Disclaimer: I do not own Hatenkou Yuugi, a.k.a. Dazzle, or its characters. I only own my original character, Azeria.


Rebirth, Chapter One
"Don't Give Me Hope"

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The cold wind was abnormal for such a summer's day. It whipped about restlessly, like an angry cat's tail, nipping through one's clothing and chilling to the bone. Azeria clutched the black shawl around her shoulders and suppressed a shiver as the thick, voluminous black skirts of her gothic-lolita style dress swished with her brisk walking pace, her strides long and smooth, fueled by an inner drive; willpower. The parts of her hair that were down—her side-swept black bangs and the lower layers of her hair—were tossed in the wind, but the small buns the upper layers were swept into did not budge, being secured with a multitude of bobby pins and a light spritz of hairspray. Her appearance was perfected down to the silver and gold full-finger rings on her left hand, stud earrings in her ears, and the black-and-white striped satin bow tied quaintly around her neck. Crisp white stockings hid beneath her skirts, and clean, polished black Mary Jane shoes peeked out from under the hem as she strode towards the mayor's house.

Ding-dong… Ding-dong… Ding-dong, ding-dong.

Azeria gazed blankly at the fancily-carved white door with the polished gold doorknob. The mayor's house was certainly as elaborate and immaculate as always. After a few seconds, her red eyes narrowed, and she resisted the urge to tap her foot impatiently. She was the kind of person who took pride in her appearance, and tried to look dignified at all times. After all, that was the way the mayor had taught her to be all those years ago.

The door clicked open to reveal a dark-skinned man with light golden hair and a bit of chin stubble from not having properly shaven that morning. He was dressed in casual clothes—a thin white shirt and some black slacks—and he stared at the black-haired, red-eyed girl in her elaborate gothic-lolita style garb standing on the doorstep for a moment before smiling.

"And how can I help you? If it's the master you're looking for, I'm afraid he's ou—"

"Diorte."

The man blinked owlishly. "Ummm… I'm sorry, do I know—"

"It's me, picklehead."

Diorte's eyes widened considerably before he all but jumped the young girl. "Azeria Rosemary Shawspue, how dare you show up without even a proper phone call ahead of time!" he scolded even as he gave her a bone-crushing hug and smiled.

"…Diorte," she stated. "You don't have to act all lovey-dovey at a time like this. I know what happened. It's why I came," she said, no joy in her voice. She wasn't the type to act all sappy or anything upon reunions in the first place, but this time, she was here because she had something to do. And she was going to do it.

Diorte was silent for a moment before he released her and stepped back into the house, holding the door open for her as she entered the foyer after him. He closed the door with a quiet click before turning back to look at her. They read each other's morose expressions for a moment before Diorte strode past her, down the hall of the vast mansion.

"Follow me. I'll show you to him."

She trailed after him, her strides just as determined as they had been on her way to the manor, matching the somewhat slower pace of his longer legs with ease. She had always had to match her pace to others' her whole life; she had become an expert at following. Even if she didn't want to.

As they drew close to a door near the back of the building, Diorte's steps slowed. He hesitated a moment before grasping the brass doorknob, turning it and pushing open the heavy door. Entering the cold room, he moved over to the closed coffin and fumbled with the latches on the lid before lifting it. He avoided looking at the face of the person lying in the coffin; he'd seen it already, and he didn't want to look at it again. That face, so still and cold, devoid of life. Yet he also didn't want to get his hopes up with the arrival of this girl. He didn't want to have them sliced to ribbons, thrown on the ground, and stomped on. He didn't want to have hope. Because then he would risk going through that all over again.

Because despite whatever hopes this girl might raise… he had lost his son.

Rayborn was dead.

"Diorte," Azeria stated softly, simply.

That was the only cue that he needed. Still avoiding looking at that still, cold face, he turned on his heel and left the room.

He didn't need hope. Because hope could destroy him completely.


A/N: This is based off the manga; I just thought I should say so, seeing as I haven't had the chance to watch the anime and see if there are any differences between the two.

Chapter two will be up in the next couple days, as it's already written and just needs to be edited. Chapter three will be written and hopefully up by Christmas; otherwise, it will be up by New Year's at the latest.

Please review~ An author needs to get feedback or they can never improve~