The Flame on the Rose

Chapter 1

All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another. ~ Anatole France

Ayano drifted among the crowd, barely noticed as the citizens carried on with their boring, normal and almost bleak existences. That's what she loved though, about crowd surfing; the feel of being a part of their normal everyday lives. Just seeing the people, the emotions they gave off and so many lives intertwined in the simplest, most basic way possible.

It gave her a new hope, a new belief in man's world that maybe one day they'd wake up and see how beautiful they are together, unified. That's why she fought off demons and whatever else may come that was a threat to humanity. She couldn't let this beautiful yet ugly world die, because they had yet to find their beauty, they had yet to realize they literally had the whole world at their feet. Or maybe, that's what they had realized and had taken advantage of. The fact that they had the whole world at their feet, the fact that they could take advantage of the universes gifts to mankind that made them build skyscrapers and murder trees.

Ducking back into a little café she seated herself at a window table, taking check of the citizens dining in it and the auras that radiated the flame of humanity. What she wouldn't give—

"Don't go there, Ayano." She muttered to herself, tearing at a napkin as she waited patiently for the waitress to flounce her floozy self over and take her order. She had a guess that it would be a while, seeing as said floozy of a waitress was showing off her assets to the married man seated in her section. Ayano rolled her eyes. Hey, so she might love the world and humanity but she didn't have to like everyone.

Cinnamon eyes regarded the girl from his standpoint across the road. A smirk crawled across his lips when he saw the red haired beauty shoot a look of annoyance at the waitress; lucky for the waitress Ayano didn't call her out on her whorish deeds. Obviously, harpy was having a good day; which was an anomaly within itself because the princess always had something to complain about.

"Kazuma…" She let the name slide off her lips when she caught the familiar cinnamon colored gaze. Eyes narrowed, Ayano stood abruptly. The chair she had been seated on fell to the floor with an abrupt clutter that set most eyes in the café on her. But really, she didn't care because that son of a bitch was going to die.

When he realized he was spotted, Kazuma gave her an intended devilish smirk and swaggered across the street when traffic was light. Ayano met him at the sidewalk.

"What the hell! You're stalking me now?"

His lips twitched, "hardly, oh loud-ass-one." Ayano made a face at him and spun on her hell, walking in the direction of the apartment she had rented. Waving, she called back to him "Nice chat, Kazuma, but I've got to split. I'm piled with paperwork!"

So there he was, Kazuma Yagami, in the middle of a crowd that seemed almost tranquil even with the ferocious noises of the city, speechless. Because Ayano Kannagi wasn't at all what she used to be… she seemed, mature. His brow furrowed with thought, could she have… matured?

"Ha, like that's even possible. She probably just got back from the spa or something, and the calming effects just haven't worn off as of yet." But even that didn't seem right. Running a hand quickly through his hair he ignored the pickup of the wind and prickly feeling at his neck and walked back to his own apartment; not really thinking about the red haired beauty until he was in bed. And only then, because there seemed to be a terrible wind storm raging outside.

Which… just wasn't normal.

Ayano ran the brush against her shining red hair again and again and again. There wasn't much thought in the gesture, her eyes were glazed over in thought and even though her hair glossed underneath the artificial light of her bathroom, she didn't take any notice.

After she had gotten home, she did the stack of paper work the Kannagi clan had piled on her; it was just a list of assignments she was going to work on for the next two weeks. None of them were all that hard but she just had to fill out the paper work, like what weapons she would need, if she needed the extra precaution of backup, whatever. Then she got to thinking about Kazuma, which led her to the relationship that had sort of not yet had existed between them. He had taught her so much and… she had loved him. Still did if she were honest with herself, and if she wasn't honest with herself than who was else was she supposed to be honest with, so she was honest with herself.

"Shit…" The word passed through her lips and she let out a groan, fishing into her pockets for some money. She found the equivalent of fifty cents and slipped it into her swear jar.

That's what was wrong with love, it left you vulnerable and oh so open to emotions that could kill you from the inside out. Her mother had known that, Kazuma must have known that, and now she was learning it just as well. Yet, for some reason her heart wasn't taking note of what her brain was trying to message and decided to still have feelings for the wind wielder. Ridiculous, her mind tried again to war with her heart; you can't have feelings for him.

Her heart begged to differ.

So there she sat, brushing her hair to the point of radiance in front of her bathroom mirror when she heard the most peculiar noise. Mm, maybe that's not the right choice of wording. The sound wasn't peculiar, it was alarming. It made her hair rise and body tense. Scenarios and escape plans, definitely defensive plans raced hurriedly through her mind and yet even now her heart decided to part take in the panicking and told her that she'd feel a lot safer if Kazuma were with her. Footsteps echoed in her kitchen.

Fuck you heart, Ayano cried mentally when she had the chance between making escape plans and trying to locate the closest hidden gun in her medium sized apartment; which, as lady luck would have it, was located in the bathroom. Quietly, she opened the cupboard and trailed her hand along the back of it. A loose edge of the wall paper flipped when her hands ran over it, smiling gratefully she tugged and the paper peeled off. Working quickly she made do with the lock and jerked open the safe.

The steps left her kitchen and walked into her living room, she heard a deep voice rumble with what she imagined to be laughter and the ching-a-ling of change filled the air.

Her breathing came a little faster as her hand met with the solid, cool feeling of the gun. She pulled her hand back and sighed with relief as the heavy machine brought her back to her senses. If this was a regular, human man then he'd run fleeing for his life after a few warning shots. If this was a demon, Enraiha would be meeting his acquaintance.

Ayano took one deep, calming breath before creaking the door open just enough for her to slip through. Looking over her shoulder and down the hallway that led to both living room and kitchen she saw and heard nothing. So, quietly she crept till she met the corner.

"Ayano, it's been so long."

The voice boomed in her head and she felt nauseous, dizzy. Where had she heard that voice? That cruel voice, the riotous laughter, the boisterous smile looming down at her as she just barely made it out through her blanking vision.

She stepped out into her living room and looked at the man sitting on the couch with a courage quickly dwindling as he ravaged her body with his eyes. Slowly, his eyes crawled back up until it rested on her face.


He smiled.

So it's a shorty! Haha, I hoped you guys liked it for what it's worth. Rate it! Urgh... hate my landlord