Disclaimer: I don't own Zatch Bell or Sherry and Brago.
Author's Note: This story has been REPOSTED
I Don't Hate You
" Gigano Reis!"
A loud explosion rocked the forest, knocking down trees and toppling boulders. A scream came from both the human's and the mamodo's mouth as the lime green book caught on fire.
" No!" the bookkeeper screamed as he tried to put out the flames.
A blond woman wearing a lavender dress and holding a black book walked slowly over to her own mamodo as he stood in front of the defeated team.
" Goodbye Max," said the mamodo whose book was burning to ash.
As Sherry reached her partner and the other team, the mamodo disappeared before their eyes.
Brago turned to face Sherry. " We're leaving."
As Brago walked past her, Sherry sighed. She was hungry, tired, dirty, and wet due to the fact that it had been raining only twenty minutes ago.
When Sherry turned around, the man that sat crying over the pile of ash that had once been his book looked up.
" You! Why did you have to destroy his book?! He wasn't doing anything to hurt you! What gives you the right to go around taking other people's books and burning them?! He was my friend! But you don't care about that do you?!"
Sherry stopped and her head back to the angry man. Then she looked back to Brago only to find him already making his way into the trees of the forest. She sighed and turned her head back to face the man.
" You're right, I don't care."
With that, Sherry continued on her previous path and wondered if she would be able to catch up to Brago, seeing as he was now out of sight.
As she hurried to catch up to her companion, Sherry began thinking of what the man had said and how she had replied.
Have I really become that cold hearted?
Sherry shook her head. It didn't matter if she was cold or not. The only thing that mattered was saving Koko from that parasite Zophise, and making Brago king of the mamodo world.
And making Brago king of the mamodo world? When did I start thinking like that?
She had finally caught up to Brago, who was completely ignoring her. He had his hands in his pockets and his pace was very casual, as if he was thinking about something.
Sherry kept wondering what had made her start to think like she just had. She was in this battle to save Koko and Brago was in it to become king. It was a very simple arrangement really, he would help her save Koko and defeat Zophise and she would make him king. At the start of their partnership, Sherry had never really thought of making Brago the king as important as saving Koko. But lately, when Sherry thought of her goals, making Brago king had become almost as important as saving Koko.
I used to hate him. I remember thinking that the sooner I was rid of him, the better. But then again, that was when he wasn't above using violence to try and make me obey him. But he really has changed. I suppose I have too.
" It's going to rain again soon," came Brago's raspy voice, startling Sherry out of her reverie.
" Let's find some shelter then. I don't want to walk around at night in a downpour."
Brago sighed and muttered something about how weak humans were, then changed his direction to where the town that they had passed yesterday was.
By the time they reached the town it was nine o'clock at night and the downpour had started. Sherry wasn't just hungry, tired, dirty, and wet anymore. Now she was irritated, starving, exhausted, filthy, and soaked to the bone. Brago wasn't really any happier but that was only because, in his mind, they were wasting valuable time by stopping at a hotel. But, due to Sherry's mood and the fact that it was much too late to start an argument, Brago kept his mouth shut and led the way into town.
It was nine-thirty when they finally found a hotel with an empty room. The receptionist who Sherry paid gave them a dirty look due to their filthy and wet clothes and led them to their room.
" Here it is. If you need anything just tell me and I'll have it sent here," the receptionist said, casting a meaningful look at the pair's clothes.
" Um, maybe some food when you get the chance?" Sherry asked.
" Of course, and I'll have someone come up and take your clothes to be washed as well," she said when Sherry didn't mention anything about their clothing.
Sherry said her thanks then went into the room that Brago had preceded her to. What she saw made her flush.
The room wasn't small but it wasn't big either. It had two dressers, a closet, and a bathroom. The only other thing in the room besides the three lamps and window was the bed. The only bed in the room.
Sherry sighed as she looked at the bed. Did that receptionist really think they were a couple? Or was this just payback for tracking dirt around her hotel?
Thank goodness Brago never needs to sleep.
