"Which one are you?" Neru asked with a growl underlining his words.
A single, blue eye, rivaling that of the darkest sapphires, stared up at the coal-colored pair. The other was hidden behind long strands of emerald green hair while a soft smile crossed the visitor's tan face. And, despite the friendly expression, exhaustion, discomfort, and pity were evident.
The newcomer furrowed their brow as they took a step forward. When they took another, Neru noted how their stride was long, graceful really. There was a certain bounce to it, almost making them glide rather than walk.
And then there was their presence.
It wasn't necessarily stifling like a demon's presence yet it wasn't as concrete like that of a human's. And to be quite honest, their aura felt somewhat weak; like something willing itself to be there yet steadily diminishing to the point that it would be snuffed out wholly. That meant that the person wasn't up to par.
It'd be a quick fight.
Too quick to be a challenge and too quick to be deemed worth Neru's time.
Yet this person was a distraction if he wanted to be by himself.
"I don't like repeating myself," he stated, walking forward, starting to close the gap between them. "Which one-"
"Neru, you know who I am," the greenette replied softly.
The white-haired demon concluded that there had to be a third shadow. Unlike Keibatsu or Itami, who had taken great pleasure in playing and making themselves known, perhaps this one had decided to sit back and simply observe. But, with its weaker impression, Neru concluded that it still wouldn't be much of a battle. The other didn't come off as being the same level as the shadowy duo. The teen really didn't give off a vibe of aggression at all.
So, it still would be a quick fight; uninteresting in all aspects.
Though, just to stand with the one dressed in the silverette's jacket was becoming irritating. The stranger shouldn't have looked like him. They shouldn't have sounded like him. Their facial expressions shouldn't have matched his so perfectly.
It didn't make sense and it wasn't fair.
This person had to be a shadow.
"What do you want?"
The green-haired youth took another step forward, not bothering to hesitate, unbothered by the aggravated tone. "I just wish to speak with you. Nothing more." He stood in place, not making an effort in turning to watch as the man circled him, easing ever so closely. "Please, I just wanted to take a few minutes of your time."
"Because I wanted to ask you a few things," the guest replied, turning slightly as the footsteps came to a halt.
"To ask me something?" Neru asked, flexing his clawed fingers as he stared at the center of the other's back. "Don't be stupid," he added, swinging. "Now, tell me which one are you."
The one cloaked in Xan's jacket fidgeted as they clutched at their wounded arm, finally moving away. The dark-eyed man had managed to slash the back of the coat. And that was due to letting the demon slip out of vision. So, when the greenette turned, blinking away the pain trying to show itself in his visible eye, he held in a pained grunt as the bloodied sleeve was cut away, revealing a narrow, golden band wrapped snugly around his upper arm as well as showing the newly inflicted lacerations.
"Neru, I'm not here to fight you so, please stop."
Black eyes watched as thin ribbons of blood ran down his reluctant opponent's arm before dripping down onto the equally dark ground. Sliding his gaze upwards, Neru watched as the other hung his head, hiding behind long strands. Soft words were muttered though the demon didn't bother to strain his hearing to know what had been said.
Honestly, he didn't care.
He didn't want to talk to anyone.
And seeing how the other had carelessly bowed their head, the man walked over, picking up his pace. There were so many possibilities when it came to ridding nuisances. He could have easily ran him through or cut out that beating heart. Hell, he could've whacked the other's pretty little head off just for the fun of it.
The latter was quick and he wouldn't even have to get his hands soiled.
Slowing his pace just a bit, the white-haired man glanced at the tail that had once been wrapped around his waist. Returning his gaze to the one in the tattered and stained clothing, Neru ignored the bladed end of the appendage as it dragged in the dark soil.
"Goodbye," the man said.
It would only take a quick swipe of the tail.
Black eyes turned to regard the carriage stationed a ways off before the demon's tail withdrew hastily, bringing the man's attention back towards the supposedly easy kill. A white blade was in their hand yet it was held in defensive rather than for an attack. And when the greenette raised his head, blue eye showing all but anger, Neru smirked.
He preferred that look compared to the one the other held before.
Pity was definitely unflattering and showing such an emotion in Hell would only get one killed.
"Just five minutes." The dagger was lowered until it was at the other's side. "Please?"
The voice took on a pleading tone; something else that ensured that death would come but not before a bit of humiliation.
Hell wasn't for the weak.
The demon's tail flicked about, the end of it dragging itself into the soil to leave troughs. Hearing the request once more, he slowly began to circle around, watching as long, slender fingers held the weapon tighter before going lax, dropping the blade altogether. The free hand then came up to clutch the bleeding limb, just as the white-haired man came to a stop behind him, tail wrapping around the smaller waist while one clawed hand came to rest on the greenette's shoulder.
Ears listened to the deep breathing as sharpened nails dug past the stained article of clothing to take purchase in the soft skin of the visitor's shoulder. A small gasp was hardly heard, most likely stifled, before the demon leaned in.
"Five minutes?" Neru asked in his ear, receiving a slight nod. "Fine."
"But let's play a game first."
Bringing a hand up to his cheek, Neru pulled it away to stare at the thin, red line of blood coating the tips of his fingers. As his eyes darted towards the greenette that was tending to his own cut side, an amused smirk tilted the corner of his mouth.
The demon would admit that despite his opponent's faint presence, he was actually able to block, yet alone deliver a few blows himself. They weren't nearly as lethal as his had been though. They fell more along the lines of determent and keeping the man at bay.
And to be frank, Neru hardly felt them unless blood came as an aftereffect.
They were minor attacks compared to Ita and Kei.
"Are you even trying?" The lone sapphire raised itself to see his opponent licking away the remaining blood running down their cheek. "Because if you're not," Neru chided as he began to approach, "you simply won't be able to get those answers."
The one with dark eyes would have to commend his adversary again. When the game had initially begun, Neru had given the greenette a chance to run, the same with Rai, yet the youngest of the pair made no attempts to take the head start. Instead, he did the opposite and began to walk towards the demon, not uttering a word while the other actually took a step back, all senses warning him to be on alert.
And now, the newcomer had evaded a rather crippling blow unarmed. The bladed tail was aimed for his chest yet it struck his arm, leaving a deep gash that wasted no time in bleeding. A sound was received for such an action though the one with green hair simply took a slight step back.
"Neru," he said, voice hardened to hide its slight tremor.
A small tilt in the other corner of the man's mouth revealed a sharpened canine. The glint in his inky eyes sent a chill down his opponent's back before he charged, catching the other completely off guard. His leer spread as he heard a grunt, feeling a familiar liquid run between his fingers. It faltered, however, when the other managed to pull away, hopping back several feet as his bleeding arm fell back to his side, forming a growing puddle on the ground.
Licking away the substance that splattered against his face, Neru took a step forward, receiving a reaction he was hoping for. The other had backed away, and they done so quite quickly. In addition to taking another step, the man watched as the teen's good arm slid into the oversized sleeve of the silverette's less than salvageable coat.
