A/N: Okay, this is the last chapter of this story. I'm not writing any more, because I like it right now. If you didn't think it needed another chapter, pretend that this one isn't up and turn back now. If you did think it needed another chapter, read on and enjoy!
Disclaimer: I don't own anything, except my webcomic, Twisted, but that's in a completely different category... (If you want to read it, go to my account page and click the "Homepage" button! It really is a cool website!)
When he awoke, light was shining into the cave. Was last night all a dream? He wondered, shifting groggily. He felt pressure against his back, and Rosette's familiar smell enchanted him for a few moments, sending him into a trance. He froze, content to spend the rest of his life in her arms.
"Chrono?" Rosette asked softly, "You awake?"
"Yeah," he replied, knowing that pretending to be asleep would just frustrate her. He sat up, thinking that the arm that had been underneath his head must have gone numb by now. He was right, as Rosette retracted it, massaging her wrist with her left thumb to bring back the feeling in her arm. Chrono gave her a slight smile before glancing around the cave, "Looks like the fire went out."
Rosette nodded, looking at the pile of black, burnt wood sitting where the once merry fire had been. Her eyes drifted outside, towards the morning light, "It has to be around ten, at least. I'll bet we could make it back to the village in time for the Christmas lunch, if we hurry."
Chrono frowned slightly. He didn't want to leave the cave, to go back to a crowded town and participate in a holiday that he had no right to celebrate. He would much rather spend Christmas here, with the young woman to whom he had dedicated his life to protecting. He cared about her much more than some holiday.
Rosette stood up, shivering slightly in the morning chill. She walked over to the edge of the cave and frowned, "Looks like we won't be going anywhere…"
"Huh? Why?" Chrono asked, confused. He walked over to where she was peering towards the ground with disappointment.
"That snow has to be at least five feet deep," she remarked, letting out a slow whistle. Chrono nodded in agreement. They might have been able to fight their way through it when it was knee high, but if it was up to their heads there was no point in even trying. The devil glanced at his contractor, who looked a bit upset over this whole ordeal. He felt a pang of guilt for even thinking that it would be better to spend Christmas with just the two of them.
"Looks like we won't be getting back for Christmas lunch…" she murmured thoughtfully, her cerulean eyes downcast.
"Sorry, Rosette," Chrono said to the girl. She flashed him a reassuring grin.
"It's no big deal, Chrono. We have enough resources to last for at least three days here, so I'm not worried about food or anything. And you did bring a lot of firewood last night, so we don't have to worry about looking for more anytime soon," she assured him.
Chrono raised an eyebrow, "That's not what I meant. I know how much you wanted to spend Christmas at the monastery, back in New York City. I'm sorry that, because I convinced you to come on this mission, you won't get a chance to do that this year." Or ever… Chrono concluded in his mind, knowing very well that Rosette may not live to see another Christmas.
Rosette could see how badly Chrono felt about this, so she gave him a reassuring smile, "Don't worry about it. We'll have a fun Christmas here. We may not get to have a big feast, but Sister Kate always said, 'It doesn't matter what you're doing. All that matters is who you're with'. Remember that? It applies here, too."
"And besides, who would want to spend Christmas around a bunch of people who give us angry glances at the thought of a devil celebrating it?! Not me, that's for sure," Rosette folded her arms and walked back into the depths of the cave. Chrono sighed.
"I know that you have to put up with that every year, Rosette. I'm sorry about that too," he glanced away, "I don't have to celebrate Christmas, if you don't want me to."
Rosette punched him playfully on the arm, "Don't be stupid, Chrono. You're my best friend, and there's no one I'd rather spend it with!" she grinned, "So stop feeling sorry about our situation and start a new fire! I have hot chocolate packets that have our names written all over them!"
She began digging through the bags on the floor, searching for the instant hot chocolate packets. (A/N: I don't know if they had those in the 1920s, but in this story, they do.) Chrono smiled, picking up the matchbox he had discarded the previous night and arranging the extra wood pieces in the corner to start a fire.
Thank you, God, for allowing me to spend time with Rosette. She truly is an amazing and compassionate person, Chrono thought, glancing up at the girl, who was currently trying to stuff all the junk back into their bags. He grinned and threw the lit match into the pile of wood, blowing on it slightly to start the fire. It caught immediately, and within a few minutes, a medium sized fire was occupying the depths of the cave.
By this time, Rosette had finished stuffing their things back into the bags. She beamed as she studied the packets. Chrono chuckled and stared into the depths of the fire, warming his fingers. Suddenly his ear twitched, and his arm shot up to catch an object that was flying towards his head.
"A pot?" he asked, looking up from the fire at the item that had almost knocked him out.
Rosette nodded, "We need hot water for hot chocolate, so you're in charge of finding some!"
Chrono frowned and stood up warily, "Fine," he submitted, walking towards the edge of the cave. Rosette scooted towards the fire.
"See you soon!" she waved and rubbed her fingers together. Chrono nodded and put the pot handle in his mouth as he began his descend down the mountain. Once at the bottom, he was instantly lost in the pile of snow.
"Good thing Rosette didn't decide to walk through this…" he mumbled, shivering as the snow instantly soaked through his dry clothes. He practically swam through the wet fluff, finding an untouched spot. He filled the pot up with snow before climbing back onto the mountain. From there he put the pot in his mouth again, which wasn't as easy as before being as there was snow in it now, and climbed back to the cave.
As soon as he got back, Rosette looked up and frowned, "What'd you do, go swimming?" she asked sarcastically. Chrono shrugged and took the pot over to the fire, setting it on top of the metal rack that Rosette had put over the flickering heat.
