, real life problems, lack of inspiration and stuff got in the way, but... I'm back! Look for changes and complete revisions after Chapter 6! I'm touching up a few things each chapter, then re-working it completely starting with Magdalena's scene. Hope you enjoy!
Author's note: Please read this to avoid confusion Ok so this fic was originally an interactive fic between Blueberry Lattice and myself, and since we've both been busy with respective things, it was put on hold for a while. Now, it's evolved into TWO separate versions. The original, which Blueberry Lattice will post under her name, and the alternate, which I'm writing here So if you're curious on the differences, read both. The first chapter here is mostly the same as the 1st chapter on the other, but I've added some stuff in the end, and changed a few things around. so please make sure to read it all the way through. OK? No confusion? Good on with the fic!
Disclaimer: I own nothing! Moriyama-sensei does. Blame him!
It was rather exhausting, running the most successful detective agency in New York City… Exhilarating, exciting, and rewarding, but tiring indeed.
A pair of black boots lounged over the edge of the desk, attached to a pair of long legs in simple black pants, which in turn were connected to a smartly belted waist, with a white starched shirt, suspenders, and loose tie around the collar. A coat hung on the coat rack in the corner, but the fedora hat sat upon its owner's head, as his head slumped against his chest, while he leaned back in his chair taking a short snooze.
He ran the most successful private detective agency in New York, yes, but on the side he also participated in demon, ghost, and spook exorcisms with the help of a few choice individuals. It was a very lucrative job to say the least, and it also helped him keep busy while he sought after his own goals.
The door slammed open. "Sir!"
With a start, the chair tilted backwards, sending its occupant sprawling backwards onto the floor of the high rise office building.
The man who had just entered looked a bit embarrassed, but leaned over the desk, his blue eyes worried. "You ok, boss?"
The fedora tilted back as the detective lifted his head, his purple hair in disarray, and his crimson eyes wide from surprise. "Ah, yeah, sorry about that Ewan…" He managed to untangle his limbs from the tilted chair, and stand up, brushing himself off, with a lopsided grin.
Ewan Remington, assistant private eye shook his head at his boss's ludicrous actions. "You should see about fixing that chair sometime…one of these days you're going to fall right out the window."
The Detective laughed, and righted the chair. "Well, at least it would give me some fresh air."
Ewan made a face, but put the folders in his arms down on the desk, brushing his blond hair out of his eyes, and straightening his tie which had been knocked loose in the process of running in. "We have a potential situation on the West side. A client called and asked that we come take a look at a poltergeist."
The Detective looked thoughtful. "What are the symptoms?"
"Furniture knocking over, sounds in the night, eerie laughter. All classic signs." Remington nodded, smoothing out his brown suit methodically. He was one of the types who was always looking for perfection. He'd come to Demons Etc. as a rookie, looking to make his stand in the busy world. He had quite a mystery about him, but had been enthusiastic and perfect for the job. The Detective couldn't have asked for a better partner.
"Right. I'll pay a house call first." He grabbed his long trench coat, and slipped it on, for it was a rather blustery day outside, threatening rain. "I'll give you a call if there's anything to her story."
"Yes, sir." Remington nodded and turned heading out, as the Detective followed him.
Demons Etc. was situated in the tallest building in the city, on the highest floor. It provided a lucrative view of the surrounding city, privacy, and plush interiors. The elevator ride down was always pleasant, as the bellman was a chatty sort who enjoyed nosing into others businesses. Yet, few knew much about the mysterious organization… It seemed to have connections in the strangest places, mafia, supernatural…but the Detective in charge was a much respected man, who had dealings with such places like the Magdalene Order.
Yet there were things about him that disturbed many people…his dark skin, the slight point to his ears that some had noticed, and the flashing fangs when he grinned. When asked about it, he just laughed and made a joke about them being paranoid. But every time he saved a child, or an innocent, people nodded their heads approvingly. They knew that he was a good person, and couldn't be anything devious. After all, monsters didn't do such things.
He blew some of his hair out of his face as he leaned against the subway pillar, awaiting the train to arrive. Yes, people here lived in a constant state of concern for the many supernatural, and demonic creatures that lurked beneath… He wouldn't ever be out of a job so long as this continued.
