Disclaimer: I do not own this lovely concept they belong to Moriyama-sensei, and those companies that bought the rights n what not… I claim no ownership…darn it. The Time that Binds

Chapter one: The boy who Lived… upstairs

"Damn it…"

Rosette Christopher wasn't one to swear a lot, after all…she was a nun-in-training. But sometimes she just couldn't help herself. And this was one of those times.

She rubbed her knee in irritation, as she saw bruising begin to form even now. That stupid table just SHOULDN'T have been in the way!

The young blonde girl sighed, and shoved the heavy wooden doors open, heading out into the bright sunshine beyond.

She'd been here for a year now, and it was almost time for her exams to finally be promoted into the rank of Sister of the Magdale Order. It was an exciting time, one where she would finally get to show her strength in defeating monsters, demons, and ghosts in order to defend people.

It would also bring her closer to being able to find her brother.

She bit her lip as she ran across the wide green expanse of the lawn, heading towards a small cottage on the very perimeter of the grounds. The cottage was something right out of a fairy tale, overgrown in ivy and moss, it's thick stone blocks worn with age and time. There was even a small stained glass window near the roof's apex, shining gently as the rays of the morning sun hit it.

Amazing that this serene place out of a dream was home to a vile old man.

Rosette grumbled, and knocked, then pushed the door open. Sister Kate, the headmistress of the New York Order, had sent her here in order to fetch the Elder for an important issue, and of course she happened to be the closest messanger. She hated going out to see the Elder, since the perverted old man stopped at nothing short of spying on her bloomers at every opportunity.

So this time, she had a heavy book ready, just in case.

"Elder?" She called into the large open room, filled with all sorts of mechanisms, devices, tubes, and frightening equiptment. It was a laboratory, and a creepy one at that. She could see dried demon parts in jars along the walls, as well as the occasional cross ward laying on a table. She shuddered a bit, glancing around with wide-eyes. She always was weirded out coming down here... The Elder might be a genius, but then you had to remember all geniuses were weird.

"Elder?" She called a second time, realizing now that the lights were all off. Apparently, he honestly wasn't here… there had been a few times he'd fooled her, but usually he made a move after a few moments.

She sighed. Great, Sister Kate wouldn't like this one bit. She was in a foul mood, hopping mad, and Rosette did NOT want to be the one to be at the end of an explosion on her part. She sighed, and toyed with one of the broken cross wards on the table, spinning it around as she thought out what to tell the headmistress.

She paused, as she heard something strange… it was… singing?

Rosette blinked, and turned her head back towards the rear of the cottage, where she had never been permitted to go. There were testing rooms there, and several warded closets which she only assumed contained dangerous objects. But… the singing was coming from that direction.

Convinced the Elder was back there toying with something or other, Rosette figured she couldn't get in too much trouble, since she was here to find him. She started forward, weaving through the lab carefully as not to bump into anything, and came to a stop before a heavy cement door, with a strange intricate cross ward woven upon it in thick heavy iron. She blinked up at it, and put her ear to the door, and heard the singing grow louder. Yes, someone was in there.

But should she open it?

She chewed on her lip. Well, there couldn't be anyone else here, though she thought the singing didn't quite sound deep enough for an old man…

"Bah, no sense wasting time, Rosette." She muttered to herself, and with a firm shove, she grabbed the handle, and opened the door. She was amazed that it actually came open easily, but the moment she pushed the door aside, the cross ward that had been gleaming slightly in the dim light, lost it's shine, and she realized the barrier had deactivated.

The singing was definitely louder.

She slowly peeked in, and stared upwards as a winding staircase rose higher up, turning a sharp curve as she entered a very narrow steep tower. She'd never realized there was a second floor to this place…but then it made sense. She'd never seen the cut window on the bottom here, but she could see the intricate stain glass from the outside.

She slowly began to climb the stairs, leaving the door open as she left it behind, and followed the soft sound of singing. The voice could be heard with more clarity now, it was a soft tenor of a young man, singing something soft and nostaligic, the words coming to her ears and causing strong emotions to well up. What sadness….

She reached the top of the stairs, and peered into the room beyond, holding onto the wall for support, not sure if she should reveal her presence yet. Her eyes widened at the scene beyond.

