Early evening in Paris was lovely. This was when the city truly came alive, as far as she was concerned. Yeah, it was pretty during the day, but it always seemed just a little cold and too formal for her liking. At night though... Lights everywhere. Warm lights that were man made but added a magic to the city that was undeniable. The lights on the Eiffel Tower turned in from cold metal to something almost out of a faerie tale. Lights along the walk ways, over the bridges. Lights in the buildings that used to be grand palaces and were now used as condominiums and apartments. People came out at night. They laughed and danced and ate. They loved life and were open of it at night in Paris.
Rosette breathed in deeply of the scents around her, closing her eyes as she leaned against the stone railing of the bridge over the Seine River that cut through this beautiful city. She stared down at the dark waters that became a mirror for the lights she loved at night, smiling as she caught the palest trace of her face staring back at her. Here, in this city so in love with life, she could almost forget about nearly leaving this world for a second time. She was just starting to put it behind her, and it had been a really rough road to get to this point. Especially after those first couple weeks, when she kept waking up with the nightmares that it was happening all over again.
But then, Chrono would wake up and encourage her with sleepy words and soft kisses to lie back down. She would fall asleep again with him stroking her hair and reassuring her that he was there, and that she wasn't dying again. Now, nearly a month after it had happened, she could actually believe him. It was his life force, the one that allowed him to live for centuries at a time, that had pulled her back from that darkness. Their wedding, contrived by their enemies to bring about the destruction of the world, was ultimately what had saved her from the fatal gunshot wound. The wound had stopped her heart just long enough for her soul to start to leave. Chrono's power then willed it to beat again, thus drawing her soul back into her body.
Rosette shivered and closed her eyes as those awful thoughts of dying swam over her again. She'd died once, and nearly died a second time. She hadn't been too thrilled at the idea of sharing immortality with Chrono before, but now... If it was selfish of her not to want to die again, then she was a very selfish cookie. Besides, with all the time that had been stolen from them, it was about damned time they got some of it back, right? It was nice to be able to take her time for a change. She didn't have to rush to do something now because she wasn't sure if she'd ever get a chance again. She could explore things she'd never thought to. And, most importantly to her, she could now have all the time she wanted to spend with Chrono.
And speaking of the Devil... She smiled down at him as he handed her a coffee beverage, one loaded with chocolate and whipped cream... and a tiny yellow daisy stuck in the whipped cream. Just as she liked it. She plucked the flower from the cream, wiping the little bit of stem still remain clean with her fingers before tucking it into one of the braids hanging over her shoulders. "You know, if you keep acting this nice I'm gonna start to wonder what you did wrong," she teased.
Chrono chuckled, a faint pink tinting his cheeks. "So, I can't give you flowers or get you coffee?" he teased back, his crimson eyes glittering happily.
"I never said that! Just... don't guys normally do stuff like that if they've done something wrong?"
"Where the heck are you getting that from?"
Rosette shrugged, sticking her straw in and sucking down the first mouthful greedily. she smiled around the straw when she felt his fingertips brushing with hers on the bridge railing. "Oh, you know, the usual places," she commented breezily.
"Which are...?" he prompted, arching one dark brow as a wicked little smile quirked his lips.
"TV... books...those gossip magazines..."
He groaned, covering his eyes with one hand. "You've been reading Cosmopolitan again, haven't you? Rosette..."
"Hey, I can't help it if it's the only magazine I can read here! You picked Paris, so you have to deal with Cosmo. Besides, it's not all that bad a magazine anyway." She took another sip of her drink, casting a coy look in his direction.
Chrono's smile faded into a dubious little frown. "Name one thing about it that'll keep it from going in the garbage can tonight," he demanded, crossing his arms over his chest.
Shooting him a flirty smile, Rosette licked her tongue through the whipped cream, delighting as his eyes lowered to watch, sparking with something much darker and more heated than joy. "That thing."
"That thing we did last night."
He blinked, eyes widening before his cheeks turned nearly as red as his t-shirt. "Oh... That came from Cosmo?"
"Mm-hmm. So, maybe you should stop griping about my magazines."
Chrono shook his head, blinking a couple times before leaning against the railing with her and staring at their reflections in the water. "Wow. Um... sorry?"
Rosette grinned before leaning on closer to him. He obligingly fit an arm around her waist, his lips touching her cheek gently. This was what she loved the most now. Just being with him and knowing that time was all theirs now. They were free from everything but each other really. Then again... they never had been from the start. She shivered when he took her hand that wasn't holding coffee and brought it to his lips, placing little nipping kisses across her fingertips. His eyes watched hers the entire time, that familiar little spark of love showing clearly through the ruby coloring. Rosette's breath was caught in her throat as the small action sent thrills through her spine and set the butterflies free in her stomach. She had all the time in the world for him to do exactly this.
"So, I was thinking... maybe we should elave Paris tomorrow," she said, surprised her voice was working at all as he pressed his cheek to her palm, covering her fingers with his own as his kisses moved down to her wrist. If he continued doing that, she'd be lucky if she could think at all!
"Wherever you want to go, Rosette. We've got the time to do it now. But... can we spend one more day here first? You've barely seen half of what this city has, and it's not like we need to rush off any time soon."
It was a combination of the adoration for her on his face as well as the fact that he was right, she didn't need to rush around anymore, that made her smile and shrug. "Eh, why not? I've got another issue of Cosmo to go through anyway."
Chrono's eyes flared up at the mention of the magazine, which made her grin widen and a snicker break free. "You know... we could always just take these back to the hotel room."
