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Bat Hysteria

Two Decisions


© Demonwolf

Chapter: 1 2 3 4 5 6


If, at the end of the chapter you're wondering who gave Rin the crystal, the answer appears in my fic 'The Phantom and the Half-demon' on Fanfiction.net. Though I'm sure you all can guess the answer, right?
**********

Centipede raised a hand to tap on the door when Rin’s voice drifted through the closed entryway.

“You may come in.”

Pushing open the door, Centipede squinted in the dark room.

'Rin an’ Angel Fangs got a lot in common,' he thought wryly as his blue eyes adjusted to the dim interior. Aside from the unused bed, the only piece of furniture was a desk that held two candles, a clay pot of burning leaves that gave off a sweet smell, a piece of glossy metal with Japanese lettering carved into it and a half piece of crystal.

Centipede blinked, cocking his head at the crystal; the rock had been broken down the middle, but the half on the table had been expertly carved in the shape of a bat. Everything, from the small pointed ear to the outspread wing to the tiny fang spoke of an artist’s touch and Centipede couldn’t help wondering where Rin had gotten the little trinket.

“Well?” Centipede started; Rin, who had been in the far corner of the room, was barely discernible from the shadows. The half-demon approached the middle of the room and the candlelight caught her eyes, making them appear to glow.

“Where’d ya get that?” Centipede asked, gesturing at the crystal. Rin glanced down at the little figure.

“The only friend I ever knew as a child made that for me.”

“A friend of yer’s?”

“As I said, the only friend I ever had in my youth. A boy only a few years older than I was, but just much an outcast I was. We only knew each other for two weeks, but it was the best two weeks of my life before I left England.”

“Must have been a special kid if he could make this.”

“Hai. He actually made a full bat, but I broke it in half and gave him the other piece when he left.”

“Left?” Rin nodded.

“He… he couldn’t stay. As much as I wanted him to, he couldn’t.”

“Know where he is?” Rin shrugged.

“Probably dead.”

“What?”

“Considering what had happened to him already… well, no one truly understood how special he was. It would serve people right if he died without leaving his mark on the world. But if he is alive, I hope he found someone who treats him kindly every day of his life.”

“Yeah, no one deserves to be kicked around.” Rin twitched an ear at him and Centipede took the hint. “Look, I know ya didn’t do anything and-”

“Do you now?” The half-demon’s voice was soft, but steely.

“Well, yeah, of course. Besides, if you were gonna go all demon on someone, yer not the type ta hide it.”

“And how many people in the city share that opinion?”

“All of us, for one. Chief Beatcom knows yer not doin’ anything.”

“Anyone else?” Centipede shrugged, not trusting himself to answer. “That’s what I thought.”

Rin turned away from him and stared out the window.

“Look, girlie, you can get people off yer back no problem. Just tell Chief Beatcom where you were trainin’ during the accidents and ya got an alibi. Someone had ta see ya if you were in the park.” Without turning around, Rin asked,

“Tell me, is anyone else being asked to give an alibi?”

“Er, well, I don’t think our friend Beatcom has anymore suspects, so-”

“In other words, no.”

“Not that I know.”

“So I, the only half-demon in New York City, am the only person being asked to account for my actions?” Rin’s voice had taken on a deadly hiss.

“Listen, I-”

“No, you listen!” Rin whirled about and faced Centipede, her eyes afire with rage. “You think I’m a stranger to this? When I was growing up, I was always the first one asked to explain myself when something went wrong! No matter the issue, I was always the first suspect in any problem! Well, no more! You say you believe I’m innocent, so unless you or Chief Oaf have a reason to suspect me, what I do on my own time remains my private business!”

“Hey, all we’re askin’ for is yer help.”

“Oh, aren’t I the lucky one? Well, you can tell the entire New York Police Department that they can ask other people for help first before they come crawling to me!”

“It’s not that-”

“Oh yes it is! No matter what you or anyone else think, people are only asked to account for their actions when they’re suspected of being guilty! So forget it!”

Centipede said nothing as his adopted daughter turned away from him yet again. How often had she been forced to do that, he wondered. How many times in her life had Rin hoped to be treated fairly, had tried to prove that she was (partly) human? The idea of her having to turn away again and again from happiness was heartbreaking.

Though not very good at sentiment, the many-armed bug approached the half-demon and tentatively laid one of his hands on her shoulder. Rin didn’t move, but nor did she shrug away the touch.

“Rin, I… I’m sorry.” It was all he could say.

“No, it isn’t your fault. I thank you though, Centipede, for being honest with me. That means a lot to me.”

“Anytime, kid. Anytime.”
**********

“But Rin was here the whole time!” Ricky clenched his small hands in frustration. “We saw her!”

“I know, but people already think she caused all the accidents.” James looked down at the mossy ground he and his friends had built their fort around. “We have to do something to show people that Rin didn’t do anything.”

“But what can we do?” The little girl Tessa adjusted her glasses as she spoke.

“We gotta find evidence,” Jerry stated.

“Evidence?” Ricky asked.

“Yeah. Like fingerprints of the guy who really did it.”

“But how do we do that?” James asked.

“I dunno. But we gotta do it if we’re gonna prove someone else did all that stuff and not Rin.”

“Or we can prove that Rin was somewhere else.” Everyone looked up at James. The small boy drummed his fingers on the ground, as he’d often seen Mr. Grasshopper do when reviewing his music sheets. “Maybe we should follow Rin and see where she goes.”

“But won’t she know if we’re following her?”

“Not if she doesn’t think we’re following her. There are playgrounds all over the park. Tomorrow, we’ll see what direction she goes in and then we can go to the nearest one. Rin will come to us. Remember our Nature Walk right before school ended?”

The friends fell silent, nodding. Rin had arrived in the city shortly before school had been let out for the summer and had encountered the class on a final field trip in Central Park. Much to the surprise of everyone, including the teacher, the young half-demon had trailed the class from the trees, swooping in if a child so much as shouted in surprise. Protective didn’t even begin to describe Rin when her brother and his friends were close by.

“But what if an accident doesn’t happen tomorrow?”

“That’d be good, since no one would get hurt,” James replied. “But we’ll keep following her until another accident occurs or the real bad person is caught. Okay, everyone?”

The small children nodded in agreement, ready to help their good friend and his strange, but generally nice sister.

Author’s Note: Yes, I know people involved in a crime are asked to give alibis, whether police think they are guilty or not. But I guessed that if Rin was constantly being asked to account for herself throughout her childhood, she’d be a little sick of it by now, wouldn’t you agree?

Chapter: 1 2 3 4 5 6

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