Yayayayay, dankedanke my darling reviewers followers favouriters :D mwah mwah mwah 3 In return I give you a big chapter. E-n-j-o-y ~!
Chapter 4 – And These Two Have No Idea…
"Maron! Hey, Maron! Look at me when I speak!" My eyes drifted into focus and I found Miyako glaring down at me in front of my desk, her hands firmly on her hips.
"Jeez, you're ignoring me again. Stop spacing out!"
I rubbed my eyes tiredly as Miyako inspected my face. "Ehh? What is it Miyako?"
"When did you go to bed last night? You look shattered."
I ignored her and looked out of the window. It was true though. I didn't know why, but Sinbad seemed to be occupying a lot of my memory space. That boy kept turning up everywhere suddenly, claiming he was helping me. Idiot, Finn already warned you about this. I knew people like him existed, but I just didn't know what to make of it right now.I would have slammed my fists down on to the table in frustration if I hadn't noticed Chiaki watching me curiously out of the corner of my eye. I sighed and returned to fiddling with my pencil instead.
Miyako sighed in exasperation and then something was smacked down onto my desk. "If you're going to ignore me, at least tell me beforehand!" she grumbled before storming off. Oops, I got sidetracked again. I studied the piece of paper on my desk; it was a poster about a party. The school dance that took place annually, that everyone in the school contributed something to. I guess you could say it was the only event in the year where the school actually pulled together and got something good out of it in the end.
"M-Maron.. Ehh.. Uhm, I was thi-inking…"
I half turned my head to find Minazuki standing to my right. He was looking down, his hair covering his flushed face.
"Mmhm?" I replied. I still don't know why Minazuki is so shy.
"I-I... Would you li-ike to go to the da-ance with me?" He hastily pointed to the leaflet on my table.
I stifled a laugh. All that trouble to ask me to the dance? We were good friends, anyway.
"Yeah, sure. I'll meet you outside the school." I looked over to see Miyako blushing furiously as she stood in front of Chiaki. "Hey, I think Miyako and Chiaki are going together too. Maybe we could all go in together."
Minazuki mumbled his thanks, bowed slightly and hurried away again. There was just no helping this boy!
Pakkyamlamao-sensei had set the whole school to work on setting up the school grounds in preparation for the dance. With the date set for 2 weeks time, the school was scrubbed clean and decorations prepared. The one thing everyone in the school pulled together for, was the banner that would be put on display above the school gates for everyone to see. A long piece of white fabric which everyone would write or draw something on. Nobody quite knew when or how the tradition started, but now it was something everyone looked forwards to contributing to.
As usual, the banner was passed from class to class throughout the week as the students discussed what to decorate it with. Slowly, it filled up with a mark from each of the students of the school, ranging from painted hand prints to scrawled signatures, to messages and drawings.
"Ehh, what's that you've drawn Maron?" An annoying voice rang through Maron's head, causing her to jolt the black marker she was holding tightly.
"Aa..- Idiot! You've made me mess it up." She exclaimed, attempting to fix it.
Chiaki chuckled and leaned over her shoulder to get a better look. "…"
"What do you want? Quit breathing down my neck already."
"Mmh? Is that what you'd like? Because I was just struggling to make out what you were draw-"
Chiaki was cut off mid-sentence by Maron's foot kicking him in his shin, hard.
"Mind your own business!" Then a smirk formed on her lips. "Because that drawing Chiaki, was drawn by Miyako. This one…" She moved her hand that was covering her own drawing. "Was drawn by me."
Her smirk broadened as she watched his eyes widen slightly in realisation. "You're lucky Miyako's not around right now, you know."
Chiaki quickly regained a normal facial expression but frowned at the work. There were a pair of chibi style faces drawn next to each other, unmistakeably belonging to Maron and Miyako. "So you drew your own face next to Miyako's, huh…"
"Yeah… I guess you could say we do that every year." Her eyes narrowed slightly. "Why, got a problem?"
Chiaki was suddenly grinning from ear to ear as he prised the marker pen out of Maron's hand and positioned the banner to face him. "Actually, I do…"
After a few seconds of being hunched over the work, he leaned back proudly.
"There. Everything's perfect now."
