Hey. Yeah, it's me again (already). Another one-shot. Well, today (April 8th) is my birthday. I'm feeling very depressed and generally had a bad day. Therefore, this is a birthday present to myself. And no, it won't be full of doom and gloom (as if you couldn't tell that from the title). I need to cheer myself up. Reviewer feedback for Strawberry Shortcake will be in the second chapter of Blank Pages, if you're wondering. Anyway...

I did get Volumes 3 and 4 of the Chrno Crusade manga today, and that's where this idea stems from. I'm not sure if they ever do touch on the particular thing Rosette said near the end of volume four, but that's what I'm going to use for this fic.

So what is it? Hence the title, Rosette wondered when it was that Chrno began to smile at her. And I just thought it was too damn cute of an idea to pass up. And I really needed a "squee" moment today, so here it is. I hope you enjoy it.

Disclaimer: I don't own Chrno Crusade or any of its characters. They belong to Daisuke Moriyama-sama.

Summary: When was it he had begun to smile? What triggered the change? ...A warm memory resurfaces. (CxR)

Chrno's Smile

. . . . . . . . . . . .

It was another sleepless night.

The blonde woman carefully wrapped her arms about her small shoulders and lifted her gaze to the night sky. Soft moonlight filtered through the transparent glass, half-hidden by clouds, but sufficient enough in dimly lighting the young girl's sleeping quarters.

She put a slender and pale hand to the surface of the glass, shuddering slightly from it's cool and smooth feel upon her bare skin. The white and mist-like cloud cover gently shifted through the darkness and bared more of the moon's face, illuminating the features of the girl below. Her bright azure eyes were fixed upon it avidly, as though waiting for something, and her pink lips were parted as her breath came out slowly and fogged a small portion of the glossed surface above her right hand.

Rosette Christopher had always been impulsive and somewhat hot-headed. Even she could admit the truth in it. But she also couldn't deny that beneath the firey surface of herself, she was a thinker. A dreamer. Contemplation would help her relax.

Anyone who knew the young nun's situation would think that spending such long periods of time drifting off into her thoughts was a waste of time. Time she needed to value. Time she couldn't afford to waste. Time that the short remainder of her life was counting on.

And normally, she would agree with them. Completely. She was always worried about wasting time or not being able to do anything worthwhile. However, there was just so much to think about. All of the time. Something would always be on her mind. And she would not use her daily time to focus on those thoughts, questions, and musings. Never. During the day, she had to look straight ahead and keep going, no matter what. Those thoughts would have to come and go as quickly as possible. There was no time to dwell.

Though when the night came, time almost seemed to slow down. And Rosette liked that feeling. She was aware that time didn't really lower its pace, but there was more of a peace present in the late evening than there was during the hustle of the day. Suddenly, there was no need to rush. And somehow, it eased her enough to become comfortable with her thoughtfulness, to the point of becoming a habit that she found necessary.

As much as she also enjoyed sleeping, as the last few years had passed, the young Sister started to have trouble staying in a peaceful bliss for long. Part of the cause was due to nightmares, but another piece of the puzzle was related to having too many thoughts in her head that needed attention. She commonly ignored them during the daytime, but she couldn't keep them locked in the reaches of her mind forever.

And so the trend had started.

Like the moon would reflect upon the glass of her window, she would reflect upon her thoughts. And there were so many things to think about. She would reminisce about the day's happenings, perhaps something someone had said to her that struck a chord in her heart or mind, certain people, past events, distant memories, Chrno...

How strange, but appropriate that she had put the crimson-eyed demon in a catagory of his own.

Rosette felt a tiny smile tug at the corners of her lips. Her partner, her companion, her friend, and somehow even more that...he was on her mind so very much. And sometimes she would even find herself straying to think about him during the daytime, when she didn't have the spare time to do such a thing. He had a way of worming his way into her head often, but the blue-eyed exorcist found that it didn't bother her in the slightest.