With instinct telling him to be wary, the demon stepped back, bracing his heels in the dirt, studying the greenette, before running forward as the opponent shifted.
All he needed was to get rid of the distraction. Him being there had already taken up much more time than he guessed he actually needed. Then again, he didn't exactly take the other as seriously as he should have. They hadn't made any attempts at coming at him, armed or not. They just parried his blows, trying to give, as well as take, minimal damage.
"Why don't you just go away?" Neru asked, swinging.
His eyes widened then narrowed to slits as the other leaned over, avoiding the clawed limb that should have easily ripped through his exposed skin.
"I just want to talk to you."
Several strands of hair fell to the ground though the green-haired opponent shifted on his heels, angling himself to avoid another swipe from the man's clawed hand. Taking another step back, he avoided another then another, escaping with cut tresses and small scratches from when he wasn't quick enough.
"Please, Neru!" The greenette ducked though the man's foot caught him in the chin, sending him onto his back. "I-I don't want to f-fight with you."
"Fine," the demon said as he made his way over. His tail swayed steadily behind him before the end of it was raised to point at the downed adversary. "This is goodbye."
All thoughts fading to leave one behind, the blue-eyed teen bit down on his bottom lip as he kicked his leg out. It was risky, what with the demon's tail being lethally tipped, but the appendage halted right before it struck his shin. And scooting back, the one on the ground watched as the towering over him dropped down onto his knees, doubled over while his hands covered the front region of his pants.
A knot formed in the kicker's stomach the moment black eyes glared through snowy strands.
"N…Neru," he muttered as he continued to back away. His entire body froze the moment his fingers brushed against the cool metal of the dagger. "I-"
"Are you crazy?" Neru growled out through excessively sharpened teeth.
"I could ask you the same thing," the other retorted, not putting as much bite in his words as the demon looked back down. Hearing heavy breathing, the younger fighter eased forward. "Neru, I-I'm sorry," he said as he started to close the gap, "b-"
The greenette perked at his name. "Yes?" he replied, coming to a stop as the white-haired demon eased forward himself .
The man didn't come to a stop until he was merely inches away. Fingers sliding through his white hair hand him tensing yet he couldn't stop the smirk twitching in the corner of his mouth. There was no way his opponent could be that trusting. That was just too naïve. But, nevertheless, there was no rule against playing dirty.
Said demon reached out and felt something rather soft. Glancing up, he noted how his opponent had wasted no time in holding his hand. They even pressed it to their cheek in an amorous manner, their eye closed. The alleged shadow looked content; and as nice as that looked, it didn't sit well with Neru.
"You." The other softly hummed their acknowledgement. "Why do you look like him?" Neru asked bitterly when the greenette had lovingly rubbed his cheek in the hand he was holding. "Why d-"
"Please stop asking me things like that." The sapphire orb cracked open slowly to stare at the glaring demon . "Neru, I-"
The blue eye opened fully when the hand on his cheek pulled away to take its place along its owner's neck. When a steady pressure began to constrict his airway, the teen exhaled shakily. He cringed inwardly as he felt the sharpened blade of the man's tail drag itself along his exposed back, barely brushing past the claw marks inflicted there.
"Are…you…mad at…me?" Ashita choked out as he tried to pull air back into his lungs. He flinched when a clawed hand slowly dragged itself down his bleeding arm. "Was…it because I… caused you…unhappiness?"
The hand around his neck tightened, cutting his breathing off completely. Squeezing his eye shut, the green-haired male brought his good hand out of the sleeve in order to grasp the demon's wrist. His head spun yet he didn't say anything as he forced his eye back open to stare at the man he came to talk with.
Seeing nothing that could even match hate, anger, or mercy, Neru took a step back, bracing himself, before he threw his opponent away. He then watched as the assumed imposter hit the ground, bouncing once prior to landing on his side in the crater that was formed. Not a sound, cry, whine, or word of abhor came. But it was when the person pushed themselves up to rest on shaky hands did the demon begin to walk over.
His head was pounding due to a growing headache yet the faintest sound of approaching footsteps managed to find their way to the greenette's ears. Shifting to get up, Ashita knelt down, holding his arm to stem off his bleeding. He already felt cold upon his arrival but now he couldn't stop the smaller shivers running down his spine due to his hemorrhaging. And, as the footsteps got louder, the blue-eyed male got to his feet in time to evade the man's tail spearing itself in the ground where he once lay.
Not wasting any time, Ashita took a few steps back, clutching his arm tighter. He then ran, leaving Neru behind.
He'd just have to try to talk to the demon another time.
The teen tottered a bit in his haste, heading towards the carriage stationed a mile or so from the man's home. He could rest alongside it before heading back.
He was close yet a chill running down his injured back, and not from the increasing cold, had him looking to his left in time to see Neru's tail. Slipping a hand into Xan's jacket, Ashita pulled out a second blade and deflected what would've been the attack to take off his head. Skidding to a stop and moving his hand to hold his injured side, the greenette eyed his opponent that had also stopped.
"I don't want to fight you."
"Then don't," the white-haired male said as his tail lashed out.
His attack was deterred as thought though it left the teen open enough to attempt a swing on his arm. What with the lack of blood, the greenette would easily fall.
However, despite that fact, Neru would have to commend his adversary's speed. The younger male was much too fast to be that of a human, only furthering the belief that the one before him was simply a fake. But, with that in mind, the demon was merely wasting more of his time if he kept coming at him as he had been doing.
He could've called for Itami and Keibatsu but he turned down that thought soon after. He didn't need them about anymore and there was a slight sliver of doubt that the pair would've shown themselves after what happened awhile back. It wasn't like he needed them though. And if he didn't call upon them, he wouldn't be disappointed if they didn't show. He had had more than enough disappointments that even a normal demon would deem excessive.
So, he'd have to change up his assault.
Looking on, with his dagger held up and at an angle, Ashita breathed heavily yet quietly, trying to decipher what was running through the man's head. Neru's thoughts were brewing visibly yet his face was still a blank slate, feral aggression hidden for the time until a faint growl made it past the pounding of his heart in the teen's ears.
Turning the dagger just a bit, Ashita widened his stance, seeing how the demon did nothing but hold up his hand. Seeing a smaller ball forming in the palm of his hand, much like the one that he jumped in front during his brief meeting with Kei and Ita, the teen studied it momentarily prior to turning on his heels and running. That thing had inflicted enough damage as is; and that was before the 'game' started.
The sphere had nearly shattered his arm in its impact though, luckily, it wound up resulting in a really bad fracture as well as bruising. The greenette didn't want to endure that again. He didn't show it originally yet it still hurt considerably and was quite limiting in his actions.
Watching him run, Neru glanced at the ball that was roughly the size of his fist before tossing the thing into the air. Estimating the distance between he and that of the departing party, he then snapped his fingers. From there, it didn't take long for a long, shadowy tendril to take its mark and shoot forward.
Sensing something approaching rapidly, Ashita turned and braced himself.
"How are you feeling?" Coegi asked as he examined the silverette's bruised neck.