The whole top section was very close to the ceiling, and in fact if someone had been taller, they would have to weave between the wooden rafters that hung low to the ground. As it was, her head would barely clear it, she realized. The room was quite large, otherwise, and ran the full length of the upper floor. A small desk was pushed against the right wall, with a lamp placed upon it, and several sheets of paper as well. Three bookshelves were leaned against the other wall, all filled to overflowing with books, some even stacked on top in haphazard piles. A small bed with rumpled sheets was pressed against the very far corner nearest the large stained glass window, that sent dancing rays of colored light reflecting all over the room like rainbows.

A curious thing to note, was there were shining cross wards on every corner of the room, and a few dotting the ceiling on either side of the window, cutting off any possible exit with an invisible holy barrier…

The most amazing thing, however, wasn't the fact that someone obviously lived here, it was the person in question, who was sitting on the bed crosslegged, a book resting in his lap, his head tilted back against the wall, eyes closed, as he sang softly, apparently to the sky and no one but himself.

Rosette blinked as she studied him. He was a kid, no older than she. His skin was a bit darker, and his hair was longer, spilling down around him in long dark pools of violet. He wore a simple white shirt that was untucked from black pants, and missing a few buttons, as it opened wide onto his chest. White socks that looked as if they had seen many years of use covered his feet, but Rosette could see no sign of any shoes.

She wasn't sure what to think of this situation, but she had never been a shy girl. She stepped up onto the floor, and started forward. "Hey!" She greeted cheerfully, causing the boy to jump, stop singing, and stare at her with startled wide crimson eyes. "What are you doing up here?"

He clearly appeared surprised, blinking at her with wide eyes. "Um." His eyes peered at her curiously, with a hint of something else…worry? Or was it excitement? "I could ask you the same thing."

"Yeah, but I asked you first!" She said, coming to a stop in front of his bed, arms crossed firmly with her stubborn nature showing.

A small smile tugged at the corner of his lips, and his face broke out into a warm grin. "Ah, right. Well, I live here."

"I've never seen you here before. Kinda a weird place to live…why are you here?" Rosette pressed, her curiosity overcoming the caution that she shouldn't probably be here.

"Well…" He started, rubbing the back of his head rather awkwardly.

"Ahh! I get it!!" Her blue eyes shot open wide in horror. "You're that sick pervert's plaything! Forced to stay here locked up and be the tool of his sick games!!!"

The young man's face turned bright green, and a very sickly expression crossed his face, as he stared at her with wide shocked eyes. "Ugh… um… no…"

"Oh wait, I know!" She continued, her eyes narrowing as she jammed a finger up to the sky. "You're an unwanted orphan who had no place to stay, and they kindly took you in but had to hide you from the mafia since you're really the heir to a big fortune!"

He just blinked at her, a smile tugging at the corner of his lips as she spouted off a few more nonsense ideas, before sighing, and plopping down on the floor in front of his bed. "Right… well… it was fun thinking up something that'd be in a book, ya know."

He smiled warmly down at her, and slid off the bed, to join her stationed on the floor. "Yeah, I guess it would be fun…"

"I'm Rosette." She offered, sticking a hand out to him. "Rosette Christopher."

The boy smiled as he grasped her hand firmly. "Chrno."

"So, what ARE you really doing up here?"

"I should really be asking you that." He smiled a bit, scratching the back of his head. "Did the Elder allow you up here? No one else has ever been permitted up before."

"Ah… no." Rosette coughed a bit. "I was looking for the Elder, and heard you singing… and well…" She shrugged. "I was curious."

His smile never faultered, as he laughed softly. "Well I must say I'm honored for the visit."

Rosette's eyes strayed around the small room. Some of the books looked very old, and she could see thick dust on the rafters above, slowly drifting down through the multi-colored sunbeams streaming through the rosary window. "So, you're another orphan, right? But since the Order only employs Sisters, they figured you could help the Elder out instead, is that it?"

His glittering crimson eyes studied her, then joined his smile. "Something like that, yes."

"Must be boring up here all by yourself."

Chrno smiled kindly at her. "I enjoy reading."

Rosette felt the sudden cold feeling of nostalgia grasp her heart, and she visibly froze for a moment, causing the boy sitting next to her to look concerned.

"What's wrong?"

"Well… it's just…" she looked down, then back up at him, her eyes somewhat haunted. "You remind me of my brother… a little."

His eyebrow rose, curiously, but he said nothing, as they remained in silence, until finally she spoke again, somehow taking comfort in the fact, here was someone whom she could talk to without fear of being judged. He seemed to be a good listener, and no one else she had talked to had ever been willing to hear her story.

