A/N: And now, my second attempt at a shipping fic. However, unlike On Strange Wings, don't expect action. There will be none, except for maybe a little near the end. This fic will focus far more on mundane, slice-of-life situations. I just hope I can pull such a thing off...
Yes, there will be other pairings besides RxT. No, I'm not going to spoil them yet.
This is set a while after Continuum Shift.
Rated T for language. Could very well morph into M, depending on what I want to do.
With a groan, Tsubaki woke up. As she lay on a plush bed, she glanced around her surroundings in confusion. The ornate ebony desk, the elegant dresser topped by a pair of miniature stone gargoyles, the black carpet with its crimson rose pattern…every inch of this bedchamber was alien to her. She sat up and pain pulsed through her head. Clutching it, she tried to recall how she'd wound up in this situation.
The visage of a young man with white hair came back to her and her heart raced. She had fought Ragna the Bloodedge…and lost. She remembered now; her last thought before darkness had called her into its fold was a prayer that Noel and Jin could forgive her. But instead of killing her, that monster had taken her…where?
Although her temples throbbed as she did so, Tsubaki rolled over and sat at the edge of the bed. Wherever she was, her host seemed to have gone to great lengths for her comfort. This room, she decided, was even nicer than hers back at the Yayoi manor. An inadvertent yawn came to her and she stood up. No point sitting in bed, wondering where she was; she may as well have a look around.
And if I run into Ragna? She pushed the thought out of her mind as she opened the door. A long hallway greeted her. She glanced around; three doors much like the one she had just stepped out of and two more at either end of the hall. Picking one of the end doors, she crept towards it. Only as she reached out to open it did she realize something was missing. Izayoi…no, there's no chance he'd leave it where I could find it. Might as well continue on.
The door she had chosen opened into a massive room; bookshelf after bookshelf filled her vision. She gaped at the library; there was no way a criminal like Ragna could afford something like this. As if my room wasn't ample proof he hadn't taken me to wherever he lives. She wanted to explore the room, to browse the collection of books until she fell asleep again. But no, she couldn't. To do something like that before even meeting her host would be insufferably rude. She turned back the way she came and passed through the opposite door.
Her eyes widened and Tsubaki squeaked in fright when she saw Ragna the Bloodedge sprawled out on a couch, eyes closed. Thoughts racing, she tiptoed into the room, a den of sorts with three more doors to choose from. She glanced back at Ragna. His sword lay on a small table beside him; she could kill him right there and remove the greatest threat the Librarium had ever known. After taking several steps towards it, she stopped. If she did end his life, her host would no doubt seek to take her life in retribution. But…to kill such an enemy to the Librarium…it's worth it…
Before she could take another step, Ragna grunted. As his eyes fluttered open, Tsubaki whimpered and tried to flee. Her legs seemed to have become lead; if he wanted her dead, there was nothing she would be able to do. Petrified except for her quaking, all she could do was watch as he sat up, regarded her… "Oh. You're awake. 'Bout time."
She couldn't move, couldn't speak, could hardly even breathe out of fear. She tried to force herself to respond in some way, whether it was a nod, a warning or even an attack. Nothing in her body responded. With a yawn, he stretched and snatched Blood-Scythe. "Well, come on. The damn rabbit said to take you to her when you woke up. Don't know why the hell I'm the one babysitting you, but…"
Grumbling to himself, he strode off towards one of the doors, but Tsubaki remained rooted to her spot. After a few moments, Ragna turned to glare at her. "Well? You coming or what?"
Feeling shot back into her body when she spoke. Tsubaki walked after him, head hung. She kept a few feet behind him; to stay at his side would be to invite unbearable panic. As they entered a rose-lined hallway, Ragna snorted. "You don't gotta act so formal. It ain't gonna win you no points in my book."
Tsubaki stared at his red boots as he led her through the mansion. She wanted to spew fire with words; terror lamed her tongue. Ragna cast a look at her shivering form and rolled his eyes. "Will you relax? I ain't gonna hurt you."
