A/N: Hey guys! Thank you all for your reviews! You guys have no idea how much they mean to me and how much it means to me that you guys take the time to read my fic C:
Here I bring you the next chapter! I hope you all like it!
DISCLAIMER: I do NOT own KnS but I DO own the plot line and whatever characters/things I come up with lolol
I saw you, yeah you, you're breaking down
I hope you, yeah you, you come around
Now don't you shut this down ooh no don't you give this up
I took all this love I found and I hope that it's enough is it enough?
If we don't bend then this might break
Please don't give into this pain
Just keep on counting down the days
And dream of me to keep you safe
Only you by PVIRS
"A job? What job?" Ayano repeats.
However, Kazuma is no longer sitting in front of her. He stood up and strode towards the exit knowing she'd follow and although she undoubtedly would follow her, she couldn't help but feel annoyed at the fact that he knew she would follow. Was she really that predictable? Or was he just arrogant enough to think that she'd follow him no matter where he went or what he said because that was so not the case. The only reason Ayano slid out of her seat and ran after Kazuma was the fact that he said they had a job to do.
Despite whatever problems they had, a job was a job and she would do what she needed to through and through.
"Do you plan on ignoring me the rest of the way!" Ayano shouts, grabbing hold of Kazuma's sleeve and tugging it to make him look at her; he did.
Kazuma's dark eyes locked against hers and he raised a brow while his lips slowly turned upward in a smirk, "If I ignore you we wouldn't be able to do our job right, plus we aren't done talking."
"Well then answer me you idiot. What job?" her hand drops and she looks away from his gaze, feeling the weight of it push her down, making her that much more conscious of the proximity between the two of them.
Now was definitely not the time to think about how annoying he is.
Now is the time for work.
Ayano sighed and looked back up at Kazuma.
"Kirika said there are signs of youma in the underground parts of the city." Kazuma begins to explain, "However the activity of it is higher than it has been in months so we have to figure out why it increased and what caused it to increase."
High youma activity?
When Kazuma brought her into the life she was born into, the existence of youma was one of the first things she learned about, and how to defeat them was the second. All around the city there were always signs of youma, it never ended but it managed to stay quiet for a long time. Usually, it was Kazuma who managed the higher activity for her father while she trained but recently she wanted to learn how to fight them hands on and so Kazuma agreed to bring her along to work with him. This increased his pay.
He was her body guard.
Whatever happened to her on his watch was deducted from his pay so he took care of her with his life and although she knew she should be flattered to have him take care of him with so much fervor she didn't feel that way. All she felt was anger and annoyance because he never did anything for free.
Many times she found herself wondering why Kazuma acted the way he did. She would often see him ignore his father but smile with Ren. Aside from that Ayano didn't know much about him other than he was more of a solidary type of guy, his arrogance topped any other, he worked for her father and got reports from Kirita to finish with the work assigned by her father, and he got a kick out of annoying the shit out of her. That's all.
Is that really all? Ayano thought, There has to be more to Kazuma than just that.
Not that she cared.
There was no reason for her to care.
"Did Kirika-chan tell you where the highest activity so far is?" Ayano asks, looking up at Kazuma who she found glaring at the space in front of them.
"Do not leave my sight. I'm not about to take a pay cut because your stupid ass decided to do something irrational." Kazuma walks forward and towards a stumbling man with a bottle dangling from his fingertips.
To any normal person he would look like another drunk man roaming the streets after wasting away all of his earnings, but to Ayano he looked far from a drunk man. There was a murky air around him that stretched out like vines across the concrete under his feet and it was more than obvious that his life force was being drained.
"I can take care of myself." Ayano mutters and walks after him, calling Enraiha from its slumber.
Heat courses through her veins and fills her senses with anticipation. In her hands is now the sacred sword of her ancestors and through the flames that flicker along the wooden frame of it she can feel her birthright power growing, waiting.
