DISCLAIMER: the following characters Yu Kanda, Lavi, Cross Marian, the Akuma and Bookman belong to Katsura Hoshino the writer and megamind behind D. Gray-man, I do not own any of the above mentioned characters. Nozara Ming a.k.a "Panda" is my own O/C.
"Ah this is the last one." She whispered to herself pulling out the massive book and placing it on top of the heavy pile she was already trying to balance. Since she had joined the likes of bookman he was hell bent on drowning her in reading so she could catch up with all the other bookmen around her. She sighed realizing she was now stuck on the ladder she delicately balanced on and with books obstructing her view she couldn't see her feet. Another deep sigh emitted from the tiny girl as she felt the pile of books grow heavier at each passing minute. 'Being new here has its perks I guess, besides all the reading.' She thought to herself as she slowly managed to lower herself one treacherous step at a time. Stopping she looked behind her to see there were only four steps between her and the floor, when two figures walking down the aisle of books caught her eye.
Kanda looked up to notice a tiny figure clad in black on a ladder with a harshly swaying pile of books in their arms. He watched as a small heeled boot tried to find the step below it, missing its targeted destination as the figure lost it balance. The pile of books catapulted above as he watched the person fall to the floor landing with a light thud.
Ming closed her eyes waiting the impact of the books as the landed on top of her tiny form. 'That's going to leave bruises.' She thought as a soft oomph escaped her lips at the impact of the final and largest book. She was a small female, much smaller than the woman around her been a petite four foot five. This also worked against her when it came to age, been eighteen she looked like a ten year old to most that saw her. She had long calve length black hair with white streaks and pale white skin. Her eyes were like misty skies on a stormy day, a shade of pale, clear grey. The only color to her cheeks was the occasional blush that would lightly sprinkle itself across them. Chest wise she was grateful that she was well endowed for her small stature.
A deep sigh emitted from the pile of books before Kanda and Lavi as they started moving. A hooded head and a small fragile looking hand emerged from the pile as the books on top slid down to the floor. The men watched as the hand, in a nurturing manner rubbed a spot that seemed a little tender. Lavi went down on his haunches to inspect the pile when his green eye met two pale grey ones. With a slender finger he flicked back the black hood of her cape and stood up revealing the identity of the small figure to Kanda who sighed in annoyance.
Offering the small girl a hand Lavi pulled her up and helped her with her books, noticing how Kanda watched the girl intensely. "Thank you so much." She whispered as she sat in her favorite reading spot. "Oh I see you two have met my new apprentice." Came bookman's weary old voice. Lavi turned and smiled at the old man. "Lavi, Kanda this is Nozara Ming. She is however, more commonly known as Panda. The tiny woman looked down at her books in distress. "Panda I suggest you get started you know you're deadline on those books is in three days time and they are simply not just going to read themselves." A soft groan came from the woman as she opened the first book. Kanda stood silently watching her.
"So old man why you are so harsh on her, I mean you never gave me so much reading and expected it with in a deadline." The old man looked over at Panda and nodded nonchalantly. "Lavi that girl has a gift, she has already read more than half of the books here and she has only been here for two weeks where it takes my other apprentice's years to even reach halfway. She remembers every single word she ever reads that's why I am pushing her." Lavi nodded and looked at Kanda who still stood silently watching Panda as she started reading her third book.
"Does she ever talk bookman?" Lavi asked ever so curiously. "No she rarely speaks and when she does it is usually to protest about something she has to do. Her back ground and past was a cruel one but it made her the perfect candidate for a bookman. She hardly ever shows any emotion, even when Arystar teases her. She won't form bonds with people either. As a small child she watched her family get brutally murdered for nothing. She is afraid of most things due to that. So I know she will at least follow my orders and the way of the bookman very seriously." Lavi shook his head and chuckled, "I highly doubt that old man." He pointed to where she sat looking up at Kanda, a light blush sprinkled across her cheeks as they just stared at each other silently.
