Let's see….eight or nine years ago I wrote the original of this story…
And it makes my eyes bleed. So, I felt the need to redeem myself….here we go.
I expect this story either to be avoided like the plague or for it to be swarmed by the morbidly and/or hopefully curious.
Disclaimer: I own nothing
"No, you're not wandering around this city by yourself," the tall man replied curtly, his eyes closed as he continued walking.
"Grandpa Frank lets me walk around Iselia by myself," the girl pouted, blowing a bit of dark auburn hair out of her face.
"Iselia is a lot different than Sybak, you're staying with me."
"There aren't even any monsters in here!"
"No, worse, there are people, now stay close."
The girl moped but fell in step with her grandfather, arms crossed, muttering. Kratos sighed, glancing down at his granddaughter as they traversed the city street, their feet tapping against the cold tile. Such an impatient child, granted her father wasn't the most patient person in the world but….
"Why do I have to come with you? We're going to see your friend," she sighed.
"Because Dirk and Frank couldn't watch you, stop complaining Cheresea," he stated calmly, "You can socialize with Chala."
"But she hates me," she sighed loudly, glancing aside, muttering under her breath.
"She's simply not very sociable," Kratos frowned, "Her father is much the same way."
"So why are you friends with him then?"
"…" Kratos sighed, "Let's go."
"Can we at least have lunch first-?"
"Does that mean we're going to have to eat Mrs. Ka-Fai's cooking?" she mumbled.
Kratos stopped suddenly.
"Very well, we can have lunch, let's go."
She grinned a little, thanking the powers that be that her grandfather had a fear of at least one thing: Raine's cooking.
Cheresea ate quickly, having not eaten much since breakfast, but took care to make sure she was eating politely enough not to upset her grandfather with lack of manners. She bit off another hunk of chicken, eying him as he looked out the window, silent.
He didn't eat much, and she knew there was a reason for it, though no one had ever fully explained. Her grandfather wasn't a normal human being, but that was just another fact she had grown up with. Really it wasn't that strange, right? Quite a few of her friends and her family's friends weren't human, or at least weren't normal humans.
"Did you want anything, sir?" the waitress asked.
"No, I'm fine, thank you," he stated, nodding.
"Well…all right, how about you, young lady? Are you all right?" she asked.
"Yeah, thanks ," she smiled.
She knew she was wondering. They always wondered. He didn't look old enough to be her grandfather, not even her father, and too old to be her brother. Usually when asked, the standard lie was that he was her uncle. It was just something she had to get used to, when around strangers.
"Finish up Cheresea, they're expecting us," he stated.
She nodded, turning her attention back to her lunch.
"I thought you said you were going to eat, though," she asked, looking up at him, "Because you didn't want to eat Mrs. Ka-Fai's food-"
"No, I didn't want to require you to eat it," he said simply.
"Oh," she shrugged. "Why are we going here anyway?"
"I told you, we're visiting," he said simply, his eyes closed.
"Visit?" she huffed a bit, eying him. "But you hate 'socializing'. So why-"
"I've visited him before, why is it only so strange this time?" Kratos sighed, rubbing his face.
"I guess it's not, but- …" she sighed, picking at her food again, "Nevermind."
That was that.
Within a few more minutes they had arrived at the Ka-Fai residence, a girl a year- perhaps two- older than Cheresea opened the door. Her cerulean hair fell to her mid-back, wrapped in a ponytail like that of her father, her cool blue eyes narrowed in displeasure upon the arrival of their guests.
"Wonderful," she muttered, rolling her eyes a bit, "Father, Mother; Kratos and Cheresea are here."
"Yeah, hi Chala," Cheresea sighed, rolling her eyes a bit, "Nice to see you too."
"They're here? Finally, I'd almost thought you'd gotten yourself lost, Kratos," a man bearing the same blue hair stated in almost the same curt tone, walking up behind his daughter.
"Cheresea hadn't had anything to eat," her grandfather replied smoothly, almost with disinterest, "Now then, shall we get to business?"