The train came around the bend, and its squeaky wheels screeched to a halt as it stopped, and its doors opened. He stepped inside, and took up a place standing in the middle car, and leaned casually against the pole. Just another day in the city.
"Ah, Christ…" The young woman muttered and hissed painfully, as her briefcase went flying and skidded onto the pavement. The heel of her shoe had fallen through a sewer grate, and she'd callously toppled onto the crowded city sidewalk of Park Avenue. People continuously bustled around her and paid her no heed, as she desperately tried to recollect her belongings and dust herself off.
She ran a hand through her hair, only to notice that upon her glorious trip to the floor, she'd also somehow managed to get a hefty wad of dirty gum matted in her blond hair. "Nice going Rosette, just peachy… you're in the city for all of 30 minutes and you're already--"
Her train of thought was interrupted as she noticed a very familiar photo nearly getting trampled on the sidewalk. A strong gust of wind whooshed by, and it was quickly carried up on the current and into the avenue's rush hour traffic. Rosette froze with fear and panicked.
And then she did something that probably made a good number of bystanders- children and elderly alike- think she was absolutely and utterly insane: She scrambled up from her heap on the sidewalk and hurled herself into the oncoming traffic, and began chasing after the free-floating picture.
One taxi, two taxi, three taxi, four! She dodged them and flailed her arms as she lept after the runaway photo.
You can't leave me again, not this time, please… She begged silently to herself.
Rosette took one final frantic lunge, undeterred by the car horns honking angrily around her, and was amazed to find the photo tightly grasped within her extended hand. She hurried herself to the other side of the street and away from the mob of people that were awestruck by the spectacle.
She quietly slipped into a back alley, and slumped down against the brick wall with an audible sigh. Several rats skittered near the garbage heaps nearby, hungrily perusing the unidentifiable scraps of food strewn about. Normally she'd probably freak out and kill the poor, unsuspecting fuzzy rodents, but she was too entirely entranced with the picture she nearly risked her life for.
"Joshua…" She whispered, tears brimming in her eyes, unshed. "I'm going to find you here, I know I will."
It'd been ten years since she'd last seen her twin brother, her only family. She'd woken up one day, and not a single tangible trace of him remained: only this faded photograph she always carried in her pocket. The whole world had so easily denied his very existence, yet she still persisted in finding out why: why memories had been erased, why someone had taken the time to up heave Rosette and Joshua's lives together.
Rosette clenched her fists. She might have not been a huge fan of the city life for obvious reasons, but she'd bear with it for the sake of her goal. After all, rumor of a particular detective agency had spread even to the rural areas of the country where she lived, enough to pique her curiosity and try her luck in such a place as this.
She reached into the right breast pocket of her black wool coat and pulled out a crumpled newspaper ad:
"HELP WANTED: Field assistant for detective agency. Must have good note-taking skills, be perceptive to paranormal activity, and be willing and motivated to deal with possibly life-threatening situations. Full benefits, including room and board. Contact Demons Etc. for more information."
She had no formal training, but whomever she'd spoken to on the phone sounded pretty eager to have her come in for an interview. I guess not many people are willing to put their neck on the line in this kind of work, huh? She mused thoughtfully. Whatever the case was, she knew this was her ticket to finally finding some help for Joshua. And if not, at least she'd learn how to look for him herself if she had to…right?
"Ah well! I'm going to be late if I sit here in this dump thinking to myself." She stood up with a grunt and brushed herself off.
After spending another hour or so weaving in and out of the crowds that she loved so dearly-- "Right, sure I do…"She muttered under her breath sarcastically.-- she'd finally found the subway station she'd been looking for, to head uptown and find this so-called Demons Etc. She hurried downwards to the platform, and noticed that the #4 train was just about full of commuters already.
"Ah! N-o… yo-u… ca-n't… le-ave!" She said, her voice bouncing erratically with her, as she walked rapidly down the stairs.
Hurdling down the platform at breakneck speed, she wedged herself into the sliding plexiglass doors of the train and pushed her way through them, and into the sweaty, stinky mass of people around her.
She wrinkled her nose offensively at first, until she sniffed and smelled something that was actually quite pleasant!
"Mm, nice cologne… or something." She hummed to herself.
