Blooming Azalea

The trip to Paris was only supposed to be for the dark knight to refresh his French, but after discovering Nathan and being tied up by the increase in chiropteran- not to mention the troublesome girl he rescued- Haji may be staying longer than expected.

Chapter 1: Rescue

My music blared through my ear phones, and I hardly acknowledged the dirty looks I received as others heard my tunes. My short heels made a distinct clack against the cobblestone, and the sound was different and stood out against the woman's business heels and men's flats. Paris's chilly December weather nipped at my exposed ears, so I moved the hood of my black hoodie over my head, repositioning my long ebony locks over my shoulder. I gave a tired sigh as I turned the corner, moving indifferently through the crowd of bodies as my dark eyes scanned the signs above me for something I could hopefully recognize with my limited French vocabulary that referenced to food.

Taking another turn randomly, I realized a little too late that I had taken a bad short cut. I stopped in my tracks, pulling myself from my mental overview of French words. I had gone down a narrow alley way, empty of the busy people of Paris. There was a distinct odor of filth, and I didn't really care to find out what or where it was coming from. Down the way, I saw that a large dumpster blocked off the short ancient fence leading off to what was probably a busy street. Finding this route irrelevant, I sighed and started to turn around.

A sharp pressure to my neck stopped me cold.

A knife was pressed against the front of my neck, the owner hiding behind me. Since I had my ear phones in, blasting rather loud, I couldn't hear a word my assailant was saying, only mumbles. Realizing this, the mugger ripped my hood off and tore the music from my ears, the comforting screech of Japanese rock fading.

"Donne-moi tout votre argent." Sweat beaded on my forehead, and I felt adrenaline pulsing through my veins. My guess about the busy street was right- sounds of speeding cars and honks could be heard. No one would hear me scream. The rough voice from behind me spoke in French, and I cursed myself for not sticking with the foreign language class.

"I don't understand…" I whimpered in Japanese. The man seemed taken off guard, not expecting a different language. The blade moved slightly away from me, and I felt the opportunity screaming at me, the instinct of fight or flight kicking into high gear. Sharply stabbing my elbow back, I felt it land in his fat gut. The man groaned and dropped his weapon, stepping back a couple steps. I dove down and swiped up the switch blade, turning quickly and holding it up to him. I realized my gloved hands were shaking, and I knew I looked terrified to this man.

He stood up from his slightly bent position, recovering, and a mix of amusement and anger smeared across his dirty face. The man had black, greasy curly hair and a rounded head, his nose dipping then curving up slightly at the tip. He had small stubble on his face, and obviously needed a bath. He wasn't dressed in a suit or bundled up like almost every one I had seen hurrying down the streets today; he layered on grubby looking dirty clothes.

"S-Stay back!" I cried; my voice cracking. I felt my heart pounding and perspiration slid down my forehead despite the freezing weather.

The next seconds all happened in a blur. The man lunged forward, about to do god-knows-what, and I screamed as I lamely swung the short bladed weapon. I didn't even see it, just the swift black blur.

Then the mugger was lying on the uneven cobblestone, dead.

I stared at him, unable to register what had just happened in my head. I watched his blood travel though the crevices in the cobblestone, and in an insane moment I imagined the blood running through a labyrinth of stone, taking the next turn when there was a dead end and groaning out in frustration when it had to backtrack and or even cheat and overflow the walls of the labyrinth to get somewhere else.

I slowly blinked, coming out of my strange imagination and trying to absorb his smashed in face.

"Are you okay?" It was a couple seconds before I registered the smooth Japanese being spoken to me, and even longer for me to turn my head towards my savior. I tried to think of words, but I couldn't get a sentence out.

This man was tall, taller than I was, and was dressed in all black. He probably could have blended right into the busy crowd of people outside this alley if he did not have the large Cello case strapped on his back. He had narrow slanted eyes, a thin face and jet black wavy strands of hair hanging from his ponytail tied off with a blue ribbon. One of his hands was bandaged, and looked strange and bumpy underneath the wrapping.

It took me a couple seconds to connect the dots- the dead mugger on the ground and this tall, handsome man here. When I did though, I felt it incredibly strange it had happened so fast. I still had not said a word to my savior, and realizing this I opened my mouth to say something but I felt my mouth go dry. The stony expression this man had made me nervous and all I got out was a pathetic squeak.

"…" The intimidating man only waited patiently, but I could smell the blood of the dead man and was starting to feel faint. "You're going into shock." He stated, reaching for me. I could only take a step back, my mind racing and my breath coming quick. My heel bumps into something soft, and I hear a piercing screech as I look down and see the bloody man at my heel. I tip backwards, unable to stop my momentum, and feel the cold stone meet the back of my head.

My world goes dark.

The icy wind stirred my hair, and my dark eyes scanned the rooftops. There had been a chiropteran around here somewhere, but it had sped ahead and now I had lost it. I repositioned my Cello case, itching to play it but the need to find the chiropteran my main concern.

Saya had gone into her thirty year slumber ten years ago. Starting around a month ago, about time I came to Paris to brush up on my French to help teach Diva's twins the romantic language, Chiropteran started appearing in the chilly city.

