Disclaimer: If I owned Star Ocean I'd have made an ending where Albel grabs hold of Nel and kisses her senseless, but seeing as that didn't happen, I do not.

Author's Note: I hope no one is OOC in this. I'm trying really hard but I lack the whit Albel bathes in, so he's not as clever-remaking as he should be and I'm not too sure about Nel. This really doesn't have much of a plot (though that could change since I have no outline) and is centered more on the characters and their evolving love. This one will probably be a long one, or at least for me anyways so be prepared.


Necklace of Fear

By Raven the Dark Angel


Chapter 1: Shatter

It was now official. So official it made her sick. Before she could just pretend it was all just some strange twisted dream; that if she just waited long enough she would awake and be back on the battlefield fighting against the enemy once again. But treaties had been signed and marriages arranged; their country was now tied to theirs. The war was over and the people were at peace. However she couldn't quite say things were back to normal. No…Normal had gone far, far away like the space craft that had taken the off-worlders back to whatever strange home they came from. She sighed. Normal wouldn't be a part of her world anymore not after what she had seen and normal couldn't even be somewhat duplicated with her in plain sight of the notorious Albel the Wicked without being viciously attacked.

Those days of running across Airyglyph's roof tops and spying on its various military leaders were now over. She couldn't exactly say she missed it and at the same time she felt like something was completely gone. There was too much free time on her hands without the hectic demands of gathering information and building a stronger defense. She couldn't think of it as vacation either. She never liked them and when things calmed she only found herself dissatisfied at her uselessness. She wanted to be doing something important, something that her queen needed her to do instead of simply taking up tasks to merely busy her.

Nel lifted the papers in her hand and tapped them lightly against the table to neaten them and placed them back upon the surface. She smoothed her hand across the top sheet and exhaled to try and focus on reading the document once again. One thing was for sure, there was plenty of mind-numbing paperwork to be done with no end of the ever growing pile in sight.

She squinted, trying to keep her attention focused on the cultivation of Airyglyph's barren soil but her mind kept drifting to other things that belonged to the country. A monotonous clank of metal drummed against the wood across from her over and over. Clink. Clink. She stiffened and grasped the document firmly and fixed her narrowed eyes upon the words before her:

"Precipitation in Airyglyph only occurres in the dead of winter in vast amounts. However due to the fact that the ground is frozen over –" Clink. Clink. "– it doesn't replenish the dry soil –" Clink. Clink. The girl's eyebrow twitched. She slammed down the papers and pinned her sight upon the rapping claw that now halted in mid tap. Nel dragged her eyes up the man's shiny limb, along his shoulders, to his mouth that rolled across the expanse of his face in a satisfied smirk. She darted her eyes into his red ones causing the curve in his lips to thicken. She sighed and shook her head and demanded every inch of her to pay attention to the task at hand. He wanted her to get annoyed and she be damned if she allowed him to win this little game of his.

Clink. Clink. The rapping started once again and the man mildly glanced down at his own paperwork before returning his gaze to the woman in front of him. He trailed his eyes along the tresses of her hair that tickled lightly against her shoulders and he was almost positive he could get her anger to highlight her face just as red. But how long did he have to keep this up before she would explode? He wondered and watched the maggot cringe as he continued on with the noise.

Clink. Clink. She held the bridge of her nose and sighed. She could just feel his eyes on her. What did he want with her anyway? Was he really that bored? Clink. Clink. The metal almost began to squeak now under the un-oiled joints and Nel grit her teeth at the way the sound sliced into her ears.

Hmm so the Aquarian scum was starting to get annoyed now, was she? Albel observed and flashed his own fangs in sneering satisfaction. But how long until she shouted? How long until she unsheathed those daggers of hers? Would she press the cold blades up to his neck or would she try to continue to ignore him? He wondered and drummed against the wood harder and faster without relent.

Clink. Clink.

"Cut it out, Nox!" Nel screamed and smacked her work on the conference table, scattering the sheets about. Clair and the others glanced up from their own papers, startled by the sudden outburst.