Turning her head towards the door, she noticed a tall man situate himself next to her, leaning up against one of the many steel poles. The doors made their trademark "ding!" as they shut, and the train began rattling its way down the darkened subway tracks of New York. So he's what smelled so, uh, what's an appropriate word… delicious? No no. She blushed at her own thoughts, as she glanced at the mysterious, yet rather handsome stranger.
The stranger turned his head as he realized he was being watched by a young woman. Her clothes were a bit disheveled, and she seemed to be sniffing the air oddly, and he self-consciously took a whiff of his coat collar…nope, it wasn't bad, he'd remembered to put cologne on today at least.
Holy Mary Mother of -- he's looking at me! Rosette squeaked mentally, as he grinned at her. Was I that staring at him so obviously? Oh god, and he probably thinks I thought he smelled bad, didn't he? She groaned and plastered a hand to her forehead, smacking it lightly.
"Good morning, sir. Pleasure to meet ya. Name's Rosette!" She said evenly, extending a hand. The least she could do was approach him and introduce herself in a civilized manner, stranger or not.
He smiled at her obvious embarrassment. She seemed to be a nice person, and you didn't often run into those sort in a big city such as this nowadays. He grasped her hand gently, and shook it with a nod to her. "Rosette, eh? That's a very lovely name." He complimented her with a grin. And it was. He of course then had to introduce himself. "Chrno. Pleased to meet you." His eyes strayed to her luggage. "Did you just arrive in town?" He asked of her, noting that she didn't seem to be quite in array of order.
"Ah, y-yes..." She stammered, embarrassed at the fact that her suitcase probably looked like it'd been to hell and back. "I had a lovely date with the sidewalk earlier, and well..." She shrugged, sweeping a hand across her gum-filled hair. "Now I'm late for an important interview at one of the local detective agencies. The best of the best I hear. I'm just crossing my fingers that I get there in one piece!" She chuckled lightly.
He gave a good natured smile at the gum in her hair, hey it happened, he could sympathize. However, his eyebrow raised at the second half of her comment. "Really? Which agen--.." His words were suddenly cut off as the entire train shuttered violently, and the lights began to flicker above them…the sound of screeching metal and creaking wheels could be heard in the tunnel, as people in the cars screamed once in brief terror, then the barrage stopped, as if it was over….
But then it struck again, this time even more rough, throwing everyone to the floor from both standing and sitting positions, as the whole train buckled, and the light plunged into darkness, screeching, screaming, and grinding filling the air interspersed with the screams of the passengers as something very large, and bearing glowing eyes, bit off the rear of the train they were sitting in, a mess of wires and metal flying everywhere as it tore a gaping hole in the back of the train.
Chrno fell heavily with everyone else to the floor, his head jerking up quickly alert at the action, and as the monster struck, he flung himself in front of Rosette protectively, as glass shards and metal shrapnel went flying everywhere.
Well, what a predicament this was, Chrno thought as he panted for breath as Rosette sat down hard on his lungs. Very graceful, yes…
He had to avoid staring at the very fine-formed leg that was directly next to his head and if he happened to glance sideways…he might get more than he bargained for of seeing things he shouldn't. Luckily, he was a gentleman, and did not look.
Rosette groaned, as she struggled to open her eyes. Hmm, one felt like it was probably swollen shut. "Must've bumped the pole or something…" She murmured, trying to adjust her eyes to the lack of light around her.
"Chrno?" She called out warily. "Chrno, are you alright?"
She continued groping around in the dark with both arms, until she ended up squeezing something warm and uh, a tad on the fleshy side. A muffled sound came out from underneath her splayed hand, as she then noticed it was practically covering Chrno's entire face and probably suffocating the poor man. A wisp of air blew out from between his lips and tickled the palm of Rosette's hand, making her giggle reflexively and withdraw her hand.
She also couldn't help but notice she was laying directly on top of him.
"Oh GOD, I'm so-so-sorry!" Rosette warbled, as she blushed furiously and tried to scramble to her feet. Unfortunately, that proved to be more of a task as several other bodies lay haphazardly on the floor of the crowded train, and she tripped right back into her place and fell right back onto Chrno's chest with an "Oof!"
"…This just isn't my day." Rosette pondered aloud with an apologetic tone. She sighed, and opened her eyes to find Chrno peering directly at her with his red ones from his spot beneath her.
He rolled over, pulling himself out from beneath Rosette, and glanced at her worriedly. She had a nasty lump over one eye, and it was turning red and purple even as he watched, but aside from that she seemed uninjured. He of course was fine, as usual.
