A/N I'm not going to bother you guys with an excuse. I've been gone from this story much longer than I should have. I'm out for the summer, though, so hopefully I'll have time for both this AND my Fullmetal projects (I've got about five of those going right now). I hope that you guys will forgive me for my absence. At least, long enough to read this chapter. After you've read it you can go back to being annoyed with me, okay?
I think this story will be ending soon. Just a few more chapters...
The hours were passing slowly for Chrno as he lay curled around his pillow, watching Rosette toss and fidget in her bed. She'd long ago kicked her blankets away, pushing them into a heap at her feet. One leg was stretched straight while the other was pulled to her chest as she slept in an odd, half curled position. The hem of her nightgown had risen and a faint light issued through the curtained window to reveal the pale skin of her shin. Chrno felt a little weird staring at her leg, but in the dark infirmary there really wasn't anything else to look at. She stayed still for several minutes before muttering and turning away from him, curling into her odd position again.
The demon sighed, his eyes straying toward the lighter patch of darkness that he knew was the window. He had made sure that it was locked before they'd settled into bed. He hadn't wanted her trying to sneak out again in the middle of the night. Of course, he hadn't thought that he'd be awake all night to watch her. It really was annoying...why couldn't he sleep? Was it because he'd been lying around for so long and his energy had built up too much for him to relax? That couldn't be it, he'd been napping earlier in the day. It was possible that he just wasn't tired, although he didn't usually have this sort of problem. Or maybe...he was worried.
No doubt as soon as Rosette was allowed through the door she'd be heading to find Father Remington. She wouldn't want to waste a single moment that could be spent hunting down that worm demon. It didn't matter if she was fit enough for it, she couldn't stand not working toward something.
It must be past two...not much longer, now. Chrno frowned to himself in the darkness, letting his crimson eyes close slightly. I wonder if I can get her to wait long enough to at least sit down and eat something first instead of just stuffing our faces on the way...it would be good for her to take it easy at first. No, they had been "taking it easy" for a week now, that definitely wasn't something she would want to do. Rosette fidgeted again in the next bed and Chrno sat up, looking over at her and feeling a little exasperated. She was so rash...he grew a little tired of it sometimes.
He was always asking her to slow down...maybe it would work better if he just refused to leave until she was really ready. He shook his head at the thought. His refusal would result in nothing but a battle of wills and neither of them were lightweights in that area. He would just have to be careful and keep an extra close eye on her.
She mumbled again, and something that almost sounded like his name escaped her. A funny, happy little sound followed it and Chrno found himself smiling and climbing from his bed to stand over her. I feel like I'm always taking care of her. I wonder, though...how much she takes care of me? Rosette's face was turned away from him, and her golden hair sprayed across the pillow. Her bangs had drifted into her face and he reached out to lightly push them away. More than she should.
That happy sound came again, a sort of hum in her throat as her lips curled the tiniest bit upwards. Chrno smiled again, glad to see the girl looking happy, even if she were only dreaming and the happiness would be gone when she woke.
"Chrno! CHRNO! For the last time, if you don't get up now then I'm going without you!" The little demon groaned as someone kicked the side of his mattress, jostling him into the waking world. He rubbed his face into his pillow before turning to shoot Rosette a very unpleasant look.
"What time is it?" he asked. It came out in a mumble, but she caught it anyway.
"Eleven thirty." When he had turned over, her foot had fallen still. Now as he lay there staring blankly up at her, the toe of her boot began tapping impatiently against the floor. She managed to stay quiet for an entire twelve seconds. "Well come on! I've got the okay for us to leave, let's go see Father Remington!"
It seemed it was useless to hope for a morning that would be nice and quiet. Chrno sighed and sat up, trying to unwind the thin blanket from being wrapped around his body. When he was freed, Rosette directed him to the foot of his bed, where his usual clothing, freshly laundered, was folded and waiting for him.
"Hurry up and change." Rosette was saying, her foot still going a mile a minute. A small smile lit his face as he imagined how much energy was probably pumping through her at the moment. A week of laying around for Rosette was like keeping a dog quiet for an hour. As soon as there was an opportunity to bark, there was going to be a bark (and then some). He nodded and she left to wait in the hall, allowing him some privacy.
Chrno felt almost eager as he pulled on the familiar scarlet coat. It had been well mended (or maybe remade altogether, he wasn't quite sure) and he couldn't help relaxing a little as he shrugged his shoulders, wriggling the fabric into place. He hadn't realized how much he had missed dressing this way. He threw a dark look toward his cast-off pajamas, which he had tossed onto his pillow. They were so drab and uncomfortable looking...had he really spent a week in those things?