He hadn't bothered to wait for an explanation, walking right past both half-elves into the home, Cheresea sighing while Chala's father followed after him to the study, leaving her behind with Miss Sunshine.
"So has she asked about them lately?" the half-elf stated as he entered the study behind his human companion, turning and locking the door shut with a small click.
"No. I think she's finally accepted it. It's been a few years now," Kratos said as he approached the desk, pulling open the drawers and pulling out several papers.
"I suppose she'd be considered lucky not to have been old enough to have nightmares, though it would be nice to have some lead as to what happened that night," Yuan continued, his eyes locked on his companion, scanning him intently, as if expecting some kind of sudden reaction
"I'd rather her not remember that night at all," he instead continued in his unfeeling tone.
"Just like her parents," his friend snapped lightly.
"Yuan," he growled warningly, his eyes glancing to the man.
"I'm just saying, she's going to ask again, and then what are you going to tell her? That it was just an accident? You and I both know that's not true," He snorted, crossing his arms.
"We don't know that," he said guardedly, glancing away again, scanning the pages with the notes scribbled upon them, the tomes, the records…
"Don't give me that crap Kratos."
Kratos gritted his teeth slightly, his russet eyes fixated on the rune-inscribed old book he had pulled from the shelf, scanning it intently, attempting to ignore his companion.
"She was two, Yuan, how could she have survived if it wasn't an accident?"
"...Don't be stupid Kratos, you know better than that-"
"The signs were there, all over their home," he continued in his same flat tone, "their bodies weren't. If they are alive then discussing these trivial facts is nothing more than a waste of time. Are you going to assist me or not?"
Yuan sighed deeply, rubbing his face with his hand.
"Fine, I'll help...but you know.." he said quietly, his eyes slowly making their way to the back of Kratos' head, boring into him. "If they are alive, which is unlikely after this long, then there is the ..obvious, solution-"
Kratos didn't speak, he didn't have to. His head whipped around and his wine eyes locked on Yuan's green ones, narrowed dangerously, as if a flame was alight in the human's irises.
The half-elf froze and then looked away, commenting no further on the subject.
"Let's just pick up where we left off shall we?" he said instead, picking up a tome with various notes scribbled on it, seating himself in a chair to scan it over.
"Yes..." Kratos said quietly, frowning as he looked over the data sheet Yuan had come up with the last time. "Let's."
The living room was silent except for the ticking of the clock on the wall and the tapping of Cheresea's fingers on the chair arm, glancing around the room and then to Chala who sat back in the chair across from her, a thick book splayed open in her hands as her eyes scanning the pages intently, all but ignoring anything else in her sphere of existence.
"What are you reading?" the younger girl asked finally, growing agitated by the emptiness.
"A book," the half-elf said flatly, not bothering to even blink so much as look up.
"Yeah, well, about what?"
Cheresea sighed and slouched back into her spot on the couch, letting out an annoyed puff of air that blew up a few strands of her dark auburn hair. This was so boring. She hated coming here, Mr. and Mrs. Ka-Fai were always busy, her grandfather became busy, and she was just left with Chala, who did the best she could not to acknowledge her presence.
Luckily though, the monotony was broken up quickly enough when a chirping met her ear, turning her head slightly to spot the green creature on her shoulder, her face immediately lighting up.
"Oh! Hey, Fred! Where've you been?"
She smiled and patted the cricket's head with her index finger, smiling as it chirped happily up at her. This, finally, managed to actually acquire Chala's interest.
"It's that insect again?" her eyes glanced up, scanning the creature on her shoulder intently.
"Yeah, Fred," Cheresea nodded with the inflection of stating the sun had come up.
The small creature was looking back at Chala, then up again at Cheresea, looking a little uneasy at the look Chala was giving him. Truthfully, Cheresea had yet to get it through her head that the fact an insect randomly appeared on her shoulder at intervals was something out of the ordinary, though her family and friends had attempted to tell her regularly.