He stood up, and glanced back over his shoulder, and reached into his coat. From the outside, it might look that he was fondling something…not very appropriate for a public situation…
That is, until he pulled out a very odd shaped, heavy gun from his belt. It gleamed in the red emergency lights of the tunnel around them, for the train had no lights on anymore. The barrel was a cold polished steel, and wider than many typical guns, with an odd design on the side of it in the form of a cross surrounded my intricate lattice work.
He knelt back down and faced Rosette, peering at her worriedly. Somewhere along the way he'd lost his hat, he realized, but it wasn't time to hunt for it now. "Are you okay?" He asked with some concern for the young woman, as he glanced back down the tunnel at the monster that was chewing on part of the train contentedly…but that hunk of metal wouldn't hold it for long.
"Stay here." He warned, as he stood up, and strode firmly towards the end of the ruined train, with purpose.
"Stay here…? Yeah right!" Rosette muttered, after Chrno was out of earshot. Who did he think he was kidding? If she couldn't handle a situation like this with a complete stranger, then how the heck was she going to when working for the most prestigious detective in New York? "Pshaw!" Rosette puffed her cheeks out angrily, and stood up abruptly to march after Chrno, who was already a good distance away.
"Hey!" She yelled as she rummaged through her suitcase for something, but Chrno was apparently too engrossed with the creature to notice her appearance. "Aha!" She exclaimed, as she whipped out a rather mean-looking squirt gun full of holy water.
Rosette cocked her gun and eagerly rushed into the fray, intent on staking her claim.
Chrno faced the monster, and hopped out of the decrepit train, slowly striding forward, his trench coat billowing with the wind in the small space, and the foul breath of the creature. "It's nuisance Legion like this thing that gives this city a bad name." He muttered with a sigh. The monster raised it's head, and sniffed the air, and then growled at him. It knew.
All of a sudden, a small stream of water hit the demonic creature, and it howled thunderously as a small patch of its leathery skin reddened and sizzled.
Rosette cheered and hefted her squirt gun into the air triumphantly. "Take that, you piece of--" She began, but was cut off as it swung a black, malformed appendage at her.
"Where the HELL did that come from?!" Rosette bellowed incredulously. "Why can't these monsters be normal bipeds like us, huh?!"
Chrno sighed slightly but had to give her points for creativity. Who would have known that she'd have holy water stored in her bags…well she was going to audition at an agency so it made sense, but still…Very resourceful.
"Rosette!" He grabbed her arm, and pulled her back quickly as the monster howled in rage at her. "Holy water won't get rid of it.. not unless you dump whole buckets on it." He grinned a bit. "But that was a good thought."
The monster snarled, and whipped around, preparing to lunge at the two, but Chrno shoved Rosette behind him, and brought the gun up aimed straight at the monster. "Be gone, lowly Legion scum." He said in a very cool, even voice, his eyes suddenly flashing silver in the dim light, before pulling back on the trigger.
The bullet glowed with bright light as it exploded out of the muzzle, and rocketed towards the creature at whistling speed.
The bullet struck with an explosive concussion, and a bright gleam of a cross inside of the blast, as it hit the monster. The whole tunnel shook and quivered, and the monster howled in absolute agony, then disintegrated into ash as the bullet carried through, and blasted it into oblivion.
Rosette blinked. And...she blinked some more. "Wow." She whispered in awe. "That's some amazing weapon you've got there!" She then turned to face Chrno, who was nonchalantly tucking the gun back into his coat pocket. She couldn't help but peer up at him inquisitively. "Just what do you do for a living anyway, if I may ask...?"
Chrno turned towards her, a sheepish grin on his face as he rubbed the back of his head. "Ah…exorcist." He rubbed the back of his head a bit sheepishly. "Detective Chrno, at your serv—" His words were cut off as a threatening rumble shook the whole tunnel.
"Oh dear." He glanced up, and his eyes wide. "I guess the tunnel isn't strong enough to withstand a Gospel bullet…."
"Eh?" Rosette's jaw dropped, as the tunnel above them began to crack, dip, and chunks of concrete began to drop down in the spot where the monster had once been. She backed up, as Chrno's arm pushed her gently back to keep her from being hit, until finally the small collapse stopped. "Well…" she breathed, sticking both hands on her hips. "I wondered what kind of impression New York would give me… guess I'm not disappointed."