"Is something wrong, fool?" Albel questioned as he rested his chin on his good hand and slithered his eyes to meet hers.

Nel clenched a fist that shook under her pressure. "How dare you…" She hissed. "How dare you!"
"Is that all you can say?" he challenged and tilted his head watching the end of her lips curl and he twitched his own in amusement.

"I've had about enough of you!" Nel growled and swung her daggers out in front of her ready to fight over the table if she had to. She was sick and tired of this childish stupidity! Ever since Her Majesty stationed him and Woltar to Arias all she ever heard was one insult after the next. Maggots, worms, weaklings, fools. Over and over. Every time she saw the man he'd prod her for a fight in some way shape or form. Fight. Fight. Fight! That's all he ever wanted! And it was high time she gave him one! Nel clenched her teeth down at the man as her eyes bore into his and willed all her hate into that single glare.

Albel tilted his head back and let out an open-mouthed laugh. His unusual voice resonated deep in his throat with laced iniquity, causing more than a few occupants in the room to shiver. Yes it seemed her anger was shining through quite nicely, but he needed more… He wanted her on the edge! "You? Fight me? You must be joking!"

Nel narrowed her eyes into tiny slits as her grip tightened on her blades. She couldn't take it anymore! Did he want to battle or what? Was he merely rattling her for fun? Either way it didn't matter. She was going to rip her daggers into that anorexic stomach of his and teach him a lesson on why it isn't wise to toy with a Crimson Blade! "Shut up, Nox! You won't be laughing when I slice your throat open!"

"I'm shaking!" he mocked and shot to a stand, knocking his chair over in the process. "But if you wish to spill my blood so badly, then let's go, maggot. Try not to disappoint me." He unsheathed his own weapon only to jolt at the sudden crash against the table.

"That is enough!" Clair shouted, standing herself and removed her slammed palms from the wood. "We are here to work not to argue! If for some reason you can not understand that, I'm going to have to ask the two of you to leave. Is that understood?"

Nel deflated the air in her lungs and let her arms fall limply to her sides. What had gotten into her? Her friend was right. The war was over and as much as Nox made her skin crawl she had to calm down. She had to summon as much patience as possible. This was what that evil bastard wanted! "I'm sorry, Clair."

"It's okay." The silver haired girl smiled and settled back into her seat once again. It was highly unusual for her to shout like that at anyone, never mind Nel. The tension was getting to them all.

"Hmph!" Albel snorted and righted his chair to plop back down in it. How dare that scum ruin his fun! Just when things were starting to get interesting… He glanced at the girl in front of him and captured her emerald eyes momentarily before she wrinkled her nose back into the paper once again. Hmm… he'd just have to elicit her wrath once more and they'd be out free to kill each other as they pleased. The man stroked the handle of his sword. Oh they'd be clashing blades soon. He could feel it…

Nel glared down at the paper. She pretended to skim the text but all she could think about was that man. Ugh! She absently hovered a hand above her dagger as images of Nox's bloody corpse danced across her mind. But some dreams were just too good to ever come true…

"Perhaps it'd be best to take a break." Woltar suggested, flitting his tired eyes between the two youngsters.

"Fine with me." Nel agreed and stretched her tattooed arms in the air.

Albel folded his own and scowled down at the table. Stupid worms. Fight the boredom of doing useless garbage by doing absolutely nothing at all. Perfectly brilliant really. What would they talk about? More pacifist nonsense? It was starting to get old… "I tire of these games," he announced and planted his feet on the ground. "I'm going outside."

"I'm going too," Nel decided and followed the man out into the hallway. He paid no attention to her shadowing his steps and the girl took her time to glare at the bastard's back. The entire time they sat in there he just huffed and sighed and didn't even bother to at least complete one of the papers before him. What was the point in him coming to help if he wasn't going to even do anything? What was his problem?