Now, I have more of an idea of who is behind it in contrast to when I first started finding them sprinkled around the city. I had been walking down the sidewalk to the library about a week into my visit to Paris, when I sensed him. I looked over during my walk to see him casually strolling down the streets of Paris. I was so shocked I could not even act and watched as he disappeared into the crowd. He hadn't even glanced my way, but I could tell by the smirk gracing Nathan Mahler's lips that he knew I was there, frozen to the spot.

Ever since then, there had been an increase of monster sightings in Paris.

I shook my head, clearing all my thoughts and trying to focus on the task at hand. I was above an alley way, a dead ended one. I scanned the dark passage for a hiding chiropteran and caught a shadow move. The shadow was shaped like a stout, fat man, against the wall hiding. If I had been a human, there was no way I would have seen him. Suddenly, a girl who was not paying attention drifted into the dangerous passage, hood up and hands shoved into her baggy pants. I heard Japanese rock- being played much too loud for a human girl- with my chevalier hearing. I glanced at the man hiding as she passed him, and I saw the glimmer of a knife. I narrowed my eyes and watched as she was threatened, the knife against her throat.

I really shouldn't get involved… I needed to find that chiropteran. Yet, I couldn't stop watching.

"Give me all your money." The gruff criminal ordered in French. The girl was stock still, and I could hear her breathing rapidly. The man waited then seemed to realize something, pulling her hood back and yanking the ear buds out. She had jet black hair that spilled down her shoulders from her hood being pulled back, and a picture of Diva shortly flashed through my mind. My face went even graver, and I crouched, only wanting to get involved if I had to. He repeated himself, still in the native language. "Give me all your money." She squeaked and managed to stutter in Japanese a response. It dawned on me that this teen did not know French.

The man seemed to realize this as well, but was more shocked by it and loosened the pressure on her neck. 'Now! Retaliate!' My mind ordered. Almost as if I had sent her the message telepathically, the girl elbowed the man in his stomach, causing him to drop his weapon. She bent down and scooped it up, pivoting around to face the man. Now I saw her face.

She had dark eyes, a dark brown to be correct, and it was clear from her features she was not French. She had almond shaped eyes, slanted and wide with panic. Her lips were tight with fear, and her cheeks were pudgy, not fat though. It was hard to tell by what she was wearing, but this girl seemed like she was in good shape and she seemed around the age of 16. Her hands shook like a leaf, the knife locked tightly in her grasp. I was unable to look away, my muscles tight and ready to spring. She'll handle it, just go… The rogue chiropteran was getting farther away…

The Japanese girl ordered him to stay back as the scum recovered; a dirty, smug look on his face. He couldn't understand her, but he didn't care. I anticipated the strike, and I heard the shrill scream of the damsel as he rushed her. My body reacted, and I sprung from the rooftop, my Cello case being slung over my shoulder and the shift in weight helped me accelerate toward him faster. The man looked up, several emotions flashing across his disgusting face. I picked the most distinct one out- fear.

The base of the case slammed into the mugger's face, a sickening crunch echoing off the alley walls and the impact vibrating through my instrument case. He fell to the ground hard, his fat body sounding like a sack of potatoes as it hit the uneven cobblestone. My shoes made a light tap as I landed, swiftly swinging my Cello case over my shoulder again, where it rested comfortably; now stood in front of the girl, who looked as pale as a sheet of paper. She spent several long seconds staring at his crushed face, and I watched her intently, not sure what to do now. Do I disappear? I kicked myself for mentally for not thinking it through enough before I rescued her. Well, if I hadn't moved then she could be dead now instead of him… Keeping my face the normal stoic mask, I decided I would ask if she was alright.

"Are you alright?" She didn't seem to hear me and continued to stare at the dead body. I'm really regretting doing this now… I repeated myself, hoping to wake her from her thoughts. "Are you alright?" She blinked and slowly turned to me, where she again preceded to stay silent except this time she was absorbing me. Her face was frozen in shock but her dark eyes were reflecting deep thought. She seemed to realize something, and opened her mouth, only to come up with a pathetic squeak. She started to visibly shake, and I realized with dread she was going into shock.

I told her this and moved forward to steady her, but she only took a step back, her heel hitting the dead man on the ground. She looked down and her eyes widened; her mouth opening and instead of a pathetic squeak, a scream erupted out; one of terror and fear. My mind compared the sound to the night Saya first got her memories back and slayed the chiropteran at the school, and when the battle in her died and her horror of the girl in the reflection. Her piercing scream was similar to this damsel's screech of horror.

She tumbled backwards, and I grabbed air instead of her arm. Her head slammed into the cobblestone and her scream cut off as her eyes rolled to the back of her head. I flinched at the sound and felt worry sweep across my face. I quickly bent down and lifted her into my arms bridal style, ignoring the dead body she was sprawled onto. Her breathing was low and rapid, and I felt sticky liquid on the back of her head. I cursed myself for not catching her fast enough and flew to the rooftop I had resided on previously.

What was I going to do…? I couldn't just leave her here... I sighed; the chiropteran would have to wait for later. A blue trail was all that was left as I disappeared, heading for my apartment to aid the unconscious girl in my arms.

So how does it sound? Good? Bad? I know it's short and I apologize, they will be longer if anyone likes this story... Anyone reading it at all? Tell me with that magic button