"You mean the room you felt bad about charging to that card-thingie I still had in my pocket?" she joked. He'd been beyond horrified when she'd suggested charging all their needs to Asmodius' banking card. It wasn't like he was going to use it any time soon, and besides that, after all the crap he put them through, he had it coming to him.
"Yeah, that room. The one that's unnecessarily expensive."
"Is not! Nothing's too expensive for my Pooky-bear."
"We don't need two hot tubs, and that's the most horrible nickname ever!"
Rosette began to back away from him, her smile turning sly as she said, "Waddle-bunnikins."
Chrono groaned, dropping his head to the railing. "I take what I said back. THAT'S the worst one to date!"
"Aw, it's not so bad, Shnookie-poo." She jumped back when he turned to her, fighting the smile that was trying to break across his face.
"I'm warning you, Rosette," he mocke threatened.
"Biddly-diddle-kins." She shrieked when he dove at her, grabbing her wrists and pulling her firmly into his arms. Another peal of laughter tore from her when his fingers found her one and only ticklish spot... a two inch spot on her lower back that could send her into convulsive fits.
"Take that back," he demanded, laughing as she squirmed and tried to get away.
Barely able to draw a breath that didn't hiccup out of her, she sniffled as the tears continued to stream down her cheeks. "Okay, okay! I give! Jeeze, are you evil!"
Chrono loosened his grip just enough for her to turn and face him, still giggling a little in between hiccups. Those giggles faded when he angled her down that slight half inch needed for him to kiss her properly. Slowly, she relaxed further into the kiss, one of her arms circling his shoulders as she tilted her head just a little more for a better angle. They broke apart, foreheads still pressed together and arms still wrapped around each other.
"Are you ready to go?" he whispered, brushing yet another kiss very lightly along her lips.
Rosette nodded, taking his hand as they walked down the busy streets back to their hotel room. Despite all the awfulness they'd endured to get to this moment, it was worth it a thousand times over in her book. She was happy, more happy than any time in her life that she could remember to this point. Yeah, there were things they still needed to sort out, people they should probably touch base with.
But really, what was the rush when you had eternity to live it?
In a hospital in Chicago, a young nurse was checking the vitals on a young man, a John Doe, who had been brought to the hospital nearly a month ago. No family or friends had come to claim him, and he'd been found comatose without identification near the burning remains of one of the oldest churches in the city. Because of the Right To Life activists outside protesting, the government wasn't about to remove any of the life support equipment they had on him. It was an election year, and the Right To Lifers held a powerful sway over the officials.
Sighing, she brushed the pale blonde hair from the boys face and shook her head. "Such a pity no one's here to claim a handsome boy like yourself," she murmured. "And about the same age as my son, too. So sad." She hung the clipboard on the foot of the bed, flicked off the lights and left the room for the next one.
If she would have stuck around, she would have noticed someone coming into this room, dressed in a long white cashmere coat against the city's chill air and with glasses that caught the light and reflected them away from his silvery eyes. She would have seen him smile faintly at the sight of the comatose boy before approaching the bed on feet that barely made a sound.
The man leaned over, pressing his lips nearly against the boy's ear. "Hello, Joshua," he breathed out, his voice like listening to a soothing melody carried on a gentle spring breeze.
Blue eyes snapped open at the whisper, wide and staring in shock at the ceiling. The heart monitor documented the change in beat from slow and steady to rapid and erratic in the space of two seconds.
If the nurse would have been there, she would have seen the boy rise from his hospital bed and take the hand of this stranger before the stranger ran for the window, carrying the boy in his arms, and went crashing through the pane of glass into the darkened Chicago sky.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Wow. The End. I can't believe it. Does anyone care if I cry?
First of all, thank you to everyone who's stuck with me and the long absence in updates. To everyone who read and reviewed, you need to give yourself extra hugs for me. Thank you for the reviews, both the ones praising and the ones offering constructive criticism. I do appreciate having the area pinpointed that need work.
Second, I know it's kinda set up for a sequel. I'm debating about doing just that, but I have to wait for the right plot bunny to come hopping along. For now, just be glad they got their happy ending at LAST. Friggin hell... If ever a couple were to deserve it, it would be these two.
Thirdly and lastly before I say goodnight, I want to mention that I WILL be going through to correct the mistakes made now that the story is written. I tried very hard to keep things as accurate as possible but... My excuse with the bad French is that I haven't actually spoken the language in almost 8 years. To say I'm rusty is an understatement.
Now, a few quick things about the research done for this. Any guns mentioned by name (like M-15 and such) are real guns, but they're military grade and cannot be purchased at ALL. Not that I tried, but I don't want people thinking I'm dropping gun names around because I condone them. I don't, it was just appropriate for the characters and the story. All other weapons are ones I created.
The only three of the Seven Sinners who retained their names as stated in Biblical text are Mammon, Leviathan and Belphagor. Everyone else got make-overs to fit their sex or their description. Artistic licence is the reason for this. Any other demons or devils mentioned are listed in Biblical text though. I think doing the research on devils and demons was perhaps my least favorite part. It was just damned creepy.
Chicago really does have the most churches out of any city in the United States. They do NOT however form a pentagram or anything like that. Pure fiction is what that is.
The description of the Catacombs was taken from my photos I took when I visited Paris. I love that city, which is why it got used for the last bit here. Anything that has to do with the city is pretty much spot on. Except the language, which was discussed earlier.
I know the characters follow the anime ones more closely than the manga, but I did try very hard to incorporate elements from both in here. Rosette was the biggest pain in the ass to merge, but... eh.
Thanks again, everyone, for all the reviews and for enjoying this.