"I'm ok, thanks," Xan said as he shifted in his seat to make room for his runner. The thing had yet to stop whimpering apologetically and, as nice as it was to worry about its owner, the blue-eyed demon was done with it. "Enough!" The canine jumped and lowered its head, tails tucked behind it as it whined quietly. "Tch, don't be like that…I'm sorry for yelling, ok?"
The black dog swayed its tails slowly, raising its head a bit. Its ears then swiveled around before the hound looked back at the door, head cocked slightly at an angle.
"Sir, what's wrong with it?" the coachman asked as the dog pawed at the locked carriage door.
"Well, it wants out," Xan stated. "You did lock the door with the key…"
"That was for safety reasons," Coegi explained, tipping the brim of his hat to avoid the ice-colored stare. "You were hurt and no longer needed.
"Rather blunt there, you think?"
Brown eyes stayed glued to their owner's lap as their ears twitched slightly. Hearing the runner whine, the driver leaned down and pulled it over quickly just as something struck the door, causing it to dent inward. The hound yelped in response before wiggling free to paw at the damaged door. It whined, glancing back at the taller demon before switching its gaze towards the one in the hat.
"Stay," Xan demanded.
The hound growled, snapping its jaws and baring its teeth at the man before pressing itself against the door. It fell away as something hit the side of the coach once more, eliciting a howl from the runner.
Coegi stared at the dents then looked over at his recovering passenger. "Sir-"
The man waved him off as he continued to stare at his creation, ears twitching faintly. When the dents grew in size, Xan turned his attention to the brown eyes watching him.
"Coegi, what's making-" The roof caved in slightly "-all those impressions?" The latest rock of the carriage drew out a weakly stifled cry. "Co…egi?" The runner pawed madly at the door and shut windows when they all heard another pained cry. "Open the door, Coegi!"
"But your injury-"
Xan only glared. "Open. It!"
"Yes, sir," the other replied, pulling out the key and unlocking the damaged entrance.
First to exit was the runner. It had taken no time to wait for the driver to open the door but, instead, took the liberty itself and bolted out. Its ears swiveled around before turning to observe the red smeared indentions left in vehicle's side. Stepping up to one and sniffing at the stain earnestly, the dog then sniffed the ground before testing the air. Returning to the blood at the side of the carriage once more, the runner licked at the substance before glancing at the taller demon that had stepped out.
Hearing the worry in the creature's growl, Xan looked around before climbing onto the roof of the carriage. Noting the smaller puddle of blood as well as the splatter marks left there, the silverette looked down at the black hound.
With a nod of its head, the dog ran off, following its nose. Hopping down from his own perch, blue eyes regarded the smaller demon that was making their way over to a white dagger that had been dropped beside the large wheel. And as hands traced along the carefully crafted hilt, Xan couldn't help but notice a very unnerving detail.
"It's clean," Coegi stated, holding up the spotless blade.
The thing was clean. The white, almost crystalline, blade had not a spot of red to it. Its handle, however, was smeared in it, showing that the wielder had indeed been injured. And from the amount present in the area, the greenette had been injured gravely.
"Why didn't he use it?" Xan inquired, looking off in the direction the hound went. When he glanced at Coegi, he received a knowing look. "He's going to get himself kill-"
The smaller man raised his hat as soon as the silverette held his side. "Sir?"
"It found Neru," he replied, removing his hand to reveal a somewhat deep slash mark. Coegi was already at his side, pressing his own hands against the wound to stem off the bleeding. "It's ok."
"No, it's not."
There was a bit more inflection than usual in the driver's voice, making Xan relent and submit to the pain he was experiencing. He would curse the dog for what it was doing but he knew it couldn't be helped.
"Coegi," he growled out through his teeth as the man pressed harder. "I have to go-"
"You stay," came the reply. "He said you were no longer needed and being injured, you need to rest."
"And I'd just get injured more if I stay," Xan countered, brushing aside the man's hands to press his own to the wound. "This is nothing. It will heal in a few minutes." The coachman simply stared at the bloodied shirt. "Coegi, I need you to take me to them."
"Now, Coegi," the silverette said, cringing at the fresh marks running under his right pant leg.
"Very well," the other said, escorting the passenger back into the carriage. Once settled and the man was secure, Coegi got back onto his post, picking up the reigns. "Do hold on, sir," he requested before whipping the reigns, signaling the black mare into a sprint.
From where he lay, Ashita watched as the runner ran around Neru, possibly trying to confuse the man before a shadowy coil tried to make a grab at it. It hurt to move yet the pained cry coming from the hound was enough to make the teen try.
"Let it go," Ashita murmured as the captive tried biting at the man that held it by the tails. "You're hurting it, Neru."
When black eyes fell upon the greenette, he slowly pulled himself up from the pool of blood. Hand still clutched at his bleeding arm, the teen took a small step forward, biting his lower lip to stave off a small whine. Merely standing had put too much pressure on his left leg. He knew it wasn't broken since he could manage the steps he was taking yet he knew it had sustained multiple fractures.
A pained whimper had Ashita opening his eye again, not knowing he had actually closed the thing to begin with. The outer edges of his vision were already fuzzy and fading to black. His hearing was slowly starting to falter while the rest of his body began to feel colder and colder. Numbness was only present in a few spots yet the teen was sure that it was spreading much quicker than he thought.
"Put it down," he ordered softly, moving his hand to hold his side.
Holding the tails tighter to elicit another whine, the demon watched as his opponent flinched at the sound, picking up his pace. Neru hated the fact that the greenette hadn't stayed down. He was tired himself, but more irritated really. It was a bother that his adversary was still able to stand, and with all the wounds he had inflicted too. He had thought the person would've disappeared by now, just like the duo, yet there he stood, still trying to talk.
That compassion matched Ashita's perfectly and it was sickening.
"Put it down, please." That request reached the demon's ears and had him growling under his breath as he heard the runner cry out once more. "Neru!"
"Stop sounding like him!" he snapped, hurling the dog towards the stumbling teen.
Lifting his head, Ashita ran forward, arms out. Grunting under the strain, he dropped down onto one knee though a soft smile crossed his face as the hound licked his wounded cheek. Smile still in place, the greenette leaned forward, shrouding the pair beneath emerald hair.
"Are…you alright?" Ashita asked barely over a whisper. Red eyes regarded the slightly glazed over blue ones. It whined its apology quickly before nuzzling the teen's chest with its snout. "It's ok, really." The hound turned its head at the sound of footsteps. "Hey." The dog looked at the one holding it. "You have to go back to Xan now, ok?"
Whining its disapproval, the hound wiggled about in the teen's arms, only stopping when he grimaced. Licking his cheek one more time, the hound got free and stood on its feet.
Raising his head again, knowing that the hound didn't leave but was at least out of the way, Ashita held up his arm to block the man's tail that had made an attempt at his head. Not bothering to hold back his cry, the greenette pulled the injured limb back to his chest as he stood. Taking a step back, he then avoided the clawed hand that was swung his way. Blue eyes shifted the moment something slid around his throat, tugging him back down to the ground.