Maron didn't even have to come closer to see it. It was drawn big enough so anyone could see it standing five metres away. She had to fight hard to contain her rage as her eyes nearly burned holes in the newest addition to the banner. "Y-You! H-How dare you!" She spluttered, unsure whether her cheeks were now red from anger or embarrassment.
He had just drawn his own face in, next to Maron's. If that wasn't enough, it was positioned so that Chiaki was kissing her on the cheek!
Chiaki chuckled again, tossing the marker back to Maron. "Watch it, you're lucky it's only on the cheek…" Then he sauntered off out of the room.
I swear, this guy seems to be enjoying digging his own grave…
After school, Maron's POV
I knew I was going to be late for gymnastics that afternoon, but Chiaki had headed down there with Miyako. And yes, I was still pissed off with that guy from earlier, so I ended up stopping off at the toilets instead. That idiot Chiaki, doing this to me…
After spending five minutes staring at my reflection in the mirror, I heard a continuous tapping sound at the window. I knew without looking up who it was, as she sometimes sprang up on me like this. Smiling to myself, I unlocked the window to let her in.
"Finn! What's up?" She usually waited for me to arrive home myself, so something interesting must have popped up.
"Maron!" She was panting heavily as she pushed off the window sill to fly up to my face. "The demons have made another appearance." She tried to stabilize her breathing as she calmed down. "The banner! A-A demon's got hold of it!"
I struggled to stay expressionless. "You don't mean the school banner? The dance banner?"
"I'm afraid so."
I let out a long sigh. Sometimes I really didn't understand the devil's reasoning behind trying to destroy beautiful objects like these. Something which everyone had put so much effort in, to just be ruined like that in a second. It was different when it was an expensive gemstone or a priceless antique from a museum, because those only drew crowds. But it was when something so precious to somebody that meant nothing to the rest of the world was targeted – such as this banner, that I really hated the Devil.
I did manage to smile slightly though, as I remembered how Chiaki had ruined it with his own addition. Yes, his stupid drawing will disappear with the banner too.
"Send in the notice, Finn. Nine o'clock prompt."
"About that… It looks like someone called Sinbad beat us to it. Trust you to keep him from me, Maron! I had no idea any other person with God given abilities was even around until I saw that devil of an angel – Access Time, flying around outside. I would have tailed him all the way home if we hadn't picked up the scent of the demon at the same time, causing him to notice me!"
Oops. It was true though, with being so busy thinking about him myself, I had completely forgotten to tell Finn about Sinbad.. "Sorry, sorry! I did mean to tell you, but I kind of forgot."
"Hmph! Well God filled me in about it anyway. Serves you right for hiding it from me." Then she turned away and giggled slightly. "You know, you're supposed to work together. Although… I'm not too sure you really comprehend the meaning of a team, yes?"
I snorted. "If that guy really wants to stick around as a kind of back up, then so be it. But like I told you before, I'm not letting anyone – especially ignorant idiots like him, steal my Checkmates."
Finn laughed again. "That's the spirit, Maron! Right, about this notice car-"
"Seal it in an envelope addressed to Pakkyamlamao-sensei. Drop it through the letterbox at her house." I said quickly. I knew Sensei was not going to be at all happy with the banner being the next target, but it had to be done. She had all the banners from years back, all stored in a box. They were precious to her; a sign that even our school could pull together and produce something good at the end of it. I had also seen what lengths Pakkyamlamao-sensei would go to, to protect anything she thought was important. Hmm, this may prove challenging in a different way…
Maron's Apartment, Finn's POV (I have an unhealthy obsession with Finn, OK? She's a-dor-a-ble! XD )
"Maron. Oi, Maron? Are you listening to me!?" I stared hopelessly at Maron who had just flopped down in front of me onto the sofa, before switching on the television.
"Hey! I was trying to derive a plan for you to get that banner. You're supposed to be the re-incarnation of Jeanne d'Arc you know, yet you're tired after half a day's work!" I had to fly right up to her face and shout in her ear before I got her attention, sometimes.
"Yes, yes… I know Finn. You've drilled it into my head a thousand times over." She mumbled, half turning away from me.
I pouted, but moved so I was still hovering in front of her face. "That's not true! I was busy explaining it to you and you switched off halfway through!"