She narrowed her eyes and listened to the constant clang of metal whenever he walked or moved and slid her eyes up his lean frame to watch his hair-wraps bob against him. They settled still as he paused to toss the front door open. He didn't bother to hold it. Nel wasn't surprised.

Once outdoors, the man stilled and crushed a rock under his thick-soled boots. He gave the hapless thing a good kick and tilted his head toward the sky as he thrust the air out of his lungs. He clenched his good hand into a fist and let his bangs blanket over his eyes while his head bent low to gaze over his shoulders back at Nel. He watched her brows furrow in disgust and he coiled his lips in pure delight. Yes perhaps he could rouse the woman into a match after all.

"Why are you following me, Aquarian?" he questioned, keeping his back to her.

"I'm not." She simply stated. "I just needed some fresh air, that's all. The world doesn't revolve around Albel Nox."

"Hmph." He grunted in response. "Like the air is fresh here. It stinks of you Aquarian scum."

Nel closed her eyes. Keep calm… She willed herself and slowly took in a deep breath. "Whatever. If it really gets you off insulting my people, then go right on ahead."

"I'm not insulting them. I'm merely stating a fact."

The girl clenched her teeth at him. His lips twitched. She couldn't believe the man as she watched him try to level the smirk creeping upon his features. Why was he so interested in toying with her? What did he want? Just a fight? Nel pressed the tips of her fingers upon her forehead. So what if he did want to fight? It's not like he'd actually kill her but then again she wouldn't put anything past him once he dipped himself into the pool of battle; though at this point she herself needed to take a dive.

Albel turned around at the sudden quiet and narrowed his eyes down at the tiny woman before him. His bangs shielded his vision and he took the opportunity to trace her body. Her supple legs firmly rooted to the ground as her skirt just barely covered what was necessary and he absently wondered if the markings carved into her thighs were soft or callous. He bit back the urge to place his hand between the slit in the cloth and grasped her eyes firmly with his own. She didn't flinch under his gaze. She had a lot of guts, he'd give her that, but he wondered what they would look like splattered against the dirt.

Nel lightly skimmed her hands against her hips, ready to draw the daggers at any moment. She knew once the steel was removed there would be no turning back this time, and no one to stop them either. She gripped the handles and judged him carefully. His eyes pinned hers still aware of the placement of her arms just in case she tried anything. His own hand went to the Crimson Scourge, the smirk long forgotten.

It was all up to her really… To fight him or not? She wondered and let her eyes drift to the man's mouth that lightly hummed. He flit his tongue out and moistened his lips, slowly before tucking it back in. The ends slightly curved once again and he closed the gap between them with one long stride.

"How about it Aquarian, care to dance?" he questioned and slowly scrapped his katana against the sheath upon removal.

Nel drew her own weapons and tucked her arms against her sides defensively in response. "If that's what you want to call it. But I can guarantee you won't be smiling when we're through."

"Oh?" Her words only thickened his smirk. "Too bad you think so harshly and here I am willing to sweep you off your feet." He quipped only to suddenly lunge forward and swipe his sword across her ankles.

The girl flipped back and watched him rise to full height once she landed. He chuckled as he swung his weapon diagonally and idly scraped the dirt with the tip. So he thought it was funny did he? Was he trying to make a fool of her? She growled at the man and sprinted toward him, daggers raised.

She thrust her right one down just as she came within range and he deftly lifted his blade up to clash with hers. She bowed her head behind her scarf and aimed her left at his shoulder. The man slightly turned, allowing the metal to clang against his gauntlet. The two hopped back.

"Not bad," he remarked, still with his eyes in shadow, "But you'll have to do better than that to beat me."

Shut up! She shouted at the man in her mind. He wanted her angry on purpose! He'd use her blind rage to his advantage and she certainly wasn't about to give him that! She gripped her handles tighter as the two began to circle one another, awaiting the next move.