"…S-sorry." If she wasn't terrified out of her mind at the moment, Tsubaki may have been amused at how much she sounded like Noel back in their academy days. Noel… Passing through a white-tiled kitchen at odds with the gothic rooms surrounding it, she shook off the thought of her friend and found the strength to look up. "Um…may I ask where I am?"
"Yeah. Rachel will tell you. We're almost there." Ragna turned and started up a large stairwell. "She's at the top of these stairs."
Tsubaki nodded, frustrated by his lack of an answer but not willing to show it in the least. The stairs rose high; she guessed that they had gone up at least three stories by the time Ragna stopped in front of an ornate door. He pounded on it. "Hey, bunny-leech! She's awake!"
"Is that so?" A moment later, the door opened. A girl with long blonde hair in twin tails who looked all of thirteen stepped out. "How pleasant to see you have awakened, Miss Yayoi. Do come in."
As Tsubaki nodded in silence, trying to figure out how such a young girl could sound so mature, Ragna leaned against the doorframe. "Can I go now? I'm freaking tired."
Rachel led Tsubaki into the bedchamber, not giving Ragna as much as a glance. "I think not; I have need of your presence as well. Nago, if you would."
"Yes, princess." A large black cat in the room startled Tsubaki first by speaking and then by twisting into the shape of a chair. He let out a growl as Rachel sat on him. "Whatever is that filthy dog doing here?"
Before Tsubaki could ask who Nago was talking about, Ragna extended a choice finger at the cat-chair. "Somehow, I don't think a stuffed toy like you has any right to call me filthy."
Rachel smirked, unable to resist throwing a barb Ragna's way. "Oh, but you are quite right. To call you such would be an insult to filth."
"Bite me, rabbit."
"A poor choice of words when conversing with my kind."
"Um…" It took Tsubaki a moment to realize she had dared to interrupt the brewing argument. "May I ask why I'm here? Or where 'here' is, for that matter?"
"My apologies. You are in the mansion of the Alucard family. I am Rachel, the current head." Rachel inclined her head towards Tsubaki. "To be blunt, you are my captive. You were bested in combat by Ragna, who refrained from taking your life for reasons unknown. Having no semblance of foresight, he was left with no choice but to bring you here. As such, I was left to decide your fate."
"I see." Tsubaki's heart clenched and her stomach knotted up at the prospect of impending judgment. "And what have you decided?"
"Regardless of your allegiance, I know you are not cut of the same cloth as Terumi and Relius. You fight for the Library because you believe them to be protectors of peace, do you not? I believe that with proper guidance, you could become a force of great good, knowing your convictions. Therefore, I shall allow you to live."
Tsubaki shook her head, scowling. How does she know so much about me? "I'm sorry, but I have no interest in aiding enemies of the Librarium."
"Nor would I expect you to at the present. As I said, for the moment you are my captive. Worry not; I shall not pry for information, nor shall I confine you to a single room. You will be free to roam the mansion, save for its few sensitive areas." Rachel's crimson gaze intensified, making Tsubaki jump. "However, do not believe for an instant that you shall be able to escape. This mansion is not of your world; you will find it quite impossible to leave. Furthermore, your fell weapon has been secured. I very much doubt you shall be able to find it; even if you did, it is quite well-guarded. Should you manage to retrieve it, the consequences will be dire. I do not recommend attempting to escape."
"…I understand." All of her initial plans crushed in a minute, Tsubaki looked down at the ground. "Why are you allowing me free reign of your mansion, Miss Rachel?"
"My prisoner though you may be, I do not wish for you to be uncomfortable. You are no threat to the occupants of this mansion. I see no reason not to allow you such a degree of freedom, save a level of barbarian cruelty I shall not stoop to. I believe you shall find my residence accommodating."
"In other words, rather than torturing me into bending to your will, you are trying to get me to betray the Librarium with honey." Tsubaki huffed; Rachel's plan was too obvious to her. "I appreciate your kindness, but I will not leave the Librarium."
"Then I suppose you shall remain here for the duration of this war." Nonetheless, Rachel smiled again. "Your dedication to a cause is admirable; I expected no other response from you. In the interest of cordiality, I shall speak no further of this. Ragna."