Bookman sighed, "You boys are going to make this difficult for me aren't you." Lavi shook his head. "If we do I can assure you its unintentional bookman, Kanda is to cold and stoic, it's highly unlikely to picture him in any form of relationship. On the other hand I cannot say the same for myself." He taunted walking to a row of books to look for what he needed. Panda rose from her seat and walked to where Lavi stood tapping his chin as he hunted for the book. He looked down at her when he felt an icy hand on top of his. "The book of which you search is on shelf seven, third book from the end." Lavi looked down at the small woman and noticed her facial features more clearly and why they called her Panda.
Feint dark rings underlined her bright eyes making them seem sunken in; Lavi knew this was a trait usually held by those who were fatigued or unable to sleep at night. She sighed, her shoulders hanging as she turned to get back to her books. Glancing at Kanda as he watched her walk back to her seat and open book. Lavi watched as she shyly peeped up from her book at Kanda, the light blush present on her pale cheeks again. Seeing that Lavi had noticed her looking at Kanda her blush deepened as she looked down at her book again. But under the steely glare of the man the sentence she was on kept repeating itself.
Lavi turned his attention on Bookman yet again. "The reason why you call her Panda is it because of those rings under her eyes?" bookman nodded. "When she arrived here they were much darker and more pronounced, the poor thing is plagued by nightmares so she tries her best not to sleep, we once got General Cross to place her under a sleeping spell. It ended up been a nightmare for us just to witness. She is unique; you saw one of her abilities." "Yes she read my mind just by touching me. And told me exactly where the book I was looking for was to be found. And where she said it would be is exactly where I found it. It was quite astounding. Is it limited?" he looked down at the old man his eyes gleaming with the want to know.
"So far not that I know of, the only limit on the mind reading is contact, if she doesn't touch you she can't read what you're thinking. As for her memory, even that astounds me. But it would seem she can do a lot more than just what she shows us." Lavi nodded and looked back over at her as he noticed the pile of read books growing. He sat down with his book and started paging through it slowly looking for the details he searched for. Kanda joined him and picked up a book, but his gaze was not on the pages before him, it was fixated on the small woman across from them. A strange presence surrounding her is what held Kanda's attention, a small black cat type creature with glowing amber eyes and bat wings never left her side where ever she went. He watched as she closed the last book and slumped in her chair holding her head.
He looked over at Lavi who had also seemed to notice the tiny girl holding onto her head. The small cat rested on her shoulder and snuggled against her, seeming to ease a bit of the pain she was in. Out of nowhere across her back formed a long black and gold katana in a black and gold sheath the cat nowhere to be seen, he looked questioningly at Lavi. "If that girl has the substance why is she a bookman?" Lavi shrugged, "She can't be both so it seems she had to choose and chose the less violent path, and she seems extraordinarily strong though for a female." Then his look changed from serious to mischievous. "While we still on the topic of her, I see you have been staring at her." Lavi taunted. Kanda reached for his Katana but his hand was stuck in place when he tried to pull it out of its sheath.
Kanda looked up shocked to see her distraught features before him, a delicate looking hand placed over his to discourage him from drawing his blade. Her features changed though from distraught to confused.
She looked down at the man hiding every bit of emotion she could, trying to keep her delicate features straight and serious. "I can't read his thoughts.' She thought to herself as she let his hand go. She bowed her head respectively and whispered, "Is that really necessary Kanda-dono." Looking up she saw the shocked expression on his face. She looked back down and apologized before walking away. "Ah Kanda seems she also called you by your first name like we do." He glared at Lavi sternly. She silently walked to bookman and bowed taking her leave.
"Lavi lets go." Kanda said coldly getting up and walking toward the doors. Lavi jumped up and followed him not worrying to ask any questions as to where they were going. "She is a nice girl don't you think?" Lavi asked absent mindedly. All it got him was a glare. "Come on man don't be so stiff, relax a little, you're always been so serious and you can't possibly say she didn't catch your attention because I saw how you were staring at her the whole time." He noticed a blush cross Kanda's cheeks, but as soon as it dared show itself, it had vanished again leaving the usually moody exterior behind again.