"Keep the volume down, you're hurting my ears…"
"I don't believe you heard me! Recite it to me so that I know you were paying attention!"
She sighed before closing her eyes. "Look, I know it. We go to the party, you hit the lights, I break away from Minazuki, I seal the demon. I return to Minazuki and Chiaki before the power returns. Much the same as usual."
I smiled, knowing that however much she denied it, she did take her job seriously. Well at least half seriously. I flew forwards to hug Maron's cheek. "Yay! Now that you're all set to go, I'm expecting a chess piece at the end of it, OK? Hey, Maron! Listen to me!"
I smacked my forehead in exasperation as she snored on the sofa. Jeanne d'Arc or not, this girl will always have her own ways…
The night of the dance – Normal POV
"Don't be so silly Maron, you look much better like this!" Miyako exclaimed, admiring her masterpiece. It was true though, Miyako had done a marvellous job on getting Maron prettied up for the dance. Miyako had had enough trouble dragging her friend to the shops to find a half formal dress, that it was surprising she was able to sort her hair and face out too.
"Pfft, don't get the wrong idea and think I'm enjoying this. In fact, I know you only want me to look like this so you have an excuse to look your best for Chia-"
"Ssshhh!" Miyako's hand slammed down on Maron's mouth, muffling the end of her sentence. "S-Shut up! E-Everyone's going to look good for the dance, idiot. A-Anyway, it would be stupid not to go dressed up!"
Maron smirked slightly. "Yes yes, if you say so…"
Miyako's cheeks remained red with embarrassment as she stomped out of Maron's apartment. "It's your own fault that you don't appreciate it you know. You need to learn to be more ladylike at times like this!" She yelled over her shoulder.
Maron looked down at what she was wearing. Great. How do I spend the next hour before the dance all dressed up like this? She flopped down on the sofa in annoyance and waited for Finn to come back. Although Miyako was determined to catch Jeanne this time, the opportunity to spend the evening with Chiaki was too big to pass up. She had decided that she would only spend half the time at the dance, before rushing out to sort out Jeanne's traps. Maron's lips curved into a smile; she knew how important this dance was to Miyako with Chiaki being her partner. But she couldn't help but feel happy and perhaps slightly relieved, that she was still willing to give up some of it up in order to catch Jeanne. Miyako's driving determination was definitely one of the main things that fuelled Maron's eagerness to continue helping God and Finn.
Maron's eyes were just closing and she was about to drift off into a peaceful slumber, when she was jolted back to reality by the sound of fists on her front door that thundered around the apartment. Unsurprisingly, she found Miyako stood at the front door, gripping Chiaki's wrists. He was rubbing his eyes tiredly, nearly falling asleep as well.
"Look, I've already had to drag him out of bed! Don't tell me I need to carry you to the dance too." Miyako snapped, gripping Chiaki's wrists tighter to keep him looking conscious.
"Yeah, I'm just comi-"
"Now! We're going to be late!"
"No wait, my-"
Maron's protests were cut off as Miyako yanked her out of the front door and slammed it behind her.
The three hurried to the school, which had already started.
"Tch! Told you we should have set off earlier." Miyako grumbled, scanning the crowd. "Did you say you'd meet Minazuki here?"
Oh no, Minazuki! Maron had completely forgotten about his asking her to the dance. "Yeah…We agreed to meet at the main entrance."
After scanning the crowds, Miyako's eyes settled on a figure waiting nervously at the gates, checking his watch – Unmistakeably Minazuki. With a playful shove, she pushed Maron towards him but it only resulted in Maron toppling over in her long dress, smacking into Chiaki, and the pair of them landing with a loud thud on the ground.
Miyako mentally cursed them both. "Y-You idiots! Chiaki, are you OK? And Maron, your dress is all muddy now! Ugh, we haven't even started the dance and you're-"
All remaining air in her lungs was lost as she took in their position. Maron was on all fours, leaning over Chiaki who was lying on the ground. Miyako's eyes widened like saucers as she jabbed a finger in their direction. "O-Oi! W-What are you d-doing?" She grabbed Maron's arm and dragged her off Chiaki's chest. Maron's face was flushed red, and Miyako had to shake her shoulders violently to get her attention. "Hey, Maron! Are you listening to me?"