Ragna, leaning against the door frame with his closed, jumped at the sound of his name. "Finally remember I exist?"
"The unfortunate fact was never lost upon me, no matter how I wish it."
"Go to Hell. What do you want, anyways? It's freaking midnight already. I wanna just get to sleep so I can get shit done in the morning."
Rachel pursed her lips, bracing herself for the coming eruption of anger. "My apologies, but from this moment on, you shall not be permitted to leave this mansion."
Deadly silence fell upon the room; it was almost as though Ragna's anger became something tangible. When he spoke, he managed to corral his rage enough to sound calm. "I don't think I heard that quite right. Mind repeating it?"
"It has come to my attention that Relius and Terumi are seeking your grimoire. For what fell purpose, I cannot even begin to fathom. However, it is imperative that you remain secure and there is no place more impregnable than my mansion. Thus, henceforth you shall be required to remain within this realm at all times."
"Fuck that!" Ragna slammed a fist against the door, cracking it. Next to him, Tsubaki darted away from him, not wishing to be an outlet for his fury. "I ain't sticking around this shithole because of Terumi's bullshit! They want my arm, let 'em try. I'll destroy 'em."
"Foolhardy, but I suppose you are only capable of such a response. And do mind your tongue." Rachel rose and paced past him. Ragna followed her down the stairs, Tsubaki trailing behind at a distance. "There is no room to debate this, not that you could accomplish such a feat. We cannot risk your capture; you will remain here until we are prepared for a final strike against Terumi, whenever such a day arrives. Do I make myself clear?"
"Try it and my foot's going up your ass. Do I make myself clear?"
Rachel paused on the steps to glare back at him. "I suggest you tread lightly, lest I leave you as a slug, writhing on the floor for all to tread upon. I am in charge of this coalition; when I say jump, you ask how high. Do not presume you can intimidate me with your anger."
"…What the fuck ever." As they resumed their pace, Ragna glared back at Tsubaki. When she froze under his scrutiny, he snorted and turned back. "Stop acting like Noel, god dammit. It's annoying."
With a sigh, Tsubaki went back to staring at the ground. No matter what lengths Rachel was willing to go make her feel comfortable… I am a prisoner, absolutely at their mercy. I cannot remain here for long; I need to… She shook off the thought of her duties. Given her current situation, such things should take a backseat to surviving. "Um, Miss Rachel?"
"Um…I couldn't help but notice your library…"
Rachel gave her a warm smile as they headed down a hallway; Tsubaki identified it as one Ragna had taken her through. "You may bring whatever you wish to your bedchamber, assuming you are capable of treating my possessions with care."
Tsubaki nodded. Now, she at least had some way of passing the time. "Thank you."
"We going anywhere in particular?" Ragna aimed his glare at everything that he passed, dark energies flowing from his right hand. "I just want this stupid day to end already."
"Worry not; we are returning to the guest rooms. There is just one last thing I wish to say to you." Rachel came to stop between the four doors of the first hallway Tsubaki had stepped into. "Although I shall not require that you babysit Miss Yayoi, I will ask that you aid her should she need anything. It will be the two of you alone in this mansion for the most part; I will not tolerate your petulance in this matter."
"Yeah, fine, whatever." Ragna brushed past her and entered a room. "See you tomorrow."
As he disappeared behind the door, Rachel turned to Tsubaki. "I do hope you can tolerate those tattered robes for the night."
Tsubaki blinked and looked over herself for the first time since waking. She remained clad in the ivory robes of Zero Squadron, sans her hat. Rips and bloodstains adorned them, testaments to her duel with Ragna. "I…suppose I can for tonight. But…"
"Worry not; I shall provide fresh clothing for you in the morning. I suggest you rest; tomorrow may prove somewhat hectic. I bid you a good night."
With that, Rachel turned and strode off, leaving Tsubaki to lay back on the bed, wondering what was to transpire. Fatigue caught up to her, crushing her. Even with the light still on, she found herself drifting off to sleep. With a yawn, she decided to just give in and rest. Everything else could wait until tomorrow.