Sherry started slightly when she heard a knock at the door. She almost thought Brago would get it, but then she laughed inwardly at the idea. Brago answering a door? It would never happen.
Sherry went to the door and opened it, only to find a shy looking maid standing outside.
" Um, I was told to take you and your companion's clothes Miss. And also to ask if you wanted your food now."
Sherry suddenly realized she didn't have a change of clothes. She sighed heavily, realizing that staying at the hotel wasn't going to be as relaxing as she thought.
" Give me a minute and I'll give you the clothes," Sherry told the young maid.
Sherry closed the door and was about to take her dress off when she remembered that Brago was still in the room. She grimaced and went into the bathroom where she was happy to find a robe.
After removing the grimy dress, Sherry decided to leave her undergarments on. She quickly pulled the white silk robe on and tied it with the belt around it. Then she went back to the hotel room door. She was about to open it when she realized the maid would undoubtedly want Brago's clothes as well. This was not her day.
She walked over to Brago, who was sitting in a chair with his arms across his chest, and put her hands on her hips.
Brago looked up. " What?"
" Give me your clothes."
He blinked. " No."
" Brago, you're as soaked as I am. Come on, at least give me your shirt and cloak."
Sherry sighed heavily. What a headache. " Why? What reason could you possibly have for-"
" My clothes don't need to be washed. Unlike you humans, I'm not afraid of not being in perfectly clean clothes."
" I'll say."
Brago looked up at Sherry. " What was that supposed to mean?"
Outside the room, the maid waited patiently until she heard gradually escalating voices. She fidgeted as she heard a few cuss words thrown about and then blanched as she heard a slight crash.
After a few minutes of petty insults, the arguing escalated to full-fledged shouting. Both occupants of the room could be heard all the way downstairs. After a particularly nasty bout of swearing that sounded as if it came from a male, the door opened to reveal Sherry holding her dress and Brago's shirt and cloak.
" Here you go," Sherry said in a slightly miffed voice.
" Th-thank you. I-I'll have y-your food up in a h-half-hour. O-okay?" the poor maid stuttered.
" That's fine," Sherry said with a grimace. How loud had she and Brago been?
When she closed the door, Sherry turned around to face a shirtless, and extremely vexed, Brago.
" What?" Sherry asked, mimicking Brago by folding her arms across her chest.
" I hate you," was all he said.
" I hate you too," Sherry replied casually.
Sherry stalked off to the bathroom to take a nice warm shower. Brago turned and went back to his chair by the window. This was going to be a long night.
Within twenty minutes, Sherry walked out of the steamy room refreshed. At least she wasn't wet and dirty anymore. Now all she had to do was eat and sleep. She was still angry of course, but that would run its course soon. Her bad moods never lasted for too long. Brago on the other hand was a different story. Sherry knew she should apologize to the mamodo, but she was still too angry to do it. Plus it looked like he wasn't in the room.
He probably went out to get some exercise.
Sherry sighed as she pictured Brago, wearing neither shirt nor cloak, walking around at ten o'clock at night in a downpour. That would be just like him.
In a few minutes the terrified maid came back and left the food and said she'd have their clothes ready by tomorrow morning.
Sherry quickly ate and left Brago's food out. Then she took the robe off, leaving her in only her undergarments, and crawled under the covers, and fell asleep with Brago's black book in her arms.
The young bookkeeper woke up the next morning at seven o'clock. She sat up in bed and looked around to see a fully clothed Brago sitting in the chair by the window. Sherry quickly pulled the sheets up to cover her lack anything except her undergarments.
Sherry soon spotted her dress folded neatly on the dresser. She looked at the now clean clothes then back at her partner. What would he do if she asked him to close his eyes while she went to get her clothes on?
He grunted to show his acknowledgment.
" Close your eyes."
She didn't really believe the mamodo would do it. But mamodo were full of surprises, Brago not excluded. He closed his eyes and faced the window with what Sherry swore was a sigh.
Not wanting to test the limits of his obedience, Sherry got out of bed and quickly put her dress back on.
" You can look now Brago."
