Finally (heavy sigh). This is the final chapter which will conclude my little quadrulogy, and it was by far the hardest one to write, mainly because I needed to put so much in there. Maybe I got a bit carried away, I dunno, but I think it turned out pretty much the way I wanted it to. I'm terribly sorry for the long waiting time of the chapter. Writer's block simply didn't want to leave me alone with this one, and it took a skiing trip and a resulting cold keeping me at home for a week, to actually get me to hack and slash my way through it. I think the chapter had a total of a 4 week stall almost, but hopefully it's worth the wait.
Furthermore: HOLY CRAP this chapter ended up being so much longer than I had first anticipated, I knew it would probably be the longest but this is... proofreading hell! And I sincerely hope you like longer chapters because this one is far longer than any of the previous.
Now... there's one reviewer I'd like to address and, that's the one known as blokrocknbeats. I'm sorry that the story confuses you, and I have been considering how to make things more clear. This was why I first introduced the difference between the single and double dashed lines in the first place, which I had hoped would make the reader able to better distinguish between what was dreams/flashbacks etc. and what wasn't. Unfortunately I can't read out of your review exactly where and when, everything goes wrong (except the gypsy speak of course), which makes it hard to make any concrete changes to the chapters. Also you ask a lot of questions in your review, and I would gladly answer every one of them, except there's no channel for me to do so, so either you have to have an account I can send a message to, or I'm gonna need some form of E-mail address I can write to. And I encourage every one who might feel the same way about the story as blokrocknbeats, to let me know (if you're interested in wanting to know what's actually going on that is) either through a review (Author fears the flames) or through a message.
About reviews in general... WOW. I've simply gotten some the most amazing reviews this time, and I am truly flattered and humbled that my story has been so well recieved, thank you all A LOT. It would definitely have taken me much longer to write without you guys pushing me forward, so you can consider this chapter to have been written for you (bows). Please do keep reviewing, every kind is most welcome, both the ones boosting my morale (and thus my writing speed and creativity), and the ones which forces me to consider ways to improve my writing.
Lastly: I have blatantly stolen an aspect, or a scene (not directly copied, but still used the idea) from the fic 'eternal regrets, lost desires' which, as I mentioned in another AN, brought me into this whole business. I wanted to make sure that I mentioned it, and I will write at the end of the chapter which one it actually is.
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Again a 'scene change' where actual time, place etc. can be changed.
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The imaginary 'scene changer'. Just keep in mind that a single line indicates that we're still in a flashback or dream both before and after. Only the double line shifts in and out of the 'real world'.
And the last but not least in the immensely exciting series of combinations:
"HEADACHE!" (Or I could have written 'otherworldy beings screaming and shouting inside my poor head' but I think it fits, or is that insanity...? Ach who even gives a shite about this rot...)
Disclaimer: I don't own Chrno Crusade or any of the characters portrayed within, but why should I care when I already own the exclusive rights to the whole Final Fantasy series, the majority of the shares of Microsoft, IBM and Apple, every branded Cuban cigar company in existence, as well as a substantial number of the countries in the European Union... What? I don't either? Man, life sucks.
So having gone through all the introductory thingies its finally time for the story.
The Curing Kiss
Chapter 4 – Cure
His thoughts didn't drift anymore.
It was no use... so why should they?
He was still curled up. It was easier that way... when he didn't look.
Unseen flames were raging through him... silently consuming him... without turning him to ash.
He simply kept burning.
The muffled sound came through clenched teeth. Blighted muscles tightened in a vain attempt to fight the pain.
He had never craved death before. Not for his own sake at least. Now he just wanted to become numb. To end it all. But even that seemed too much to hope for.
Hope... Such... utterly... meaningless... word... His thoughts sounded almost sneering. Isn't worth... ANYTHING...! Delusion... of... mind... too weak... to face... reality...
At some point, he couldn't quite figure out when, he had lost all hope.
Hah... Lost all... hope... I'd call it... acknowledging... truth... Each thought brought the feeling of white-hot needles, piercing him all over; rending muscles; snapping tendons; incinerating bones.
Sweat covered his trembling form. Sometimes it dripped off his skin, and got sucked into the void. Do... your worst... I don't care... gonna... die... don't... CARE!
He felt something nearby.
Someone's playing... tricks... on me... He wrapped his wings even tighter around himself.
It was the only thing he truly feared now.
No... spots... always start... with... tingle... Or maybe... they...
His muscles tightened, as imaginary flames seared violently through his temple.
They change... tactics? They think... I will look... That I... will let... guard... down... by coming out... to look... Then... they... come... to get me... STUPID... I'm on to them...
"HA... HA... HA... HA..."
The maniacal laughter, was a lot of things: Desperate, forced, eerie... Natural was just not one of them. FOOL... It made him convulse with pain, and ended as abruptly as it had begun. YOU'RE the one... who's stupid... Spots don't... need... wait for... your guard... come... down... You HAVE... no guard... If they want... they will... come... Or... you... HOPE... you can... stop them...?
His thoughts were mercilessly scoffing at himself.
But... what is... this...? Maybe... look...
The demon uncurled with tremendous effort. It was almost impossible. His muscles had become so unresponsive. No... they're not... Just not... there... anymore... All... replaced... by... spots...
The stretching out from his fetal position seemed to take forever, and he ought to have been completely drained when he finally succeeded, but he didn't get tired in this dream... or whatever he was supposed to call it.
His eyes were still closed. They were almost unwilling to look.
He had to open them, to see the presence he'd just felt.
But could he avoid to look at himself, when he would open them?
The second he forced his eyelids to stop blocking his vision, he knew the answer.
And he was a gruesome sight...
He didn't even look like a living being anymore. Black spots of varying sizes and shapes were splattered all over him, making him appear like a chaotic mix of living flesh and solidified lava. Some places they seemed to have grown together, appearing as large blotches of black, charred death, a clear indication of how he had simply been eaten away.
He didn't have any depth perception either.
Tremblingly he brought his left hand towards his head, fighting of the fiery sensation ravaging his arm. The hand was still largely unaffected. When it couldn't move further, he knew it meant that his hand touched the left side of his head. But he didn't feel the touch. Neither his head, nor his hand, felt it.
Figures... Not... there anymore... my head... All this... He looked at himself again, letting his still existing eye wander over, the volcanic wasteland he was turning into. All... Is gone... You can't... feel... something... which doesn't... exist... The lines and shapes were still those of his own body, it made the blotches resemble what had been ripped from him, it was the mocking image of what was nothing but a memory. I'm only... seing... a lie...
The sensation of what had already happened to him and the premonition of what was yet to come made his eye fill, and a single watery droplet ran down his cheek, instantly vanishing when it encountered what used to be his chin. He didn't understand...
He just didn't understand...
But he could feel...
The scorching shot through his temple again, making him draw in violently.
He gritted his teeth as he once more willed his broken form to uncurl. There was still the presence he'd felt before. The feeling had come from his right side, and he would have to turn his head to look. A task which was very nearly unbearable. To his senses his neck was almost a solid thing now, and he felt it fracture and splinter invisibly as he forced it to twist.
But he still needed to look...
What he saw instantly comforted his heart. It was a vision of pure, undefiled beauty, slicing through an existence of torment.
Magdalene stood before him, pale and delicate, as she had done once before. Her figure was as exquisite as the last time. Her eyes were filled with love and concern for him. He even thought he could see her crying. Her hair and dress were dancing still in the non-existing wind.
He almost couldn't understand himself. Dammit! Can't... speak! My... face... really that... affected?
He quickly dismissed the thought. Really, he didn't need to consider, how his face might appear now. Instead he tried reaching out to the woman mentally, though in truth he didn't believe, that she would be able to hear him.
Magdalene... I'm glad... you're here... You... come... watch... over me...? Like I did... for you...? Come... to take... me with you...? Please...
His thoughts became frantic.
Please... take me... away from... here... Want... to die... go... to you... Can you... hear me...? Magdalene...? Answer... if you can... please...
Even as he pleaded he had no hope that she could hear him, no hope that she would take him with her. She was just here to watch over him. Trying to bring him a bit of comfort.
He let his eye focus on her and nothing else, trying to let the radiantly beautiful woman block out the darkness.
Then his thoughts turned to Rosette. She was... here... last time... please she... can't be here... now... Azmaria said... she had... fever...
He jerked his head to the left, completely ignoring the blistering feeling of his neck being ripped to shreds by the flames, and he was horrified to see the enchanting vision of his contractor standing there watching him as well. Her wonderfully caring face was filled with worry for him. Yet azure eyes were sparkling with hope.
Hope... Miss... that...
He didn't want her, to see him this way. He knew how it would affect her, he couldn't allow it to happen. He had no idea if she was actually here in some way, but he couldn't be sure of anything, and even the slightest risk of her...
Even though it soothed his heart and soul just to gaze at her, he would not permit her to stay. Somehow he had to protect her from this place.
"Woshett..." He was trying to speak through the fiery pain. Burn... all you... like... "You haw... koo go..." A violent spasm stopped him. Dammit... He couldn't be bothered. "gangewoush... Gonk hkay... I'w awwighk..." Well that's... believable... lie... He tried to reach out with his thoughts to make her understand, that she should leave him alone, but she just stood there watching... waiting. As if she was expecting something of him.
Now he became aware of the throbbing ache all over his left thigh.
NO... Didn't even... notice... tingling...
"WOSHETT! WUNG! GEKH AWAY! WUUUUNNNGGgghhh..."
He couldn't see anything through the water in his eye, he couldn't even bring a hand up to dry the tears away. His thigh was beginning to boil. But he wasn't concerned about himself. He could only think of Rosette.
Writhing in pain.
In his mind he saw azure eyes turning to black pools of petrified death, soft tender skin becoming charred, lifeless rock, a beatific face twisted into a horrifying visage of torment. Please... run away... Don't... let them... get her... Please Rosette... RUN! That was the last conscious thought he could muster.
