A/N: I am so taken by these two. Ugh. I just reread the series, and these two make my heart hurt. It's kind of a repeat of Ch. 35-ish, but it was cute okay?
Disclaimer: Hana to Akuma belongs to Hisamu Oto
Eleanor is forced to walk out of classroom—once again—with her head held as high as she can. Her curled pig tails bounce against her shoulders and she tries to make her face aloof and cold like her mother taught her. She's done with being sad and disappointed, she is simply angry now. She's a big girl, all of her fourteen years compressed into a tiny little vessel who is so, so angry.
Because if she's not angry, she just knows she's going to cry.
She can stand it if he teases her. She can force a smile or fake a laugh when he's ruffling her hair and telling a dirty joke she has yet to understand. She can take it all.
But she won't stand a moment of the other's and their stupid expressions as if they are trying to hold in their laughter and reflect sympathy all in a single face they want to present to her. If those were their gifts, she would smash them on the ground and grind them to dust with the heel of her boot.
Eleanor stomps down the halls and heads towards the nurse's office. The nurse is always drunk off of the strongest underground spirits that were ever brewed. She never notices when students sneak into the beds at the end of the room for some rest and relaxation.
"You made me leave class again." Eleanor says when she swings back the curtains surrounding one of the beds at the very end of the nurse's office.
"Sorry." Felton mutters. He doesn't try to use his charm on her. He just looks sheepish but the girl straddling him looks angry.
"Who's that?" She asks with a toss of her head. The curves of her breasts are obvious now that her shirt has been half-way unbuttoned. She sticks out her bottom lip and pouts at Felton in the most disgusting way. She even bats her eyelashes and then leans down towards him to snake a hand into his hair. "No one important, right?"
"That's just Eleanor. She's my fiancée." Felton says with a shrug.
"Ew, I didn't know you were into tiny girls like that." The girl says and adds another pout. She is back to just straddling Felton and she looks at Eleanor disgustedly. "She's so…short." She says in a pointed way and gives Eleanor a scathing glance like it is all Eleanor's fault that Eleanor is so short.
"Oh. Excuse me. Should I put on glamour before I come into your presence since you're so offended by short people?" Eleanor asks in the most venomous way she can manage. She glares.
The girl climbs off of Felton and is buttoning up her shirt as if it were an every day occurrence to be interrupted in a make out session. It just might, Eleanor thinks hatefully. She has probably realized that Eleanor's presence has called a halt to their "extracurricular activities".
"It's an arranged marriage." Felton says as he straightens his own uniform. He shoots a sparkling glance back at the girl as if he is promising something at a later date. Then he lets Eleanor kick him in the gut and drag him out into the hallway. Her hand seeks his and she squeezes as hard as she can as if she's trying to tell him to stay. Stay with her and just her. No one else can have him. It looks like he doesn't get the message though because he pulls back once they're half way to the classroom.
"You go ahead. I'll catch up." He says. He was never going to catch up if she didn't drag him back and they both knew it. Eleanor reaches out for his hand again but he steps back. He is faster since he has been practicing the demon dances and taken up fencing like a proper noble demon. She has seen him dance in the middle of the circle of runes on Hallows Eve and he is beautiful.
"No." Eleanor says stubbornly. Her cheeks puff out and she grabs for his hand again.
Every time he says her name it's a whisper. Like she is precious. But if she was so precious then why doesn't he stay? He never stays and she almost feels sad before she grows angry again. It's like the two emotions have become one and although they're bitter feelings she can feel that hopeful spark of love that blooms like the poisonous plants from her Papa brings home now.
"No." She says and she punches him. She only gets a little bit of satisfaction because she can feel him rolling back and allowing her punch to hit him but not hard enough to hurt her fist. He chooses to protect her at the strangest times.
"Come with me." Eleanor tries again.
"I can't. Don't you see?"
"No. No I don't see. Why have I seen you with almost girl in our grade yet you've never even kissed me aside from a peck on the cheek?"
"You shouldn't be around someone like me, alright. You're too good." Felton whispers the last words like it's a secret. Precious as her heart and just as elusive like a secret.
"What do you mean?" She can hear her own voice growing shriller with each passing minute. "Is it because I'm not pretty like the girls you grind against behind the green house? We're a race of demons for Lucifer's sake. None of us are good."
"No!" His voice is loud. He's never shouted at her before and Eleanor suddenly stops speaking. It feels like she's suddenly stopped breathing too. "No," he continues in a softer voice. "You're better than I am. You're…just…you're like…a rune one of the Masters has carved. You know? You're just so perfect. And I'm not. You deserve better." He finished lamely.
She's never heard him talk about any girl like that. She knows how much he admires the old masters who hole themselves up in the tallest spires of the demon world to master the archaic art of the runes. Some say the runes have been in the making since Lucifer fell from heaven. She knows better than anyone if Felton were not a noble demon he would be right up there with the masters slaving away with chalk and iron to create the most elegant and beautiful scripts in all of Hell.
"No." She says. She feels like denial is the only dance they will ever dance around each other.
"I..." And her voice is so soft that it doesn't even echo in the cavernous hall that usually catches even the smallest bat squeaking. She doesn't know what to say. But she's sure that Felton knows exactly what she means and she tries again. "I…ever since you found me in the Black Forest and how you sat with me when my mother wasted away from the Sickness and how just every time you're there." The last words gush out and she still can't choke out the words yet. But someday she'll say it to his face and he'll understand how much he means to her.
Felton shakes his head again but he steps forward and closes the distance between them. An arms length away and then he's hugging her so tight she thinks that they might have a single shadow as the ever burning fires outside create a light that seeps in through the closed shutters of the school building. Eleanor closes her eyes for just a moment and believes that he might stay. Maybe.
She takes his hand and he doesn't pull away. She walks towards the classroom again and he falls in step behind her. But the moment she pulls her hand away to form the hand signals through the glass of the classroom door he disappears. He just vanishes behind her without a sound.
Eleanor walks into the classroom with her head held just as high as when she walked out. Her face is just as cold and her eyes are just as hard. Her fists are still clenched and her stride is long and angry like a hunting cat. She is calm. But when someone offers her sympathy, she finally punches the demon the way she wished she had as she walked out of the classroom.
So he didn't stay. She pretended she was punching Felton instead of Cole.
She is so, so angry. She is so angry she thinks she might cry.