Nya, sorry it took so long for this chappie to come out… Been really busy lately. School's been a bitch, and I'm sick again. :groans and bites her missed homework:


Rosette really wondered why they never made a stop to Persephone before after she was 'acquired' (Lightly put, they had been pretty much forced to take her, and Chrno wouldn't let anyone complain about it.), seeing as they had flown past it numerous times by now. Of course she knew Chrno wasn't the type to fall into deep thoughts about his past and reminisce of things long gone. In fact, he flat out told her so years ago. Maybe that's why she's able to live in the future a little easier now.

She placed one bare foot onto the dusty ground, pounded in tightly by hundreds of thousands before her, breathing in the slightly perfumed air of fresh food and not so appealing body odor of pretty much every person in the street. Okay, so no one here really had good hygiene, not like her and her crew didn't… Nowadays of course, you'd have to be practically a millionaire to afford a shower every day, and stay on a single planet comfortably – with clean water. Like here in Persephone, you never want to drink anything other than pre-packaged carbonated beverages and fruit juice, simply because you don't know what could be living in the water you could scrounge up.

"Ne ne, Kurono" Rosette said in a sultry voice, watching as her captain stepped out of the shuttle, instantly grimacing at the sound of her voice. She hopped over, bare feet almost on top of his as she cuddled herself close to his chest.

"No." He said flatly and pushed her aside lightly, looking tired of the same game she played over and over at every stop they make…

"But I want some real food! I'm getting sick of that freeze-dried crap we've got on the Howler!" She instantly puffed out her cheeks, a bit pink with anger as he pushed her aside and continued off the docking port, ignoring her. Jenai stood at the entrance behind her, arms folded across in the same manner.

"She has a name you know." He said in an insulted voice, pulling down his bandana over both eyes as the sun hit him, pulling his trench coat to and buttoning it up in a few spots. "Stop calling her by her class. It's not proper."

"Oh, and you are?" She asked in an amused tone, placing her hands on her hips. "Why don't you tell Sheda and Mr. Stick-up-his-ass Chrno and I are going shopping?"

"I told you, I'm not giving you any money." Chrno yelled back as his eyes twitched, placing his hands in his pockets as they both looked back at him, a little surprise he heard them still talking. "You spent everything I gave you on some silly dress last time we stopped in Galileo. "

"Not my fault a girl needs to feel pretty every now and then." She replied quietly, but he still heard her nonetheless, and sighed, shaking his head. Women are so confusing… Glad there were only two on his ship…

"Did someone say shopping?" A girl's voice called from the entrance, shoving past Jenai in a frantic attempt to catch up with Chrno, a smile wide on her lips. Rosette could only flag her down, giving her a frown as she watched the green-eyed mechanic slow to a stop and pant like an animal.

"Captain's not being very generous today." She said simply, as the mess of chocolate brown hair looked at her eye level, lips tightly bound together in a pathetic frown.

"But the generator needs a new left blade! It's not gonna run for long at this rate…" She said longingly, looking back at the ship fondly, pondering whether or not she should do a little pick-pocketing today to earn some extra cash for her 'baby'.

Rosette sighed inwardly, kicking up some dust with her feet as Sheda continued to ramble on about how so many things should be replaced on their ship, or they'll end up stuck in the middle of the big black with no life support. She knew it was pointless to ask for some money on this day, since they were on such a tight budget recently. They just weren't hitting the planets right – almost everywhere they went someone had just cleaned out the bounty list on half the hemisphere, and their ship just started going through some tough hiccups. At one point about a week ago, their emergency life support engine blew and the entire internal circuit fried, meaning they'll have to buy a new one entirely. And they aren't cheap.

"Well, I'm going to look around a bit, you want to come?" She lifted her head, blinking at the mechanic with a slight smile. They may not have any money now, but she's learned from the best at pick-pocketing - Chrno's so-called 'little sister'. In fact, they usually make little trip out at pit-stops and get some change to buy something to occupy their minds for a while, like hand-made accessories and if they could find some – fruit. Fruit was pretty rare out away from all the Alliance's inner planets, where vegetables were easier to grow and scarce enough as it was. Fruit was a treat only a princess could have – but sometimes, they'd find some.