Albel slammed a foot forward and slashed his blade horizontally, swinging his entire body in the follow through. Nel jumped back once more, dodging his attack and slipped a blade in the sheath. She flung her free hand out for a spell and watched him rise to full height again as he sneered down at her.

So that's how she wanted to play… He smirked. Keeping her distance wasn't going to be quite the advantage she thought. With a flick of his wrist, his sword slapped the ground, disrupting the air surrounding it. "Air Slash!" he shouted and sped beside the wind current to stop her casting.

Nel side-stepped away from the special move, ignoring the crashing sound of the now crumbled wall behind her and readied for the spell again. Her eyes widened as he zeroed in on her. The runes sparked to life and circled around her hand just as Albel lifted his sword high for another attack.

"Ice Needles!" she shouted thrusting her dagger upwards in a clash against his blade.

Albel shoved his claw forward into her casting hand. He clenched her palm as the icicles shot through the metal, freezing the artificial limb in the process. Nel gasped and ripped her arm away, heart pounding. She grunted as the cuts from the sharp metal began to bleed and she made a move to retrieve her other dagger but hesitated.

Albel's claw was frozen. He didn't seem to notice however and swung for her again and she jumped back several times to widen the gap, trying to calculate her options. She fumbled in her pockets for some lavender, but only found berries. Damn. As much as she hated the guy she didn't want to be responsible for destroying his claw.

"Scrambling for medicine already?" he taunted. "I haven't even broken a sweat yet!"

"Nox!" Nel shouted over the clang of metal, "Stop!"

The man ignored her with a loud mocking laugh and charged toward her once again, swinging his blade repeatedly. "Don't challenge me if you are so quick to cower!" he spat with his sword scrapping against her blocking daggers.

Nel grit her teeth at him. "Idiot!" she screamed, struggling under his strength. "You don't understand!"

He ignored her once again with a growling chuckle and leaned forward, nearly brushing their foreheads. "Come on, Aquarian! I didn't think you'd be this easy! Do I really rattle your resolve, so?" He flashed her the full set of his teeth in an open-mouth smirk and swung his claw toward her side. The girl gasped hard, but managed to break a dagger free from his sword's hold and braced herself for what was to come as the artificial limb connected with her blade.

She heard the katana clatter to the ground before she saw the prosthetic shatter, leaving behind a cloud of metallic dust that dispersed into the air. A guttural shriek erupted from the man's mouth as blood began to spill, first in a bursting splatter, then breaking down to a slow free-flowing ooze. He instantly clutched the wounded flesh, catching the red liquid temporarily as it seeped between his fingers and rolled down his arm. He approached the girl unsteadily and locked eyes with her through the hood of his bangs.

Nel swallowed, slowly receding. She sucked in a jagged breath as her heart screamed inside of her chest underneath his deadly gaze. His red eyes seemed to glow even fiercer with each step he took and even more crazed with each drop of blood spattered upon the floor. His lips suddenly curled into a sneer and he bent forward, coming uneasily close to her face. Nel held her breath.

She could feel his own tickle against her face as he pressed near, just a hair away from touching. "You." He rasped the words even and calm almost aggressively gentle, chilling her spine to the very core. He closed his eyes and she slammed hers shut. Her lungs heaved faster as her heart raced to beat its pace. What was he doing? The grip on her daggers tightened as he slipped impossibly closer.

"Boy!" Woltar shouted from the mansion's doorway and advanced toward them as fast as his creaky limbs could carry him. "Stop this at once! We must treat that wound right away!"

"Stay out of this, old man!" Albel snapped, refusing to turn his gaze. Nel flinched at the volume so close to her face and swallowed so sure she felt the man's lips brush hers at the words spoken.

Woltar's wrinkles deepened with his scowl. "Listen to me boy!" he growled, snatching hold of the younger man's arm and Albel instantly swung his head in his direction. Nel finally exhaled. "Stop this imprudence! Only a fool allows themselves to needlessly bleed to death!"

"This is nothing!" Albel hollered and ripped his limb from his bony fingers.