Then his thigh burst open, letting the crimson flames, the very essence of his life, escape and vanish into nothing.
He jerked backwards with arms and legs stretched, making him appear crucified. His limbs extended, stretching out like rubber bands, his wings started to unravel like woven tapestries with their seams cut, his mouth opened so wide, his head touched his back, and his chin nearly touched his chest. He could not think, he could not move, he could not even maintain his own shape during the pain. Chrno's soul could do nothing but cry out in pure agony, with the otherworldly scream, that would be heard solely by the engulfing darkness...
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She opened the door to his room slowly stepping in. Her heart had firmly lodged itself up in her throat effectively preventing her from breathing normally. She was virtually nauseous with fright, but she forced herself to walk to the bed, where her feverish partner lay uneasily, making small incoherent murmurs in his sleep. At the sight of him her own discomfort instantly vanished, replaced by an immense need to nurse him back to health. Turning towards the nightstand, she picked up the small piece of cloth in the water bowl, twisted it to drain the water from it, and placed it on the demons head. It was a meaningless gesture. But even though she knew that it did absolutely nothing to help him, seeing him like this, with the fever raging through his body, she simply had to do it.
It woke him up.
His voice... so faint...
"Good. You've recovered."
When will you ever start to think about yourself, you big fool. The thought was intended to sound scolding, but it ended being tinged with a saddened caring - after all, she loved the big fool.She steadied herself trying to keep her voice normal; she couldn't let him know how scared she was. "Chrno you should worry about yourself."
"I'll be fine."
No you won't! Do you even believe that yourself? You don't... I can see it...
"I just need to rest a bit more." The demon's voice clearly expressed the effort he was making to try and stay awake.
You're lying... you're trying to... to reassure me... why?
"I'm sorry Rosette." He drifted off to sleep.
Rosette let out a small startled sound.
YOU'RE sorry? I'M the one who's sorry you big...! She pulled back the moist cloth squeezing it tightly, her expression changed to a mix of remorse and devotion. But you really mean that. You know... and you're saying sorry... because you know...
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"Eet eez true zat zere eez a vay to help him." The gypsy had pulled her chair over to the side of the table so they were now sitting adjacent to each other.
"Well... what is it?" Rosette urged.
"Zere are different vays to lower ze fever, and ze most direct eez vit a kiss."
"Yes a kiss. Ze demon's consciousness must also have left ze physical vorld and entered into ze spiritual von, ozervise ze soul of ze demon veel most likely not be able to sense eet. Ze consciousness enters ze spiritual vorld vhen von eez sleeping, vhich simply means zat ze kiss must be given vhen he sleeps. Ze kiss veel allow you to..."
Just more gypsy mumbo jumbo. No, there was only one thing she needed to know now, which made her interrupt the fortune teller. "But I mean... can a kiss... cure him?"
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"Hey. Chrno." Rosette whispered.
You're asleep now...
The young exorcist took a deep breath gathering her courage.
Please... let this work...
She stood up and leaned in over the bed, lowering her face towards the sleeping demon. Her heart was thundering in her chest, and she wouldn't have been able to breathe even if her body had remembered that it should.
I love you...
She wet her lips lightly before gently letting them touch his, they were soft and the fever had made them very warm.
Rosette closed her eyes, as she pressed her lips a bit more firmly against his. All she wanted was to forget everything. All she wanted was to get lost in this kiss. All she wanted was to let the feel and taste of his lips wash away her dread and anxiety.
Please... don't leave me...
But the fear would not let her go.
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Cold... moist... The soothing sensation on his forehead had somehow brought him out of the hellish dream, and now he willed his eyes to open trying to escape even further from it. The world was a complete haze. Dark colors were smeared randomly all over his field of view, except... there... to his left... there was somthing which wasn't dark. It was almost shining. Like liquid gold. He willed himself to focus on it, slowly forcing the colors to separate so he could make out the shapes. The mist slowly evaporated, and he saw two ocean blue eyes looking back at him with a nervous but intense compassion. Her face stood in sharp contrast to the dark room and the black void he had been dragged out of. It was almost a vision of an angel, sitting beside him, and holding the wonderfully cool cloth to his forehead. It felt really... nice, a truly simple and amazing feeling. "Rosette..." He remembered how he had pictured her in the dream, screaming, burning, dying... and now she was here next to him, having so easily overcome her own fever. It was nothing less than a small miracle to him. "Good. You've recovered."
"Chrno, you should worry about yourself." Her voice sounded reproving, but even in his weakened state he could still sense the caring which lay just below the surface.
I know. "I'll be fine." He was lying.
But I think it's too late for me. I don't know how to fight this, and it's only getting worse.
"I'll just need to rest a bit more."
But I can't tell you that. I can't say that I won't make it. I just... can't... I'm sorry.
"I'm sorry Rosette."
I'm sorry that I won't be here when you find Joshua. Don't worry, I know you'll find him. I was sure of it from the day we made the contract. I really wish you'll be happy when you do. Say hi... from me...
The demon truly wanted to stay awake, but he was quickly claimed again by the fatigue-induced sleep.
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He had returned to the dark.
He was now in pain again.
The same pain that a lush grassland would feel when it over the course of millennia turns into a barren desert.
Or the pain of a fertile field being bled dry of all life, and forever transformed into a desolate wasteland.
Or a vivacious forest, bustling with with the activity of animals small and big, being felled, and falling silent never to harbor life again.
That was what he felt.
Except instead of nagging steadily over a span of years it had been condensed to mere minutes... or hours...? Or maybe even seconds...?
He honestly didn't know.
But he did know one thing.
He was dying, or maybe worse...
The numbing feeling of non-existence was becoming evident now. He had yearned for this previously, but now, when he truly felt it, he was scared.
Scared of being simply... eradicated.
Even the blazing sensation from the spots seemed more distant to him, but it wasn't because he tried to escape it anymore. In fact he almost attempted the opposite now.
It's... all I... have left...
The effort of making coherent thoughts had become increasingly hard, not only because of the pain, but also because his mind seemed to begin dissipating as well. His entire left leg had turned into a dead lump. But he felt the truth. It was simply not there anymore. So much of him had been obliterated, and what little remained was constantly being burned. He cherished the burning, it coursed through him, letting him know that part of him was still there... still alive. It was his sole feeling anymore, and he welcomed it. Everything else was gone. There was nothing but the flames left.
Almost... feels... my... soul... vanishing.
His eye opened at that thought.
And then everything began to make sense.
The fact he was in full form.
The horns which were intact.
The disappearing of the hair and the tears when they weren't in direct contact with him.
The unendurable wasting pain when the spots were forming.
This... all... that... remains... my... soul...?
Chrno looked up. Moving just an inch sent fire raging through him, and he let it in.
Allowed himself to feel.
The two young women were there still, they had been looking at him the whole time.
But why... you... here then…? If this... my soul... what... are you...?
Magdalene and Rosette were as motionless as they had been every time they had come to visit him in the dream.
But it's... not... dream... It's... real... What... are you... really... doing here...?
His eye went as wide as his facial muscles would allow it.
You're not... not here... Only me... You're... Or... I'm... trying... tell myself something...?
The images of the two young women just stood there staring; waiting; anticipating.
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Rosette was sitting beside the bed. She clutched Chrno's hand tightly. She could not let go. She would not let go.
Is it working? He still feels like he's burning.
She again took the moist piece of cloth, laying it on his forehead, trying to douse the fever. She felt powerless. She was only able to comfort his body, and she hated it. She needed to heal him. She really, really did. But she felt she was doing nothing, and she was afraid the kiss might not even help.
It's all her fault...
The thought dripped with the venom of jealousy.
And all I can do is sit here with this stupid piece of cloth, which won't do anything at all. Tears of frustration and despair again welled up inside her. She had managed to keep them back, sealed in with a tiny ward of hope, but now that seal was about to break...
Her head dropped low and her fists clenched. She wanted to hit something... hard.
God damn you Mary Magdalene! Little-miss-perfect BITCH! It's all because of you...
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"I'm afraid zat not just any kiss veel do, childe."
"Eet veel have to come from ze von ze demon truly loves."
"Ze kiss eetself eez not ze cure. Eet eez ze means to administer ze cure however. Eet eez like ze needle containing ze antidote for a poison."
"But... why… does he have to… love…" Her words trailed off into small whimpering sounds. She wasn't prepared for this. She just wasn't ready. What if he... doesn't... really... The thought frightened her in so many ways. Really, it was so much easier to live in ignorance. She slapped herself mentally, she couldn't let her own insecurities control her now, not when he needed her...
But what if he really needed someone else... slap.
"To cure him you must help his soul, and zat means you must reach eet. Ze kiss veel only speak to his body. And ze body can only deliver ze reqvest to ze heart. Eet eez up to ze heart to decide vhether you veel be allowed into his soul... or not."
That... makes sense. I can't reach his soul, if he doesn't want to... to lead me there.
Chrno... do you... love me...?
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The edge of the bed had been stained by the first droplets of salty water now, she didn't even attempt to hold it back. She had tightened the grip on his hand even further. His fever burned as hot as always.
You never have...
The thoughts were unbearable. If you did... none of this would have happened. You love... HER... The last word dissolved slowly in her mind, eaten away by thick oozing corrosive spite. She hated her. More than she had believed herself capable of. Having his heart wasn't enough was it... you had to poke your slimy face out of the grave, and claim the rest of him too didn't you? You just had... to take him... away... from me...
The young exorcist cried in pure hopelessness and hatred. She hated Magdalene, for owning his love. She hated the gypsy, for telling her. She hated God, for creating everything this way. She hated Chrno, for… No!
I don't... I can't... I can't hate you for... wanting me. I wanted it myself.
She leaned towards his ear. "I'm sorry Chrno…" Her voice was weak and coarse from crying. "I always told myself it was jake. But… it never was, was it?" She had moved her hand to the side of his head stroking his hair gently, and leaning her face closer to his trying to see through the water in her eyes. He squirmed and moaned lightly in his sleep.