Rosette was waiting for him in the hall. I'm surprised she didn't run off without me, he thought with some amusement. She certainly looked impatiently, but a grin broke onto her face as she turned to see him walking out of the infirmary. "Have you eaten yet?" he asked her, even though he had a good idea what her answer would be.
"Nah, I thought we could just grab something on the way out." She gave a shrug and set off down the hall, confident that he would follow. Chrno grimaced. I thought so. That's just like her...
"Rosette, I think we should at least stop by the kitchens. We've waited this long, fifteen more minutes aren't going to hurt anything."
"What are you, crazy? That's fifteen minutes that stupid monster is running around out there! There's no telling what kind of damage it's caused over the past week! We can't afford to waste any more time!"
"No." That ended the discussion, as Rosette pointedly ignored any other attempt Chrno made to talk about breakfast. Eventually he gave in, following silently as she rushed her way through numerous hallways and corridors.
After a while they came to a small office at the far end of the main building. Stopping to straighten herself a little (Chrno noticed the action with some annoyance) Rosette raised a hand to rap her knuckles smartly against the closed door. A yelp, followed by a loud thump sounded from the other side before footsteps hurriedly approached the door and it was pulled open by a slightly tussled looking Remington.
"Good morning!" The priest grinned cheerfully at them, stepping back to wave them in. His office wasn't quite what one would expect from a high ranking exorcist. There was clutter absolutely everywhere. Papers littered the room, shoved and wadded into nooks and crannies in the corners. Chrno and Rosette both suspected that many of them were probably important. Somehow this didn't surprise them. The stepped past Remington, moving to stand before what they assumed was his desk. He followed them and settled into a chair on the other side of it. "You'll excuse the mess, I hope. I've been doing some rather heavy cleaning..."
Rosette gave a cough that could have been a laugh and Remington smiled again. "I assume you're here for your assignment?"
"Sure are!" Rosette immediately snapped to attention, all business now that the subject had been brought up. A grimace worked its way onto Chrno's face and he sighed again. How on earth did he get caught up with a whirlwind like Rosette?
"Good. Nothing has really changed since the last time you tracked this thing down, although it may be bigger by now. Also, its range of movement has increased. As far as our scouts can tell, it has increased its territory to extend for about a mile all around the house it was summoned in. You know where that is so I'm sure that you won't have much trouble locating the demon."
"Um, Father?" Chrno interrupted. He rather liked Remington, but he still hesitated sometimes in speaking to Rosette's superiors. He paused for a moment while the priest focused his attention on him. "We'll need supplies. Rosette went through everything last week..."
"Hey! I had to! That thing was trying to eat us!"
"I'm just saying–"
"Don't worry about it." Remington interrupted them before they could start picking at one another. "Chrno, it's good that you're mindful of these things. It's not a good idea to just go rushing in." He cast a glance towards the girl and she shrank a little. "It's been taken care of. I'm afraid that we haven't repaired your ammunition box yet, but Elder has gathered sufficient ammunition for this mission. He's also got a few extras for you, Chrno, should you need to support Rosette without resorting to...desperate measures." This time it was the demon who shrank back a bit. Apparently someone had figured out what he'd done when he'd found Rosette unconscious. They didn't want him to do it again.
Silence fell over the three as Remington glance around his desk thoughtfully, as if trying to remember something. They allowed several moments to pass before he sighed. "That's everything. I expect you'll be leaving soon. Please, be a little more careful this time, alright? I don't know if the nurses could handle another week with you." He smiled as he said it and Chrno and Rosette couldn't help smiling back.
"Thank you Father!" Rosette bowed excitedly and grabbed Chrno by the arm, yanking him in the direction of the door. He let himself be dragged. If he had resisted she would have only pulled harder and it just wasn't worth it. As they passed back into the hall, he saw Remington poke his head out of the doorway, his hand cupped around his mouth as he shouted after the charging nun.
"And this time, take Azmaria with you!"
A/N I don't know why, but for some reason I imagine Father Remington would be a bit messy in his own private areas. Maybe it's because he's kind of laid back? I don't know. Anyway, please point out any mistakes I may have missed in my editing. Also, if something is confusing or worded funny (or if you just have a suggestion) then please tell me about that too!
Also, I want to ask you (the readers) for your opinions. I don't think this story has been very heavy on the romance so far. Would you guys like me to try and work a little more in before it's over or continue the way things have been going?