"My brother was… taken a few years ago… that's why I came here. He just… disappeared one day. No one knew what happened to him. I searched everywhere… he was a lot like you, he liked to read… but that was because he was sick a lot… I had to take care of him, and we'd sneak out into the woods once and a while, and run around having fun." She sighed, and looked down, clasping her hands tightly together. "I miss him so much… Once I become a Sister, I plan on going to look for him. I know he's out there somewhere. He needs me to find him, and I will one day… one day…" She sniffed a bit, and felt warm tears fill her eyes suddenly.

A gentle hand brushed at her cheek, and she looked up to see the smiling face of Chrno tilted towards her, as he brushed her tears away with a thumb. "I'm sure you will find him…something that precious can't be lost forever. Don't worry. You'll find him one day. And you two will find happiness, I'm certain."

Rosette blinked down at him, a bit surprised that a complete stranger could care so much, and show so much sympathy for her plight. A trembling smile crept up her face, and she suddenly threw her arms forward, and pulled him into a tight hug, as she briefly let her tears spill out, into the soft hair that fell over his shoulder.

At first, he seemed frozen with surprise, but then, he slowly lifted his hand, and rubbed her back comfortingly, just letting her cry until she had no more tears left.

She pulled back, smiling, wiping the tears from her face, and rubbing her nose. "T..thanks… that helped."

"Rosette!" A sudden voice from behind her, startled her into whirling around, with a small 'eek', to see the Elder standing there in the doorway to the stairwell, looking rather surprised. "What on earth are you doing up here?"

"Um." Her eyes darted guiltily over at Chrno, who looked suddenly very awkward. "I just.. uh well… I was looking for you, and…"

The Elder sighed, and rubbed his temples lightly. "Maa, never mind, no harm done…" He walked forward, and glanced over at Chrno with a raised eyebrow, and the small boy simply shrugged lightly, which made Rosette wonder yet again why the boy was here. "Well, since you've met Chrno, I need to ask you to keep quiet about him being here, Rosette." The Elder's voice was serious, and while it wasn't stern, she wouldn't want to test that authority he might have by disobeying him. "Not many people know about him, and Sister Kate wants to keep it that way, ok?"

Rosette blinked, not sure why that was so, but knowing it was best she probably didn't ask. "Ok… but…" She threw a hopeful glance over at Chrno as he stood up, and she too scrambled to her feet. "…is it ok if I come back and visit him?"

The Elder blinked, looking very surprised, and threw a contemplative look at Chrno, who was scratching his nose awkwardly, before a smile came across his grizzled features. "Well technically I'd get in trouble if I allowed you… however…" His be-goggled eyes twinkled a bit. "Since Chrno doesn't seem to mind the company, as long as you stop by when I'm around, I don't see a problem."

Rosette's face brightened, and she jumped up and down briefly, before remembering herself, coughing and apologizing quickly, throwing a bright sunny smile at Chrno, who returned it cheerfully. "Then, I'll see you later, ok?!" She grinned, and waved, then turned running back down the stairs, taking two at a time.

The Elder shook his head, and glanced back at the small boy who simply sat back down on the bed, an amused smile on his face. "How much did you tell her?"

"Nothing at all. I learned more about her, actually."

The Elder nodded in satisfaction and shrugged with a grin. "Well, this should prove interesting… actually, now I can have you help out around the lab without worrying she might come bounding in. It's a good thing Sister Kate always sends her to fetch me, rather than one of the other girls."

"You just like looking up her skirt the most."

"Well she has a fine bottom."

"Pervert."

"Hmph, you just don't appreciate the female figure."

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Author's note: Ok, after finishing Denizens of Darkness, Harbringers of Light, I needed something a bit more… fluffy. And what perfect way than to introduce another scenario that might have happened. This idea is roughly based off one of the two CC rps I'm in, but obviously it's quite different than that story. See if you who are reading, or participating in them, can figure out which one I'll be working on a fic based on the OTHER one as well, once I get a clearer idea.

This fic will focus more on the relationship between the two of them, less action, more waff No big mega plot, at least not yet I don't have it all planned out yet, I'm just going off what I come out with on the spur of the moment with this'n! Enjoy!

Oh, it's also going to be shorter chapters, more episodic, and probably most definitely a shorter length o.o Do you realize, Denizens was 280 pages? yeah. It was 125,806 words too. shuts up