The Sinner Chrno. Mystery surrounded him, shadows shrouded him in darkness, blood clung to his hands, unspoken words fell from his lips, and secrets lied hidden in the depths of his eyes.

The gentle but constant tick of the pocket watch reached her ears and she clasped her free hand around the life gadget, her glazed blue eyes still staring out into the night.

Their bond. Something precious, something irreplaceable.

Just how much had things changed between them? And when did they start to change? Was there a trigger? What had happened to their relationship? When did she start to think of him so much?

When had he begun to truly smile at her?

Involuntarily, Rosette's heart skipped a beat.

That night at the carnival in San Francisco. Together, they were watching the lively glow of the city lights. He had become lost in some distant thought of his own, probably something to do with his past. She had accused him of never changing over the years he'd lived. He corrected her. And then...

"I've changed a lot in these past four years. Thanks to you, Rosette."

His smile. Eyes half-lidded, the backlighting of the city offering a strange, but soft effect to his features.

Her breath caught in her throat. And she had wondered, when had he begun to smile at her like that?

Both palms were now pressed against the glass, pushing lightly upon it. A longing erupted inside of her as she gazed more deeply into the moon. Yes, that night she had wondered, but hadn't gotten far.

Tonight, she would find the answer.

When she first met Chrno in the darkness of the underground grave, his eyes were filled with warning. There was no smile then, not even the hint of one. Even though she hadn't been frightened of him at all, his eyes remained wary of her. Calculating and cautious.

There was no warmth.

And even in the following days, weeks, and months that passed, his smiles and his laughter would never reach his eyes. They weren't forced, but they were more as though he was simply trying to humor her and Joshua. Rosette wasn't sure if Chrno was ever really happy.

Something was holding him back.

The young girl wondered if maybe it was due to his past. There were many occasions when she would stumble upon him and he would appear to be deep in thought, or even times when she were talking to him and the young demon boy would space out for reasons unknown.

Rosette had tried many things to make him smile. And at times, that familiar curve of his lip would occur.

But it just wouldn't reach his haunted eyes.

Frustrated from the thoughts, the blonde nun balled her fist against the slick window, letting her eyes trail from the moon to the floor of her solitary room. Her toes curled against the wooden floor and she sighed softly.

When had he changed?

After Joshua's disappearance, Father Remington had brought her and Chrno under the wing of the Magdalan Order. The contract was newly formed between them then. And in the weeks that followed, Rosette had joined the Order in training to become an exorcist.

Chrno had been undoubtably supportive of her. A calming smile would rest on his features as he carefully bandaged an injury she had recieved in training, when she came to visit him at the Elder's quarters, when they were rarely allowed to share a meal in each other's company. But still...

Still that smile lacked warmth. His ruby eyes still contained a shadow she could never place and could never rid from their deep hue.

Stormy ocean-colored eyes raised once more, fixated back upon the half-moon that was still high in the midnight sky. She gave a shiver as her nightgown fluttered about her form in an invisible breeze and unconciously moved away from the cool window pane. Suddenly, the moon was swallowed by the night as the clouds drifted rapidly over its reflective surface and obscured it from view.

And along with its disappearnce, Rosette's lighting was lost. The room fell completely to black and the blonde girl blinked, stumbling backwards as her eyes attempted to adjust to the change.

However, they didn't adjust quickly enough. Unable to see where she was going, the young Sister tripped over one of her own boots (which had been haphazardly thrown to the floor earlier) and landed unceremoniously upon her behind.

And in the darkness, through the slight pain and the frigid feel of the wooden floor, she remembered.

A night quite like this one. A bitter and cold September evening...

oooooooooooooo

Rosette was hurriedly rushing through the Magdalan Order grounds, tears streaming down her face endlessly. A sob racked the young girl's tired throat, causing her to choke on it through her ragged breathing.

She had to find him. Now. She had to see him.

