Crimson Fate

In a world, where gods, demons, and humans have learned to co-exist, along with many more of the supernatural, Riku Cinder Sherwood must realize his fate to protect, become the guardian of the daughter of Devil Salem Nightingale, Selene Nightingale, whilst finding his own place in life.

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24. Chapter 23

Chapter 23

 

 

The rain hit the window softly at first, but soon picked up like a bullet storm before quieting down to mere tapping on the glass. Cross had written the notes for the day’s math lecture on the board and left it there to copy down. Selene sat straight and wrote neatly down in the notebook. She occasionally glanced over at the empty seat near the window. Riku’s seat. Embry’s seat was also remaining empty, along with every other desk that belonged to an angel. Once she was finished writing the notes, she slumped down and rested her head on her arm on the desk. She closed her eyes, thinking maybe she was asleep. She opened them and the seat was still unattended. She found her hand moving on its own. It started the shape, then filling in a picture of Riku sitting in his chair at his desk by the window. Selene’s mouth dipped into a frown and her eyes drooped sadly. Something pressed on her shoulder.

“I didn’t think you were quite the artist.” Seth muttered, rubbing his chin. Selene jolted back to reality. Her face heated up with red. She scrambled to close her notebook and whirl around to face him. “N-no! Just a doodle!” Seth laughed and shook his head. “It’s fine if you miss him.” Selene frowned again and opened her notes back up just enough to peek at her drawing. “It’s been three days…sometime’s I think the worst. What if because of my father…he…hates us…hates what he is, what I am!” Seth’s eyes gulped with surprise at Selene’s sniffling and tears forming in her eyes. “Riku? Hate? That guy can be pretty odd, but one thing I know is he is odd enough to discard the emotion of hate.” Seth shook his head and put his hand in his pockets. Selene eyed him with curiosity. She looked at her drawing then at her hands placed in her lap, beginning to play with her fingers.

Even with the rain that had washed over her, Selene still felt the urge of a long hot shower. She usually took them when she was in her thinking phase, or to wash away her feelings. There were too many worries in her head to pick just one reason. Salem was there to greet her at the door. “My, you are soaked! I’ll have Esther grab a towel!” Selene was silent. She felt herself resisting the urge to look at her own father. Was it spite? Thinking he could be the reason Riku had shut himself away. Or perhaps confusion. Not knowing what to think, what was right or wrong. Maybe choosing Riku was the wrong choice, not for who he was and because of him, but because she had not considered his welfare, his feelings. Salem stared at her, joining in the silence. She slowly moved her head from one side to the other. He dragged her book bag along the floor, losing it along the hallway to the bathroom. She closed the door behind her and flipped on the light and fan switches. She stared in the mirror, studying her reflection. Her hair in need of brushing. Circles forming under her eyes from lack of rest. It took almost all her energy to remove her clothing. She again studied her reflection. She looked down at herself. She ran her hands on her arms as she hugged herself. Her skin was drier. She was naturally a pale girl, but now ghostly white. She felt her stomach make angry noises from not eating.

“Why do I feel this way…?” She stepped into the shower, hot water raining down on her cold body, steam rising above. She washed the nice feeling over herself and in her hair. She paused and hugged herself again. She got lost in thought, watching the water flow from under her and swirl around then down inside the drain. In her trance she lost her ability to feel the water drip from her bangs and run down her face. What was Riku doing right now, or has been for the past three days? She remembered how he snapped at her back at the mall incident. Again, she had caused him to grow angry and scared with her. It took Esther knocking on the bathroom door to startle her back to her sense.

“Miss Selene? Are you troubled?” Selene released it wasn’t the shower head water that stung her eyes, but tears that leaked out on their own. She wiped them off her cheeks and rubbed her eyes. “N-no! I’m fine, thank you though!” Selene spoke loud to be heard over the water and fan. She felt energy return long enough to wash herself, fearing Esther would suspect something was up due to her time spent in the bathroom. Once she stepped out from behind the shower curtains she was greeted by a cold air blanketing over her wet body and Esther in front of her holding open a towel. Selene sighed, knowing she should have expected her to do so. She stepped in Esther’s arms and turned around as she began to dry her. She waited for her to question her, but all she did was smile as she dried her. Once she was done, she wrapped the towel around Selene and held out a folded pair of pajamas. Selene looked at them. She weakly took them and began putting them on.