They watched as the rain started pouring down in buckets. Ending up just as soaked as she was they continued following her until they came to a large gothic styled manor. At her door she turned and faced them, "I know you have been following me and I do not wish to know why, but I would like to invite you in to get warm or you shall both catch a cold from this weather." Lavi accepted before Kanda could decline and followed the moody man in to the home. They followed her tiny form into a massive study with a large fire place at one end. Looking around they noticed walls of books from the floor to the ceiling. She motioned for them to sit down by the fire place and handed them blankets and leaving them. She returned a little while later with some warm drinks for them to choose from.
"Do you live here alone." She shook her head. "I have some homeless people that live with me, I provide shelter for members of the black order who are traveling and need accommodation as well." Lavi smiled, she had a good heart even if she had to hide it. Outside the storm only got worse and she looked at them with a slight hint of worry in her eyes. Lavi knowing what she was about to ask next smiled. "We'll stay the night since the weather is showing no signs of holding up." She nodded and let one of her butlers lead them to their rooms. Lavi didn't care much about the room he was in, all her cared for was the bed that awaited him.
Kanda walked around his room inspecting it when he came across a black and white photo of Panda with her family. She was smiling in the picture, it was something he found beautiful. He looked around him and found another picture of just Panda sitting on a swing beneath a willow tree, smiling up at the sky. Kanda glanced at the door and took he picture from its precious frame placing it in the inside pocket of his jacket. A light knock on his door caught his attention. Slowly the door opened and the small figure of the woman entered.
She gasped when she looked up at him to see his blade to her neck. "I didn't mean to intrude, I just wanted to make sure you have everything you need." She choked on the words as her eyes filled with tears. She backed up against the door feeling for the handle while he still held his blade out at her. Her behavior puzzled him as she swallowed getting a grip on the door handle. He noticed she was trembling, getting the door open she fled from the room tears streaming down her face. She ran past Lavi not even noticing him as she passed. This confused him as he walked into Kanda's room. He found him still pointing his sword at where he assumed she had been standing.
"Kanda what is going on here." He asked cautiously. "She came in to see if I needed anything, but I didn't know it was her when the door opened and I drew my sword out on her, then she started crying and fled the room." Lavi slapped his palm against his forehead. "You idiot that's the last thing you should do to her, bookman told me about her past, you would have heard if you weren't do busy staring at her." Kanda looked at Lavi suspiciously. "What about her past?" Lavi then explained to Kanda what had happed to the young woman as a child.
"I didn't know." Kanda groaned holding his head in his hands. "I don't know why either but when I'm near her I don't function since we walked into that damned archive today all I could do was stand and stare at her, I couldn't bring myself to take my eyes off of her and for the few minutes I did I felt so strange. Then when she touched my wrist with that distraught look on her face I should have realized." "I think you should apologize to her Kanda, she's only been nothing more than an absolute sweetheart toward us." Kanda nodded even though he knew Lavi was right he wouldn't admit it. Once Lavi had left he stepped out and started looking for her.
He had never apologized to anyone before so he knew it was possibly going to leave him feeling rather awkward. The sounds of crying lead him right to her, but not knowing what to do he sighed and leant against her door. Opening it slowly he walked in without even asking and approached the tiny figure that sat huddled up with its small knees to its chest. Her hair was sprawled out all around her as he stood by the edge of her bed. "I don't even know your real name Panda, but I, I am sorry about earlier. I don't know why… but I never ask anyone what I'm about to ask you… will you… uh well, will you forgive me."
He looked down at her to have his gaze met by two bright grey eyes. When he looked again she was in front of him with her arms around his waist. Quickly she pulled away blood red in her face and nodded quickly, staring down at her twiddling fingers. Kanda stood still in shock staring down at the woman, he knew she had to remain distant but if she felt what he had felt in that library the day before… He shook the thought from his mind and watched as she still stood on the place staring at her feet.