"Yo," Kazuma calls out, his voice loud and demanding; the man looks up with a dazed and foggy look in his eyes.
A wicked smile stretches along the surface of his face.
"Aha…ahaha…AHAHAHAHAHA." His voice stretches along the way, carrying a wave of tainted energy towards them but with a light flick of his fingers, Kazuma sends a cleansing breeze to deter its course.
"You know," Kazuma stopped five feet from the man and Ayano stood directly behind him. Her muscles tense under her skin and she grips Enraiha with so much force she feels like it'll snap under her fingers, "I really don't like being ignored."
Wind slashes at the man.
A blood curling shout breaks the peace of the now setting day.
"Ahh!" The man lunges forward but Kazuma effortlessly sends another blade of wind his way; black blood spatters against the light concrete, "Ahahaha, so you are the mighty wind user he told us about!" the man shouts, his laugh mixed with anger and amusement.
"He?" Kazuma repeats, "Who the hell are you talking about?"
The man grins madly and shakes his index finger from side to side, "Tsk, tsk, one should not be so curious." The grin falls and his face sobers up, "You know what they say about the curious cat."
And as the final word leaves his mouth, a dark, sick, and murky form of energy flies towards Ayano. It is painfully obvious that the man thought it would be easier to hit Ayano rather than Kazuma therefore leaving Kazuma open for an attack when he went to protect her, but that was a fatal mistake.
Ayano lifted up Enraiha, a small smirk pulling at the corners of her lips.
The youma's energy rushed at her and she swiped at it, slashing through it in an almost graceful manner; from the corner of her eye she saw Kazuma smirking and it caused a frenzied happiness and pride to course through her veins. Ayano shook her head fiercely.
Now was not the time for those type of feelings.
"I'm offended, really." Ayano rolls her eyes, watching the surprise settle into the man's eyes as he looks at her, flinching at the blow Kazuma throws his way, "Everyone seems to think I'm your liability."
In reality, she somewhat was his liability, but she knew and trusted him enough to make the right decision that would undoubtedly save them both. It didn't matter if she got hurt, pain was something she grew used to long ago, what mattered was getting the job done no matter what the outcome.
"Ahahaha, so you are the mighty wind user he told us about!" the youma shouted with a sense of glee and envy. His eyes jumped with excitement the way a child's do when they receive shiny new toys.
"He?" Kazuma raises a brow, a dark looming over his expression, "Who the hell are you talking about?"
If the guy knew what was good for him, he'd answer right away. Kazuma wasn't one for patience.
However, in an almost painfully obvious way, the man grins wickedly. He lifts his index finger and waves it around like a baton adding to the already formed conclusion that he was only there to bait him. Regardless, Kazuma needs to figure out who this 'he' is and he needs the information fairly quickly.
"Tsk, tsk, one should not be so curious. You know what they say about the curious cat." The unsightly grin falls flat and his lips take the shape of smirk.
Kazuma watches as the youma launches forth an attack, but rather than aiming it at him once again, the idiot appeared to have learned and went for Ayano; he tensed.
He knew that Ayano could handle herself, and that she'd be offended if he made a move to stop it, however simple it would be on his side to do so. Ayano wasn't one for being protected. She always nagged at him about being partners which meant she had to carry around her own weight. It was all rubbish to him but he could understand her need to do things on her own and protect herself. She even went out of her way to, stupidly, protect him. Sometimes it gnawed at his subconscious that she didn't matter what the end would bring as long as the job was done finely. He didn't understand her selflessness.
Maybe it had something to do with how she grew up.
Before you found me there were some things that…happened. Some things I had to…do.
Kazuma mentally shook his head.
From the corner of his eye, Kazuma was able to see the very second that Enraiha met with the youma's energy, the very moment that it dispersed around them and the very instant that Ayano's lips reformed into an idiotic smirk. That, in turn, caused him to smirk.
Ayano had come a long way since he found her, and every day she shaped up to be a better fighter than the last.