Chiaki only chuckled as he pushed himself up onto his elbows. Upon inspection, Miyako noticed a faint blush dusting his cheeks too, before it vanished again. "Awh, I was enjoying that position as well… I wonder what it looked like to everyone els-" He choked on his last words as Maron who had now recovered, seized him by his tie, hauling him to his feet. "H-How dare you! S-Stop being so perverted!" Realising their proximity, she blushed slightly, before abruptly dropping him. Smoothing out her dress, she turned on her heels and marched towards Minazuki, earning a snicker from Chiaki.
I wasn't sure why or even how, but Maron certainly did remind me of someone. I wasn't even sure who she resembled. Perhaps a figment of my imagination. But then, maybe it was the way she had a tough exterior that everyone knew, but then…there was bound to be a vulnerable side of her too, right? I smiled slightly. Well if Maron had a vulnerable side, she doesn't show it very often… I tentatively rubbed the marks on my neck my collar had made, when she had nearly strangled me earlier. It then occurred to me that I knew very little about Maron. Whereas Miyako had pretty much told me her life story, all I really knew about Maron were her personal details and her interest in gymnastics. Not a lot else. How could that be? She sat next to me at school, we were neighbours, and it wasn't like she had blanked me all this time. I made a mental note to myself to find out more about her the next opportunity I had.
Hmm, recently my mind has been quite filled up with Maron and Jeanne. How annoying. Ah, Jeanne! I momentarily forgot my actual reason of being here. I smirked as I looked at the banner which Pakkyamlamao-sensei was guarding herself, despite it being two hours early for the theft to happen. I would have laughed out loud at the drawing I contributed again, if Miyako wasn't watching me curiously.
Access was not amused with my previous failures against Jeanne. He spent the whole of last night formulating a plan that would allow me to sneak away from Maron and Minazuki – Miyako was obviously leaving early for Jeanne. I did have my doubts about the plan though; I mean anyone would be likely to catch on if I disappeared right before the robbery. Right now, I'm just hoping Jeanne will make an appearance first to cause a distraction.
The party progressed fairly normally, and although I was able to mask my slight nervousness about the theft, Miyako was practically beside herself with capturing Jeanne. Maron appeared to have cleared off fairly early, Minazuki tagging along. I guess she knows better than to stick around Miyako when she's in moods like this.
8:45. Fifteen minutes to go. I had to wait for Finn to take out the lights before I could do anything. Sighing, I made my way to the food stand, with where Miyako and Chiaki were. Miyako was clutching onto Chiaki's arm, but I could hear that their conversation was about Jeanne's capture. I managed to stifle a laugh.
"Hey Miyako, Chiaki!" I grinned at them as they looked up. "Eh, Miyako, you're still here? Jeanne will get away again if you don't hurry up!"
The reminder that it was time to go was enough to get Miyako's eyes blazing with fire. "Yes! Just you wait, Jeanne. I'll have you brought to justice tonight!" Her fists clenched tightly, she marched out of the room to finish her preparations.
There was a strange expression on Chiaki's face that I couldn't quite place… But it quickly disappeared as he returned to eating an iced bun. He was a strange guy, there was no doubt about it. I picked up a bun too, and we ate in silence for a while.
Suddenly, the school was plunged into darkness as the lights were taken out. Time to go…
I whipped around to make a dash out of the room, only to crash into Chiaki for the second time that day. I glared at him. "Where are you rushing off to so suddenly, that hurt!" I complained, rubbing my elbow. Man, everywhere I turned this guy was there.
"Hey, I could say the same about you." He winced slightly as he staggered to his feet.
"Look, I'm going to the toilets. Catch you in a bit." I managed to get out as I hurried out of the hall.
Grimacing, I looked around. I'd forgotten how many people there would be. Even outside, it was near to full. There was no point attempting to transform anywhere relatively near to here. Everyone would see me from the light produced. Sigh… The toilets it was.
I found the busiest toilets there was, right in the centre of the school. After picking my way through whimpering girls sitting on the floor, obviously too scared to move from the sudden darkness, I managed to dive into a cubicle and bolt it shut. I considered transforming immediately, but scared as the girls might be, they weren't stupid. I gingerly slid over the tops of the cubicle walls until I was almost the other side of the toilets, where I felt safe enough to summon Finn. Honestly, without the help of the Petit Claire, I have no idea where I'd be in this job!