"Pretty much," he said, trying to keep his teeth from chattering as he stripped of his red overcoat and sat down beside the fire, warming his frozen fingers.
Rosette watched him for a moment before taking one of the blankets and throwing it over his shoulders. Then she moved behind him and pulled his long braid of deep purple hair out from underneath it. Silently she undid the wet ribbon and combed through it with her fingers, ringing it out onto the cave floor. Chrono sat still, shivering slightly as the wet clothes began to get to him. Rosette grabbed a brush from her bag and returned to the spot behind him, chuckling.
"We can't have you catching a cold, now can we?" she asked, running the brush through his thick hair. Even though it was so long, the brush ran through it like a knife through butter, and wet droplets clung to the brush and her hand. She ignored it, humming softly as she continued her ritual.
Chrono was silent, afraid that if he said something, the girl would move away. He enjoyed being close to her, but he would never tell her that. She finally finished brushing his hair. Then she grouped the locks into three thick strands, weaving them in and out until she reached the bottom. By this time, the bright yellow ribbon was almost dry, so she took it and tied it into a bow at the bottom of the braid.
"There," she remarked, beaming as she moved beside him to reheat herself. He smiled.
"Thanks, Rosette," he said, finally starting to feel warmer now that the blanket was getting hot from the fire.
"No problem," Rosette turned her attention towards the now boiling water over the fire, "I think we're supposed to add the packets in and stir, right?"
Chrono frowned, "I've never had instant hot chocolate before. How should I know?"
Rosette blinked, "Why, you're supposed to know everything, Chrono!" she said with false innocence.
"Yeah right," Chrono scoffed. If I knew everything, I'd have figured out a way to get the years you've lost back.
Rosette laughed at his tone, "Well, I'm pretty sure that's what you do."
Chrono watched as she added the two packets into the water, stirring for a moment before taking the pot off the fire. She pulled out the two plastic mugs that she had set aside earlier and filled them carefully with the brown liquid.
"Here," she handed him one of the mugs before sipping her own. Chrono was reluctant to leave the warmth of the blanket, but he complied, taking the cup in his hands and relishing in the heat that warmed his frozen fingers.
"Thanks," he took a sip, enjoying the feeling of the sweet drink running through his veins, getting to every spot in his body and taking temporary heat with it. Then the feeling died down, and Chrono took another sip in order to restore it. Rosette stared into the fire, smiling softly. Chrono glanced at her, "What're you smiling about?"
Rosette shrugged, "Well, earlier I was all upset because we'd have to spend Christmas here, but…" she grinned, "I kind of like this better. I mean, there's no one around to bother us, we're snowed inside a cave in the middle of a forest that we're hopelessly lost in, and we have to use our resources to keep warm and stuff. It's pretty neat, when you think about it."
Chrono nodded in agreement, "I know what you mean. Haven't you always watned to go camping, Rosette?"
She brightened, "Yeah, I have! Joshua and I would always fantatize about how we'd go exploring, and then have to camp in the woods to survive for the days between stops."
Rosette fell silent as her thoughts drifted back to Joshua. Chrono frowned, "You know, he wouldn't want you to dwell on the past. He'd want you to be happy in whatever path you chose. That's just the way he is."
"I know…" Rosette sighed, "But I wish there was something more I could have done…"
"There wasn't," Chrono said firmly, "But the past is called that for a reason. It's behind us. You know what's ahead?"
"Right!" Chrono grinned, showing a small fang, "You do have a brain!"
Rosette narrowed her eyes, "What was that, Chrono dear?" she said, her eyebrow twitching. Chrono held up his hands in defense.
"Never mind, never mind!" he said quickly, laughing. Rosette glared at him for a moment more before taking a sip of her hot chocolate.
"We should probably call headquarters…" she murmured. Chrono gulped.
"You can call. Sister Kate would skin me alive for letting us get into this predicament," he shuddered at the thought, "She's quite violent, for a nun."
"I'm a nun, you know," Rosette pointed out.
Chrono rubbed the back of his neck, "Yeah, but you're not a nun in my mind," he grew red as that sentence played over in his head, "No, I didn't mean it like that!"
Rosette held up a fist, "How did you mean it?! Do tell!"
"I just meant that you're Rosette, not a quiet nun who submits to anything!" Chrono inched away from the angry girl, "You're the strongest girl I know, and I respect that!"
Rosette blinked, "What?"
Chrono sighed, glad to have avoided her wrath, even for a few minutes, "You're strong, you're smart, and you're quite amusing to hang around. I like those things about you."
Rosette blushed, and Chrono found it amazing that just a few seconds ago the only thing on her mind had been murder, "Really?"
He nodded, and Rosette beamed, "Well…" she shrugged in mock forgiveness, "I suppose I could not kill you today, since it is Christmas."
Chrono nodded vigorously, and Rosette laughed, "This reminds me of that one time when—"
Chrono smiled slightly as Rosette rambled off in her own little world, retelling stories about her childhood and reminiscing about their adventures in the Order. As the day wore on, Rosette and Chrono talked about various things happening in their lives, and the two got closer and closer, until they were both curled under the same blanket, laughing together while their hot chocolate lay forgotten by the dying fire.
Christmas wasn't such a bad day after all.
A/N: Okay, now I'm done with this story. Hope you all liked it! Please review and tell me what you thought! (Critique welcome. If you didn't like something about the story, please review and tell me what so that I can fix it for my next story!) Thanks!