"...it just seems as if I can't dream anymore..."
Chrno's words from the train echoed through her head. He didn't dream. He couldn't. His heart had simply lost the ability to shelter his consciousness during sleep.
Where... are you... now...
She hadn't thought about this before. She might subconsciously have avoided it, since it wasn't a pleasant thought to think to its conclusion.
The conclusion she arrived at now.
Her hand instantly stopped stroking his hair, it couldn't as it was now trembling uncontrollably.
Rosette was milliseconds away from shaking the demon out of his sleep. She couldn't bear it. She couldn't let him lie like this. His naked soul was being consumed by something she didn't even quite comprehend, and she just couldn't sit and let it happen. She needed to stop it. She needed him here with her. She needed to protect him. She needed to wrap her arms around him and feel his around her. She needed to tell him... No. It would make no difference, or on the contrary it would make everything worse. She only needed one thing.
Just one simple thing.
She only needed him to love her.
So he wouldn't be in pain.
So he wouldn't die.
In a swift and hurried motion the nun moved her head towards his pressing her lips onto his mouth again. She tried to kiss him deeper and harder than she had previously, as if it could somehow increase the likelihood that it would work. It was truly an act of desperation.
Please... Chrno... Love me... So I won't...
The absurdity of the unvoiced thought was only made worse by the fact that she actually believed it. Rosette's body immediately convulsed with sobs, and she had to pull away from her feverish partner, burying her face in her hands, wishing she could bury her heart as well.
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If Chrno's face still was able to express feelings visually, he would appear as if he'd just seen the moon fall down and bounce up again like a rubber ball.
Shit... I know... slow... sometimes... but... why the hell...?
He was looking at the visions of the two young women in front of him. He knew now what his mind tried to tell him, what it had been trying to tell him all along. But he was completely clueless as to why. Pain stabbed and burned through his torso, simply making everything seem even more ludicrous.
Can't... be serious...
His eye again turned to Magdalene, before switching to Rosette.
Supposed... to choose...? Now…?
The two young women merely looked at him.
Of all... goddamn time... in the world... make... my mind up... THIS? NOW?
His heart had been divided for so long. Love and guilt had mixed together into an incendiary cocktail in his heart, and he had avoided it for so long, afraid of what would happen if he accidentally ignited it. But now...
For some reason he simply couldn't discern...
I... have... to...
Then the tingling began... and the ache came shortly after
It was his torso this time and the process seemed to be going much faster. It already burned... or was that just the other spots...
A sharp stabbing pain flared through him, nearly making him cry out...
the first bubble had burst...
Then another bubble... and another... each one sent him into an almost seizurelike spasm. The dark color of fright was visibly painted across his face, but something else was also evident...
His chest had turned into a sickeningly bubbling mass, resembling vile viscous fluid boiling in a witch's cauldron. His previously well-defined torso had virtually melted, as if he was beginning a transformation into some amorphous physical aberration.
This... can... NOT...
But... there was something he needed to do...
I... will... NOT!
A tiny crack had appeared where a bubble had burst, it seemed to want to open wider. Inside crimson flames danced back and forth. Repeatedly the found their way to the slowly opening fissure...
But something made them turn around when they reached the oblong opening, it held them back, keeping them inside...
Chrno had willed his broken soul to fight.
The bubbles burst with increasing frequency now, more cracks started appearing, each one forcing itself to open up, ripping his skin apart like wet paper. Soon his entire chest was only mere shreds of remnant skin looking like tattered rags. The bright light swirled frantically behind the fleshy looking strips, but it kept staying inside him. He contained it within himself by pure force of will. His form started to morph and shift with the extreme effort his soul was making, limbs seemed to extend and retract, new appendages even formed and vanished again. His face twisted and churned, and didn't resemble anything even remotely similar to neither human nor demon. Chrno was throwing everything he had into the fray. The pain was incomprehensible and threatened to tear him asunder, ending him here and now in a brilliant flash of crimson.
But he was not giving up this time.
In the blink of an eye the bubbles ceased, the cracks closed, and Chrno curled up as his shape reverted to normal.
He was trembling. But it wasn't only with fear this time.
What the... How did...?
He slowly uncurled again, and looked down, examining his chest. His lips formed into slight smile of contentment at what he saw.
His chest was in no worse condition than before.
Guess... I still... have... fight... left... in me... He didn't have time to dwell on it though. There was still something he had to do, and only a limited time to do it in. He couldn't count on his ability to repeat the feat he had just performed. The two female apparitions were still there looking at him, he almost thought he saw something new in their eyes...
He let his eyes turn towards Magdalene first, as he had done every time in this dream.
This was it.
Something he had never dared to do before. He was going to die, but he would do so without a divided heart. He owed that much to himself.
And to them...
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Rosette sat gripping her empty cup tighter.
She was getting really angry now.
Everything about this was simply... wrong...
"I just... don't... get it..." The nun tried to calm herself without much success. "How am I supposed to believe, that God is good, when he has created something so cruel...?" Her voice quivered with agitation. "How can it be, that there exists beings, that are completely incapable of loving ANYTHING?" Her eyes had locked on a small defect in the crude wooden table not wanting to meet the gaze of the old gypsy. "How can God possibly be good... when someone who's supposed to be... evil... risks dying because he's actually NOT?" Her sentences began to break as sobs of fury cut them into pieces. "How could God..." The last sentence trailed off. Make love into something... punishable?
"I'm sorry about all zis, childe," the fortune teller answered. "Eet really vas not God who made eet zis vay."
"Then who did?" Rosette had always been told that everything was created according to some higher plan, and even though she had never believed it fully, it was news to her that there were other major players in this twisted game of creation.
"Are you really sure you vant to know, childe? I zink eet might hurt you."
"Of course I'm sure!" Now she was getting angry again, she wasn't going to let some old woman decide what she needed to know or not. "I asked, didn't I?"
The fortune teller smiled slightly at the sister's outburst, the kind of resigned smile you put on when you're inwardly saying 'I could have told myself that'. "Very vell," she proceeded. "In a vay, God created ze demons, and in a vay God did not."
"What does that mean?" Rosette intervened.
The gypsy seemed to think for a moment before answering. "Zere eez no time to explain everyzing, but I veel tell you zat ze mozzer of all demons rebelled against God. Ze vorld, vhich vas still young, recognized zis az a purely selfish act, so her being vas adapted to suit her selfishness, and in time zis made her into ze first demon. Her demon name vas Pandemonium, and she created a vorld named after herself vhere demons vould live. So, even if God did not directly create ze demons, ze mechanism by vhich ze demons vere born vas indeed created by God." Her tone sounded regretful.
Rosette wanted to ask more questions to this, but the old gypsy hushed her so she could continue. "But zere vere more conseqvences... von vas zat no female demon vould be fertile except Pandemonium herself, almost az if creation vas trying to minimize an error realized after eet has been made. Zis forced ze demons to build a rigidly structured society around Pandemonium herself vhere order vas enforced savagely, and eet also kept zeir numbers down. If zis had not been ze case zere vould be no humans in ze vorld now."
"But..." The young sister just couldn't keep her mouth shut. "why only the females...? If creation wanted to undo a mistake why not all of them?" The sentence immediately ricocheted back into her mind were it was met with the thought of Chrno, who was in the center of all this. She somehow felt guilty for even asking, and her eyes lowered towards the table.
"I said minimize, not undo. Humans and demons alike are all children of creation, zey are all children of God. Zey are not all good, and, az you already know, zey are not all evil. Often such a zing can be a matter of perspective."
"Oh..." Was the old woman actually saying that creation itself... that God had... allowed demons to exist? Then what had she been doing all this time? Was it all... just a lie? A misinterpretation of Gods intention? No... she had to believe in herself, and in the justification of the order... they WERE doing something good. After all, the fact that there existed human criminals didn't make every human a criminal either, and maybe the same was true for demons as well.
The gypsy gave the young nun a few moments to process the new information, the enlarged vein on the teen's forehead was a dead give-away that she was thinking very hard about all this, but before long, Rosette was again dragged out of her thoughts by the slightly raspy voice.
"Pandemonium cast a mighty spell on ze entire demon race vhich prevented zeir hearts from functioning ze vay human hearts do. Eet turned zeir hearts into a cold bastion of steel and stone vit ze only purpose of protecting ze soul. Zis vould cause zem to be entirely controlled by zeir passions, and von of ze most dominating passions eez ze von associated vit procreation. For demons zis passion can only spring to life vhen actual reproduction eez possible, and since zis vas only possible vit Pandemonium herself, eet could act az anozer vay of keeping control. Only ze strongest and smartest of ze demon males vould actually mate vit her, a necessity to ensure ze vell-being of ze entire species. Zey vould be hand-picked and put zrough tests of body and mind, vhere zey vould be pinned against each ozer in massive and vicious gladiator fights, and in ze end zere vould only be von vinner."
Rosette almost hurt physically hearing about the pure brutality of Chrno's home world. He had been living in an oppressive hell for so long, crushed under the iron fist of a cold-hearted pragmatic matriarch.
And when he finally got out he simply continued to go on living on in a hell of his own making...
And now he was...
Somehow it seemed to her that no matter what, the world always had more suffering in store for him.
The exorcist's anger started to rise again.
By what right could the entire world do all this...? Which divine decree proclaimed that the most decent, caring, noble, selfless demon... no PERSON in the whole world was supposed to live in such anguish? Was that supposed to be JUSTICE? What the hell was God THINKING?
The gypsy put a hand on the wrist of the almost tremblingly furious sister, who was trying her best to keep the massive amount of steam inside her from bursting out of her ears with a loud hoot. In an odd way Rosette was somehow calmed by the touch, and she once more turned her attention to the old woman next to her.