"Poke around? Sure thing." Sheda grinned, catching her drift as she ran beside the blond-haired girl excitedly. In truth, at first Sheda despised Rosette the moment she set foot on the ship – taking all of her 'brother's' attention away from her and onto a stupid little slave girl he dragged with him purely from sympathy. She was only what…. Nine when she came on board? But she was instantly just what the crew needed, someone to help with the cleaning and ye gods, even Vid admitted it – she was absolutely adorable. Rosette quickly replaced Sheda's role as 'cute little sister figure' of the group, not that she minded that entirely too much… She just knew the moment she saw her, she was a rival. A rival for Chrno.

But soon she came to accept that, especially lately, that she had lost. She of all people knew how Chrno really felt beyond his words, and could see his affection for the small girl clearly. He may not want to admit it, but he, Chrno the Sinner, had fallen for a little fifteen year old slave girl.

"Where should we look first?" Rosette asked in a semi-bored tone, flinging her arms behind her head as she snatched a few bills from a passerby's back pocket, instantly rolling them and sticking them in the collar of her shirt. Ah yes, Sheda had taught her well.

"Wherever they're selling engine parts for my baby." She replied with a grin, getting jittery with excitement. She always was a mechanic nerd when it came to ships, ever since Chrno hired her nearly ten years back, when she had hopelessly fell for him and devoted her life to learning about the damned piece of junk she was working on. When she first came, there was only Jenai and her captain… and they were utterly useless. Poor ship was nearly in pieces by the time she came into the picture, was barely able to fly in hyperspace without losing any vital parts necessary to run the thing.

It wasn't entirely their fault – their ship was different. Class "Howler", mostly for the insanely loud 'howl' it makes before blasting into hyperspace, and its type was banned from the Alliance nearly a hundred years ago. You just don't see them anymore, unless of course, you're a wealthy fugitive. Which in itself, is an oxymoron. The only way to live with the Alliance constantly on your tail is to either become vultures, or bounty hunters. At least they don't pick off the dead…. Much….

The only advantage of such a noisy ship was that it could travel through hyperspace faster than pretty much any other class – part of the reason why the Alliance banned them. Their shape was too difficult to create the standard hull armor the group always had on all of their official ships, so just about anyone could get their hands on one and strip it of the godforsaken Alliance 'marking', and escape with it halfway across the star cluster.

"Doesn't Jenai need a….. y'know…." Rosette gestured, eyes wandering to every single person that passed them on the dusty streets, spying for another opportunity. "He's been acting a little weird lately."

"I know nuthin' of Alliance trash." Sheda replied, slipping her hand past someone in the same fashion her 'pupil' had, grabbing a small wad of cash from someone's back pocket. "He usually takes care of it himself….probably looking around already."

Rosette opened her mouth to reply, but was abruptly cut off as she felt a strong arm wrap around her neck, pulling her back in mid-step, as she let out a surprised cry.

"Didn't I tell you to stay on the ship, Rosette?" Came a very annoyed voice of Chrno, looking down at her, still holding her in a vice-like grip.

"Captain!" She about screamed at him, half in relief and half in irritation. "There are other ways to get my attention you know."

"And had I been anyone else, you would have been gagged and thrown into some alley and into another slave trade. Get back on the ship. Now." He replied flatly, not taking his gaze off her.

"I'm not that innocent little girl you found here six years ago, captain; I think I can handle myself." She snapped back, pulling his arm away from her shoulders and neck. "I just want to do some shopping, we've been on that blasted ship for weeks."

"Then you'll just have to wait another few weeks. Back on the ship."

Christ! What was his problem, all of the sudden? Sure it was a little dangerous for a young girl to be wandering on Persephone, but she wasn't alone, and she had a gun in her back pocket. She was anything but venerable. "Captain…" She groaned, staring at him in a way that both pleaded and screamed to be let free. "I promise to stay out of trouble, I'm with Sheda."