" Who would want to?" he said as he opened his eyes.
Sherry opened her mouth to retaliate, then shut it. there was no point in having another fight.
" Do you want to leave?" Sherry asked as a peace offering.
All Brago did was get up and start walking towards the door. Sherry stood there, frozen to the spot. As he reached the door, Brago turned back to her.
" Are you going to stand there all day? We've already lost enough time as it is."
Sherry smiled. Although to anyone else it would seem as if he was still mad, Sherry knew that was his way of accepting her peace offering. Everything was all right between them again. Well, as all right as it ever was.
Brago and Sherry made their way downstairs where Brago, at Sherry's request, waited outside for her. Sherry paid the very irritated receptionist and turned to leave when a man probably a of couple years older than herself, stepped into her path.
Sherry frowned, clearly not in the mood to be messed with. She made to go around the man when he once again blocked her path, leaning against a wall.
" I'm going to have to give you a ticket because you have fine written all over you," the man said cockily.
Sherry almost gagged. Had this guy really just used a pick-up line on her?
" Get out of my way," was all she said in return
" Oh come on! You know you want to go out on a date with me," he persisted.
Sherry twitched ever so slightly. She dealt with all kinds of creatures in her travels with Brago, but this man took the cake.
" She said to get out of her way, I suggest you do it," came the menacing voice of Sherry's companion.
Sherry, taking advantage of the man's momentary shock, quickly made her way to Brago's side as he turned to leave the hotel.
Sherry was about top grab the door handle when someone grabbed her arm. She whirled around only to come face-to-face with the man who was so persistent.
" Hey, you haven't told me where you want to go for our date," he said in a mock-whiney voice.
Sherry's eyes narrowed dangerously. This man was really getting on her nerves. Sherry's irritation, however, was nothing compared to the male beside her. If either of the humans had looked to Sherry's right, they would have seen a mamodo whose patience had reached it's end.
" Let go of my arm. Now," Sherry said dangerously.
" Not until you go on a date with-"
Brago grabbing the arm that held Sherry's arm quickly cut off the man. Being a mamodo, Brago was strong. Being Brago, he was insanely strong. It was no wonder that the man yelped in pain.
" If you don't let go of her arm, you're going to lose yours," Brago said in such a menacing voice that even Sherry, who was used to his temper, flinched.
The man let go of Sherry's arm, then looked at Brago furiously.
" You can't just go around threatening people!"
" I can if they continuously hound her. Scum like you make me sick."
Brago still hadn't let go of the man's arm and when he opened his mouth to retaliate to Brago's accusation, a sickening snap could be heard. Brago had broken the man's arm.
The man screamed in pain as Brago let go. He fell to the ground and clutched the broken limb as he shouted curses, all the while tears of pain streamed down his face.
The hotel lobby went silent. Everybody had seen what had happened. They all stared at Brago and Sherry. Some stared in horror, some in amusement, others with wonder on their faces.
" Let's go," was all Brago said to Sherry as he opened the hotel door.
Sherry followed him out silently, wondering whether or not she should yell at him for hurting a human. Then she remembered how he had nodded at her when he referred to her. To Sherry it couldn't be any clearer. When he had said 'her' he had really meant 'my human'. When had she become 'his human'? And since when did he care about who was harassing her?
He really has changed.
Sherry shook her head and smiled. That had been Brago's way of saying he would protect her. Sherry managed to get her smile under control, then she walked faster until she was right beside Brago. She took a deep breath, then swallowed.
" I don't hate you."
A long pause. " I don't hate you either."
Sherry smiled a broad smile, then held his book tighter to her. Brago looked up and saw her smile. They exchanged a brief, knowing glance, then looked to the road ahead.
" I sense another mamodo nearby."
Sherry's smile turned into a serious face, but her eyes remained just as joyful as before.
" Let's go then."
Then continued toward the mamodo's aura, ready for anything. Sherry smiled once more because she knew something that no one in the world, not a single soul, knew besides herself and Brago. To them, 'I don't hate you.' meant 'I love you.'.