Chrno laughed at that, and turned around, assisting her back into the ruined train, where people were scurrying around, helping with the wounded, and trying to make heads or tails of the situation. "Not exactly a walk in the park is it." He fixed her with a curious look, a small twinkle in his eye for a brief moment, before he turned away. "You should be fine now. I'm going to go and see if they need any help up front." He turned his head, and smiled cheerfully at her, waving his hand slightly. "I'll see you around, Rosette."
"Waitaminute!" She stepped forward, but ended up tripping on one of her bags, which sent her sprawling over the nearest row of seats, with a rather unladylike exclamation.
By the time she had glanced up, he was gone. She blinked, a bit surprised, since the whole train looked to much in disarray for him to navigate clear to the next car already.
"Well great… ya get saved by a tall dark and handsome stranger, and ya don't even get to thank him. Brilliant, Rosette." She growled aloud, plopping back down in a seat with a sigh.
Several hours, and many taxi-cabs later, Rosette found herself in the correct part of town, finally. Apparently, and she was embarrassed to even admit this to herself, she had JUST missed the exit entirely when riding the train, stupid her….
She peered up shading her hand against the sun as she stared up at the tall high-rise, and whistled low under her breath. "Wow… talk about impressive…. Dang, I can't even see the top of this thing."
The building was in the nicely furnished part of the city, where corporate lawyers and rich well-to do people resided, and the building itself highly reflected that, with it's turntable doors, gold plating, and bell-hops standing outside. Her eyes scanned the plaques on the edge of the building, and saw the one she was searching for. Demons Etc. was the top plaque in the row.
"Right then!" She hefted her bags up, and with much puffing and grunting, pushed past the bell-hop into the foyer.
She stopped dead in her tracks again, eyes wide. "Holy crap…" Several people milling about gave her rather affronted glances at the choice of language she employed, but she never noticed.
The floor was polished dark green marble, that was so clear she could see her reflection, and the reflection of the ceiling in it as if it were a mirror. Tall columns of matching stone were decorative supports through the entryway, and the ceiling rose in high arched vaults, in one of those modern baroque adaptation styles. Lamps and decoupage decorated the high ceiling above her, and the soft muted voices of the people inside bounced echoing off the walls.
A row of boxes was on the left wall, with numbers clearly written on them corresponding to the offices in the building. To the right, a table with coffee and refreshments was the center of attention. Straight ahead, was the information desk, where a smartly dressed concierge stood, talking politely with a few people.
She took a breath. Right. No chickening out now. This may be the high and mighty of society, but if you land this job, it'll make finding Joshua a lot easer… Chin up, Rosette!
She approached the desk, and was distinctly aware of the concierge's eyes narrowing displeasing as he turned to face her, a polite smile on his face. "May I assist you, madam."
"I'm here to see the Demon Etc. Agency." She stated firmly, and saw his eyebrow raise sharply at that statement.
"I see." He eyed her up and down once. "Are you expected?"
She fought the urge to snap something back at his prissy behavior. "Yes, I am expected." She replied managing the sweetest, most patronizing smile she could offer the man.
"One moment." He turned and picked a phone up, and dialed a number, leaving her to glance around the foyer once more.
What a place… her heart beat quickly at the thought of how close she was to her goal. What would the agency be like? Would they be stuffed shirts like their building staff seemed to be? Bah, she wasn't sure she liked that idea…
"Miss?" She turned back quickly, as the concierge spoke up. The look on his face was more than enough to make her smile, as he looked as if he had swallowed a bug suddenly. "Please proceed to the elevator to your right. Top floor. You are expected."
"Thank you." She managed to flash him one of those dazzling bright smiles, before turning and hauling her luggage after her, fighting the urge to break out into cruel laughter at the mans' plight. Idiot.
The bellhop in the elevator helped her pull her luggage in, and nodded politely to her, smiling a bit more genuinely than the fake louse at the desk had. "Top floor miss?"
"Yes please." She leaned back against the wall as he cranked the doors shut and pushed the correct button. Geeze, what a hassle… She thought as they slowly began to rise. New Yorkers are such snobs…well, except for that Chrno person. She felt her cheeks glow darker at the thought of the tall, dark, mysterious detective. But she sighed in resignation. No way she'd see him much anymore. They were probably competing companies.