I just wanted to talk to you…
A growl, and not from the man, had Ashita tilting his head. "Go home," he said, ignoring the lack of air he was getting. "Please…just go home."
A whinny off in the distance drew the greenette's attention away from his stubborn friend. Hearing a door close, Ashita closed his eyes to concentrate on his breathing.
The blue-eyed teen opened his eyes slowly at the sound of receding footsteps. A weak smile crossed his face once he realized the voice to be that of the silverette.
"Good dog," Ashita murmured to himself before choking from the harsh tug.
"Neru!" Said demon turned his attention towards the silver-haired demon. His attention then dropped down to the black runner growling irately, tails taut. "Let him go!" Xan hissed, removing his hand to show the bloody stain on his shirt. "You're hurting everyone now!"
"Good," the man replied as the shadowy sphere redirected itself. "This is Hell after all," he added once a coil shot forward to bind the man.
Taking a step back yet staying in front of the hound, Xan braced himself yet came to a stop as Coegi stepped forward to take his place. The smaller man was unfazed by the tendril that wrapped tightly around his neck and he never made a sound as it tightened. Instead, he brought out the dagger that the greenette had not used.
"Mr. Kurotake." The aforementioned raised his head. "You have to use it, sir," the brown-eyed demon said, tossing the white-bladed weapon towards its rightful owner.
Watching the item fall a few meters away from his current location, Ashita scrounge up what energy he could to get to his feet. He stumbled when the collar around his neck tug hard enough to bring him down yet he kept his balance. Hearing a grunt, the teen turned his head slowly to see the silverette trying to free the smaller associate though his hands were captured within the spectral mist as well. A growl had him facing forward in time to sidestep the man's tail though he couldn't catch himself as he tripped over his own feet.
Landing on his side, he lay still, closing his eyes. His head hurt too much and he couldn't feel the left side of his body anymore.
The visible blue eye cracked open to see Coegi staring at him, a sliver of worry showing in the otherwise impassive, brown eyes.
"Ashita." The teen's gaze shifted to stare at the struggling silverette. "You have to leave!" The greenette closed his eyes again. "Ashita!"
"No…not yet." Stretching his arm out slowly, he grasped the handle of his dagger and pulled it over prior to getting to his feet. "I…can't just leave…" He tottered before taking a step forward. "…him like that."
"Ashita!" Xan shouted, gaining an exhausted smile.
Pacing himself, the younger, blue-eyed man sidestepped another coil trying to bind him. A tug to his neck had him gagging yet he continued forward, attention set on the revolving sphere beside Neru. When he had dodged another swing, Ashita winced as he raised his arm to counter the attack with his own.
And as the coil met the crystalline edge, the white-haired man gave focus to the greenette as the tendril dissipated. Two more came to take the destroyed one's place though a few quick cuts and they too were vanquished. Turning around completely, Neru growled his annoyance before proceeding forward, picking up his pace.
Picking up his own, Ashita held his weapon, edge down. As soon as the two were close enough, the green-haired fighter leaned over, escaping the more lethal attack with only a clawed shoulder. Wincing slightly at the air hitting the newest injury, the teen kept going until he had placed himself between Coegi and Xan as well as Neru. Twirling the blade into its upright position, and a quick flick of the wrist, the coils that had bound the two other demons were cut.
"Ashita…" Xan muttered, observing the teen's wounded form.
"Mr. Kurotake," Coegi uttered.
The one called simply gave an apologetic smile before being pulled back by the coil still wrapped tightly around his own throat.
"Cut it!" the silver-haired man shouted. Glossy, blue eyes slid closed. "Ashita!"
Unnerved by the situation, Xan rushed forward though was pulled back forcibly. Looking over his shoulder, ice-colored eyes stared at the driver's bowed head. Trying to wrench himself free, the silverette growled his disapproval yet, no matter how much he struggled, he didn't have the strength to rival that of the smaller demon's. Hearing another growl, the man faced forward to see the greenette barely standing.
The coat that had once clothed the teen had been littered with slits to the point that one could see what lay beneath. And a single swing of Neru's tail had completely destroyed the back of it. A long, diagonal line ran down, tinting the remaining cloth dark red. Another swing had pieces of the jacket falling to the ground to reveal bandages that had been arranged in an orderly fashion yet still stained scarlet; others were starting to unravel.
"Coegi, let go!"
The coachman merely clung to the man's shirt, pulling him back further. "What could you possibly do?" he asked. "You cannot fight in your state and you'd merely be in the way."
Xan flinched at the words but hung back. The smaller demon was right. The silverette would definitely not last long in a fight with the other's employer.
"Sir," Coegi said as the blue-eyed demon hung his head, "what is it?"
"He's going to kill him, isn't he?" Ice blue eyes shifted to see the other's head bowed once more. "No one deserves that twice," he sighed.
The bystanders turned their attention to the greenette that had taken a step forward. His movements were slow, unbalanced ones. A trail of blood was left behind in the blackened soil while bits and pieces of jacket drifted off the teen's wounded body.
"Why won't you go away?" Neru growled, tugging on the leash that connected to his opponent's black collar. "Why are you here?" Ashita took another step forward, making the demon step back. "Why do you sound like him?"
A soft smile crossed the young fighter's face. "I'm glad you remember what I sound like."
"Don't smile like that!" the man snarled as the choker tightened against paling skin. The smile on the other's face broadened. "Why are you smiling?"
"Because," Ashita murmured, taking another step forward, "I'm talking to you." He tripped, falling before the demon though he couldn't stop the breathy chuckle that was stealing away his air. "I'm happy for that much, Neru."
Pushing himself back onto his feet, the teen continued to move closer, feeling more and more lightheaded as the rest of his body started to feel colder and colder. The long, slender fingers that were wrapped carefully around the dagger went lax, allowing the weapon to stick in the ground to be forgotten.
"Why do you look like him?" the demon asked angrily.
"I'm sorry but I can't change how I look," Ashita said softly.
"I wouldn't lie about something so serious," the teen replied, finally coming to a stop. "I couldn't lie to you about something like this, Neru." The visible eye slid to half-mast as the collar tightened to an almost unbearable degree. "Please, just answer my questions."
Neru bristled at the request. It shouldn't have taken so long for his opponent to drop. The greenette had lost enough blood to kill a grown man. A human one. Perhaps even that of a demon yet, despite the gashes, fractures, and possible concussion, the teen was still standing; still trying to talk. The younger male had to be exhausted by now; the white-haired demon knew that he was starting to be.
He just wanted this to end.
"No," he replied, finding favor in grabbing the blue-eyed fighter by the throat instead of allowing the coil the honor.
Seeing the growing fatigue, Ashita hung his head. "You look so tired. " He moved forward to close the gap between them. "I'm sorry," the greenette muttered. "I…didn't mean to cause you so much grief."