The last time the insect had appeared in this house, Raine had immediately sized the insect, much to Cheresea's protests. Apparently the woman had been waiting for this chance for quite a long time, studying the cricket she had snatched inside a clear container. Cheresea had protested, begging the woman to let her 'friend' go free, while Chala and Yuan assured her there was no force in the world that could stop her. She still didn't understand what the big deal was, he was just a cricket. Sure he showed up anywhere out of nowhere, and he talked to her- or well, he listened to her- but that wasn't so weird was it?
Apparently it was, go figure.
One thing she didn't understand is why he hadn't just disappeared from the container; when she was young she had caught him in her hat and the next thing she knew he was on top of her head. Raine had explained this as the container being made of something called 'polycarbonate' that should 'inhibit magic-based warping'. So apparently her cricket was magical, but that didn't make a lot of sense, what did it matter? A lot of people she knew could use magic. Then Raine had apparently decided that Fred was similar to something she deemed 'The Wonder Chef' and Katz. What a cricket had to do with those weird pink people she couldn't understand or care to find out, seeing as she had freed Fred while Raine had gotten wrapped up in some data she collected from Yuan's computer.
She hadn't been happy.
Then again Fred was pretty weird, crickets usually didn't live really long did they? And Fred had been showing up to her for a long time…she was three maybe? Yeah that was it… She had been crying again, asking when her parents were going to come back- …
Her little feet trod around the wooden house, tapping against the floor. She'd been looking for a long time now, she always started looking when she got really sad. Grandfather looked like mommy, and that made her miss Mommy; Grandpa Kratos looked like Daddy, and that made her miss Daddy, and Grandpa Dirk would always pick her up when she missed them and tell her they were there, but that made her sad too. She liked them, but she missed Mommy and Daddy, she wanted them too. She didn't call for them, they told her that that wouldn't work, so instead she just looked for them. They didn't let her outside alone, so she just looked around the house, in the closets and under the bed.
She couldn't find them, she never could find them. So she plopped down on the ground and sniffed, crying into her little skirt. Why wouldn't they come back? Was she not looking hard enough? Was that it? She tried not to cry very loud, they always would pick her up and take her away when they found her crying, and she didn't want them to pick her up. She didn't want anyone but Mommy and Daddy to pick her up.
It was then that the little chirp meet her ears. She blinked the tears from her eyes and looked up, spotting the green insect sitting on the floor in front of her. She sniffed and wiped her eyes, scrunching her little face up in curiosity as she looked at the cricket.
It chirped again, tilting its head like she saw Noishe do sometimes. She sniffed again, looking around and then reached out a little hand to poke it. The cricket hopped backwards, but chirped again, still looking at her. Frustrated, she tried to touch it again, ultimately ending up with her chasing the cricket along the floor on all fours, her blue eyes locked in determination.
Eventually she jumped and cupped the bug in her hands, a grin splitting her face at her victory.
"I got you-!"
With a chirp the bug appeared on top of her hands, tilting its head again.
She didn't remember much after that, though she vaguely remembered one of her grandfathers coming in and taking her downstairs. Ever since then Fred had just showed up now and then, she had just stopped questioning it after a few times. Besides, he always seemed to show up when she was sad, and then they'd play chase or sometimes he'd chirp a song to her. He made her happy, and kids just didn't question stuff that made them happy, she guessed...
A loud chirping scattered her thoughts and she barely dodged when Chala had made a swipe for the cricket on her shoulder, nearly falling off the couch as she did so.
"H- Hey! Chala stop it!"
"Hold still!" she snapped, not at her but at the green bug hopping frantically across the room.
"Chala knock it off! You're scaring him!" she cried, trying to grab the older girl's arm.
"It won't hurt at all! I just want to-"
There was a loud thud, as somewhere between the elder trying to snatch the insect and the younger trying to hinder her, both girls knocked over a chair and ended up sprawled on the floor.
"Girls! What on earth is going on in here?"
Two pairs of blue eyes glanced up at the silver-haired woman that had entered the room, her hands on her hips and the look in her eyes the bane of schoolchildren and teenagers alike.
"Mrs. Ka-Fai- I'm sorry it was an accident-"
"I was just trying to get the-" Chala looked around, then cursed loudly when she realized her prey had vanished.