"Quiet, boy," the elder ordered, "Even the greatest swordsman knows when to patch his wounds. Weakening yourself for a mere spar is the act of impetuous novice. I thought you'd know better than to commit such a ridiculous act. I guess I was wrong about you, boy."

The younger let out a growl and sneered down at Woltar as he stared right back, unaffected. Albel clenched his only hand into a fist as the left dripped freely and he slowly eased his eyes shut, contemplating his next action. He didn't want to move. Not now. Not when the woman had proven herself to be most interesting… He wanted to see her blood splatter to the ground and mix with the puddle of his own. He heaved at the thought but this worm…had now spoiled all his fun.

Albel glared at the man through tiny slits and clicked his tongue in disgust, breaking the standoff. He held his head high and snatched the Crimson Scourge on his way out, storming through the gates that lead directly to Kirlsa all the while ignoring the old man's banter directly behind him as he followed with snail's pace.

"Nel! Are you okay!" Clair shouted as she burst from the doorway.

"I'm fine," she replied, eyes fixated upon the men's fading forms. She swallowed against the lump lodged in her throat and tired to peel her dried tongue from the roof of her mouth. Dear Apiris, what had she done!


She supposed it was her fault really. She shouldn't have allowed him to anger her into a fight that easily but there had been so much tension building inside of her lately it was an easy fix to release it with a battle. Especially one against him. There was just something about that man that infuriated her beyond reason. Every time she stood around him she had to fight the urge to punch him in the face. She wasn't sure if it was his rude disposition or his arrogance that pissed her off more. Either way the combination was suffocating.

"Are you waiting for someone, Lady Nel?" the guard in front of the mansion's gate questioned.

"No." she replied, watching confusion wash over his rugged features. The man adjusted his weight and her ears cringed at the squeak of his armor.

And now she supposed the sentry thought her simply insane. She had been standing out here for quite sometime, occasionally pacing and cursing to herself out loud. She shouldn't have fought him! But she had! And now… she really should just deal with the consequences. As much as she hated to… for the sake of her country she had to walk in and apologize. Just say she was sorry and leave, even though she felt like the cruel bastard got what was coming to him.

Nel sighed, finally managing to push her feet forward and walked through the gate. She ignored the guard's raised eyebrow and briskly stalked across the lot and up the patio stairs. The sentry in front of the entrance opened the door for her and she took in a deep breath, stepping inside. The door shut behind her.

Nel held the bridge of her nose, feeling every bone in her body ache to just forget it and turn back. But she had to do this. Diplomacy and her country come first no matter how painful and unappealing the task. At least she told herself that and gripped the banister.

She reached the top of the stairs far too soon and laid her eyes on the room next to Woltar's office…his room. She'd been in there before and expected the place to be strewed about with clothes on the floor and sharpening tools scattered, with no one allowed inside, not even the maid. Instead when she wandered in she nearly dropped her jaw. Everything shined and sparkled. Not a fleck of dust anywhere and it was altogether organized with such neatness it was scary. All the books on the shelf alphabetized lined up perfectly with the edge of the wood. Swords coated with a gleaming sheen sat immaculately upon the wall along with each painting hung to straightened excellence. The bed held not a single wrinkle. It was almost too in place.

She wondered if the man held some strange mental disorder. She could never be too sure with him. Always unpredictable and yet…always making some strange sense to himself. She supposed it was like him to hold such a room. She could picture him scraping a finger atop a shelf and screaming about the poor maid's imperfect work. She was just glad not to have to service him…and yet now she was indebted to him.

Nel knocked on the wood and swallowed… unpredictable indeed. She wasn't entirely sure how he would react. Would he attack her or completely disregard her? Did he have something in mind for her as a means of atonement? And if so…what could it be? She wasn't entirely sure she intended to follow through either.

Minutes passed and she hovered her hand above the shiny knob. Whatever. She couldn't stand here and waste her life away thinking about what was going to happen. Just get it over with. Just get it over with. She repeated the mantra in her mind, turning the handle and flung the door open.

