Disclaimer: Not I!

Author's Note: Ever get one of those spur-of-the-moment ideas where you're left sort of wondering where the inspiration came from?

That would be this fic for me.

Please bare in mind that I do not think Chrono is really as. . . uh. . . and that Rosette . . . er . . . yeah. Also note that Rosette is a child in this.

That said, please enjoy and review!

( . . . And let me say right now. . . um. . . sorry. (sweatdrop))

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Questions

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She could still remember the first question she had asked him—the night of the fire; listening to the crackle of smoldering timber, the hiss of burning toys, the sizzle of roasting flesh. Her family's home, her brother's playthings, her parent's skin. The flames glittered strangely in her overly-blue eyes, golden hair tousled and pink nightgown torn. Her grip on her teddy bear tightened, one of its eyes popping off, as a finger darted up to touch the gift she'd just been presented—an old-fashioned pocket watch, stained with something red.

Then she spoke.

"Why?" she asked the boy before her; quiet and much too solemn. "Why can't anybody see you?"

In response he smiled, holding out a hand— maroon pools warm and full of kindness. An ash-strewn breeze rustled through the wooden clearing, firefighters' yells and sirens' screeches cutting through the shadowy night. "Perhaps," he murmured, his voice as smooth and melodic as a song, "because they don't look hard enough."

She took his hand.

X

"W—who. . . ?"

Stiffening, she turned away from him and glanced swiftly towards the speaker, her brother. The little blonde boy faltered, temporarily losing his voice, but soon swallowed bravely—asking the question no one else dared impose: "Wh. . . who are you talking to?"

". . ." She stared piercingly at him for a never-ending minute—her gaze containing no happiness or warmth; making it hard to believe that, at one time, there had been a surplus of it in her eyes. No, now they were empty and chilled, harsh as the fall wind that cut through the orphanage playground they were currently standing in. Not near the other children, of course. . . as always, she was crouched in the corner, by the chain-link fence; the place she always came— despite appearing to be alone,— to talk.

Her sibling waited patiently, though he couldn't help but shiver. It wasn't from the cold.

And, after not responding for another long moment—instead casting glances towards whoever it was that held most of her attention—she replied: "Him."

She never spoke to her little brother again.

X

"Where?" she inquired one night, hidden in a dark nook of the church. The boy beside her seemed uncomfortable in their current location, but they had no other choice—all of their usual hiding spots were being patrolled by the police tonight. Too many pet carcasses. . . "Where do you come from?"

He held her, as he always did—gently, caressing her body in places she had been told to keep private— lips against her neck. They quirked upwards in a slight grin. "From far away. . ." he told her softly, mysteriously; linking their hands and molding his chest to her back. "Far, far away."

"How far?" she pressed, turning her head so that their noses brushed, lips nearly touching. He closed the distance teasingly, twisting her around in his lap.

"Incredibly far." His tone was as light and loving as always, but she could detect a hint of sadness in it. That made her frown.

And so she kissed him: hard and forceful and with tongue, as he had taught her to do. It was a fleeting moment though; passion suppressed by curiosity.

"If it was so far, why come?" she breathed, tilting her head in the way he had confessed to liking.

A chuckle fell from his mouth, a mouth that closed over her throat and bit lightly down: extracting a giggle and a trickle of blood. "You."

X

"How? How!" the irritated nurse muttered sullenly, clearly frustrated with the orphan before her—swabbing rubbing alcohol on the small, scrawny arms in preparation of bandages and gauze. "How are you getting these marks? You never run or play at recess—you're always in bed, sick! How!"

". . ." The girl shot the woman a glare—

A glare that almost literally made the aid freeze; blood running cold. When had her blue, blue eyes turned so. . . ?

"Don't. . ." the child rasped, hissed; as if unused to speaking, "don't touch me. . . don't cover me. . . don't cure me. . . he doesn't like that."

The nurse blinked, heart constricting for a moment, and then relaxed; reminding herself who she was dealing with. "Dear," she began a second time in a softer, gentler voice, "I have to treat you. Your arms—they're completely covered in scratches!"

"He won't like it," the girl mumbled monotonously—staring off into the distance with a strange expression on her face. "He won't like it if you touch me."

"You're as pale as a ghost— you're growing thin!"

"He'll make you pay. . . I'll make you pay."

The woman reached out suddenly, eyes widening in concerned horror. "And are those bite marks on your—?"

"I SAID DON'T TOUCH ME!"

A flash of light, a roaring scream.

The orphan left the hospital wing, calmly explaining to the doctor why his nurse would no longer be able to work.

X

"When?" she whimpered, lying with him underneath the starry sky; playground swings creaking in a soft gust of springtime air. "When can we go? I don't like it here."

He purred against her shoulder, kissing his way down her bare body. A clawed hand came to rest on the pendant she wore, ticking away the time. "Soon," he promised, "very soon. But not yet. . . we are not done here."

"Is there that much more to do?" she moaned, arching against his fingertips.

A smile.

"Oh, yes. Much more. . . I'm still so very hungry, you know." Licking his long, sharp incisors, he gazed longingly down at the girl. "I'm starving. . . help me."

She nodded, understanding, offering herself once again. "I'll always help you—as long as you love me."

A kiss was her reward, though not the only one. "I'll love you forever."

"Thank you."

X

"What—?—!" The head of the orphanage gave a startled gasp, nearly winded with surprise. "Oh! You startled m— what are you doing up? It's past midnight!"