"Just die already," Neru growled as he felt fingers grasp the folds of his shirt. "I-"
"Do you hate me that much?" Ashita asked, sliding his hands up to the man's collar. "Do you?"
"Let go of me." The visible, blue eye blinked slowly as it stared at the bleary vision of the demon's tail easing upwards. "Or I will kill you."
The teen looked up to show his weary smile. "Weren't you going to anyway?" he asked as he rested his head against the man's chest, noting the flinch, despite his dizziness. "I recall… you saying you'd take pleasure in killing me at one point."
Ashita choked back sounds of pain as his vision continued to slowly fade to black. "So, if you hate me to the point that you truly want to kill me," he said hardly above a whisper, "can I request one thing from you, please?"
"What?" Neru growled as his lethally tipped tail lined up with his adversary's sternum.
"Could you…smile when you do?" he asked weakly.
"What?" the man asked sardonically. "You want me to smile?"
The greenette merely nodded once as he held onto the demon's shirt tighter. "Since I got to see you, talk to you, even for a little while, I wouldn't be mad at you for killing me." The hand around his neck went slack for a brief moment before the teen was shoved to the ground. "Could you smile, Neru?" Ashita asked brokenly as he tried to sit back up.
"Why?" the older of the two growled. "Why should I do that for you?"
"Because," Ashita answered, giving up on trying to sit straight, "it would make me very happy. So, when you kill me…move on once you're finished, ok?" Neru knelt in the growing puddle of blood coming from his fallen opponent as his tail lined up with the teen's sternum again. "Smile, please," the green-haired male requested once more as his eyes started to close. "Because… if you won't, I don't… think I could… forgive you."
"Anything else," the man said, dragging out his words in a bored manner.
Mustering up a bit of strength, Ashita managed to place his hand against the man's cheek. "Please…smile…" he breathed before his hand fell back to his side.
Placing a hand to his cheek, Neru pulled it away to see the red staining his fingers. Eyeing it carefully, he brought one of the coated digits up to his mouth and licked it clean prior to staring down at the greenette that was in the process of pulling his hand from his pocket.
"…smile…" Hearing the broken plea, one corner of the demon's mouth pulled upward, earning a weak smile in return. "Close…enough. Thank…you," Ashita whispered before his eyes slid shut completely.
Poking at the still body, Neru sat back on his haunches, observing the continuous puddle of blood that spread along the soil. Sticking a finger in it, the man then brought it up to his mouth to lick clean.
"A fallen foe's may taste even sweeter, yes?"
He recalled those words being spoken once in his fight with Rai. The twins' words were somewhat true yet, despite winning, the man was even more agitated and felt much emptier. He hardly registered the approaching footsteps before feeling a mighty blow upside the head.
Turning to glare, black eyes stared up at the icy blue pair. "Why?" Xan hissed, hitting him again. "He wasn't even trying to fight you back!" The white-haired man fell back, covering his eye for a moment as thin trails of blood ran down his face. "Why, Kimura!?"
"Sir, maybe you should wait over there" Coegi said, pulling the man back.
Xan glanced back at the coachman before heading back to the carriage, not bothering to give his fellow demon a second look. Seeing him off, Coegi walked over to the discarded dagger and picked it up. Bringing it over, he then set it down beside its owner before looking towards his employer.
"He didn't use it for a reason, Neru."
Raising his head, Neru watched as his driver walked back towards the carriage, probably in order to check on Xan once more, prior to staring at the clean blade of his opponent's dagger. Picking it up carefully, he ran a finger along the end, staining it red before setting the object down.
During their entire fight, the greenette didn't come at him with the thing.
To request such a thing at death had left the man's mind reeling. A smile was simply no good if one was dead.
"…move on once you're finished, ok?"
"He was just saying that on purpose," Neru growled under his breath.
Moving to get up, the demon stopped to look upon the slightly closed hand that the greenette had pulled from his pocket. Flashes of red had caught his attention and had him leaning forward to unfurl the fingers closed carefully around what was being held.
Once opened, Neru sat back on the ground as he held onto the slightly, rumpled remains of the red rose he had left on Ashita's grave.
Sitting on the foot of the bed, Neru remained silent as he stared at the pale form of his opponent. He still didn't understand why Coegi had placed the teen's body in his room. He didn't mind the stained sheets really. It was more along the lines of having to look at the greenette. With his sense of smell, he couldn't block out the coppery undertones that had circulated through the room for the past few hours.
Or was it days?
Time had started to lose its meaning. Seconds had run into minutes and so on.
The quiet that had accompanied the enclosed room was perhaps even more nerve-wrecking. To hear his own breathing, to hear what he guessed to be his own heart, to be able to listen to the sheets rustling due to his own movement was actually becoming too much.
"…move on once you're finished, ok?"
The man chuckled humorlessly as his lethal tail wrapped around his waist. He had tried breaking the blade that resided there yet, as simple as it seemed, the sharpened edge would not snap. Even more, it hurt to try.
That was going to be impossible with him there.
"Coegi," Neru snarled though it died off before anything else could be spoken.
His eyes then drifted towards the daggers.
Both were spotless, save the blood still staining the ornate yet simplistic design of the handle. The way the blades shone, even in the limited lighting provided by the lit candle, left the room feeling dreary in comparison. And not being able to bring himself to move the body left, nor dispose of the other's weapons, Neru hung his head.
Shifting his gaze, he stared at the crumpled, red petals of the flower left beside Ashita's side. Reaching over, and picking the bloom up, Neru toyed with the curled ends before throwing the thing to the floor. He raised his foot, ready to crush it, though it wound up back on the floor and away from the rose.
Picking it up, Neru toyed with the blossom once more until one of the delicate petals fell off. And not wanting to damage it any further, the man set the rose back in its previous spot.
Getting up, the demon walked over to the table and blew out the candle before making his way back over to the bed.
"Please, just answer my questions."
Questions would go unanswered as Neru leaned down to brush green strands away. Taking in the sight of dull, red marks running down the teen's face, the man traced a finger across the longest scratch. The skin beneath his touch was white, matching that of when the greenette had the misfortune of being left to Rai.
Moving his hand down, the demon cupped Ashita's pallid cheek. It was almost as cold as ice, furthering the notion of death.
"I recall… you saying you'd take pleasure in killing me at one point."
Neru felt nothing of said pleasure. His head still throbbed from the blows Xan had inflicted yet the pain that was associated with the act was nowhere. And as much as the thought seemed to hurt, the man felt numb.
Pulling his hand away, the demon carefully slid his hands underneath Ashita's head and back. Sighing heavily, Neru closed his eyes to still his thoughts. He needed to concentrate on moving the greenette's body.
"You look so tired."
The white-haired male hung his head. He felt exhausted and the longer he stood there, the quicker his body lost its remaining energy.
Picking up the teen's motionless form, Neru held him a few inches above the sheets before setting him back down. Bringing his arms back to his side, he knelt alongside Ashita. Allowing his gaze to run across the teen's beaten figure, the demon squeezed his hands into fist, causing his sharpened nails to cut into his palms.