Sister Kate had forbidden her from going there without strict permission, but she didn't care. The girl's feet picked up pace and her blonde pigtails swung wildly around her, half unlodged from their bindings. Sapphire eyes struggled to stay open through the blur of salt-water and the chill of the air and were failing horribly. A small hand gripped the ancient time piece around her neck and she pushed her burning legs even harder.

She had to see him now.

Chrno.

Through the haze of her desperate and frightened tears, she saw a familiar building form out of the gloom in the near distance. Just a little farther... Chrno was just a little farther.

Mere feet from the structure, the moon's guiding glow shut off as heavy clouds ran across its surface, shrouding the whole area in complete darkness in the blink of an eye. Before Rosette could stop her pace from the abrupt lack of lighting, her bare foot caught on a stone and sent her tumbling face-first into the ground, fluffly white nightie splaying about her body as she crashed to the earth with cry of surprise. The young pig-tailed girl had blacked out for a moment after the fall, but quickly, the pain brought her to her senses.

New cries filled the late night air as she stubbornly struggled back to her feet, refusing to give in. She was almost there. Even if she was dirty and sore, she was certain Chrno wouldn't turn away from her. And she had to see him. The desire to see him was so bad that it hurt. Much moreso than the stupid pain of tripping on the ground. Wiping a few tears away from her strained eyes, the girl trudged on toward the dark stone structure.

Once she finally reached the door, a dirty hand fisted out and knocked upon the wood surface. "Chrno?" she called timidly, trying to keep her voice steady.

She waited a few seconds, but the buidling remained as still as ever. A new wave of tears cascaded down her face in rivulets. What if he was sleeping? What if he didn't want to see her after all? What if Sister Kate ordered him to be sent away?

Her shaking hand hit the door once more. "C-Chrno?"

Fear flooded her heart. Why wasn't he answering?

Rosette started to sob again, falling down to her knees and pressing her blonde bangs against the worn wooden door. She held the pocket watch close to her heart as the tears dripped from her chin to the clock's smooth face. The young exorcist-in-training atempted to will her tears to stop flowing, but failed miserably. And her breathing was still heavy from her wild dash to the Elder's hut. She might catch a cold out here in no time with the bite of the brisk autumn winds.

The door opened so suddenly that Rosette fell right onto the musty floor with the lack of support.

"Rosette?"

The voice was tired and inquisitive, but she knew the speaker right away. Still lacking in strength, she lifted herself back up from the floor and lunged at him, hugging him around the knees as her crying reinforced itself in a sudden rush of relief.

He was here.

"What happened, Rosette?"

She let go of his legs and looked up at him, teary-eyed but unable to speak. The demon Sinner brought himself to the girl's level and put his hands on her shoulders, studying her blue eyes with his ruby orbs. Obviously something had severely upset her. He noted that her face was smudged with dirt and lined with a few shallow cuts. She'd need tending shortly.

And then his watchful eyes widened as they caught sight of how tightly her shaking hand was clasped around the life clock, the face of the contraption wet with her recent tears. A rush of protectiveness raced through blood like wildfire. ...Had something scared her? Had someone threatened her?

Rosette swallowed, finally catching her breath and stopping the torrent of sobs. "I was so afraid..."

His tanned hands gripped her shoulders more firmly as his eyes landed steadily back upon hers, silently urging her to continue.

She choked back another sob that climbed her throat. "S-Sister Kate said I...I shouldn't come to see you anymore. And-And..."

Rosette abruptly threw herself into his chest, wrapping her small arms underneath his and securing them around his back as she gripped at his night clothes.

"She told me to break the contract!" the young blonde wailed.

Chrno felt his heart stop. Was she going to...?

"Rosette, do you want to-"

"NO!" she broke his speech off quickly, pulling far enough away to disengage her hands from around him and wrap them protectively back around the clock that hung around her neck. "I refused! I won't do it, Chrno! I don't care what she says and don't you dare try to force me to break it!"