After a long delay, the elevator stopped, and the doors chimed, opening slowly. The bellhop pulled her luggage out for her and smiled at her. "Straight ahead, miss."
She thanked him, and turned around, facing the long corridor in front of her. It wasn't that long, actually. The hallway split off to both sides after about ten paces, and a single door was set against the wall at the t-section. She could see even from this distance the sign on the frosted glass, as she pulled her bags with her along the rich red carpeted floor with mahogany siding.
She stopped in front of the door, the silence in the hallway calming her nerves as she took a deep breath, her eyes scanning the fine gold lettering that indicated this was the correct office. Demons Etc. Supernatural extermination, private eye, and investigative agency. The sign was gold leaving inlaid upon the frosted glass, giving it a classic upscale appearance.
Okay, Rosette, don't mess this up. She took a deep breath, and pushed the door open.
The inside was actually a little bit surprising at first. She wasn't sure what she had been expecting, but clutter certainly wasn't one of them. Sure, there was a fine mahogany desk, with trophies and such, but stacked haphazardly on top of it in disorganized piles, were papers, folders, and items buried somewhere beneath. Several pictures on the wall were crooked, and a clock was ticking, but gave the wrong time.
A few jackets were piled on chairs, since the hat and coat stand was completely filled with guns on straps dangling all over it, and a couple swords in addition. The radio was playing somewhere in the back of the massive stacks of paper, and she heard rummaging going on through some file cabinets, and the irritated snapping of a woman's voice.
"I TOLD you, I refuse to put up with this kind of harassment any further!"
Rosette snuck in, closing the door behind her, and carefully peered around the corner of the desk, and spotted the woman who was speaking, apparently, to a man who looked quite frazzled.
"I put up with your stupid regulations, and expect to get paid the proper amount for my services. It's not MY fault if the mission failed, I still expect to be paid!"
"I'm sorry, but you blew up the whole warehouse." A deep male voice explained calmly, with an edge of frustration to it. "We can give you expense costs, but the items were destroyed, so we can't reimburse you for that."
The glower that the woman fixed him with was enough to make him flinch, but she whirled around on her high heels and sniffed. "I won't waste my time working for your agency again if you continue to be so hoarding of your funds. Tell your boss that unless he pays me the full amount, and soon, I won't offer my services to him any longer."
She turned around, and with a swish of her skirts, breezed past Rosette, throwing her a haughty glance as she did so. She was quite a lovely woman, with long chestnut hair, and flashing eyes, and a figure that would make any man blush. She was dressed in what looked like an expensive two piece dress suit, made of silk. The only other notable piece of jewelry, aside from some expensive looking earrings and bracelets, was a strange glove with a gem inlaid upon it, on her right hand.
Rosette let out a long breath, as the woman slammed the door hard enough to rattle the pictures hanging there, and even send one clattering to the ground.
"Man…" The man's voice from the other side of the paper piles sighed. "Talk about a live-wire… She wants the sun and the moon when you only give her the stars." Footsteps on the cluttered carpet sounded, and soon, he stepped into Rosette's view, as he began to shuffle papers around on the desk. He was a handsome man, though not exactly the type Rosette would search after in a companion, plus he looked a bit on the older side. He had unkempt blond hair, and startling blue eyes, set in a narrow, serious face. His white shirt was rather rumpled, and his tie half-done as if he'd thrown it on in a hurry, and his shirt half tucked out of his belt.
Not exactly the prime suspect to represent a nationally acclaimed organization.
His head came up, surprised, and he blinked once, before his mind seemed to register who she was. "Ah, Rosette Christopher is it?" He straightened up, and ran a hand swiftly through his hair, and attempted to straighten his tie. "My apologies, something sudden came up."
He stepped out from behind the desk and offered a hand to her, and she grasped it firmly as they shook. "Welcome. Please, have a seat and I'll go ahead and ask you a few questions. My name is Ewan Remington, by the way." He added, almost as an after thought. "Assistant Detective."
Not exactly very organized, is he? Rosette thought wryly, as she found a spare chair, and sat down in front of the cluttered desk, facing Remington as he shoved someone's jacket off the chair on his side, and sat down, rummaging for a pen and paper.