"I'm offended, really." Ayano starts; Kazuma looks at the stunned youma-man. "Everyone seems to think I'm your liability."
That's because you are.
Kazuma chuckled under his breath and sent a tornado of wind against the youma.
"Who sent you?" He demanded but the youma simply laughed until the air around them danced with the vulgar notes produced by his voice. The sound was so filling, so disgusting, it provoked a deep and buried memory to flash before his eyes.
I wasn't born to be eaten by a devil…
Kazuma's eyes flashed and, he noted dully, the man grins at the change in pace of his emotions. Almost as if expecting him to react this way.
"Who sent you!" His voice rose and he slammed the man against the wall that faced them. Kazuma moved forward, gripping the man by his shirt and shoved him against the concrete once again, "I won't ask again!"
"Are you going to kill me?" the air around them seemed to ooze a dark, omniscient color, "Go ahead. Kill me." He mocked.
"Kazuma?" Ayano called from behind, her voice strained with tentative worry. It was that, the strange fervor in her voice, which calmed him down enough to drop the man.
"Tch." Kazuma muttered, "He's not going to answer. All he is, is a worthless pawn." He turned around and met Ayano's eyes.
In between her eyes were a few lines left over from frowning, from worrying and he couldn't help but grin, even if it didn't reach his eyes. Ayano tilted her head to the side, obviously not buying his sudden smile and he inwardly sighed at how easily she seemed to be able to see through him.
"Move." Ayano demands; Kazuma raises a brow, "If you don't want to suddenly wake up with the urge to do everything for free then I suggest you move." Her voice came in a growl.
Kazuma moved to the side ever so slightly.
"Who sent you?" Ayano asks with a steady tone, "And I warn you, I have a lot less patience than this idiot next to me."
The youma sputters a laugh.
"Do you really think you can get an answer out of me when he," his finger lifts to point at Kazuma, "couldn't?" a sharp laugh slips from between his lips, "Don't be ridiculous."
Ayano's eyes flash, and she parts her hands in front of her, Enraiha taking a definite shape.
"You know: You're really pissing me off." Ayano lifts up her blade and Kazuma watches at the flames lick up along the side of the wood eagerly, "WHO SENT YOU!" a swirling ball of fire shoots forth and hits the youma head on.
It takes less than a second for Kazma to realize that Ayano inflicted the flames of purification to rid the man of the youma. Once the man is no longer possessed, it could be a lot easier for them to get the answer, or at least take him to Kirika for some questioning. Kazuma had to give it to Ayano, she knew how to utilize her brain once in a while.
The man screams in agony as the youma is burned from his body. He outstretches his arms and blindly grabs at the closest thing, which consequently turns out to be Ayano's shirt.
"Let go of me you stupid pervert!" Ayano lifts her leg and kicks the now human man in the jaw.
The man grunts and flies hard against the wall, taking Ayano with him after pulling her skirt down.
He couldn't help it, the look on Ayano's face was priceless.
"KAZUMA YOU IDIOT TURN AROUND YOU PERVERT!" Ayano yells fiercely, "STOP LOOKING!"
It's in that split second that the man scurries to his feet and takes off down the entrance of an ally way.
Kazuma lifts his hand up and sends wind forward. The win encompasses the man and drags him back while Kazuma attempts to calm his laughter down.
Will you protect me?
The voice that haunts his memories echoes through his mind, cutting off all good humor; Kazuma's expression hardens.
"Are you going to tell us who sent you now?" the voice that leaves Kazuma's lips sounds foreign, distorted.
The man simply chuckles, "There are some things worth waiting for, wind user. And when the time comes, you'll realize that you have much more to lose now." Before Kazuma can demand any more answers the man reaches into his pocket and pulls out a syringe he then stabs into his chest.
"My master sends his regards." And as the words breathe out of him, the man's body goes limp.
You'll realize that you have much more to lose now.