"But," The gypsy continued. "Eet so happens zat Pandemonium also knew a lot about ze vorkings of ze vorld, and in her own vay she cared about her children. Even zough zis spell could be seen az a means to control her race, she knew about ze interplay betveen ze body and ze heart. She knew zat she vould be ze only demon to instill true passion in ozer male demons. She also knew zat ze demon body eez stronger zan ze heart. And she knew zat a heart eez not somezing vhich can be controlled."
Rosette's eyes had widened at this last sentence, and small droplets were again forming in them.
No this is just not... true...
"Do you understand now, vhy Pandemonium chose to take avay ze hopes, ze loves and ze dreams of all demons?"
She wanted... to prevent them...
The girl lost all strength in her body.
From loving somebody else...
Her head practically fell towards the table, and it would probably have clashed with the wooden surface, if her arms had not been positioned were it landed.
So they wouldn't die...
She hid her face further in her arms, as her whole body ached with the sobbing spasms and pitifully sounding hiccups, over which she had no control.
When she... made them...
This was too much.
mate... with her...
Simply too much...
The old woman put a gentle hand on Rosette's head, brushed it in comforting manner and, almost as if she was responding to the teen's thoughts, said. "In a cruel vorld... Such an act vould even seem... merciful..."
But the young sister didn't hear a single word of it.
x x x x x x x x x x x x
x x x x x x x x x x x x
Rosette just couldn't deny it anymore...
She literally hated the whole world, all of creation, and the injustice which everything was so afflicted with.
But there was a single person she hated right now above all else...
What... was she...
Some form of heartless demon? A wicked succubus? Only trying to satisfy her own needs? Simply taking what she wanted from him? Killing him while doing it? Never even caring how he felt? Forcing him into something his heart obviously wasn't emotionally ready for?
Of course, she had believed that he would love her, that eventually he would forget about Magdalene, and truly be hers. In fact she had convinced herself that he already did, felt he already was. Oh god, she had been so selfishly naïve... and so wrong.
She knew of his pain. His hurt. The scars he had carried around in his heart and his soul. She had sensed it in him for a long time. The feeling was strengthened by their contract, and she had really wanted to stop it. She had believed that she could. But her intentions and her actions were just so far apart.
She was just a part of his pain now.
Now he just lay here before her, dying from that very pain... because he loved somebody who was not her, because she had failed to respect that. And she was completely powerless to do anything about it. It was a horrible testament of her sin. A sin she had vowed never to ask forgiveness for, which was exactly what she was doing now. But she wasn't asking God's forgiveness, or the church's, or any other religious authority's. The whole bunch could go to hell along with the rest of creation for all she cared! No she was asking forgiveness from the only one that mattered right now, she was asking for the forgiveness... of a sinner. She knew, that he would probably give it without even a second's hesitation.
The thought only made her self-loathing worse.
She didn't cry anymore, she probably would have if she was still able to, but her eyes had dried up like two small ponds in a season of drought. She was still holding his burningly warm hand, stroking it tenderly, trying to bring him a tiny amount of comfort. In a faraway place in her subconsciousness, she still hoped, that her kiss could work, that the fever would suddenly lower itself, but the rest of her mind had already convinced itself of the dreadful fact that he might never even wake up again...
How would she go on without him...
How could she possibly live with herself...
Even though she had left it in her own room, the sound of the clock still echoed through her soul...
She could easily picture the heavy brass and glass contraption hanging around her neck...
The past four years, her life had been slowly drained by it in order to feed him...
It was a strange weakening feeling, like something was constantly taking tiny sips of her...
Eventually, she had become accustomed to it, and even come to terms with the fact that she probably wouldn't make it into her late twenties...
It still made her cry a bit sometimes however, she had hoped for a long and happy life...
But she would never tell him how sad it could make her, she knew how guilty it would make him feel...
She didn't want him to feel guilty about it...
But she could sense that he still did because...
He had used it once before...
He had even killed with it...
And the one to die was the one he had loved... and still loved...
And sometimes during these past four years, she would see a quick wisp of airy melancholy brush quickly across his face...
And she would know what he was thinking about at those times, but she would never speak of it...
She knew it brought him pain...
She didn't want to cause him pain...
Rosette leaned closer towards Chrno's face again and put her hand on his forehead, gently brushing a little lock of purple aside.
This... is this... how you truly feel... about yourself...
X X X X X X X X X X X X
X X X X X X X X X X X X
Chrno focused his mind and eye on one thing and one thing only.
The woman he was looking at.
She was so incredibly beautiful, that he almost felt he could defile her by staring at her with his sinner's gaze. She had given him so much... and he had only taken from her without giving anything in return... he had simply... killed her... brutally sucked the life out of her with that infernal clock, so he could selfishly heal himself and continue his wretched existence..
How could he think that someone else should be able to take her place? How could he even consider to dishonor her memory by allowing himself to love someone else?
She had loved him...
The wound which was almost 60 years old was now wide open.
This was wrong.
He couldn't allow the guilt to control him anymore, he had to look beyond it.
He had to truly realize what she meant to him.
He recalled the brief time they were together...
When he first saw her, he was taken aback by her sheer frail beauty, and he had not been unaware of the lithe and graceful body which were hidden underneath the dress either. He was supposed to bring her to the sinners, they needed her for their plan to work. She had willingly come with him, even though he was supposed to kidnap her, she had even helped him in their escape, when the exorcists had shown up. She had confided in him, trusted him like no one had done ever before. She had talked about her past, her visions, her only dream, her hopes and her fears, she had opened her heart up completely and unconditionally to him, and he had felt almost humbled and unworthy of her trust, especially when she had told him that he would be the one to take everything away from her. And yes, she had loved him... she had told him so, just when he was about to choke the life out of her, because they apparently didn't need her anyway, and at that moment he had realized he simply could not do it. At that moment he had finally broken with his old self; at that moment Aion's dream of a free world seemed nothing more than a child's craving for a piece of candy it couldn't have; at that moment he had decided to turn his back on the sinners; at that moment he knew that there was something humans possessed which no demon could even hope to understand; at that moment he had realized that he was actually capable of and that he indeed did love her.
She had taught him... to love...
And he had loved her ever since...
An almost serene feeling breathed through the sinner, as he felt he finally understood just what had been given to him by the woman in front of him, a truly invaluable gift from her heart... to his.
Time stood still as he stared at her. The wind was still making her hair and dress dance, and she almost appeared to be standing on an invisible mountaintop. Her eyes held the slight sorrow, which he had come to associate with her. He had sensed it in her from the very first time he met her, that tiny aura of sadness... that minuscule hint that her lighthearted and carefree demeanor wasn't born out of an unbound spirit. It was the result of accepting an inevitable fate which had been carved out of the fabric of reality and forced upon her. She had known and felt that she would be unable to change it, so why should she worry about every little thing in her life, when all the important parts were predetermined?
She really never had any hope... did she?
But she had fallen in love with him...
And she had never foreseen or probably even expected that...
Could it be...?
That he had actually somehow done... something good...?
The feeling of flames ravaging through him sent him into convulsing spasms and he instantly became aware of his limited time.
He had to turn towards the other woman.
The golden haired teenager with the ocean blue eyes, who looked back at him with a determined expectancy in her gaze.
The once little girl who had disturbed his sleep and guilt-laden grief.
She had virtually pulled him out of that darkness and into the light, berating him and lecturing him about life being too short to be moping all the time. She had been the center of a warm and way too short interlude, in between the gloom that was his life. Something which had ended when she had asked him to make a contract with her, in order to find her brother. That was when the guilt returned. He had been her partner for four years now, and had seen how she had evolved from a young scrawny twelve-year old girl into...
A simple-minded, short-tempered, gluttonous, violent brute...
She literally dragged him along whenever they were going anywhere, always expecting him to take care of all the bothersome, boring and generally tedious parts, never seeming to care whether he was ready or even consenting. She would cause unpleasantly embarrassing or monetary costly scenes or both, with a much higher frequency than your average slapstick comedian, and it was almost always up to HIM to straighten things out with the offended parties afterwards. She was an incurable hothead, always rushing towards danger or excitement, disregarding any warnings he would give her, and when the shit hit the fan, which by no means was the exception, she would always be convinced that HE was somehow to blame, and she would make sure that he was well aware of it too. She would get frustrated by virtually everything and nothing, from wrecking a car for the seventeenth time in a week, which STILL would not make her inclined to drive any safer the next time she got behind a wheel, to be unable to open a can of 'Hormel Canned Ham' (AN: Spam before it really became Spam) at two o'clock in the morning, because her immense food craving had ordered her to get up and eat. And WHEN she became frustrated, her typical reaction would be to use his poor misused hide as her own personal punching bag, or go out of her way to find him and wallop him out of his sleep with the previously mentioned can of meat, JUST so he could open it for her, after which she would happily indulge in the fairly gross pulpy substance, before even considering that she just MIGHT have hurt his head. She was generally inconsiderate, she was stubborn to the point of driving him absolutely INSANE, she NEVER listened to reason, she obviously liked to beat him up, and for the life or death of him he simply could not figure out why he should even think of accepting all of it or much less why he had put up with everyth...
The single good eye eye of the sinner widened even more. He turned his head back towards the vision of Magdalene who still looked at him with her graceful and caring stare. His gaze lowered slightly.
But... just... doesn't... make... sense...
But then again, it wasn't supposed to make sense, was it?
Wouldn't it somehow be wrong if it actually did make sense?
He raised his head again eying the beautiful, lithe figure of Mary Magdalene in front of him.
I love you...
There was no choice for him to make.
There never had been.
I will... always... love you...
There was nothing his heart had needed to figure out.
It was just the simple act of acknowledging the obvious.
I can never... love you... as much...
Something which he had decidedly refrained from doing for far too long.
As I love...
The broken and beaten remains of the demon sinner Chrno's soul agonizingly turned towards the image of Magdalene sister and exorcist Rosette Christopher, which never once had wavered in her hopeful and fiercely compassionate expression. The burning which indicated his impending unmaking flared through him, as he stared into her eyes.