"…Ashita…" he muttered into the quiet air.
Exhaling, the man got up slowly and made his way over to the door. As tired as he was, Neru knew he wouldn't be able to sleep in that bedroom.
Opening the door, the demon felt his tail curl along his waist once more before he stepped out.
"Neru…" Said person stiffened. His mind was playing tricks on him. "Wait…please?"
Taking a step back, Neru leaned against the doorway to see the still motionless teen.
"Why?" he asked, placing a hand over his wounded eye. "Why…?"
A quiet exhale met the man's ears, making him walk over to the bed. Seeing the colorless yet peaceful expression on the teen's face, Neru sank down to his knees and rested his forehead against the sheets. The sound he had heard before he concluded was his own.
"Ash…"he muttered as his eyes slid close. "Why?"
"Why…do you sound so sad?" The young demon lifted his head a bit. "Why?"
"You're not real," Neru replied, lowering his head. Feeling something run through his hair, he pulled away. "You're not here."
"No," he growled under his breath as he turned to walk away.
A cold hand grabbing his wrist had the man stopping to look over his shoulder. Tracing the bloodied arm back to the one on the bed, Neru turned his body the moment a bit of blue revealed itself.
"Hey…why aren't you smiling?" came the barely audible question. "You don't…look happy, Neru."
Wrenching his arm free, Neru stared down at the one on the bed before turning away. "Go away," he said, placing his hand over his wounded eye once more. "You're not real. You're not here."
Grasping the end of the man's bloodied shirt, slender fingers pulled on it enough to get the demon to stop. Seeing how he wouldn't turn around, the greenette pulled as hard as he could in his current state before the man finally fell into a seated position.
And since Neru hadn't turned to face him, the teen slowly pulled himself up into a kneeling position. Running a hand through the red-tinted strands, Ashita smiled halfheartedly when the other tensed.
"No," said person replied curtly, pushing the other back.
A small whine had the white-haired man turning to see the other's face twisted in pain. Scooting away to sit on the edge of the bed, Neru watched as his former opponent pulled himself back up into a sitting position, jaw clench to stave off anymore sounds.
"Neru," Ashita said under his breath as he eased forward, "would you like to play another game?" The man looked elsewhere as the youngest of the pair cringed, holding their side. "If it proves that I'm me, will you play?"
Not bothering to reply, Neru stood up and walked back to the door. It was the sound of something striking the wood that had him stilling. Turning his head slightly to the left, the man stared at the white dagger jutting from the frame.
"Would I have to fight you to get your attention?" Ashita asked harshly yet in a shaky voice. When the man went to step out, the greenette threw the second one, striking the right side of the frame. "Ne-"
A hand was at his throat before he could even finish the name he was going to say. There wasn't much pressure though so a soft smile crossed the pallid face as the teen stared up at the one above him.
"Stop smiling like that!"
"I'm glad you remember what my smile looks like." Bringing a bloodied hand up, Ashita's smile faltered. "But where's your smile, Neru?" he asked, sliding his fingers through the man's hair. "I want to see the one I saw on the surface. Can't I see that one?"
Neru stared at the one below him before trying to sit up as fingers fisted the white tresses in their grasp. "Let go," he ordered.
"Why?" Ashita asked, pulling down hard enough to make the man lean forward yet soft enough not to cause much discomfort. "Why should I when you didn't?"
"What?" Neru asked annoyed as the greenette pulled on his hair again.
"That basket." The demon tensed. "You could have thrown it out," the teen said. "You could've thrown it away but you kept it. Why is that?" Neru's hand tightened subtly around the other's throat though Ashita simply began to smile. "Did you miss me, Neru?" he asked coyly, sliding his fingers up to brush aside the bangs clinging to the man's forehead. "Did you?"
Staring at the large sapphire eye, Neru then released his captive, knocking the hand away before standing. When the greenette propped himself up on his elbows, wincing, the demon pushed him back down onto his back.
A hand grasping his wrist had the man growling lowly. "Don't touch me," he ordered, wrenching his hand away.
The force of it was strong yet the demon couldn't help but stare at the hand that still hung onto him. Even more, the blue-eyed male's face was twisted up in pain again. And dropping his gaze, Neru saw that he had managed to pull the teen in an upright yet awkward position.
"Do you hate me that much?" Ashita asked in a strained voice as he held tighter. When no response came, the greenette hung his head. "Answer me, please, Neru?" With no reply, the teen's hand slipped away, allowing the man walk away. "Why won't you talk to me!?"
Neru looked over his shoulder once he was at the door. "Go away."
Leaning forward, Ashita rested his forehead against the sheets, ignoring the pain his current position was causing him. "Why are you being so cold?" he questioned dejectedly. "Tell me!"
The man looked elsewhere. "Go away."
Pushing himself upright, the teen slid off the bed. Regaining a bit of balance, he walked over to the doorway. Standing beside the white-haired demon, Ashita gently took hold of Neru's hand.
"Say that to my face." The tallest of the pair didn't bother to acknowledge the request until he was spun around. "Look at me, Neru." A hand grasped the man's chin and redirected his head. "Do you hate me to the point that you can't even look at me?" Ashita asked in a quiet voice. "Do you hate me to the point that you don't want to speak to me or listen to what I want to say?"
"Yes," he replied, the hand at his chin leaving as the result.
"You…hate me." Neru looked elsewhere before the back of the greenette's hand connected with the side of his face. Black eyes then slid over to stare at the one who hit him. "I hate you!" the teen shouted.
The man chuckled humorlessly, only resulting in another slap to the face. Feeling the sting in his cheek, the white-haired demon caught the teen's hand and wrenched it behind his back prior to pushing him away. Watching him hit the floor, Neru walked over and stepped down on the square of Ashita's back, keeping him down when he went to sit up.
"You hate me you say?" Neru asked as the other tried to get up. "Good then. Now, since I haven't killed you yet, you-"
"You killed me a long time ago," Ashita said, quieting the room. Feeling the foot let up, he rolled slowly onto his back to stare at the one standing. "A very long time ago, Neru."
"When did I do that?" he asked bitterly.
"The day you made me leave," the greenette replied as he pulled himself to his feet. "The day you threw me out." He took a step forward, watching as the demon took one back. "I hate the fact that you did it. Did you know I couldn't trust anyone, not even my own sister, for awhile." Ashita took another step, making the man take another back. It continued like that until Neru's back hit the wall. "The day I got home, I yelled at my sister, Neru. She did nothing yet I thought she'd just get rid of me if I did something wrong."
"Shut up." Clutching his wounded shoulder, Ashita looked up at the man. "Despite how nice the people were to me, I thought they'd all just wind up mad and get rid of me in the end."
Watching the teen hang his head, Neru's ear picked up on the faintest sound of something hitting the floor. As he looked down, he saw small drops of water splashing against the floor. Looking up again, the demon pressed himself against the wall, a bit unnerved though he wasn't sure why.