A couple of seconds later, Finn arrived.
"Come on, we'll be late if we don't get going now."
Finn nodded eagerly. "Good luck, Maron. Do your best – With or without Sinbad" She whispered as the transformation process began. I grinned as I felt the power surging through my veins, at how much better it was be out of that stupid formal dress Miyako had forced me to wear.
I had to squint at my watch to see the time, through the darkness. 9:00. Game Start! I felt the adrenalin build up inside me as I silently let myself out of the cubicle and slipped out of the window, unseen. How everyone missed seeing part of my transformation was a miracle, but I wasn't going to complain.
Stood on the window ledge outside, it wasn't hard to see the police officers stationed at each path down to the banner. Four by the gates, two holding the banner in place; yes, Pakkyamlamao-Sensei had refused to even consider taking the thing down. She said she'd rather it was kept in place than have it removed for the dance. Not that it made much difference to me, considering I'd end up taking it either way.
Murmuring voices below me coming from some voices jolted me out of my thoughts.
"Jeez, are you trying to get people suspicious? Come on, Jeanne's arrived already."
Jeanne? That must mean Sinbad was down there, with his angel. Access, was it? Well; whether they were here or not, the banner was mine.
Grasping the gutter, I pulled myself up onto the roof. From here, I could see another one, two…four…five guards situated below me. Hmm, Miyako sure was going to lengths to protect that banner today. I was about to take off running across the rooftop when I heard the sound of shoes landing softly behind me. So softly I had to strain my ears to hear it. I whizzed around, prepared to meet a guard but found myself face to face with Sinbad.
He smirked. "You're predictable, Jeanne. I'm surprised the police don't place guards up on the rooftops since that's where you always come from."
Predictable? This guy who I'd beaten in the last round had the audacity to call me predictable? I glared at him through the dark. I could make out his outline but not a lot else.
"Well, someone was eager to get here. I see you beat me to the notices."
He snorted, probably trying not to laugh. "Hmm? You want to turn the notices into a competition now, do you? That'll prove who has the best angel…Reckon it would be Finn or Access?"
I opened my mouth to answer but to my horror, I couldn't move. Looking down, I found rope tightening around my body in all areas. My mind blanked for a moment before realising I'd been caught by a net. I managed to twist my body to find three triumphant guards closing in on me rapidly. Struggling in the net only seemed to cause the ropes to dig into my skin, rubbing my skin raw. So I lay still, desperately trying to think of a plan good enough to free me. This was definitely a new kind of net, something –
"Miyako Special – Part Thirteen! Yes, you're right Jeanne. That is no ordinary net. It does not allow any escapees; including you! You'll be honoured to hear it was designed especially- Eehh?!"
I too was taken by surprise. Strong arms wrapped around me, and a second later we were flying through the air to the next rooftop. The net lay in pieces on the ground.
"S-Sinbad! W-What the hell? I could have got out myself, you know."
He smirked at me, landing me on my feet. "Awh, not even a thank you? But then no one claimed you were nice, either…"
"Idiot! Now everyone's going to think we're working together."
He raised his eyebrows at me, the smirk still present. "Are we not? I wouldn't call us enemies." He turned away slightly before continuing. "Because if I'm honest, I think we'd make a good team."
I almost growled at him but moved away instead. I'd never worked in a team before. The idea almost didn't make sense to me. Team? Work together? Allies? I could cope with being allies; that was a friendly term. It didn't suggest anything long term. But I definitely wasn't prepared to see him as someone that I could rely on fully; I'd had enough with being let down in the past. "Don't make stupid assumptions." I retorted, brushing past him and walking on ahead. "I'm going after that banner. Come or don't, your choice."
Well that's it for now, guys! Do you like it? Maron+Chiaki's relationship is progressing painfully slowly (in fact it's barely existent right now) but I do have my plans, don't worry ^.^
I decided to split this chapter into 2 separate ones, otherwise it would have been too big _
By the way, if there's any particular scene from the anime/manga that you'd like me to use as a basis for part of the story, do let me know :)