No. No, this can't be happening. Not again.
"There are some things worth waiting for, wind user. And when the time comes, you'll realize that you have much more to lose now." The man reaches into his pocket, pulls out a syringe, and plunges the needle into his heart, slowly squeezing the contents out, "My master sends his regards."
Ayano feels her eyes widen as the lights go out in the man's murky eyes.
"He'd dead." She breathes.
Above her, the sky rumbles and it almost seems that the death of this man angers it although she had no idea how it could possibly cause anything other than pity. No. Ayano didn't even feel pity, instead she felt anger. How could he say something like that to Kazuma? What did he mean by he had more to lose this time?
Kazuma didn't seem to recognize the man so how could he lose anything to the hands of this man? He couldn't!
But, he did mention something about his master…
Could the alleged master know something about Kazuma?
"Kazuma, I think we should take him to Kirika…" Ayano's voice drifts off as her eyes land on Kazuma's tense form.
His knuckles are all but white as he grips the dead man's shirt with immense force.
Somewhere in her chest, Ayano feels a tightening sensation and although she doesn't understand the why, she knew that it had to do with Kazuma's current state. It wasn't anything she'd ever seen before and she had seen Kazuma show various emotions, whether she wanted to admit to it or not.
"Kazuma?" she says softly, "What's wrong?"
He doesn't look at her. He doesn't move. It's like he's frozen in a state of shock and confusion, and it was so painful watching him.
"Kazuma?" Ayano moves forward, placing her hand tentatively on his shoulder; Kazuma flinches and she drops her hand.
"It's going to rain." Kazuma mutters, blinking away the far off look that haunted his dark eyes.
Just as he said it, the sky opened up and released a downfall of rain. Sheets of water plummeted towards the ground, crashing loudly. It didn't take relatively long before Ayano found herself swimming in drenches clothes; she shivered.
"Come here." Kazuma wraps an arm around her waist and pulls her to him and before she can protest, he lifts them off of the ground.
"K-Kazuma! What're you going?!" she demands hectically.
"Keeping you dry." He says curtly.
"But th-the man! We can't just leave him there!"
"I know." Kazuma pulls out his phone and quickly dials a number while expertly maneuvering them through the rain. Ayano presses her lips together in a thin line and watches as the water bounces off of the invisible shield that surrounds both Kazuma and her.
A shiver passes through Ayano and she presses her body closer to Kazuma who seemed to have suffered nothing from the sudden downfall; Ayano scowled but secretly thanked him for his warmth.
"We left you a present in an ally four blocks from your office. You're welcome." Kazuma mutters and hangs up, sliding the phone back into his pocket.
"You need to shower and change out of those drenches clothes." He says suddenly.
Ayano looks up at Kazuma, "Y-yeah. I'll do that as soon as we get home."
"Yeah. Home." Kazuma repeats absently.
"Kazuma are you-" Ayano starts but is interrupted by a sudden wave of pain in her stomach, "Ow, ow, ow." She mutters.
"What's wrong?" Kazuma demands.
"I don't know. There was a sudden pain he-" Ayano winces and clenches her fist against her stomach, "re."
"It's the food." He says with a firm tone, "You went off and started with your stupidities about defending yourself and moved too quickly before the food properly settled into your stomach." He states, "You're system is probably reacting negatively to the large intake amount and sudden exercise."
Ayano squeezes her eyes shut and grips Kazuma tighter, fighting the urge to wince again. She wouldn't give Kazuma the satisfaction of showing any more pain.
"I'm not taking you home like that." Kazuma suddenly states, "If I do, I won't get paid properly so we're going to my place. You'll just have to tell Jugo that we stayed late working and you crashed at my place."
At that, Ayano's eyes snap open, "Wh-what are you talking about! You selfish pervert! There's no way I'm staying at your place!"
"You don't have a choice." He smirks down at her, landing on the roof of his apartment complex, "I'm not letting you out of my sight." Kazuma winks.