"Chala! Watch your mouth!"
The scolding they received wasn't as bad as the one she got from her grandfather on the way home, in her opinion. Sure Raine was louder and looked madder, but the stern look in Kratos' eyes was a lot more scary in her eyes, at least he kept it short. He seemed frustrated, he always did when they left. It didn't make any sense, why did he go to see Yuan all the time if he just got mad leaving and was worried going there? Well she knew better than to push right at the moment anyway…
"Am I staying with you tonight, Grandpa?" she asked as they touched down in Iselia, walking into the village.
"No, Frank wants you over tonight," he stated, not looking back at her as they walked, "Dirk and I will see you tomorrow."
"But I've been at grandfather's for the past three weeks," she frowned, looking up at him. "Do you and Grandpa Dirk not want me over or something?"
"You know that's not it," Kratos sighed, rubbing his face, "Dirk has been busy with orders lately, and I'm usually not there to begin with. You'd have no one to visit with to begin with."
"Well then why don't' you take me with you?" she pouted. "You took me with you today, where are you always going anyway-"
"Cheresea," he said flatly, "No."
Something about the way he said that let her know there was no hope in arguing. Instead she bit her lip and sighed, looking around the growing town as they made their way in. They told her that this place used to be a small village, and while it wasn't a city in itself, it was a large town. It was hard to imagine it small as they claimed.
Kratos knocked on the door of the house when they finally arrived, the small house her mother's father lived in, though she did now and then. She was always shuffling back and forth between the village and the house out in the woods. Once the door opened, the gray-haired man smiled kindly at her, and barely welcomed them before a blur of ruddy and black fur dashed through the house, between Frank's legs and lunged at Kratos.
The angel swore and grabbed the animal in mid-leap, the cat hissing and slashing wildly at hi, attempting to do him any manner of harm possible.
"Mr. Fluffikins!" Cheresea half yelped half scolded, trying to grab the raging furball. "Stop it! Leave Grandpa alone!"
Kratos glowered down at the feline, which glared back up at him, growling lowly as the girl took him from the Seraph, chiding the animal. For some reason, the cat hated Kratos, why it was no one was very sure, but everytime he came by the little demon would lunge at him, scratching, yowling, and on one occasion, peed on his cape.
"Mr. Fluffikins," she scowled, "What did I tell you about-?"
She cut off when the animal purred loudly, licking her hand, its big ice-blue eyes gazing up at her helplessly. Cheresea stiffened and then smiled weakly, scratching behind his ears.
"That animal is a menace," Kratos said flatly, glaring at the animal with obvious disdain.
"But…he's so cute," she frowned, petting him, "I'm sure he doesn't mean it….right Mr. Fluffikins?'
The animal twitched a bit, but continued to purr, mewling softly as he rubbed against her.
"Hmph," Kratos frowned, "Behave yourself for Frank, Cheresea, we'll see you tomorrow."
He walked off with a brisk nod after they said their goodbyes, heading for the clearing in the woods. Dirk's house was nearby, but that wasn't his destination. He came upon it soon enough, the abandoned clearing, the fallen timbers decaying into the ground.
This was where their home had been…where they had lived after they had married, after they had had his granddaughter. At the time he had been happy again, had been glad…glad to be alive again, glad to have let himself get talked into staying, glad to have seen his son's wedding, seen their child born…
Then one day nothing was left here but an injured Noishe cradling a sobbing toddler under a fallen frame.
Why did he keep losing everything…still…he wasn't going to give up on his son again.
He frowned, kneeling down and picking up a piece of the rubble, scanning it as if it might somehow tell him what had happened.
There was a chance…a slim chance, but he would take it. He wouldn't label his son off as dead again until he confirmed it himself.
Hm…I suppose that's good to begin with, I probably shouldn't have posted this but….well I'm an attention hog. I'm curious to see what reactions this gets, as it's going to be very different from the original and yet…not, …okay it's going ot be like the original except with a focus on plot. GASP. Yeah …well tellm e what you think