The next day Lavi insisted he visit the archives with him so he could finish up his reading. Kanda shrugged his shoulder and followed Lavi. When they arrived he walked around looking for a sign of the young woman but she was nowhere to be seen or found. Lavi noticed Kanda was looking for her and turned to bookman to cover for his friend. "So bookman you wouldn't happen to know where Panda is today?" he grinned sheepishly. "My, my Lavi you don't waste time do you? I actually haven't seen the dear thing all day. Which is strange, she never misses a single day of reading." Lavi looked over at Kanda and shrugged.
Slowly days had turned into weeks, the weeks had turned into months. As the months passed so did the seasons. It was early winter and the snow had started falling. Kanda had gone to her manor every single evening since the day she hadn't shown up at the archives always to find that she hadn't even returned home. All Maybelle could supply him with was that after him and Lavi left, so did she, she was told she was going to accompany them to the archives and that they were waiting outside the main gate for her on the pavement. Since then not once had she even returned to the archives and it was slowly starting to hit home with Kanda as he left her manor again like he did each night staring at the photo of her he kept in her pocket. Lavi had gone to the archives every single day to see if she had returned but his luck turned up the same as Kanda's had each and every time.
It was four months since she had disappeared and Kanda sat at the head quarters of the black order staring out his window as the winter snow continued to fall when the old frail figure of Maybelle appeared at his door. "Kanda, it is her, she doesn't look to well." She watched as his handsome features paled. "Maybelle I'm taking her to my home where I will see to it that she gets proper medical care." Maybelle nodded and followed him explaining how she had found her young mistress in the street all badly injured. At the manor Kanda took her fragile form in his arms and made sure the best doctor had been contacted. He waited outside the room he had given her patiently for the doctor's report.
The old man shifted his glasses as he pulled the door closed behind him. "It seems as if she was attacked by an akuma but it didn't kill her as they usually do. She is very frail and weak but with rest she should recover quickly and don't fret my dear boy if she doesn't wake up, she is in a mild coma, it will be a while till she wakes up." Seeing the doctor off he went and sat by the side of her bed, he played with her hand, stroking her soft skin. It was strangely cold to the touch yet smooth. He looked at her sleeping face and couldn't help but stroke her cheeks and her hair. He would never show his emotions around anyone but been alone with her allowed him too. Lavi too had made an effort to see her while she lay peacefully, lost to the world as the months passed by slowly. A winter to a winter.
It was one of the worst winters ever experienced, the weather was bitter and the frost bitten sky dark and angry as the wind lashed out at anyone who dared to challenge it. Kanda had taken to sleeping beside Panda during the long cold nights to make sure she kept warm as some nights not even the fire was enough to keep her delicate figure warm. He knew she had never woken because whenever he woke up she was in the same position.
Panda knew she had to wake up. She fought the sleep knowing she was going to be late for work at the archives. Slowly her eyes opened as she looked around her. She was in an unfamiliar room and she felt strangely warm. Two arms gripped around her tightly as she moved her head to find a long mop of deep blue hair and a face nuzzled into her neck. Slowly he moved and lay on his back. Panda felt her face heat up instantly when she noticed who was next to her. After all she hadn't seen him for four months. Lazily she moved and wrapped her arm around him resting her head against Kanda's chest as she fell asleep again.
Kanda woke up to find her head on his chest and her arm around him. He thought it was a joke been pulled on him by Lavi, but when she stirred his heart stopped. Two bright grey eyes stared up at him as a blush crossed her cheeks. Kanda felt a light blush cross his cheeks as well as she rolled, leaning on his chest to look up at him. His hand found its way to her hair as she touched his cheek gently. "It has been so long since I saw those eyes staring back at me, a year and four months to be exact." He whispered. He saw the shock cross her face and smiled pulling her a little closer. "I'm so glad you awake." He said as he closed the gap a little more. When Panda looked up again their lips where mere millimeters apart from each other, "Tell me your real name Panda?" she smiled at this. "It is Nozara, Nozara Ming." She answered in an angelic voice.
A/N: Sorry that it is so long with no chapters but with work and time constraints it's what I could manage to keep the new stuff coming and to show my readers I'm no lazy author. Hope you enjoyed