Finally, after spilling some ink on the desk when he accidentally tiped the inkwell over, he pulled his act together, and began to scribble notes. "I apologize the Detective in charge isn't around, but he went off to check on some paranormal activities on the far side of the city. He should be back later this evening. In the meantime, I have a few questions to ask you." His eyes raised to meet hers, and she saw tired strain reflected in them. Apparently the poor assistant was overwhelmed. "So, Rosette. You told me something about yourself over the phone, so I have some of the details already, but let me ask you a few more details. First off… have you ever been in a situation where you've faced any paranormal activity?"
She almost laughed out loud. Before today, her answer would have been no. "Yeah… I can say I've been exposed to it quite a lot recently."
He nodded and scribbled some notes down. "And what was your reaction in that situation. Please be honest."
"Well…" She rummaged in her jacket, and pulled out the water pistol filled with holy water and slammed it down on the desk. "This thing didn't have much effect on it… luckily another professional was there to take care of it. But I have to say, it WAS kind of exciting."
He raised an eyebrow at that, but nodded. "So you don't tense up in a sudden encounter?"
"Nah, no point. If you hesitate, you'll just get yourself killed."
He smiled at that, and nodded in agreement. "Do you have any particular fears, phobias, or prejudice against ghosts, demons, poltergeists, and other assorted monsters and spirits?"
"Not really. I've never met one that I've liked so far, but that's because most of them are trying to eat me or something."
He nodded again. "So you feel that you would be able to stay calm in the face of possible peril to yourself, and be able to handle any situation that comes to rise?" At her nod, he seemed satisfied. "Well, you seem to have the perfect kind of motivation we're looking for. Of course, the Detective will have to talk to you first before he makes his decision, but I'm pretty sure you're guaranteed the job." Remington smiled over at her, a look of relief on his face. "And I must say, it couldn't come soon enough. One more thing. The hours around here tend to be random and very sudden. You may be called out in the middle of the night, several days a week, or there could be no activity for a number of days. Either way, room and board are provided, though I have to admit neither of us cook very well." He rubbed the back of his head awkwardly. "But we have plenty of supplies in the kitchen. Let me show you around."
He rose and gestured for her to follow him, and turned towards the door she had entered through. She stood, a bit mystified, and followed him as he took a turn down the left corridor first. There were three doors there, and the first on his left he opened, and entered. Inside was a very large kitchen and dining room, that transitioned into a leisure room, with some couches scattered around, and some bookshelves crammed full to the seams with material. There was an old phonograph machine by the window, and a stack of records beside it, like the rest of the piles in this place, were tipping over on the verge of falling.
The kitchen was large, and filthy. Pots and pans filled the sink, lined the stove, and dirty dishes were stacked up on top of each other, that looked weeks old. Magazines were littered across the tables, and newspapers piled crookedly on the floor.
"I'm afraid it's a bit… um.. unkempt. I do apologize. We meant to clean it up before we started interviewing, but lately we've had calls pretty much 24/7." Remington sighed. "And as you can see, we're very short handed."
Rosette wrinkled her nose, but declined from commenting, as he exited, and showed her down the hall where the restroom was, thankfully that was cleaner and more organized, to her relief.
The final room was more interesting to her, however. It was a tightly locked facility, and it took Remington a good five minutes to undo all the keys, before pushing the door open and allowing her inside the dark metal lined walls. Her breath held, as she glanced at the rows upon rows of firearms and firepower, and her eyes widened as she recognized several very familiar guns.
"Hey, those are those Gospel guns?" She pointed at the cold steel revolvers, and saw Remington's eyebrow raise.
"Yes, very good." He smiled, and picked one up, handing it to her. "They're a special line of weapons that the Magdalene Order creates in order to combat demons. They use holy bullets to infuse energy that's highly damaging to demons. We're one of their private branches. They used to run their own squads, but it became too costly for them to go full time with the amount of activity out here, so they began employing smaller branches to help them." He raised an eyebrow. "You've seen one of these guns before, I take it?"
"Yeah, and it was really impressive too." She nodded, putting the gun back on the shelf, and glanced around. Various other gadgets lined the walls, and most of it she didn't recognize, but a few things, she could immediately tell were either demonic or holy in origins, as they sat on opposite, warded, shelves.