"Which makes me even more nervous – now you're going back. Vid is on the ship waiting for you." He replied, staring back down at her with a bit of apology, though it was barely recognizable in blazing red eyes.

"No." She huffed, and gave up, going back to her stubborn nature that resembled a five year old. "I want to stay."


She only replied by whirling around on her heels and walked back towards an amused Sheda, like she was watching a sitcom. Though within a few seconds, he repeated her name in a slightly more demanding tone, though she sluffed it off like it was nothing.

And again, within seconds, he was standing right in front of her, her name on his lips in an even harsher tone. This time when she ignored him though, she brought an arm around her waist and picked her up, slinging her over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes, making her yelp at the sudden contact.

"C-Captain! Let me down! People are staring!" She yelled at him, and pulled on his hair, blushing furiously at the glances that were thrown their way.

"You act like a child, you're treated like a child, Rosette." He replied coldly, and began walking towards the docking port, which would be at least a good five minutes of people staring at them, though she was grateful she wasn't wearing a skirt today…

"What's got you so uptight lately?" She growled slightly, but when she was met with no respond, she sighed. "Fine, I'll go back. Now put me down, master." She emphasized her last word, knowing he absolutely despised being called that.

He set her down gently to her feet, but then wrapped his larger hand around her wrist, pulling her along, letting her know he did not appreciate that in the least.

She sighed and kept up with his pace, before they neared the docking area, where he slowed and turned around, pulling her close. "Rosette, I don't appreciate being questioned like that, especially on a planet so close to the Alliance base."

She looked up at him, blinking in a hint of confusion. "What does that mean?"

"There are a few troops not far from here, and I want everyone back on the ship immediately. You're no exception." He replied, and began to pull her along, at a slower pace, but still felt rushed.

"What? Then why didn't you tell Sheda to come?" She asked, taken aback by his statement; because by now, she had convinced herself he was just being too overprotective.

"She has to find replacement parts for the engine, I sent a message on her decoder – which by the way, you left yours on the ship. You're so irresponsible."

"Not as bad as leaving ammo on the ship…"

"Now's not the time, Rosette." He brought her in front of him, right as they walked up to the entrance of said destination. "Jenai and Sheda are going to be a while, so I want you and Vid to stay on the ship, stay out of trouble."

"Why are you so worked up, Captain?" She asked for the second time that day, placing her hands on her hips.

"Look, I just got worried when you didn't answer your decoder – I thought someone had gotten a hold of you." He replied quietly, turning away from her. "That's all."

"Chrno…" She frowned at that, feeling like nothing more than trouble for him. He really was horrible at expressing his emotions…. "Fine. I'm sorry for the inconvenience, Captain. It won't happen again." She nodded and walked up the steps, her dusty feet relaxing against the cool metal.

"Yes it will." He laughed, shaking his head as he headed back out. "Just don't pull my hair next time… or call me 'that', okay?"

She blinked and looked back behind her with a hint of curiosity. Again, she felt that urge to ask him that one question that was constantly on her mind, along with so many others…. But as he swiftly turned around, brown trench coat swaying ominously behind his feet as he trudged on the dusty path to the exit of the docking station, she pulled back that pinching in the back of her mind. She'll probably never know, not that that'll change anything between them.

She walked back inside the ship, the aged doors creaking softly behind her as they sealed themselves together tightly once again. She ventured to the innermost part of the ship, the recreational quarters, and peeked around in the kitchen, feeling her stomach grumble loudly. Now she kind of wished she saved that apple…. She never did find anything on that short trip with Sheda.

"Ah, Rosette." A strong male voice called behind her, as footsteps cautiously made their way, louder every passing second. It was pretty quiet in here without the rest of the crew…. "Did Captain tell you what's going on?"