He blinked in shock. Had she really felt so strongly about the contract? Why? Hadn't it only been a desperate option between the two of them the night the orphanage had been destroyed and her brother was taken away from her?

"Rosette, we made the contract because we really had no other options at the time," he reminded her gently.

"Don't you dare say that, Chrno!" she yelled vehemently, shocking the violet-haired demon further. "This is our bond! And I want you by my side, Chrno! I want to stay with you! Even if you don't want this at all! I won't give it up! I won't!"

There was a moment of silence that followed, punctured only by the girl's heavy breathing.

His red eyes were broad and full of surprise, her ocean-tinted orbs were tear-filled and determined. They were locked together, unmoving and unblinking.

Then it was though the next few moments took place in slow motion.

His hands had risen to her face, the pads of his thumbs gently wiping the tears from her crystal blue eyes. She opened her mouth in slight surprise as a tiny gasp escaped. His movements continued, one hand remaining fastened to the side of her face, bearing its warmth upon her right cheek, and the other trailing down from her face to her neck, then her shoulder, and finally came to a rest over the her own hands, which were still resting upon the pocket watch.

And then, ruby eyes still holding her sapphire eyes captive, his lips had curved into a gentle smile.

Rosette felt her cheeks flush in the darkness of the room, her eyes widening considerably as the seconds passed.

Somewhere in the farthest reaches of his crimson eyes, she could see it. A warmth. A smile. A happiness. A luster she had never seen before.

Chrno was smiling at her. He was really smiling.

The young girl didn't need to hear him speak. His eyes were conveying volumes to her on their own. There was so much in his eyes she had never witnessed. She was touched, honored.

Grateful.

Never had she been blessed to see his true smile up until this point.

During the continued silence, he appeared to be content with just gazing at her while adorning his smile, and she felt her face grow even warmer. What exactly was it that she had done or said to deserve to finally witness this? What was he thinking right now? Her mind was so muddled at the current time that she couldn't put her finger on anything.

"Um..Chrno..." she ventured, unsure.

A yelp was voiced from the young girl as she was suddenly lifted into the demons arms and carried off toward his sleeping quarters.

"We need to get you cleaned up, Rosette," the violet-haired demon said, proceeding to deposit her form onto his simple bed. "Wait here while I get some warm water and bandages, alright?"

She nodded, pulling her knees up to her chest and clasping her arms around her legs as her eyes followed him through the darkness. Chrno really was a mystery to her. But...

Once again, her tiny hands found the life clock and grasped it.

She wanted to be with him, always.

ooooooooooooooooo

...Yes. That was what had happened. How could she have even forgotten for a second?

Rosette chuckled as she remembered spending the night there with Chrno. It had been warm and comforting to have him there with her. And she hadn't even been caught by Sister Kate (well, she might have been, had Chrno not quickly urged her out and back to her own dorm early the next morning).

Finally raising from the cold floor, she squinted as light flooded dimly back into the room, blinding her for a few short seconds.

It was a night quite like this.

...Would he remember even after all this time?

A smile lit her features a she located both boots, swiftly pulling them on. Quietly as she could, the blonde exorcist crept to her door, eased it open as softly as possible, snuck out of the women's dormitory, and started her way across the grounds.

One hand wrapped itself around the lightly-ticking pocket watch as she jogged toward the familiar stone building in the distance.

Maybe he would let her spend the night with him again, for old time's sake.

oooooooooooooooo

Ah, that makes me feel warm inside. :squees: I think I can go to sleep satisfied now. I hope you enjoyed the little fic and do be expecting more from me in the near future. I simply love Chrno Crusade. And especially Chrno and Rosette.

By the way, if you found Rosette OOC, I apologize. However, I think she is a deep thinker. And it just seems appropriate for her to do something like that at night. Also, I think her emotions can get to her, like they did in the semi-flashback. Again, you're free to disagree. This is merely my own opinion.

Please review if you can spare the time.

And thank you for reading.