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Tokyo Demons Short: Sweet Nothings

A downloadable package of this chapter (.pdf, .epub, and .mobi) is available in the Sparkler Monthly Issue #033 back issue.

Note: This story takes place in Tokyo Demons Book 2: Chapter 3, in the crumbling safe house with Wipe. After finding Kadoyuki feverish in the bathroom, Ayase had a brief conversation with him…which was cut off by a mobile phone call that Kadoyuki left to take.

The way Nick slept on the concrete, turned away in the dark and covered by a raggedy blanket far too small for his broad shoulders, made Ayase think of a slumbering bear.

She hesitated for a second, sitting back on her knees. His rage from a few hours earlier flashed across her brain. He’d definitely calmed down before going to bed, but…she still remembered the old adage about not waking a sleeping beast.

I don’t have a choice. She took a breath, then gripped his shoulder and shook.

“Hey,” she whispered, her voice low enough to avoid waking Sachi. “Wake–”

He abruptly grunted and rolled over. His hand snapped out in the dark and grabbed her wrist; he yanked her toward the floor so hard that she toppled forward and scraped her chin on the concrete. She choked out a cry as his heavy body rolled over hers, crushing her stomach into the floor and twisting her arm up behind her.

“N-Nick!” she gasped, her body throbbing in defense. “I-it’s me!”

The broad weight over her shifted. Gritting her teeth, she forced down the searing urge to burst into bugs and suffocate the huge man on top of her.

“Ayase…?” He finally released her wrist and pulled back. She shuddered and shoved him the rest of the way, crawling out from beneath the heavy threat of his spread knees.

He grunted again in the dark, but she panted and scrambled away from him. She jerked her head once at Sachi–who miraculously hadn’t stirred from his sleep–and yanked down the shirt that had bunched up under her bra.

Nick slowly sat back, rubbing his eyes with bandaged fingers. “Sorry,” he murmured groggily. “You have to…say my name when you wake me up. Before you even touch me.”

“I-I did say your name.”

Before you touch me.” He swung his head up, the sheen of his hazel eyes glinting faintly in the darkness. “Or I’ll assume you came to kill me.”

Ayase swallowed. She brushed tiny concrete flakes from her face, her twisted arm aching.

“You never…told us,” she grumbled. “And that hurt.”

“I said I was sorry.”

Ayase grimaced, her old disgust with him tightening in her gut.

“What do you need?” he asked at last, untwisting his blanket from his legs. “And where the hell is Kado?”

“He’s…in the bathroom,” she lied, unwilling to mention the phone call Kadoyuki had run to take–against Nick’s earlier order. “But that’s why I woke you up. He’s acting…sick.”

“Sick?”

She tried to explain Kadoyuki’s perplexing symptoms: the flush without a fever, the glassy eyes. She didn’t relay the details of his unsettling rambles, but she didn’t need to–once she explained that Wipe’s bite wound seemed fine, Nick brushed her off.

“It’s not Pitch,” he confirmed, waggling his bandaged fingers. “I’m a recovering addict–I would’ve felt that when Wipe bit me during that damn feeding a few hours ago.” He paused. “I’ll double-check Kado’s injury to look for infection, but it’s probably nothing.”

She scowled. “It’s not nothing.

“That’s not what I mean. It’s probably nothing new… It could be a panic attack, or his power, or whatever the hell else he’s always suffering from. Isn’t he constantly sick?” He shook his head as he stood. “Hell, it could be a cold. He won’t eat or sleep–that kid’s immune system is probably shit.”

Ayase scrambled to her feet, hushing Nick as she did so. “Don’t wake up Sachi,” she warned.

“Wasn’t planning to,” he whispered thinly.

“And wait in the hallway while I get Kadoyuki. If you go storming after him, you might freak him out.”

Nick looked down at her from his looming presence; she sternly looked up, unmoving from her eye line below his clavicle. He let a breath out through his nose.

Slowly, to the soft swish of his long sleeves, he pulled his baseball cap down over his skull.

“Fine,” he murmured, something unreadable in his voice.

Proceed to Sweet Nothings, Page 2–>

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