"Nox! I just want to apologize!" she blurted and settled her eyes on the frail maid, furiously scrubbing the nightstand.

The girl blinked at her. "Oh Lord Albel isn't here at the moment."

"Of course," she grumbled, narrowing her eyes into annoyed slits. She closed the door and sighed. Where the hell is he then? He was hurt, so shouldn't he be in bed? Knowing him, he was probably off training, Apiris knows where… Well if she couldn't find the man she didn't have to tell him anything. She could just give her apology to Woltar and be done with it. Even better yet.

Nel rapped her knuckles on the next door over and waited. She fisted her hand and clenched her jaw. If he wasn't there, she'd –

"Come in," the old man's voice creaked just as loudly as the door, when she opened it.

"Count Woltar," she greeted and slightly bowed her head.

"Ah Lady Nel," he smiled at the girl, placing his pen down and gestured for her to take a seat. "What brings you here?"

"I have come to apologize for what happened earlier." She explained and planted her hands on her hips, refusing to sit. "I hope this doesn't infringe upon the treaty between our counties."

"Certainly not." The man folded his bony hands. "In any case, it was the boy's own rashness at fault."

"Where is Nox?" she questioned, lowering her mouth behind her scarf. "I visited his room just now and he wasn't there."

"Yes…" Woltar drawled out slowly and took a deep breath. "He is unable to sit still whenever he is hurt. The doctor patched up his wounds and he immediately went out back to blow off some steam."

Nel raised an eyebrow. "He's traning!" The thought occurred to her but it was only in jest! Surely he wasn't stupid enough to risk infection or reopening such a wound! She held the bridge of her nose. The idiot…

"Of course not," he corrected, "I wouldn't allow him to engage in such wasteful behavior. He is chopping wood."

"Oh." She responded dryly. Treacherous old man. She had heard Nox say many times Count Woltar knew how to use and manipulate anyone around him but she had no idea how true his words were or that even Nox himself fell prey to the same technique. She wondered if he would ever do the same to her and felt her body stiffen as she eyed him carefully.

The man picked up the writing utensil once again and scribbled something in his book. "If you are seeking forgiveness, he is the one you should apologize to. The boy is in a bit of a foul mood, but he respects you greatly."

Nox respect her? Was he crazy? She hardly called him screaming insult after insult to her and training her men into the grave respect. He didn't even have the decency to use her name and instead addressed her as "Aquarian scum". Oh sure he dropped the "scum" part after while but ever so often he'd graciously sprinkle it back on. Oh yeah he respected her alright.

"I'll have the maid show you to the back if you don't know the way." Woltar offered, halting his writing once again.

Nel shook her head. "May I ask you something?"

He looked up at her under his bushy eyebrows.

"If it's just a prosthetic why did he bleed?" She folded her arms and adjusted her weight to one hip.

The man leaned back in his chair and gripped the handles with his arthritis ridden hands. "When you froze his claw it also froze the mechanics inside his arm. There are attachment pieces drilled inside his bone to secure the claw into place and allow easier adjustment for upgrades. The procedure for such a device is…quite discomforting."

Nel dropped her eyes to the floor. She had no idea… Within Aquaria they would never think of such things because of their ability to cast healing Runology. If the wound was fresh the arm could have been easily healed, but now it was too late and she really couldn't do anything for him. Not that she wanted to… "Is there anything I can do?"

Woltar shook his head. "Talk to the boy. I really have nothing to do with this."

"I apologize." Nel bowed. "I'll be going now. Thank you for your time."

She watched the man nod and stepped out of the room. Great… now she had to talk to him. She leaned her back against the door. Just get it over with. Just get it over with. She repeated in her mind once again and descended down the stairs, feeling as though she were walking to her execution.