"Shut up and listen," came the response. "Not once did I say anything about what you did to me and, because of that, I couldn't bring myself to be in a relationship with anyone else." A smile crossed the greenette's face before it faltered. "Then I met Raiza Oasai." Ashita lifted his head to stare at the tense man before him. "He gave me so much attention and I did enjoy every bit of it."
The visible blue eye dropped back to the floor. "His ways reminded me a bit of you." Ashita looked up again, already seeing the next question. "When he wasn't talking, he was always looking elsewhere, thinking about something." Neru arched an eyebrow. "If he didn't want you to know what he was thinking, he'd put on a blank face. Then there were moments when he would leave and come back at the oddest of times with no explanation of where he's gone."
"He was nothing like me."
Ashita shook his head as he slid his hand down to grasp his injured arm. "There were similarities but you two were very different. He told me things and he didn't play mind games when we were together. He didn't tease me. I liked that a lot yet there were differences."
"Being?" Neru asked as the teen eased forward.
"For starters, you didn't talk much yet you were very attentive," Ashita said. "In the time I was with you, if I got hurt or sick, you went out of the way to make me comfortable. Even if it was the slightest of things like giving me an extra blanket, wrapping a cut, or even bringing me something to drink."
"Then there was the time you came to get me from the auction," he continued. "My sister was well, and you didn't have any obligations to any of us anymore. You could've let them sell me, Neru. My whereabouts could've been covered with lies. And if, somehow, Lana managed to find out what happened, it would've been too late anyway." A frown flitted across the younger man's face. "Yet, in spite of that, you came to get me. You killed everyone that had attempted a bid and, as scary as it was to see all of that, I felt very happy when asked if I was ok." A smile began to cross the teen's face yet it died away soon after. "It was very rare for Raiza to ask if I was truly ok. When he did, however, it lacked conviction."
"Raiza was Okinawa, Ashita."
"I know," he said as his hand moved to hold his side. "And I know because you told me first. I really didn't want to believe that though. He was nice and once you warned me about who he was, everything started to get out of hand." Slender fingers moved up to tug away the bandages that were still wrapped along the teen's body to show dark marks. "And despite being marked, and deemed untouchable, you still took care of me. You brought me home when you found me on the side of the road. You helped nurse me back to health when my sister was away and you didn't leave until I was able to make it to work."
"You didn't make it to work."
Ashita nodded once. "I'm quite aware of that, thanks," he retorted before sighing heavily. "But when I was being kept at his place, my sister came around." Neru raised his eyebrow again. "I was very happy but, at the same time, I was completely terrified of what he might've done to her if she found out I was there." Wincing slightly as he touched his eye, Ashita focused on the man's black eyes. "He made sure to kill every hope of being rescued and I actually started to believe that. He killed Xan's bird, threatened his dog, and always told me that if I ever tried to escape, he'd just find me again and punish my sister for the fun of it. "
"And it's over now, Ashita," Neru replied, pushing the other back a few steps. "Go home, alright?"
"I hate you so much," the greenette said as he hung his head, hiding behind emerald strands. "After everything, after you pushed me away, you're doing it again right now." He took a step forward, ignoring the hand on his wounded chest. "I hate the fact that you destroyed the trust I had in people. I despise the way you ruined relationships for me. And I had a few nice admirers too."
Thinking back to the funeral, Neru looked towards a distant wall. "'A few' is an understatement."
"You ruined everything after you sent me away!" Black eyes regarded Ashita's trembling form before a pair of wounded arms reached up to snake themselves around his neck. "I hate that you made me fight with you, Neru. I hate that you wouldn't listen to me in the beginning but, regardless of all of that, I thank you too."
"W…why?" the demon inquired.
"Whether you deny it or not, Neru, you're not a bad person," Ashita said, lifting his head to show a small yet warm smile. "You may be a demon, but you really are nice." Placing a hand on the cheek he hit, the greenette's smile diminished. "I thank you so much for what you did for my sister. You made her well again. And when I…when I died, you brought my body back to her." The blue eye trembled. "I thank you so much for attending my funeral. You really didn't have to do that so…" he said before he leaned up to give the man a kiss.
Dark eyes widening, Neru hardly had time to react before Ashita pulled away. "A-Ashita-"
Said person presented the red rose that had once been present on the bed. "Thank you so much for this as well," he said, placing the delicate bloom in the man's hands. "This really was my favorite flower that had been left for me. It made me smile during my recovery sessions so I want you to take care of it," Ashita said with a smile as he took a step around the man.
Turning, Neru watched as the teen slowly made his way through his abode and into the front room. "Ashita." He covered his mouth after realizing he had even called for the other. "I…don't hate you," he found himself saying.
The lone sapphire focused on the man before closing as the greenette's smile broadened. "That makes me very happy to hear you say that," Ashita replied, moving his hand up to slide away the band that adorned his upper arm.
Seeing the faint glow of the golden object, Neru took a step forward. "What are you about to do?"
The greenette's smile remained in place. "I'm doing as I was told," he said as he tossed the glowing ring up. Once it took its place above his head, giving the room a bit of light, Ashita opened his eyes. "I'm going home now."
Observing the light in the room, Neru walked into the front room as the greenette turned towards the door. "Ashita." Said person turned to see the red bloom being presented. "I can't keep this."
"Sure you can," he replied. "I want you to take care of it."
"Because it would make me happy if you did."
Dropping his arm back to his side, the demon let the rose hit the floor, several petals falling away to lay scattered. Making his way over to the stunned greenette, Neru stared down at the teen. It was quiet between the two before Ashita finally knelt down to retrieve the flower.
Picking up the stray petals, the blue-eyed male stopped as his hand brushed against another. Raising his head, Ashita stared at the other through the strands in his face before another hand came up to brush them aside. Feeling the warmth coming from the demon's hand, the teen leaned into it, smiling as the other cupped his cheek.
The blue eye widened fractionally at the quick but gentle kiss before focusing on the withdrawing demon. Leaning back himself, Ashita pressed his fingertips to his mouth, face flushed slightly while a smile started to cross Neru's features.
"You're…smiling," he said as he dropped his hand back to his side.
Touching the corner of his mouth, Neru smile's widened a bit. "I suppose I am. Thank you, Ashita." he said before glancing up at the halo.
Following the man's stare, Ashita reached up to touch the band before pulling it down. Holding it out the demon, he watched as the man looked elsewhere. Seeing the discomfort, the teen set the object of light down before inching forward. Catching the man's attention, he smiled as black eyes focused on him.
"Keep smiling for me, ok?" Ashita requested as he brushed aside stray white hair. "It'd make me happy."
Picking up the halo, he placed it over his head once more. Standing up, he regarded the demon on the floor before turning towards the door. As his hand met the cool handle, he froze as he felt something snake itself around his waist. Looking down, he saw that it was Neru's tail.
"Neru?" he called as he turned around to see the man already on his feet, smile long gone. "Hey, what's wrong?" Ashita asked worriedly. "You're not smiling. Come on, can't you do that for me?" The man said nothing. "Neru, please?"
"I can't," he finally replied as he took a step forward, backing the teen into the door.