And then... very vaguely, almost as if it would not rush the onslaught like the last failed attempt, the tingling began anew. It wasn't his chest this time, nor any of his limbs, not even his face...
It was his horns...
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The smaller entity was now almost fully engulfed. The chaotically shifting light had dimmed, indicating that it was becoming increasingly weaker. The larger entity burned furiously, almost to a point of deeming it frustrated, as it continued to envelop the smaller. The smaller seemed completely unable to resist the overpowering, and it grew slowly fainter as the last rays of the distressed being was being blocked out by a force it simply could not fight against.
It flared up...
Its luminosity seemed to increase by several orders of magnitude, and it grew brighter still by the second. It was almost as if it was trying to shine light into the furthest regions of the endless blackness, willing to make a statement for all to see. But it wasn't the same color anymore, it had somehow changed. The desperate shifting back and forth had been replaced by a single, brilliantly clear color of ocean blue which mimicked the exact hue of the larger being. The only difference was that it was brighter.
The larger being had dimmed slightly, somehow this sudden change had appeased it. It started to withdraw revealing more and more of the now overwhelmingly blinding smaller entity.
The struggle... had ended.
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Rosette's right hand had come to rest on her partner's head. Her fingers repeatedly dug in and out of the purple hair which, she noted, was now in dire need of a rebraiding. Why did she think about such banalities? His hair falling out of shape now ought to be the last thing on her mind now.
She should be...
But could she...?
Would he let her...?
x x x x x x x x x x x x
x x x x x x x x x x x x
Rosette lifted her head from the crude table, her expression had become blank. She felt she had already cried out every last emotion she possessed within herself, and now she was nothing but an empty husk. The old woman removed her hand from the girl's head, eying her with sympathy.
"It's jake, really, I'm fine," the teen lied. She hated those kinds of stares, it made her feel pitied and she couldn't stand it.
"You do not need to pretend to be alright, childe." The gypsy answered. "You only need to be strong... for his sake."
The words immediately cut through the thin barrier of impassivity she had put up, and her expression again displayed her feelings unmasked. "But how? How can I do that? What can I possibly do? What am I supposed to be strong about?" How am I supposed to make him... love me?
"Your feelings, childe. And your beliefs. You have to be true to yourself. You have to believe in him. And you have to believe me vhen I say he needs you. Besides, you have not heard about ze spiritual function of ze mind." The old woman smiled vaguely, though the smile had a reassuring quality to it. "You see ze mind acts az an overseer, eet perceives everyzing about ze ozer spiritual parts. You can even say eet recognizes problems and presents ze solutions. Alzough eet never acts eetself."
"So you're saying that..."
"You are not alone in zis, childe. His mind veel do vhatever eet can to help you. And if I am not mistaken." The gypsy's smile went a tad wider. "I zink his mind eez very persistent vhen eet needs to be."
A small weight seemed to lift from her heart. He's gonna... help me... The mere thought of Chrno helping her immediately gave her renewed hope, she had always felt she could accomplish virtually everything as long as he was with her. Maybe... it would be alright after all, maybe... she could make this go away, maybe...
Another thought interrupted her. "But... you said that a kiss in itself is not the cure."
"Zat eez correct." The gypsy almost seemed pleased that the largely inattentive nun had been listening.
"Don't I... need to know what the cure is then?"
"Vell, eez eet not obvious?" Again the old woman smiled. "You are, childe."
x x x x x x x x x x x x
x x x x x x x x x x x x
As the thoughts of the last parts of her conversation with the fortune teller replayed in her mind, Rosette suddenly felt very dumb and cowardly. She now truly felt she could could relate to the immense guilt Chrno had been carrying around after the death of Magdalene, and perhaps she would also want to hide in a murky tomb for decades if something similar happened because of her. But that did not change the fact that he had come out. He had come out for her. He had picked up his weapons again and been willing to fight, to help her find her brother. He had made a contract with her knowing that he would inevitably come to relive the most painful guilt of his existence once again.
And he had done it all... for her...
How could she allow her fear to control her, when there was a chance she could help him.
It was true. She might fail. And she felt almost positive, that she would not be able to live with the consequences of it.
But that's not a reason for not trying.
Her right hand was still gently stroking the now slightly tangled purple locks, and her left had found its way onto his neck. As she looked at him, lying in front of her, sick and helpless, every emotion she had for him somehow bloomed up inside her. The comfort of his vivid storytelling, when she was smaller, which had led her on fantastic voyages of imagination. The annoyance of his early-bird daily rhythm which often led to inventively pesky ways of getting her out of bed too, and her resulting sour moods in the morning. The security of his extreme protectiveness, which was both a reassuring haven to return to and a constricting prison, when he began acting like a parent, which was somewhat hilarious considering his less than adult form. The aggravation of his occasionally INCREDIBLE lack of simple human intuition – of course, she knew this was only natural, what with him technically not being human and all, nevertheless it still felt like it would end up killing her before the clock did. The distinctively cute appearance of his sealed form, with the dangerous undercurrent of what he really was, and the blatant attractiveness of his full form, which could heat up her blood just by thinking of it. The warmth of his concern and endless patience, which was readily made available to her whenever she felt she needed it the most.
And the love she held for it all... for all of him.
Unconsciously the fingers of her left hand had begun tracing small circular patterns along his jawline and neck, her right hand had moved between his head and pillow and was gently massaging the back of his scalp. Her cheeks had become a dark shade of pink and her head had lowered closer to his. Her breathing had become slightly more labored, and almost mimicked the sound of his. She let her eyes wander once more over his face before closing them and pressing her lips softly against his.
For the third time the nun kissed her demon, but this time it wasn't out of a fear of losing him.
Nor was it out of desperation for not wanting to commit the worst sin she could imagine.
Rosette kissed him... because she wanted to.
She kissed him because she wanted to feel the soft warm feeling of her lips brushing over his mouth and his skin.
I don't know what I'm supposed to do...
She kissed him because she wanted to make him feel better too.
I don't know how this is supposed to work...
She kissed him because she wanted to do nothing else at this very moment.
But I wont stop until it does...
She let her lips brush gently over his mouth, then to his cheek, past his jawline and down to his neck. Repeatedly her tongue found its way out to taste him, and join in the caressing ministrations, while her lips nibbled tenderly at the sensitive skin. Her left hand had now also begun to fondle his earlobe with an almost torturous softness. A low pleasurable sound escaped from the depths of his throat, and it made the teen smile a bit. Yeah... she knew he liked that, even in his sleep he liked it. She let her lips venture upwards via his chin and back to his mouth which was now slightly ajar, allowing her tongue to slide in under his lips and get a hint of the sweet taste from inside the cavern.
She began to feel more than a bit annoyed that this had to be done while he was asleep...
Time seemed to lose meaning, as her left hand continually traced back and forth the auricle of his ear, and her kiss became more hungry in nature. Again and again she tried to reach out with her thoughts to him, repeating his name over and over in her head along with two questions, that she somehow hoped he would hear.
Two questions, that barefacedly tried to express her inner self to him.
And then Rosette's world turned completely black...
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X X X X X X X X X X X X
The very instant the last word passed through Chrno's thoughts, he could sense the image of Magdalene fade out of his peripheral vision, and the apparition of the young exorcist in front of him immediately traveled the ten feet, which had been separating them the entire time, and put her arms around him.
He tried to hug her back, but only one of his arms responded, and very slowly at that too.
Why had he willingly let himself be blinded all this time?
His horns tingled with the foreboding warning of what was to come...
Even when he had finally decided to make up his mind once and for all, he had been hopelessly biased. He had done nothing but list every bad quality he could come up with about his beloved contractor, in an attempt to convince himself that Magdalene was the one he should be loving.
The tingling slowly increased in intensity...
But despite every flaw he could find with the hotheaded exorcist, who had become more important to him than his own redemption, he had found that none of them mattered. Or perhaps he loved her even more because of them, because he knew about all her quirks and peculiarities.
Now his horns were aching, a feeling which closely resembled the forceful stress they were put under just before they broke in Aion's grasp. Chrno gritted his teeth...
And for every flaw she had, he could easily come up with an admirable trait which outweighed the fault by far.
The burning pain immediately shot through his temples from the horns. Chrno's tortured soul was wracked with the throes of oblivion, and almost in immediate response to it, the vision of the exorcist tightened her embrace. Somehow it eased the scorching sensations within him ever so slightly, and he willed his thoughts to return to her.
Her courage and determination which could put most veterans of war to shame, her compassion which easily could surpass that of any saint, her unabashed honesty that could shake the foundation of any established order, the fact that she had accepted him so fully without any hint of the scorn he could feel from practically the whole of existence, knowing fully what he was and what he was doing to her...
And he could continue the list, if need be.
It was simply physically and emotionally impossible for him not to love her.
He only had one regret now...
She will... never know...
His horns now felt like two searingly hot torches shooting out of his temples. The surges of hellfire eating their way through him would long since have made him pass out, if this was his physical body. His mind pictured how the inside of his horns were ravaged with deep deafening tremors, as the outer barrier desperately tried to hold. He could feel it was in vain. There was nothing in him which could fight back anymore. Soon they would crack open, and then...
Is this... it...?
He could sense that he was nearing his own unmaking, he didn't know how far ahead it was but it was definitely approaching rapidly.
No hope... for me...
He forced his arm to grip the image of his contractor tighter. Even though it was an artificial feeling of embracing a figment of his own mind, it still resembled her.
But... I will... love you...
And if the illusion of holding Rosette was all that was left for him in this world, then that was exactly what he would do.
Until... I... cease... to...
And that was when he felt it...
It was so immensely subtle.
Just at the very edge of feeling.
