Disclaimer: I don't own Chrono Crusade. . . applesauce.

Author's Note: Again, dunno where this idea came from. Just a random bit of Chrono/Rosette fluffiness. . . as observed by Azmaria. There's something new, ne? But seriously, it was strange to do this one. . . It was one of those fics that ended up writing itself.

. . . And it wrote itself a lot more limy than originally intended. (sweat drop.)

Please note that I do NOT think Azmaria is a pervert or anything- and I certainly do NOT mean for her to come off as such in this fic. I don't really think she does, but I have a good feeling that some of you will, so here's my defense:

She's a little girl- she's curious, and this is one of those sights that you just sort of. . . um. . . stare at. . . I know I probably would have. (sweat drop) Also. . . well, she sort of explains herself. So I won't spoil it.

. . . I seriously considered not posting this. I hope I made the right decision in doing so. (Is scare of the reviews she might be getting)

Please enjoy!

X

BITTERSWEET

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Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.

And truly, their relationship was.

Azmaria smiled slightly, hidden behind a shadowy column- eyes trained on Rosette's dark room. The door was open a crack, just enough to allow the young apostle the smallest of glimpses into the bedroom where her "big sister" and "big brother" sat, talking quietly. She giggled softly to herself, a pink flush on her cheeks at her own daring. 'Rosette will kill me if she finds out I've been spying. . . I should be running around like a chicken with its head cut off, worrying about being caught. . .'

But in truth, she didn't care at all.

Smiling secretively, the girl pressed a hand and cheek to the cool rock; watching the shadow of Chrono as he began to carefully bandage Rosette's wounded arm. Tenderly drawing his fingers up and down the injury, he leaned forward- whispering something softly into the skin of her shoulder. The sister smirked playfully in reply, face accented by the moonlight- lifting her opposite hand and running it through his wild violet bangs, resting her forehead against his crown.

Her lips moved, forming gentle words meant for the devil's ears alone. He shook slightly upon hearing them, as if chuckling- or crying. From this distance, Azmaria couldn't tell which. She hoped it was the former.

But judging by Rosette's reaction, she knew it probably wasn't.

Biting her bottom lip in worry, the child fanatically questioned what would happen now. The nun seemed to be attempting to comfort him; tilting his chin so that their eyes met- water overwhelming fire. Still, he trembled. Her fingers brushed against the pocket watch.

He turned completely away.

Rosette seemed to sigh.

Interesting. . . That was the only word that echoed through the apostle's mind as the blonde reached gingerly out, gently placing her fingertips on the demon's face. He quivered at the touch but allowed it, moving with the girl as she pulled him carefully forward- resting his head against the seal.

How very interesting. . .

She held him there pointedly; keeping him pressed right above her breasts. His maroon orbs widened slightly in the starglow, full of unreleased tears as the sound of something met his ear. Something that both surprised and reassured him.

And Azmaria knew what it was.

Rosette's heartbeat. Matching the pace of the ticks of the clock, her strong heart pounded out the message that the devil so desperately needed to hear: I'm alive. I'm here. I'm not leaving you.

He wrapped his arms franticly around her middle, clamping his eyes shut and holding her tightly; still shaking. The sister smiled sadly down at his shuddering form, resting her head upon his own. But then her expression grew suddenly serious.

Chrono was talking again, looking more afraid and child-like than Azmaria had ever seen him. It scared her. . . and, evidently, Rosette, too.

Her grip tightening, the exorcist's mouth began forming the same three words over and over; trying to drown out the choked confession the boy was making. Chrono sobbed harder as she spoke, but nodded frantically- pulling her even closer.

But there was a definite limit as to how close two people could be in such a position. How far a hug could go to sooth them.

Soon the demon grew unnaturally still; grip loosening; lashes slowly sliding open. Lifting himself an inch off of her chest, Chrono stared solemnly into Rosette's sapphire pools.

Her cheeks turned magenta in the cool blue gloom. And she wasn't the only one: Azmaria felt herself flush, too, as the pair slowly bent closer- lips brushing chastely.

The clock seemed to be ticking louder, now- speeding up as Rosette's heart began to beat faster. And if the apostle strained her ears, she could hear it just as loudly as the couple in the room could. She wondered how it made them feel to know that their days together were being timed, down to the very last second. She wondered how the two could function knowing what they did- how they could continue to wake in the mornings with smiles on their faces. She wondered if she would be able to handle it, if it had happened to her.

Probably not.

No wonder Chrono was crying.

For the first time in a very long while, the girl felt like cursing God- angry that such a beautiful, beautiful relationship could be tainted so badly by such a cruel twist of fate. Her little fingers clenched against the stone.

But her gaze never left her friends.

The room, which had for so long been as silent as death, had suddenly begun to birth tiny noises- noises that Azmaria could catch, even from her hiding place.

Chono, it seemed, had gotten his strength back- carefully pushing himself closer to and dominating Rosette, lovingly laying her back on the bed. She complied without any fuss, wrapping her arms around her devil's neck. He nuzzled her, hand sliding from her hip to her breast. Tears slipped down his chin and splattered on her own, their kiss deepening.

The apprentice exorcist ducked a little further back, the heat staining her cheeks a lovely shade of bright pink. She knew that she should go. . . but she found that she didn't want to. She couldn't turn away. In some strange manner their actions seemed so pure: a tangible way to prove that they were both alive. That they were both still there. That their time had not run out.

She gnawed on the inside of her cheek to keep quiet.