"Ashita, when you go, what assures you that I will be smiling?" Neru questioned as he leaned in. "Tell me."
Face tinting a darker shade of pink in the given lighting, Ashita fidgeted in place before a kiss stilled his thoughts. When the demon pulled away, leaving a flustered teen, a halfhearted smile worked its way onto his face.
Lips sealing over his own halted any other words while fingers threaded themselves into the man's hair. When Neru went to pull away, a hand at the back of his head kept him still until the initiator finally pulled away.
"Smile for me, Neru," Ashita said as he reached up to pull down the halo. "Now, tomorrow, next week, month, year." Sliding the band back onto his arm, the greenette then clasped his arms at the back of the man's neck. "Now and forever."
Looking at the golden armlet, the demon focused on its wearer afterwards. "Ashita," Neru murmured, leaning down to rest his forehead against the other's. "You-"
"Now and forever," the teen said with a faint smile. "If…it's ok with you, can I…stay?"
Neru glanced at the golden armlet before giving a small nod. "It would make me happy if you did," he replied before receiving another kiss.
Poking its head in, the black runner looked around before plodding its way quietly through the front door. Sniffing about, it searched the front room, observing everything carefully prior to heading down the hall. Its nose had picked up on the occupants' scents and led it to the bedroom.
Ears flicking about, catching nothing but soft breathing and the sound of a flame flickering on its wick, the hound eased its head into the doorway prior to nudging the door open to enter further. Light on its feet, the canine traversed the room quickly until it was at the foot of the bed. Standing on its hind legs and using the footboard as support, red eyes regarded the pair on bed.
The larger male was leaned up against the headboard, head down and face shrouded beneath the long white hair. His arms had been placed lightly on the other's side while the man's tail was wrapped carefully around Ashita's waist.
Turning its attention to its friend, it focused on the teen. Positioned comfortably, the greenette's head was resting in the man's lap. The teen's dark blue eyes were closed while a peaceful expression crossed his sleeping face. Red eyes then focused on the faint flashes of light coming from the armlet.
And tilting its own head at the sight, the runner almost missed Neru raising his head. The dog tilted its head in the other direction, ears flicking about, when golden-green eyes focused on its form. When it opened its mouth, the man simply pressed a finger to his lips, watching as the dog clamped its jaws shut. And content with that, Neru lowered his head once more as his eyes closed.
Taking a step back, the hound regarded the pair once more before turning on its heels and leaving, closing the door quietly. Racing back to the carriage stationed a few miles off, the hound barked its arrival.
Stepping out of the carriage, Xan knelt down, scratching behind the hounds ears as it began its report. Hearing the sounds, Coegi tilted the brim of his hat upwards as his ears twitched at the keen yelps and growls.
"They were sleeping together?" the silverette asked skeptically. " They shouldn't even have the energy for-"
"I think it means that they're actually sleeping, sir," the coachman replied as he got down from his post. "I take it that all's been worked out now." Brown eyes then shifted. "Isn't that right, Itami and Keibatsu?"
At those names, ice-colored eyes looked about before the man felt a chill run down his back. And looking over his shoulder, Xan stared at a shadowy form taking shape until one of the forms appeared, sitting on the edge of the carriage entrance.
"The two are sleeping soundly," the clone said, smiling before blowing white strands from his face. "Neru is actually sleeping for once. Isn't that right, Kei?" The silverette stood quickly, taking a step back, his runner in tow. "Ah, what's wrong, Arian?"
"I think he's still edgy after what happened." Looking up quickly, Xan saw the rather stoic face the double was impersonating. "But, Itami is right. It's nice to be able to walk without having to stay out of his vision," the shadow said, hopping down from the carriage's top.
"And he looks so peaceful!" Itami chirped, getting to his own feet. "They both do!"
"Ita," Kei drawled, shaking his head as the double came over, wrapping his tail around the other's waist, "you're such a hopeless romantic."
"That's because you lack a heart," Ita countered.
"You do as well," the other countered.
Both turned to see Coegi staring at them.
"We shall go check on them again-" Keibatsu stated as his twin's tail slipped off his waist.
"-and we shall tell you of any changes if any occur," Itami finished.
"Very well," the coachman said before the two pulled their vanishing act.
Once the two were gone, and Xan was comfortable once more, the runner continued with its own report. Finally coming to its end, deeming its information enough, the hound wagged its tail, signaling the man in his own way that it wanted recommendation.
"Thank you," he said, scratching behind the dog's ears. "You're dismissed."
Nodding, the dark-colored canine hopped back into the coach and pulled the door closed behind it for a little down time. Going to say something about the action, Xan decided against it as Coegi returned to his post.
"It said something was glowing," he said.
Brown eyes shifted to regard the man by the door before focusing on something else. "Your runner. It said something was glowing, sir."
"You…you can understand it?" the silverette asked, eyebrow arched in subtle astonishment.
"Parts, yes, but what exactly was glowing?" Coegi asked.
"Er…it said Ashita's armlet was."
"Armlet?" The coachman paused before continuing with what he had been doing. "I see."
"See what?" Xan asked, leaning against the side of the carriage.
"For an informant, you're not very intuitive, sir," Coegi remarked.
"But thank you for all your help," the smaller demon said, presenting a plate with a rather appetizing slice of chocolate cake. Setting it on the window's sill, the brown-eyed man leaned against the side of the vehicle, staring at something in the distance. "He's going to have to go back though."
"Hmm?" Xan hummed with a piece of cake in his mouth. "Who?" he asked after pulling the fork from his mouth, earning a sidelong glance.
Shaking his head, dark eyes drifted off as an unnatural breeze swept across the area. Flashes of red caught the informer's attention, making his own gaze shift to see red petals flitting by, much like they had done in the cemetery.
Lowering the fork from his mouth, Xan watched as the delicate objects circled around before one of the petals were caught between two of Coegi's fingers. As the others came to a rest before the smaller male, the silverette reluctantly set his plate down, going to ask a question before the petals blew away, disappearing from sight.
"Coegi…what did you just do?" he asked slowly, eyeing the male carefully.
The aforementioned jumped at his name. "Y-yes?"
"Do enjoy your cake," came the reply as the driver dipped the brim of his hat, hiding a small smile. "Ashita made it himself; though he forgot to bring it along so we had he to go back for it." Blue eyes narrowed. "He insisted."
"Was that why he was late?" Xan questioned, earning a nod. "I almost died over cake!?" Brown eyes peered out from the shadows before darting away. "You're lucky this cake taste so damn good," the blue-eyed demon murmured before forking another piece of cake into his mouth.
Author's Note: The story has finally come to an end. It was originally going for 4-5 chapters long. Then 10! I can't give more than enough thanks to you all for the support!
Saly- sorry I can't thank you personally!
Me-not me personally! Again, sorry I can't thank you personally.
Of course there were more of you but this chapter was pretty long so I want to keep this short. To all that have accounts, thank you so much for the Story Alerts and Favorites!
And of course, thank you readers!