Slight, tender, soft brushes of warm, wet nibbles and caresses grazed the outside skin of his face and neck, as gentle, loving touches traced the outline of his ear. It stood in complete contrast to the burning agony which consumed him from the inside of his horns, and the rest of his soul. It was as if he was mercilessly immersed neck deep in molten rock, while a soft drizzle from above steadfastly tried to douse the incinerating pain of his undoing.
Nothing made sense anymore, but through the blazing torment he could definitely feel that it was her. It was no trick, and he willed himself to delve into the faint solacing sensation of his contractor.
Suddenly the apparition he was holding disappeared and...
What was that?
Could it really be...?
It was so weak... so distant... so faint through the fiery blackness...
But it was also crystal clear. A gleaming, blessed scythe slashing through a dark veil of obscurity...
He was sure of it.
Water filled his eye.
But not because of the flaming torture.
Not because he was sad or hurt or because of any regret.
for the first time...
the first time in this so called dream...
he was not alone.
She was here.
She was actually here and...
She was speaking to him... through the endless burning void... she was... speaking to him.
The sound of the questions were hopelessly lost in the pain, but he didn't need to hear them. He could feel them. With every last bit of astral still contained within his soul, he could sense their intent and their meaning, and his response, the very last thing he would do in his existence, was immediate.
In that instant blackness turned bright blue, and a violently soothing sensation rushed into every part of the sinner. He had been cast into a roaring river of relief, and was now being helplessly swept away by an overpowering current of fervent compassion.
DA – A – A – A – AMN!
It was her!
He could feel her... her astral... inside of him. He knew her astral, because of the contract, he would without a doubt be able to discern it within seconds out of a trillion different types, but this... was beyond measure, beyond compare, beyond anything... and everything. This was not raw consumable sustenance, this was... her... her entire soul, and he could sense its purpose, its need, his every spiritual nerve was soaked through with her desperate desire to help and heal him. The sheer intimacy of the connection was truly indescribable. He could feel her, as she literally coursed through every edge, every crevice and every corner of his soul, on a very personal seek-and-destroy mission, hunting down every last bit of the wasting nothingness with a vengeance. He could envision the golden haired exorcist, with a gun in each hand, running recklessly into a group of demons, dodging claws and fangs with natural talent and exceptional skill, while repeatedly ventilating one monstrosity after the other with massive amounts of sacreds and gospels, and the large wickedly looking beasts were felled with blinding speed as the vengeful tsunami made each one of them supremely sorry for having ever been brought into this world. Shit... Rosette... You use... the same approach... for everything... don't you...? It was strangely reassuring, he knew her, and he knew how she would deal with everything that was thrown at her. Sure hope... you won't break... anything... The last thought was added more in amusement than actual concern, in reality he wasn't the least bit worried that she would. He had no idea how she had come to be here, or what she was actually doing to him, except that it was somehow protecting him, rescuing him from what he had believed to be inevitable.
Right now, Chrno felt truly safe, and he simply closed his eyes, letting himself become lost in the tranquility of a furiously uncontrolled thunderstorm. A thunderstorm, by the name of Rosette, which raged through him, mending and restoring his shredded soul.
x x x x x x x x x x x x
Everything is so dark in here...
The door opens and a bright light shines down on me, a blonde girl and blonde boy enters...
I didn't even catch which one of them spoke.
"I'm Chrno. I'm what you humans fear. I'm a demon." My answer should send them running away, I want to be left alone.
"AWESOME!! Are you really a demon?" The young boy has an exited expression in his eyes... strange.
"Are you hungry?" She hands me... cookies?
"I'm Joshua. Are you sure you're really a demon?"
"We're gonna be explorers."
"We're gonna travel around the world, to places where nobody has been before."
"The South Pole!"
"Can we go to the Astral Line?"
Wait... this is going too fast... what's going on...?
The girl grabs my arm. "Come we need to go!"
"Wait..." I try to get her to slow down but she pulls me through the bright light of the door.
We're running through the forest now, her pace is hectic, and I can barely keep up. Why...? I'm a demon, I should be much faster than this, why can't I keep up with a human girl? "Rosette, why are we running?"
Trees keep passing each side of us as we run even faster, this forest is endless...
She turns her head, her eyes are full of tears. "Chrno! We need to hurry! We've gotta find Joshua!"
Joshua... is missing? "Where is he?" I ask.
"I don't know..." She stops, and hides her face in her hands, sobbing hopelessly. I hold her, try to comfort her, and she looks up at me again. "Which way should we go?"
I really don't know, we're standing in the middle of a crossroad with four paths. I have to chose one I suppose.
"What is it Rosette?" I yell trying to mask my surprise at her outburst. She needs me to be strong and dependable.
"Chrno there's a spider, I hate spiders."
Hah... is that all...? Girls...
I turn towards the spider, it is extremely large, larger than both of my hands combined, possibly larger than my head too, it hangs in a long dark scarlet thread which dissappears up through the crown of a tree, and it has a human face.
"Come with us Rosette Christopher, we will take you to Joshua..."
She seems to believe them, and there are a lot of them in front of us now. They're chanting.
"Joshua needs you, come with us..."
She starts to approach them. This is gonna be over my dead body! I grab her and take off through the woods, she clings to me and I can feel that she's trembling. She's SCARED? You bastards are gonna PAY for doing this to her! More of the spiders drop down around us through the dense treetops, I simply keep running, they're not gonna take her away. She's MINE!
"Yes I am..."
Was that her whispering? No time to think about it. I crash out of the woods. Behind me I can see the large female face hovering over the treetops. Her black-red hair is long and straight, with each single string of hair ending in a spider with a human face. Yeah... I know you... puppeteer. You're dead...
The ground disappears underneath me. Mental note: Always look ahead when you're running.
I'm rolling down a steep incline. Must have run off the edge of a cliff. I'm still holding Rosette, and I wrap around her with my arms, legs and wings, forming into a protective shell so she won't get hurt. Why don't I fly...?
The pond of water we've landed in is presumably cold but it doesn't feel unpleasant. Or rather... the pond I'VE landed in. She's on dry land, pointing her index finger at me and laughing.
"Very funny Rosette, why'd you have to push me in the water? Now I'm all soaked!"
"Ahh c'mon don't be such a flat tire, besides the wet hair makes you look spiffy." The girl smiles with a disarming cuteness.
Alright, flattery is a weak point for me I guess, so I let it rest and go to sit next to her on the blanket we've brought with us. I'm still soaked though.
"Here let me get that for you, I'm gonna hang it here to dry," Before I can say anything she's already taken my red jacket and hung it over a low branch. My shirt is off too, exposing my upper body to the sun and the air.
"So, what about Joshua?" I ask, wasn't he missing... or gone... or something...
"Oh, he just went into the woods a minute ago, said he wanted to do some exploring on his own." She comes back to sit next to me.
"And you let him? Aren't you worried about his condition?" I have to ask, this is so unlike her.
"Well, he has been feeling pretty good lately, so I figured it was jake." Her voice betray a small uneasiness. Is this because she's feeling guilty for not looking out for him now? No, doesn't seem so. "And..." She blushes. "I kinda wanted to spend my time with you right now." Oh...
She looks at me still blushing slightly "Isn't this a nice spot Chrno? I found it yesterday, and thought it would be great for a picnic."
We're in a clearing of the woods, which is situated next to a steep hill. A small stream of water runs down the face of the hill, and splashes into the pond I just got out of. The sound of slowly falling water mixes with the singing of birds and the buzzing of insects. It's very picturesque.
"You're right," I say. "This is nice." I feel a bit tired so I lay down on the blanket, and close my eyes. "Very nice."
"You should get a little sleep," she answers, and I can hear her smiling. "I'll wake you up when I'm done preparing lunch, okay?"
"Yeah, that's fine," I mutter sleepily. Sleep... that will be nice too... the sound of running water is so... relaxing...
Suddenly I'm surprised by something else, a soft feeling of lips pushing gently against mine. I open my eyes...
She's... kissing me...?
Her little body is bend over mine, her eyes are closed, and her face is deeply flushed. Her mouth is pressed towards mine, in a shy, almost chaste manner. She's holding her breath too. I feel a tiny tug on my upper lip, which she has collected a bit of in between hers. She doesn't seem inclined to end the kiss anytime soon, so I decide to close my eyes again and pretend I'm still sleeping. She'll be really embarrassed if she finds out that I know about this, and I really don't want to be the cause of that.
Besides, if I made my consciousness known, she would stop immediately, and, even though I know that I shouldn't, I actually... kinda... like... this...
It's almost like... a nice... dream...
x x x x x x x x x x x x
x x x x x x x x x x x x
He was lying in the large bed in Satella's 'little' summer residence. The room was dark, only lit up by the faint moonlight shining through the balcony door.
And he felt... good...
He felt really good, he wasn't sweating, he wasn't cold, he wasn't tired, his body didn't ache all over, he felt completely... normal again... and it was possibly the best he'd ever felt in his entire life...
The fever, the exhaustion, the pain... was all gone, well save for that sore left arm of his. He let his gaze wander down to inspect the limb, and discovered his contractor half sitting half lying beside the bed. Her head rested on her left arm which in turn lay on the bed, her right hand was firmly locked around his arm, revealing the mundane cause of the slight discomfort. She was sleeping uneasily.
Chrno sat up, and, with a small smile, gently pried her hand off his arm. He didn't want to wake her up, she seemed exhausted somehow. When he moved her arm, it brought a reaction from her.
Her voice was coarse and it was tinged with an almost childish fear.
"Shhh..." He leaned closer, and gently brushed the golden tresses, letting her know he was there. "It's alright, I'm fine," he wispered. Because of you... I'm fine. She seemed to relax in her sleep.
She was tired, maybe he should carry her into the bed, but that would probably wake her up. And then she'll whack me over the head... He grinned inwardly. At least he could put the quilt of the bed over her so she wouldn't be cold without risk of dragging her out of her sleep. He would let her sleep a little longer.
