Chapter Three: Arrival and Acceptance
Bookman sat with good posture for an old man, waiting patiently for his next "customer" as he watched the calming pelting of rain. Humans came to his shop, usually not by will, he'd admit. He loved his shop, a shop that had been passed on from generation to generation, from one Bookman to another, the contents, not the store itself.
He sighed, mainly in grievance. The only thing in life he has regretted so far was having no heirs to pass on this great treasure of his to, though speaking of which, he thought of the redhead he had met in one of the books. The book itself didn't call out to him, but the redhead was interesting enough even though he was but a child then.
The bell to the shop rang softly, and Bookman glanced up through his beady black eyes. A young girl with pigtails and a pale face stepped in, bewildered at her surroundings. He chuckled quietly. She was the same as the others. All of them, destined for something completely out of this world, were all drawn to his shop. "Welcome," he called out in a raspy voice.
The girl turned to him, blinking her eyes in mildly surprised and confused manner. "Um… where am I?"
Bookman snorted. "What does it look like, girl? This is a bookshop."
She glanced toward the window's direction. "Do I have to buy something to stay in here, or will you kick me out if I don't?"
Bookman smiled faintly. "No… as long as you find a book you're… interested in." Everybody that came in found a book that "suited" them.
The girl nodded, uncertainly returning his smile.
She disappeared into the large stacks of books, and it didn't take long for him to hear a shriek and see a blinding yellow light.
Linali screeched, frightened. Who wouldn't be, being sucked into a book? Alright, alright, think, think. There must be a reason for all this happening, she thought, pressing her forehead against her palm. Nope, nothing.
She sighed, sitting down. This doesn't look like anywhere like home, she thought mournfully. Where's Kanda? She frowned, thinking about the fact he had been more than two hours late coming home with the groceries.
"Hey… what are you doing out here?" Linali stared up into a brilliant green eye, suddenly wary.
"That's what I'd like to know." She tried to cut back on the irritation and worry in her voice. She looked around. "…where am I, anyway?" The young boy cocked an eyebrow.
"Strange," the boy mumbled. "Two foreigners in the same week." He looked down at her, helping her up. "You can stay for the night if you want. The forest around here really isn't the one place you want to be around this late."
She thanked him; though everyone knew that the one big rule was don't trust strangers. She didn't think of that though, feeling heavily drowsy and all too compliant.
"You're late," Allen complained as a sheepish Rabi returned, with Kanda following closely behind.
"Sorry Allen, but I saw this girl and I just couldn't-"
"Not another girlfriend, riiiiiiight?" Allen said with narrowed eyes, looming over him darkly.
"Of course not!" Rabi hastily stuttered. An Asian girl appeared from behind him, staring.
""Linali? What… how did you get here?"
Allen looked between the two of them. "You two know each other?"
"My brother has custody over him right now, but the reason why didn't come back home with the groceries yet is… this… right?" She leaned over, rubbing the fluffy black ears between her thumbs and fingers. He shook her hands off, but for the slightest fraction of a second, the corners of his mouth turned upwards.
"Linali…" She looked at Kanda.
"Komui is going to freak out over this."
Linali paled. "Ugh, you're right. Who knows what he might do to the house… not to mention every eligible (and possibly non-eligible) guy in the city…"
"What? What does 'Komui' do?" Rabi asked, interested.
"He is completely obsessed with his little sister and (too) often has panic induced because of his sister complex," Kanda answered nonchalantly.
"It's not a pretty sight. Usually I have to knock him out," she added, giggling.
Allen laughed. "Sounds fun," he said wistfully. A family that wasn't uncomfortable with one's… condition… would've been ideal.
"Trust me, it's not," Kanda glared. "Youhaven't been nearly married to his drill."
"Oh…" Allen said, understanding. He could empathize with that, having been pounded on the head a couple more times than he preferred with his master's hammer.
"So did you have fun theses last few nights?"
Tyki froze, the question catching him off guard, and he turned to face his cousin, smiling, forced.
"What on earth are you talking about, Rhode," he replied.
Rhode snorted, sliding off the banister of the stairs. "Don't lie to me, Tyki. I can smell him on you." He sighed.
"Nothing ever gets pass you does it," he grumbled.
She shook her head in disapproval. "Tyki…" she sighed. "If you were going to have a passionate affair with a vampire, the least you could do was tell me!" she whined. He gaped at her. She didn't call Rabi a bloodsucker.
"Did I miss something while I was gone?" he asked with a raised eyebrow. She was the apple of the Millennium Duke's (strange and frightening) eyes, the princess above all royalty of Noahs among werewolves. Unlike the others in the clan, while she never really brought up her opinion of vampires, it wasn't really all too clear whether or not she was in favor with making peace with them either.
"Of course not, but if you must not, I don't hate vampires."
"But you don't exactly support our relationship." She shrugged.
"It doesn't really matter much to me as long as you, my dear family, is enjoying yourself." He was a little surprised to hear this from the physically younger girl, and gave her a quick hug.
"This does mean that you won't tell the Duke, yes?" He inquired. She grinned.
"What put that notion into your head? I'm not that heartless." Her Cheshire grin widened. "So, Tyki, details. Let's hear them." He simply laughed as he sat across from her, sinking into the leather armchair in front of the warm hearth.