"We have a testing room as well." He explained, opening a small door at the end of the room, and nodding for her to peer in. Sure enough, it was a tight metal room, no larger than a closet, but with scorch marks and dents all over the walls. There was also what looked like a holy barrier perimeter in the far corner, though it was inactive. "Any new equipment, or relics we find we bring here for safekeeping. We have powerful wards to keep any demons or spirits contained, but anything we think is too powerful, we bring to the Magdalene Order, they have a more adequate facility for disposal."
Wow… Rosette's mind swum with excitement, as she stared at the facility, as Remington led her back out, re-locking everything up. This place IS really stocked… no wonder they've got such a good reputation.
"Down here…" Remington led her down the opposite and last corridor, and pushed a door open, revealing a large spacious room inside. "This will be your room. You can bring your things in when you like, and get settled in." He stood aside, and let her look around. The room was pretty large, in fact Rosette gawked at the amount of space there, but grinned widely. It had huge windows on the far side with curtains half-drawn over them to give her a great view over the Hudson River, and even a small thin balcony that she had the feeling she wouldn't be spending that much time out on, since it was so high up. She had her own large bed, walk-in closet, dressers, side-tables, and even a small table and chair in the corner. The decorations were plain, but not inelegant, and Rosette already knew what she'd be doing to make it more livable.
"My room is directly next to yours, and the room on the far end is the boss's." Remington explained. "There's a stairwell at the far end across from that which leads to the roof, but it tends to get windy up there, so if you're going up for a look please be careful."
She nodded and grinned. Talk about living it rich… Once Remington had smiled and excused himself, telling her to please make herself comfortable, she had dragged her bags in, and begun unpacking.
She didn't hesitate in washing her face off, and putting fresh clothing, and making sure her hair wasn't as mussed as it had been. And before long, she heard several voices from down the corridor, and straightened up. Apparently the Detective had returned.
She made her way back to the office, and saw Remington bend over, picking up a few more papers, and stuffing them into a file. He glanced up, saw her and straightened. "Ah, go ahead in the back. He'll want to talk with you, though I forgot to mention you're here already."
She nodded, and slipped through the stacks and piles, into the back section where the office door stood ajar. Her eyes strayed to the door, but a coat had been slung over the door, obscuring the words written there. She stuck her head in, and knocked lightly, straightening her shoulders squarely, as she took a breath, and stepped in, preparing to meet her new employer.
Her jaw dropped wide open, the moment the startled crimson eyes met hers.
There was a brief moment of silence, before both of them burst out laughing. "It's you!" Rosette finally managed, as his twinkling eyes met hers, twinkling with amusement.
"And it's nice to see you again too, Rosette." Chrno smiled and took his hat off, depositing it on the rack beside his desk, where he had already hung his coat up. "You seem to get around quite a bit!"
She felt her cheeks redden, and she forced herself to look away before she regretted giving away how embarrassed she was. "Er, yeah well… You could have TOLD me you ran this place, ya know."
"Well, I was going to ask, before we were interrupted." He chuckled, and sank into the chair behind the desk, gesturing for her to sit in one of the chairs opposite him. "Unfortunately, monsters have no sense of timing."
She grinned, her cheeks still red as she sat down, and cast her glance down. "Yeah, well… eh heh…" God, I must sound like an idiot to him…
"So!" He leaned forward over the desk, and knit his hands together casually, after he loosened the tie about his neck. "Tell me about the reason you want this job." His eyes twinkled more as he peered at her. "Though I already had the chance to see you in action earlier today."
She flushed more, and coughed slightly. "Yeah well…" She gave him a thumbs up. "Guess that's a plus for me, isn't it?" At his nod she grinned and leaned back in the chair. "Well.. I guess the reason I applied for this job, is because it sounded exciting, and something that you don't come across every day. I couldn't ever stifle one of those boring desk jobs, where ya gotta stay inside all the time, day after day the same thing."
Chrno laughed at that, flashing her a set of straight white teeth, that for the briefest of moments, she swore had slight tips to the incisors, but by the time she had blinked, he was leaning back, smiling warmly at her. "I entirely sympathize. Well, certainly Miss Christopher, in this job you won't have to worry about being bored. Though there is the occasional paper work that needs to be done, it's mostly all field work, where you risk life and limb while defending the public. Sound fun to you?"
Her grin widened, and she nodded energetically. "Sign me up!"