Heat rushes to her cheeks and Ayano shuts her eyes, hoping that he'll write it off to the pain or illness or something other than embarrassment.
"Don't say such indecent things, Kazuma." Ayano mutters, gripping her stomach, "Besides, I'll be fi-" her eyes widen and she flinches, curling inward due to the pain, "-ne."
"Fine my ass, you're in pain and it's stupid to act like you're not." Kazuma snaps. He lifts her off of her feet and carries her, bridal style, down the stairs and into his apartment.
Instead of arguing, Ayano closes her eyes and hides her face in his chest as the pain within her stomach rages. Maybe she had food poisoning. But if she did she would be throwing up and she didn't feel like throwing up, not yet. All she felt was a sharp pain in her stomach and the sensation of something churning inside of her. It was barely bearable but nothing she couldn't handle.
Kazuma walked straight through the living room and into a hall, then he lightly kicked a door open to reveal a pristine bathroom. The walls were painted a dark teal color, the mirrors over the long alabaster sink filled about half of the wall and the frames looked gold although she wasn't sure if it was just the color or actual gold. In front of the beautifully carved sink was, naturally, a toilet and next to the toilet was a deep, wide Jacuzzi styled tub. Around the tub was a set of abstract, opaque glass doors that distorted half of the view and she had to admit that it was beautiful; Ayano swallowed, feeling the heat in her cheeks combust into flames.
"I'll leave some clothes on the seat for you in a second, start showering and properly close the doors unless you want me to see something then, by all means, leave them wide open." Kazuma winks and smirks, setting her down then turning to walk out the door, closing it behind him.
"KAZUMA YOU PERVERT!" she shouts at the top of her lungs, feeling on the verge of hyperventilating.
Did he really expect her to get into the shower knowing he would be poking his head in at any moment? That idiot!
As if she would really let him treat her like a-
Pain thrashed within her system, invading all of her senses as cold seeped into the deepest parts of her bones.
Ayano pinched the bridge of her nose and breathed in slowly.
Now wasn't the time to mull over getting into the shower or not, if she was going to get out of her she needed to feel better. Soon.
That in mind, Ayano slipped her clothes off, listening to the sloppy splat they left on the tile under her feet. She looked around and found a white robe; she slipped her arms through and tied it firmly while adjusting the water and taking deep breaths. Once the water was pristinely set, Ayano stepped into the shower. She slid the doors shut and looked through them intently, sighing at the fact that she couldn't make out a single defined shape through the distorted mess that formed the door's décor.
"KAZUMA YOU PERVERT!" Kazuma chuckled under his breath and leaned against the door listening intently.
If she didn't turn on the water, he would step back in there and shove her into the shower if necessary. However, much to his disappointment, after a few minutes he could hear the sound of drenched clothes hitting the tile of his bathroom followed by the sound of water being turned on; Ayano was getting into the shower.
Kazuma walked down the hallway and into his room. He pulled his drawers out and sifted through his older clothes. Ayano would need a fresh set of clothes and they needed to be warm so she wouldn't get a cold. Pulling out a pair of black sweat pants and a long sleeved forest green shirt, Kazuma walked back towards the bathroom. He lifted his fist and knocked warningly against the door to warn Ayano of his presence.
"I'm coming in whether you're decent or not." He muttered.
"Shut your eyes!" Ayano shouts causing Kazuma to laugh. It was obvious that he wouldn't be able to see her through the closed door, if anything he'd only see the shape of her body but he listened nonetheless.
"If I want to keep my eyes open, who are you to tell me to close them?" Kazuma smirks at the fact that, unless she opened the door, she wouldn't be able to tell whether his eyes were closed or not.
"DAMN IT KAZUMA STOP BEING A PERVERT YOU IDIOT!" Kazuma laughs as he sets the clothes on the toilet seat.