As soon as she pushed the door open, the heat gushed towards her, smacking her with the urge to remove her scarf. She plucked the garment from her neck and stepped out onto the dusty soil, effectively crunching the rocks beneath her. Nel squinted, shielding her eyes from the sun with her free hand and tried to spot the man in the over-grown weed covered field

Nel's ears perked at the steady beat of chopping and she turned her head in its direction, catching sight of Albel the wicked. He didn't seem to notice her presence and she watched him raise the ax he held in his good arm and swing it back down upon the wood with a feral growl. His hair wraps smacked his bare back with each strike, soaking the cloth completely. He kicked the splintered pieces aside with his shoeless feet and hurriedly prepared another set of four logs in a row. His sarong, the only clothing on him, clung to his legs from the moisture and she watched as he swiped his hand across a thigh, leaving behind a smudge of mud and sawdust.

It was quite odd not to see him in his armor she noted as she approached him but noticed the metallic collar still clamped to his neck. The dangled chain bobbed as the man started his hacking once again only for it to suddenly halt.

"What do you want?" he snarled evenly through his teeth.

"I've come to apologize." She responded and laid her eyes upon his wrapped elbow. The bandages already reddened at the bottom were smeared with dirt while a few splinters stuck out dangerously. "Shouldn't you take better care of yourself?" she questioned folding her arms.

He ignored her at first and refused to return her gaze. His arm rose high with the weapon and swung down upon the hapless wood, causing the pieces to fly. "That is none of your concern."

"Fair enough." She tucked a moistened strand of hair behind her ear. She didn't even give a damn anyway. The only reason she remained civil was because of that stupid treaty. Otherwise she could care less if he developed gangrene and they had to chop the rest of his arm off. "You should know I didn't mean for that to happen."

"Yes, yes, Aquarian," he grumbled tiredly and planted a log upon the ground a little too harshly. "Are you done?"

Nel clenched her jaw at him. Her fingers curled into a fist and it began to tremble under the force. "Is there anything I can do?"

"No." He simply stated and slammed his ax into another piece of lumber, this time leaving the blade jammed into the dirt. The man rose to full height, planted his hand on his diminishing hip and jolted his waist forward, eliciting a boney crack with the stretch. He wiped his brow and tossed the sweat into the thirsty soil.

"Do you want me to pay for a replacement?" she questioned, tracing her eyes along his wrappings as he gently dusted them.

"I'm hungry," he stated still not returning her gaze and tilted his neck to crack it.

A loud pop echoed in her ears. "I can cook you something," she offered. Not that she wanted to make anything for the evil bastard anyway…

The crack of wood caused her to jolt and she blinked, watching him return to his work once again. "No, that's what the chef is for, fool."

"I know that!" she snapped, folding her arms, and wondered briefly if he imagined each piece of wood as her. She felt like cutting something up herself…

The man swung down with far more force than needed and caused one of his hair-wraps to swing over the shoulder. His lip suddenly curled as her ears registered a low growl and he smashed the ax a hair away from her boot. She instantly stiffened and he shot up to full height. The girl swallowed. Nox squinted down at her through the curtain of his bangs and leaned forward tickling the hair against her forehead. He brushed his damp nose against hers.

She held her breath. Her heart began to pump as she caught sight of his hand clutching the weapon and nearly jumped when he ran the heated edge along the skin below her skirt. His red eyes ignited like fire and that wide full-tooth grin of his appeared as he opened his mouth to speak, causing her to shiver at the feel of his breath.

"Understand this, Aquarian. My match with you is far from over."


Author's note: Okay that's just the beginning! More to come people! I hope this turned out okay. And yes I know that battle was really short. There will be quite a number of fights between the two and I just wanted to start off slow and pace myself to much longer ones. (That and I haven't written an action scene in like five years). If you have any ideas or suggestions, I'd love to hear them! Please give me a review! Btw, I update monthly (if you're lucky) to ensure that I've gotten the chapter exactly the way I want it. Quality over Quantity! Sorry guys I'd write faster if I could! If you want me to go faster please, please tell me what I'm doing right/wrong! Thank you for reading!