He began to notice just how oppressive the atmosphere in the room was, there was an evident feel of stuffiness, and it had probably been a while since actual fresh air had been let into the room. He got out of bed, and went to open the balcony door, it was only slightly ajar when he felt the coldness of the night air. Instinctively he closed the door again. His pulse had quickened, and he could feel small trickles of sweat emerge on his forehead.
Dammit... get a grip... that fever wasn't... ordinary.
Still there was no point in challenging fate right away, so he might as well get dressed first. He went to get his trousers and jacket hanging from the edge of the bed. If he was human, he would probably be in dire need of a bath right now, due to all the dried up feverish sweat which would be covering his body.
Self-cleaning skin. One of the perks of being a demon. Of course it couldn't clean up everything, like if he should take a dive into a pool of mud, but for the most parts it worked wonders. He still bathed, but it was, like eating, mostly because he enjoyed it and not out of necessity, and of course...
He glanced over his shoulder at the sleeping nun.
Because she liked it better that way.
He once again opened the balcony door stepping out into the cool night air. The breeze of chill felt invigorating on the skin, and the sinner took in a deep breath of nighttime San Franciscan countryside, letting it out again slowly.
Man... If I have any say in this, I will NEVER get a fever again...
He noticed a tiny rustling sound behind him, along with a feel of surging astral.
His contractor was now waking up.
Rosette opened her eyes slowly...
Had she fallen asleep? She hadn't even noticed. And what was the quilt doing on top of her? She hadn't put it there. The last thing she recalled doing was bending in over Chrno, kissing, urging, pleading...
The familiar voice woke her up further, it came from outside. The teenage exorcist shifted her gaze towards the direction and was met with the crimson eyes of her partner, his long purple hair was silently flowing in the cool zephyr of a moonlit night, he was fully dressed and smiling at her...
"Sorry for all the trouble."
The quilt fell off. Her eyes widened. An unequivocal and spontaneous smile lit up her face.
It had worked! The kiss, the whole thing... it... had... WORKED!
Her smile changed becoming filled with playful mischievousness. "Chrno..." Her voice displayed the threat of imminent Rosettish doom.
You're gonna pay for making me go through all that...
"You damn idiot!" She exclaimed and leaped over the bed towards the surprised looking demon. Within a second she had closed the distance between them and brought her hand up for a solid left hook, which collided with the still startled demon's cheek sending him towards the floor of the balcony with flailing limbs. Without giving him any time to recover, she pulled him into a headlock. "How dare you put us through all this? Geez!" The sentence would have been scolding in nature, if not for the fact that Rosette couldn't hide her happiness. "It was SOO troublesome!" She began driving her left hand into the top of his head. "I thought you were gonna die!" Dear God, I really did... Tiny tears of pure joy formed at the edges of her eyes, the feel of him being healthy again, was something she simply could not get enough of. She had even exchanged her left hand with her elbow in the grinding of his mistreated scalp. The full realization of what this all meant widened her smile further, and she felt like laughing, crying, yelling, singing and dancing at the same time.
You love me...
You really love me...
The ruckus had woken up Satella and Azmaria, and from another balcony those very two were inconspicuously spying on the ecstatic nun and her apparently abused demon partner. Satella didn't know what she was supposed to believe about the bizarre couple, but Azmaria had spent enough time around them to notice that Rosette wasn't being as rough as a first glance could indicate. She recognized it for what it actually was: A sincere, albeit curious, Rosette trademark display of affection.
Chrno was sitting down still fairly bewildered, with his back against the wall of the mansion. Rosette had let go of his head and was standing triumphantly in front of him. Her breathing was labored, her hands were clenching and loosening expectantly, her expression was wildly radiant, and her eyes would outshine the sun had it been day. He smiled. His contractor was literally bubbling over with vibrant happiness, and clearly she had no clue whatsoever of how to put all that excess energy to any coherent use.
"So..." she said barely being able to control her own voice. "you yield?"
Ah, we're playing this now, he thought with a mental snicker, and a small breath of air escaped his lips.
"I yield..." came the resigned response.
He saw Rosette elatedly unfold her fists, and drop her battle ready guard. Her expression, while still beautifully enraptured, turned more calm and less competitive, and she seemed about to close the distance in between them. Alright... It's official now... I really DO have a death wish...
His exclamation was met with a loud 'Umphh', as the sinner crashed into the midsection of the completely unprepared sister. He had wrapped his arms around her waist, and the momentum of his attack had tripped her to the ground where she now lay sprawled before him.
"Why you LITTLE...!" Came her startled response. "Oh... you're SOO gonna pay now, I'm gonna make you sorry for... NOO... STOP... HA HA... STOP IT... YOU'REAAAH... STOOOP!"
Yup, Rosette was very ticklish.
From the other balcony, Azmaria watched wide-eyed as the tickling evolved into a full-fledged wrestling contest, with demon and nun, rolling around the floor struggling for supremacy.
"We should go back inside." Came the voice of the jewel witch from behind her. "We really shouldn't stand out here and spy on them, they deserve to have this moment to themselves."
Azmaria knew she was right, it wasn't very nice to be peeping into their privacy like this. She just loved seeing them both so happy, that she couldn't help but look. As they went back inside an amused smile crossed her lips. Rosette was 4 years older than her, and Chrno... well she didn't know if he even counted his age in years, or if he even counted at all. But right now, despite how old they actually were, they were both acting like children half her age. It made her giggle in delight.
Back outside the physical contest had apparently come to a standstill with Chrno sitting on the floor up against the side of the mansion again, and Rosette sitting astride his legs, having grabbed a hold of his wrists and pinning his arms against the wall above his head. They were both breathing heavier, although Rosette showed the most signs of exertion. He would be able to pick up the fight again, should he want to.
"So..." she said again "Now... do you yield?"
He didn't make a move to go at her again. Instead a little smirk crossed his face, making him look amazingly cute and inviting.
She could literally eat him raw.
"Depends..." he said.
Magdalene... her thoughts were a bit wicked and she knew them to be wrong, but she honestly couldn't care less.
"What... I am supposed to yield to..." his smirk widened a bit.
He's mine now...
"This..." her response was slightly breathless as she moved her head closer to his.
So BACK! OFF!
In that instant demon and nun met each others lips in a heated and very needy kiss. Arms were instantly wrapped around each other's waist, back and head, legs intertwined, fingers gripped frantically, and the two almost crashed down onto the cold stone floor.
But nothing felt cold to them at this moment.
The breath had nearly been pushed out of Rosette's lungs when her partner had encircled her in his arms. The arms, which now slid under her blouse, in order to get closer to caressing the actual skin underneath her nightgown. The arms, which she knew for a fact possessed the strength of several adult humans, and that was just in his sealed form.
The kiss deepened to a slower, increasingly passionate pace, and she slid out her tongue further, to taste the inside of his mouth, letting it engage in a whole different and far more luscious wrestling match. Through the restrictive layers of clothing separating them, she felt the beating of his heart so forcefully, that it seemed it was almost trying to speak to her.
And so fragile...
Her hand gripped the hair at the back of his head more tightly. Despite all his strength, he was still so vulnerable. As his kiss sent flashes of heat through her, and his dexterous hands traveling over her back, sides, waist and thighs made her breathe out muffled moans of pleasure, she felt the need to protect him arise within her again. He had been protecting her for so long, and she had relied on his strength and warmth when everything had seemed the most hopeless. But she wanted to be more to him than a damsel in need of rescue, if he was her savior, her champion, then she would be his as well. She would defend him. With her body, her heart, and her soul, she would shield him from anyone who sought to do him harm.
Even from yourself...
Chrno could sense the astral embrace his contractor sought to envelop him in, and he almost felt ashamed of himself, ashamed that he had been lying to her for so long, lying to himself, lying even to Magdalene. He had been holding back, though not in body. The alluring shape of Rosette's bodily curves and the softness of her skin he was now feeling through his fingers... the sweetness of her scent he was now breathing... the bewitchment he was put under by the sounds she was now making, sounds urging and pleading for more... the seductiveness of her touch, she was now using to send wave upon wave of rushing bliss through his entire system... all of it had made it impossible for him to restrain his body, it needed her so badly that he couldn't even comprehend how he had ever functioned without her.
But he had been holding back in spirit. The subtleties, which were behind everything. The intent. The feelings. The compassion in her caresses, which seemed to want nothing more than make him feel better... the tenderness in her kiss, telling him that she wasn't just acting out of selfish lust... the aura of astral, he now literally felt brushing ever so slightly against his soul, seemingly ready to do whatever it takes to defend him...
This was where he had been holding back, this was where he had denied her entrance. But... No more. Never again. She had saved him, on so many levels, and he was not going to let any amount of guilt prevent him from allowing her to, or to respond in kind. He would be there for her, in every way possible and impossible, without reservation or hesitation. He would be there for her as long as she needed him.
He wholeheartedly hoped she would need him for a very long time...
Slowly, the kiss was broken, and two pairs of eyes were reopened to stare directly into each other, before beginning to wander over the features of a face which was only inches away.
Rosette managed to make a mental note that she should seek out the gypsy and thank her, but she got the peculiar feeling that the fortune teller would not be there tomorrow, nor would she meet her again, unless the old woman wanted it to happen. Well... at least she would remember to give thanks in prayer, that she had met the crazy old bag...
As her eyes skimmed over his features, starting at the long purple hair, past the pointed elfin ears, to his soft and inviting mouth, which was also dangerously forbidding, being the home of wickedly sharp canines, over his extremely cute nose, and ending at the everburning haven that was his eyes, she almost couldn't believe it. How close she had come to actually losing him, how wrong everything had been, and how right everything was now.
"Rosette..." the demon broke the silence.