“You really are troubled.” Esther cocked her head. Selene looked up, her pajamas on backwards. Esther helped her remove them and help put them on correctly. “I guess it really is obvious…” Selene mumbled with regret. Esther nodded. “Afraid so.” They went back to silence. Selene knew she couldn’t hold it in any longer. “It’s Riku.” Esther nodded with a smile, but gave a vibe as if she already suspected that would be the case. Selene saw this and flushed mildly. “It’s just that I’m scared…what if he resents me…or daddy and wishes not to be involved anymore?” She turned to face Esther with red swollen eyes with new tears forming. Esther had her smile remain and lifted her hand to pet Selene’s head. “He must be something else, if you are so in thought.” This caused Selene to flush more. “W-well…ever since coming to this place, this school, he was my first friend…and I feel warm and safe…oddly familiar with him.” Salem barged into their conversation, moving the door back against the wall for more room for entry. “Must be that mistress-guardian relation beginning to form. Or perhaps the start of a beautiful friendship!” Selene shrugged and looked at the white tiled bathroom floor. Salem expected a flustered response, but got only silence and a sad face.

“Selene, look. What I did to May may not have been called for, and a more peaceful route may have been needed. But you do understand what her actions did and could cause?” Selene nodded slowly. “Whether Riku can realize that this comes with the job and is reality, or if he gives up on this guardian business will not change the actions Equilibrium has taken.” Salem crossed his arms, eyeing Selene. She nodded slowly and nervously to show her understanding. A second voice that did not belong in the household previously spoke behind Salem.

“I agree with Salem. Riku needs a wake-up call and needs to face the facts.” Seth leaned back on the wall, arms cross and one leg over the other. Selene used her towel to cover up her dinosaur pajamas. “Daddy! Seth! I’m not in my proper clothing!” She whined, growing redder. Seth chuckled and turned to leave the hallway. “Don’t worry! I was just telling you I’m going to knock some sense into Riku.” Selene gasped and tossed her towel away and rushed down the hall after Seth and grabbed his sleeve. “N-no, no! You can’t! I mean…I have to face him myself.” She pulled him back into the house out of the doorway. Seth tilted his head. He turned and pulled himself free. “I understand, but he’s my friend too so someone has to.” Selene bit her lip and clenched her fist. She thrust her bare feet into her sandals and fallowed him outside. “Then I’ll go too!”

 

 

******

Riku had not left his home for three days. He had shut all the windows and closed all the blinds. Perhaps a poor way of tricking outsiders he was out of the house and not home, but at least they couldn’t hear or see what was going on inside and he couldn’t see or hear the outside world he had shut away. He double checked to make sure he locked the door. Tightly locked. The door and its handle, along with the chain. She sighed with mild relief. He pulled the oven to check on the frozen pizza he had put in several minutes prior. Almost done. He could use the light on the oven, probably easier, but he always forgets about it. He poured himself a glass of apple juice to go along with his pizza. He used an oven mitt to remove it from the oven and hold the pan steady as he cut it. He let it sit for a moment or two before taking a few slices on a plate. He brought it to the living room and munched on it while watching TV at a pretty low volume so no others could hear. It tasted decent for frozen pizza, less cardboard-y than most other brands.

“Maybe just heating up a can of ravioli would have been more satisfying…” he muttered and sighed to himself. He felt fed up with the pizza already and tossed the rest. He swiftly downed the remaining apple juice straight from the jug and tossed it in the recycling. He turned off the TV and retired to his bedroom upstairs. Upon entry he spotted his sword lazily thrown on the floor under some dirty laundry. Two good reminders. Do to laundry, and put away that sword. He had no desire to lay his on it, let alone touch it. He picked up the dirty clothes and piled them in his arms and took them to the washing machine just down the hall. He let out a quiet frustrated breath when he now had to move the sword. He swiftly picked it up and stored it in his closet under a collection of Manga. He closed his closet and dropped himself on his bed. He could hear the rain hit his bedroom window. The desire to go for a walk of just stand in it hit him hard. He groaned, knowing if he went outside someone he knew was bound to spot him and start asking questions. He was relieved Cross had not stopped by yet. Maybe he figured he could use a break after what happened with May. He was glad no one dropped by or bothered him. He had perfect reasons. And didn’t want to deal with the questions and lectures.