"Hurry up and shower, I'm cold and want to get in." he chuckles, "So if you don't hurry I'll have no choice but to go in with you." He turns quickly and walks out.
"KAZUMAAAA!" Ayano's shout penetrates through the door and Kazuma shakes from the laughter.
Little did she know that he had a shower in his room.
About fifteen minutes later, Kazuma emerged from his bathroom wearing a black sweats while his towel hung over his shoulders. He efficiently rubbed the droplets of water from his hair as he listened intently for the sound of water; he heard none.
Was she done showering?
"Ayano?" he calls.
Kazuma walks out of his room and towards the living room calling out her name again only to be greeted by silence once more, "You know it's rude to ignore the person who probably just saved you from pneumonia."
Turning the corner of his hall, Kazuma's eyes landed on the sleeping form of Ayano. Her fiery red hair had been pulled into a messy bun with strands flying out haphazardly from all sides. The clothes he set for her were loose and hung off of her making her look much younger than she actually was. Her feet were curled up under a pillow, probably cold, and her hand rested under her cheek.
How long ago had she fell asleep?
Kazuma shook his head and walked over to the thermometer, increasing the heat to keep her from being cold anymore.
Once he pumped up the head, Kazuma walked into the kitchen to make himself coffee, only to be greeted by a piping hot cup of prepared coffee with a note under it.
You stupid pervert, you made me think you were really going to get into the shower! But you lied to me and I hurried like an even bigger idiot -.-
Anyways, I made you a cup of coffee. I'm going to lay down and ignore you now.
P.S If you ever repeat the fact that I called myself a bigger idiot next time I'm going to throw coffee in your face you moron.
A smile formed on Kazuma's lips.
She really was something.
Will you protect me, Kazuma?
The same voice from before cut his amusement short. His hand gripped the cup of coffee he was bringing close to his lips and he stopped himself from taking a drink. Kazuma set the cup on the counter and walked out to the balcony. A rush of wind hit his face, not that he minded, and he leaned against the railing.
"Tsui-ling…" Kazuma mutters.
It had been a while now since he thought about her, and today had been a record. Why was he thinking about her now? Why did that man talk like he knew what happened with Tsui-ling? What was going on here?
The lack of answers gnawed at the back of his mind and the irritation grew stronger with every passing second.
Kazuma needed answers and he needed them now.
"Kazuma?" A groggy, soft, and familiar voice said, bringing him back to another important matter.
"I thought you were ignoring me?" Kazuma turned, looking at Ayano.
Ayano rubbed the palm of her hand against her eyes and she stifled a yawn. The loose shirt slid down one shoulder to reveal her soft skin; Kazuma looked back at her eyes.
"I was." Ayano mutters, still half asleep, "But I was worried that you became more of an idiot when I saw you out here in the rain."
"You're the idiot for forgetting that the water has no effect on me whatsoever."
"Yeah, yeah whatever. I'm going back to sleep." Ayano yawns and turns around, shuffling her feet towards the couch.
"Oh no you don't." Kazuma calls out, striding towards her and lifting her up again like he had earlier. The warmth of her body fills his senses and a current of electricity passes over his skin when her skin comes into contact with his, "You're sleeping on the bed."
"Wh-what?" Ayano's eyes widen, "The couch is fine!" she shouts, "Kazuma listen to me!"
Kauzma continues to ignore her and walks into his room. He pulls the sheets back and dumps her on the bed, covering her up with the sheets, "You were cold on the couch and if I take you back sick I don't get paid in full and there's no way in hell I'm losing money 'cause of you so shut up and listen."
Ayano stares and, after a moment, she shakes her head, a smile playing on her lips.
He raises a brow.
What did she see?
"Whatever you say." Ayano rests her head on the pillow and closes her eyes, yawning once more, "I don't know why you pretend that you don't care when you do." She mutters, "But, thank you, Kazuma."
A/N: Please don't forget to review and let me know what you think!
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Thank you for reading!~