The exorcist lowered her gaze as a deep blush rose to her cheeks. It was funny, those two little words made her feel so warm inside, much warmer than she would have thought such a simple sentence could. Really, there was nothing he should thank her for, she had just done... well in fact she really didn't know what she had done, or how she had done it, except it had worked. She raised her gaze to meet his once again, and her eyes widened a bit while her blush deepened even further if that was at all possible. His expression... his words... he wasn't... just thanking her for that... he was thanking her... for everything! She could feel it emanating like a low hum from deep within the core of him. He was actually... truly... grateful... for her. The pristine sensation of being so wanted... so needed... was purely overwhelming. She closed her eyes, and pulled him closer, basking tremblingly in the intense heat of his feelings, letting his face encounter her neck, while burying her own in his hair. Anytime... Chrno...
The nun felt her partners hands begin to move playfully across her back and waist underneath her blouse again, with the intent to remove the restraining piece of cloth. His lips and tongue renewed their assault on the bare skin of her neck and jaw, sending small missiles of fiery pleasure through her. His fingers were slowly playing their way up along each side of her, in an electrifying series of caresses which traveled towards her chest. When his hands reached and began to slowly fondle their highly sensitive destination,a small gasp escaped her lips... and then they formed a smile. He obviously couldn't contain himself... and neither could she. She deftly undid a few buttons of his shirt, providing an opening into where his bare torso was hid, which her left hand slid through. Her right hand gripped and pulled his hair forcing his head to tilt backwards. Not with a yank, but not entirely gentle either. Quickly, she again let her gaze skim over his face before covering his mouth with her own. Being allowed instant entrance, she ravenously began to drink of the nectar from within, while feeling him respond, with an animalistic hunger of his own, a hunger for what she had to offer him. She got the magically uncanny impression that she was actually breathing life into him this way. Not through some cold metal mechanical device, but on a whole different level.
No... she was definitely not a part of his pain.
She was his cure.
X X X X X X X X X X X X
X X X X X X X X X X X X
The fire was almost out, and the old fortune teller had gone over to tend to it.
Rosette knew that no more needed to be said, there was no more she needed to know, and she didn't think she could handle any more anyway. The empty cup in front of her was signaling that she should be going, but she couldn't get her legs to respond.
"Ze fire eez almost out," the old woman said apparently to no one in particular. "I veel have to fuel and tend eet." Walking towards the table again she picked up the drawing and her pointing stick which she broke in half. "Such a fire should not go out." She turned towards the young sister. "Tonight veel be a cold night vizout eet to keep von varm."
Alright, ALRIGHT... I get it... the sister gathered her strength, which seemed to have become nothing more than a drop of what used to be an ocean, and stood up with her legs buckling slightly underneath her. She had to force herself to walk towards the exit of the tent.
Just as she was about to say goodbye to the old woman, the gypsy started speaking again.
"Before you go, zere eez von last advice I veel give you."
Rosette looked at the small hunched woman tossing the stick and paper into the little fire. She was easily a full head taller than the gypsy, and Rosette wasn't exactly among the tallest people in this world to put things mildly.
"I said zat ze kiss vas like ze needle containing an antidote."
"You did, I know."
"Vell, vee all know zat a blunt needle veel not be able to pierce ze skin." The woman gave a smile.
"Uhhh..." the nun blushed a bit. "What do you mean by that...?"
"Oh... stop acting all innocent vit me, childe," the gypsy retorted. "You know perfectly vell vhat I mean."
Ok, she did, she just needed to make sure. Anyway, she hadn't been planning on giving him a quick buss on the cheek anyway. She couldn't help but smile a bit. Looking up again, she saw the gypsy rummaging through some trash mumbling something about 'firevood', and a thought crossed her mind.
The old woman turned around again. "Yes?"
Rosette felt quite dumb for wanting to ask this, but she just couldn't get the thought out of her head now. "This is probably gonna sound weird, but..." Damn this is such a stupid question.
The gypsy approached her looking very expectant of this question, that the sister was about to ask her.
Alright, here goes... "I was wondering, just exactly who are you? I mean it's just that you know all these things that no one else does, and you tell about them so casually, and it's not that I don't believe you 'cause I do, but it's just... it just seems very strange to me that you know all this... that's all..."
The old woman smiled her reassuring smile once more. "Vell, I had believed eet vas obvious." She gave the nun an intense stare underlining her words.
"I am simply an old von who does not mind helping a young childe from time to time."
Her tone shifted to a more casual one like she was reading a resume. "And zen I can tell a bit about ze future, I know a zing or two about demons, and I make a very nice cup of tea, don't you zink?" At the last sentence she poked the sister in her side and smiled.
Rosette shook her head lightly in resignation, she probably wouldn't get any more out of her on that subject. "You're pretty strange," she said. "Strange... but nice..."
The gypsy smiled even more at this comment, an inviting and approving smile. "I like you too, childe." She reached up and put a hand on the sisters shoulder, and spoke with an encouragingly urgent tone in her voice.
"Now, go to your demon. He needs you."
"Yeah..." With that Rosette spun around on her heels and leaped out the tent with a renewed sense of purpose, running back towards where the car was. If she could just remember where they were parked...
The gypsy glanced a short while after the girl-in-a-bag who quickly disappeared from her view, before going back to look for the firewood. Before long she found several branches which were adequate for the task, broke them into smaller pieces, and used them to make the small fire spring back to life. As the flames increased in size, and no longer were in danger of extinguishing, she let out a small sigh.
"I veel vatch over you, my young childe. And over ze Von Million Killer zat you love."
Awww... isn't Rosette just the happy little nun right now, not only did she manage to save Chrno, but she finds out that he loves her as well, major fluff all around if I'm not mistaken. Unfortunately we know that Dufou, who really needs to learn about the word timing, is on his way to break up the happy party, and get the actual storyline of CC back in action.
Anyway, the idea which wasn't my own, is from Chrno's dream sequence (that is where he actually IS dreaming) where Rosette as a twelve year old kisses him while thinking he's asleep. It doesn't play an enormous part here, but it inspired me to write the scene and thus I wanted to have it in there. Since it was an idea I took directly from another story I felt I should give credit.
Basically my motivation for this whole fic was to increase the significance of the disease curing kiss beyond 'you have to kiss him... on the MOUTH!', and as always comments, critique, and general opinions about the story and how well it succeeded in its intent are as always most welcome. But before we leave off, how about a few words from the cast itself and their views on the whole deal:
Rosette: That was pretty rough.
Chrno: Yeah, though I think I got the rougher deal.
Rosette: Oh really? How hard could it have been? You were just lying down the whole time anyway.
Chrno: WHAT? You mean you didn't even pay attention? I was in a pretty hefty amount of pain back there.
Rosette: Can't really say I did, so what was so hard on you?
Chrno: Well, basically you can take whatever, the Sahara desert or the rain forest, or something similar has felt for a fair amount of years and then condense it into something lasting a couple of minutes. I was practically being WIPED OUT! I can't believe you didn't even NOTICE!
Rosette: Alright, alright... geez... you win... But you know... just because you experienced some sort of major agricultural agony, doesn't mean that I didn't have a tough time either. I was crying more of my heart out than I'd ever done before in my life believing myself to be more wicked, cruel and depraved than frickin' Pandemonium herself!
Chrno: (smirking) Well...
Rosette: Oh don't you even as much as THINK of finishing that sentence!
Chrno (making the 'wasn't me' expression) What? I was just about to agree with you, that you had it rough too.
Rosette: Yeah right. Besides this whole thing was all your fault anyway.
Chrno: (eyes widening to saucer-size) WHAT? How can you possibly make this into being MY fault now?
Rosette: Well, if you would have just gotten your act together sooner, and started loving me when you were supposed to, then NONE of this would have ever happened. But you just HAD to make it into a big drama didn't you?
Chrno: I can't believe this... You think I WANTED it? And speaking of loving you, let me tell you, that you're not making it very easy right now.
Rosette: Oh yeah? Well, for your information, I can easily make it a lot harder.
Chrno: Hah, that'd be a feat even for you...
Satella: Will you two SHUT UP FOR ONE BLOODY SECOND!
Rosette: Oh joy, look who's here.
Satella: No seriously, it's bad enough that I'm supposed to fight with Rosette through this entire story, but the fact that you just keep squabbling after it's over is giving me a GOD DAMN HEADACHE!
Rosette: Gosh, we're terribly sorry your majesty, God forbid that you should feel the slightest bit of discomfort at all.
Satella: Hey! I'm rich! I'm used to buying myself out of discomfort, but you two... I just can't deal with you two.
Chrno: I'm having a fair bit of trouble here myself.
Rosette: (angry) Oh, shut up Chrno.
Satella: See... there you go again, you're acting like you've been married for far longer than what any doctor would deem healthy for either of you.
Chrno: Heh... it sure feels that way... now that you're saying it...
Rosette: (angrier) Didn't I just say SHUT UP!
Chrno: (shrugging) I heard you... I just... didn't.
Rosette: And what's this deal about being married anyway. Marriage isn't supposed to be bad, why the hell do you think people do it anyway?
Chrno: (smirking again) Sure... Who wouldn't want to be married to a stubborn, violent, addle-brained...
Rosette: (whipping out her guns) THAT'S IT you little jerk!
Chrno: Is that the time already...? I think I need to go now. (begins to run)
Rosette: KEEP STILL! So I can hit you!
Rosette's left gun: BLAM BLAM
Rosette's right gun: BANG BANG
Chrno: YOU WISH!
Satella: (meekly) My head...
Oh my, oh my... definitely not as pink and fluffy as one might have thought... Hmm, maybe the old saying has to be modified to 'quarrelingly ever after'.
On another note, this was originally supposed to be a one-time thing for me, but as fate would have it, I ended up getting more ideas for stories as I was writing this one, so I guess you haven't seen the last of me just yet.
And credit goes out to my brother, who I've forced into being my proofreader, even though he's never seen the CC series, but since it was him who first got me into watching anime series in general, I feel it's a well deserved punishment for giving me another addiction in my life.
Lastly... thank you for reading my story, and since it's the last chapter, it's also the last chance to drop a review, so please do so and let me know what you think about how it panned out (all the cool kids are doing it you know).