“So you were just sitting in here this whole time?!” Riku was shocked, nearly having a heart attack at the sight of Seth in his bedroom, Selene behind him. “Wha-?! How did you even get in my house?!” Riku stood up, but realized escaping the room with the two of them there was futile. “Cross let me barrow his key to your house.” Riku growled and cursed to Cross under his breath. He grew speechless as Selene entered the room.

 

“…”

 

“Riku…”

 

“…….” Riku remained silent.

 

“For the love of!” Seth kicked him in the shin. Riku yelped and hopped around on one foot, holding his knee. Seth then grabbed his collar and yanked him in within lecturing range. “I’ve grown tired of your constant meandering around! I understand that death is something new to you. But this is what you are supposed to do now!” Riku’s eyes went wide and all he could do was stare. Seth threw him to the floor. Riku curled up and ran his hands through his hair. “But…May! I get ghosts and those shades! But…May was human and was murdered…!” Seth stomped his foot to silence him. “And you think humans are all goody goody? Crime. Thievery, rape, murder. These are common human crimes played out every day! Being human has nothing to do with defaulting to good or evil.” Riku swallowed hard, his throat dry with nervousness and fear. Seth awaited for his answer but got only silent staring. He took Selene by the back of her pants and tossed her forwards to speak her mind. She stumbled and fell forwards in front of Riku. She gulped and flushed and looked over her shoulder at Seth for help. “Go on.” She looked down at her hands then up at Riku. Seth silently trailed out of the room under their radar.  

“I…! Riku…please listen. I know you must feel out of place in this new world you were shoved into…and it’s all my fault! I thought you finally understood…but then my dad killed that girl. You must think we are monsters… I didn’t even take your feelings into consideration…! I damned you, Riku! I put you in such a fate, seeming irreversible!” tears poured from her deep blue eyes. She brought her hand sup to cover her face. Riku grabbed her shoulders and uncovered her face. She looked away but felt it was useless to pull away. Her deep blue eyes met his dark green eyes. He pulled her into him, wrapping his arm around her body. Her eyes widened, surprised this was his reactions of all things.

“It’s true…all this has been hard accepting…but before, I was alone, with no family to speak of. No purpose. When I met you, and you made me your guardian, I was scared at first. But it made me feel welcomed, needed…” he pulled off of her to look her back in the eyes. “Thanks to you I can wake up knowing someone out there needs me.” His confused expression, lost eyes and frown vanished in a smile the almost out shined her own. She felt her cheeks heat up. They were so close. Bodies pressed together. She seemed to be lost in his smile. Until…

“You wear dinosaur pajamas too?” she perked up and blushed darkly. She squealed and wrapped her arms around herself, hiding the adorable and childishly drawn dinosaur on her shirt. “Seth! I told you I wanted to change! No he’s making fun of me!” Selene and Riku heard Seth laugh from downstairs, as if it were planned.

Riku felt almost blessed to finally get his wish to walk outside in the rain. They had parted ways with Seth, but Riku felt it was still his duty to walk Selene home. Not only that, but to announce something to the Nightingales. Upon opening the front door they were greeted by Esther. She smiled and gestured for them to enter. Salem slid into food on his socks sliding along the wooden floor, but got distracted at the sight of Riku’s return. He froze and watched Riku. Riku swallowed nervously and looked down then let out a shaky breath then gazed back up at him. “I know I have seemed to be a lousy guardian as of late, but…I hope I can continue serving!” Salem seemed dumbfounded. He contemplated on commenting on his choice, or leave it as is. Selene caught on and winked, pressing her finger to her lips, saying to keep quiet and accept Riku’s decision. Salem raised his eyebrow. He sighed then cracked a grin and put his hands on his hips. “I expect great things from you, Riku Sherwood.” Riku smiled at Salem’s answer. “Yes, sir!”

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