She turned around casually, hands slipping in her tattered jean pockets for some comfort. She hated not being able to do anything… but she knew it would only make Chrno worry worse now that there were troops out and about, possible even looking for them. But here suddenly on Persephone….. it was odd. "Yeah… I never expected to run into Alliance troops here. A little surprising…"

Vid sighed and walked into the kitchen, past her thoughtful form with mild interest. "Well, you know how badly they want Captain's head…" He said softly, opening the fridge and pulling out a bottle of water and twisting off the lid. He was a pretty big man, height reaching to about Chrno's, but his body was so well-built with muscles, so you barely noticed that he was pretty tall. His eyes were a little slanted, a dark chocolate brown adorning his irises, almost matching his jet black, messy hair.

"Did Chrno ever tell you why he's constantly running from the Alliance?" She asked, trying to keep the situation as casual as possible, in hopes of letting Vid have something slip out on accident. Of course she knew he told him, she's asked him before. But without anyone around, he may actually tell her…

"Yes." He replied directly, something the blond girl hadn't heard before. "But he also told me not hours after you came aboard to not tell you."

That sent her anger boiling, brows furrowing in a defiant manner as she pulled her hands out of her pockets and placed them roughly on her hips. "I'm part of this crew too, right? I have the right to know about my captain's past!"

"None of us have a right to know." Vid replied simply. "You're still a child, Rosette."

That really hit a nerve. "Child? Child?" She grit her teeth, but at the same time, could almost hear Chrno's voice, frantically trying to tell her to calm down. She detested being called a child, for all that she's been through in her life – first losing her parents, then her brother, then being pulled into an outrageous slave trade where she had been bought and sold twice. "I'm fifteen now, you can't call me a child." She put simply.

"Once you're sixteen, I may consider it." He replied with a grin, walking back over towards her towards the hall, and ruffling her hair, his bottle of water in the other hand.

Vid really was a good person, and a strong warrior. It was no wonder he made fast friends with Chrno, but one of his best qualities seemed to be the most annoying. "You know how to keep promises." She said quietly, sighing in defeat as she shrugged. "But, there's still one more thing I'd like to ask you. Something that's been on my mind for a while now."

"Shoot." He looked over his shoulder, turning to face her with a puzzled look. Rosette took a small breath in, blushing a bit. She wondered this from the first time she met Chrno, and it constantly bugged her…. Sure, she knew he was different from a lot of people, but it was still enough to peak her curiosity.

"Why doesn't Captain like me calling him 'Master'?"


Chrno swiftly made his way down the dusted road, eyes intent on finding the last of his crew. He wouldn't let one of them get caught by Alliance soldiers…

A blur of white passed before him, making him stop dead in his track as his face paled, as if he saw a ghost. He had the terrible feeling of being followed….. and it didn't feel like a soldier.

"Brother… why do you insist on hiding?" He asked quietly, barely audible over the bustling crowd around him as it occurred to him.

Hurry, Chrno. They're getting closer. A voice in his mind taunted, deep and confident. The violet-haired man grit his teeth, and pushed himself forward, rushing faster than he had before. Hurry and find your little human pets.

He shut his eyes tightly against the painful dust as he hurried upwind, heart beating faster as an amused chuckle echoed through his mind.

"Aion…" He whispered, voice drowning in solid hatred, in perpetual fear as he hurried forward, frantically searching for his two remaining crew members. "Sheda, Jenai…." He growled, ruby orbs catching the light of the twin suns and flaring in a threatening manner momentarily. "Don't let him catch you…"


Whew! That was kinda short too, or atleast, what I'm used to. o.o I'm sorry about it taking so long, there's just been a lot of crap going on rescently, and I can barely get on the computer if I'm not doing homework. ;; When I am, I'm RPing with NightElfCrawler. x3 Well, hope this little cliffhanger got you guys going! If not, eh, oh well. o.o;; And by the way, no, Sheda, Vid, and Jenai aren't demons. But if you've caught the hints so far, Jenai isn't completely human either. x3 I'll try and get the next chappie up sooner, I promise! T.T