The girl simply stared at the woman, a one-eyed teddy in her left hand and a knife in her right. How she had managed to get a hold of a weapon like that in such a safety-orientated building was an unfathomable conundrum, but there was no mistaking the gleam of the blade in her tight little fingers. Her white cotton nightdress rustled; glowing eerily in the violet gloom.

"He is dying," she stated bluntly, taking a step forward into the dark, dark room. The older woman attempted to find the light switch, but found that her arms simply would not move. "He needs help. . . He needs more power. Astral. . ."

"Who is— what? What are you talking abo—?"

The door slammed shut without anybody's hand to guide it. The girl was suddenly looming over the bed, eyes shining.

They were . . . !

"He loves me."

A squelching splatter, a sickening crack— the clatter of a pocket watch pressed to an oozing chest. Captured.

She smiled faintly, smearing a bit of black blood on her cheek. He was going to be so pleased. . . The thought made her happy. She was happy when he was pleased.

. . . Why not please him more?

X

Screaming seemed to be something that she could not escape. Her mother and father had screamed; cursed and shouted that she was a bad girl, a naughty girl, a worthless girl. Her brother had screamed, as well: told her that she was scary and ill. Even her friends had screamed—yelled blindly about red marks, red stains.

Now the world was screaming—screaming in the road, in the playground, in the building, in her face. She did not respond to that screaming; she never had before. They pushed her, completely disgusted, from side to side; not wanting to touch her soaking pajamas. Pajamas that were no longer white.

A pink tongue darted out to sample her own lips. They were sweet and salty in a metallic sort of way. . . no wonder he enjoyed the taste. She cast him a glance.

He smiled miserably in return.

This surprised her.

"Why do you look so sad?" she asked in concern, oblivious to the shrieking of neighbors, the wailing of police cars, the humming of transceivers.

His brow crinkled pityingly. "Because I have to go far, far away."

Eyes widened; knife and teddy dropped. Clatter clatter clatter. . . "Wh—what? Why! I brought you what you needed! I brought you plenty!" Desperate hands shot to the brass clock, trying to pass it to him. He refused to take it, shaking his head.

"I cannot stay here," he told her softly, as if it were a secret. They both bowed forward, pretending it was. "Or they will find me."

"But they can't see you!" she protested, tears stinging the corners of her eyes. Two huge, burly men were coming towards them—silver cuffs in their hands. "How could they find you?"

He offered her a heart-broken beam, touching her cheek. "They will make you tell."

The men were getting closer now, fighting through the throng towards the girl. "Never! I will never!"

"They will make you. And I cannot be there when that happens."

"But. . ."

Another small grin. "Friends like me always disappear soon enough. . ."

"No!" A sob wedged itself in her throat, her hands grabbing his own. "No, you can't leave me! You—you promised we'd go together!" Eyes widened; eyes that were watery and swimming with fright— then ideas. A gasp. "Yes, yes! Take me with you!"

He said nothing.

The two adults had reached her—snapping words that she could not hear or understand . . . or didn't want to hear or understand; she couldn't tell which. It didn't matter; she wasn't paying them any attention, anyway.

"Take me with you," she whispered pleadingly, ignoring the men. They did not like this—they grabbed her arms, yanking her away from the boy. They were harsh and rough. Harsh and rough.

When he saw this, the boy began to show emotion again—anger. His eyes flashed, glowed, shimmered—teeth bared. And at his command, the handcuffs shattered; sharp shards slicing through the men's bulging retinas.

They, too, started screaming. Screamed as she fell; fell at his feet and cried. More men were coming now. . .

"Please. . ." she begged, burying her head in the nape of his neck when he crouched down to hold her, unable not to. He gave her back her teddy bear. She hugged it close, cuddling nearer. "Please, take me with you. . ."

". . . You will not like it—that place far, far away."

"I will if I'm with you."

He pursed his lips, gazing straight into those haunting pools. "Are you sure?"

She nodded. . . before she kissed him. And as she did so, she felt something hard and cold clench around her heart, squeezing it— tighter and tighter and tighter. . . But not once did she join the screaming.

Then they were gone.

X

Excerpt from Police Report #3489235; Seventh Bell Orphanage (MI)—multiple homicide/suicide.

. . . Rosette Christopher, age 12, was found dead at 2:34 on the morning of June 27, 2005, mere minutes after being established as the killer of 14 of her fellow orphans and caretakers. Authorities were at first unsure of how she died, as they had her in their sight the entire time (They claim she simply keeled over one moment and was gone. See page 9.). Nor did they have any idea as to why she went on such a killing spree. Many surviving victims have suggested insanity, after having staked identical claims regarding Rosette's daily conversations with someone who was never there. The same someone, they assume, that she was talking to on the night in question. (There is countless evidence suggesting that this is the case. See pages 11-15.) Perhaps the most notable claim comes from the girl's younger brother, Joshua Christopher; one of the few spared in this massacre: "She would do the same thing on the playground. She would talk to Him for hours and hours." When asked who this 'him' was, he said that he didn't know for sure, but mentioned that Ms Jean, the deceased owner of the orphanage, had labeled 'him' as Rosette's imaginary friend. However, experts called in to study this case believe that there is more to it than that: perhaps Rosette was suffering from an undiagnosed bout of schizophrenia. It is also worth mentioning that she may have been enduring massive psychological (as well as physical, if the markings on her body are any indication. See attached photographs 27-32.) abuse. However, none of these possibilities help explain why the girl's eyes, which have countless times been refereed to as blue, are instead undeniably maroon in color; and why a smile is clearly on her face. Some have suggested that this is because her death was intentional, a suicide, and she knew she was escaping punishment. Yet, others argue, how could that be—as it has been proven through an autopsy that her heart quite literally exploded? . . .