Rosette had loosened the demon's collar and cuffs, the first three buttons of his shirt undone. His jacket, too, had been pealed off- on the floor with the nun's blue habit. She wore only her underclothes- white and coarse and bunched. Chrono's knee found the gap between the girl's long legs, fitting between them perfectly.

The clock ticked on. One second less they had together. . . two seconds less. . . three. . . four. . .


E
very so often they would break their needy kiss- and that was when there was the most sound. Quiet, breathless pants and whimpers filled the tiny cove; whispered apologizes that the apostle couldn't quite understand. The mattress creaked in an almost hesitant fashion; eyes the colors of Hell and Heaven locking in a state of loving lust.

The tears had long since dried away, but the sadness seemed to remain. Chrono tilted forward again, but did not go for Rosette's mouth- instead, he latched onto her neck, clawing at any cloth in his way. His talons brushed through her tresses and trailed down her side; memorizing every inch of her. She beamed, though a bit embarrassed; removing the ribbon that kept his hair bound.

Within moments the pair was drowning in a sea of purple silk, the sister's fingers combing through it with a content sort of sigh- a sigh that turned into an inaudible moan; moving her head to give Chrono better access to her throat. Azmaria's rosy pools widened in shock upon processing the trickles of blood oozing down the young woman's front, but soon calmed when she noticed the care that the devil was lavishing upon the shallow puncture.

Rosette's eyelashes fluttered, sapphire orbs glazed and sultry in the light of the moon- calmly watching her partner while he hungrily lapped at the metallic liquid staining her shoulder; his lips, cheeks, and the corners of his mouth splattered berry-red. She grinned leisurely, canines flashing in silent suggestion- nipping at his nose and cleaning off his face with her tongue when he lovingly smiled down at her.

Their hands began to travel once more, the nun's working down the boy's suspenders; the devil's removing her undershirt.

The little girl turned abruptly away from the sight, face on fire as she slid down the column, sitting on the floor. Closing her own eyes, she simply listened. Yes, she still knew that she should leave- that she certainly wouldn't want anyone there if she were having a moment like this. But at the same time she couldn't help it.

She had always been attracted to beauty. And the beauty of Rosette's and Chrono's love was perhaps the most beautiful beauty she'd ever seen in her short life.

Soft gasps escaped the confines of the bedroom once in a while, the rustling of falling clothing puncturing the stillness of the night. Azmaria smiled slightly, curling her arms around her legs and resting her chin on her knees.

Awe-inspiring. That was what she thought. Beautiful and awe-inspiring. How could they be so strong? So courageous? So optimistic? They lived through each day knowing that it may be their last- that they might not see another sun rise. And yet they still managed to find joy in their lives, find love- and embrace it.

She could only pray that she'd ever be that brave.

Whispers could be heard echoing again- just loud enough to distinguish whom was speaking; too hushed to know what was being said. A spring squeaked twice. Another muffled cry. The sound of collapsing bodies, warm flesh on warm flesh.

Azmaria wasn't so naïve that she didn't know what that meant. She blushed for the umpteenth time, but all the while kept straining her ears- wanting to hear something.

But what, she wasn't sure.

Eventually the muted panting subsided, the shifting of blankets and a soundless name the only noises in the moonlight. Charity chanced a quick peek around the corner- catching a glimpse of the pair. They were innocently cuddling under the quilt- Chrono resting his head on Rosette's chest like a pillow, the nun playing tiredly with his hair. He snuggled closer, mouthing something as his palm covered the pocket watch.

She kissed his forehead, replied in the same manner, and placed her hand over his.

Their weary eyes drifted shut.

". . ."

After what felt like an eternity, Azmaria stood and timidly poked her nose inside- the iridescent navy moonlight illuminating the bedroom with a heavenly glitter. Her trembling hands gripped the door carefully, mentally willing it not to make a sound.

She scanned her surroundings. Were they both really asleep?

". . ." An exhale of relief.

Yes. . . they were. . . snoozing peacefully while curled around their other half.

The apostle beamed.

Easing herself into the room with as much care as she could, the twelve-year old made her way gingerly towards the bed. Tip toe, tip toe- to the steady beat of the watch's 'tick tock, tick tock. . .' A chorus of delighted laughter almost fell from her lips at the adorable sight before her, but she felt it die instantly when she noticed the clock resting on Rosette's collarbone. Their joint hands had slipped off just enough for the girl to see its face.

She blanched, hands shooting to her mouth automatically.

'It can't be. . .'

There was so little time left. . . So little, that she felt the overwhelming urge to crawl into the bed with them; join them like she had joined her parents when she was a child and needed comfort after waking from a nightmare. But no. . . She stopped herself, hands clenching the stray material of her nightdress. This was their moment. This was their time. She had no right to ask for any more of it. . . She wanted to be strong like Rosette, didn't she?

Then it was time that she, like Rosette, grew up.

Suddenly, she felt a bit better.

Grabbing a corner of the comforter and tucking it more firmly around her slumbering friends, the child gave both affectionate butterfly kisses; wishing them silent goodnights.

Then she left- locking the door from the inside for them, not wanting their time together to be spoiled by nosy Sister Kate.

Yes, Azmaria mused on her way back to her own bedroom; their relationship really was beautiful. One of the most beautiful beauties she had ever seen. But all of the beauty in the world couldn't completely overshadow the heart-wrenching irony that stained it blood-red.

"?" She paused, an unexpected breathy whisper echoing through the halls; repeated by the other before the world fell silent once more.

"I love you. . ."

. . . So that was what she had wanted to hear.

She smiled sadly.

It was truly bittersweet.