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Let's Dance

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Let’s Dance

Shingeki no Bahamut (c)MAPPA

Let’s Dance (c) fhclause

All the demons were celebrating. Charioce had finally been defeated and the demon slaves were released under the orders of both Captain Kaisar and Anatae’s sorely missed saint, Jeanne de Arc.

The demons were dancing around the huge campfire, following along the ukulele’s strum. Favaro, who was drunk, wrapped an arm around Kaisar’s shoulder. Kaisar was also drunk, and took another gulp from his bottle before spinning Favaro around for what seemed like a dance.

Nina laughed at them as Rita’s infamous arm punched them both when their faces had gotten too close to each other. At the same time, someone familiar sat beside her, but she didn’t offer him any greetings nor looked at him. Instead, she brushed Mugaro’s hair, who was sleeping and had his head on her lap.

“He must be really tired to sleep through the noise.”

“Yeah.” Nina brushed away another strand of hair.

“Rita is going to have a hell of a time nursing those two drunkards tomorrow morning.”

“Mm.” She started to plait some longer strands together.

“I’ve no idea how they can stand drinking ale. Wine though...Give me wine and I can drink bottles of them.”

“Oh.” Was the plait supposed to look like this, though? Ugh, this was why she kept her hair short.

“In fact, I once drink so much that I turned purple all over. It’s why my lips are like these.”

“Uh-huh.” Oh. Now she made a knot in his hair.

“I can even taste wine on them sometimes. Do you want to have a taste?”

Nina’s fingers paused in their attempt to smooth the knot. Only when his words finally registered in her mind did her cheeks burned like they always did when he was near. She looked at him with wide eyes. “W-what?”

“Finally, I got your attention,” Azazel snorted. He leaned back and propped himself on his arms as he watched his people dancing. “Why aren’t you joining them? Aren’t you the one who thought of this idea?”

Nina combed through the knot in Mugaro’s hair. “I don’t feel like dancing. It...reminds me of something I don’t want to remember.”

Azazel turned to look at her. Nina had a wistful expression on her face and he knew what—who—she was thinking about. Charioce was a sore subject to her, but he didn’t want to know why. He wasn’t ready to.

He wasn’t ready to see how much alike Charioce and he were.

But the reminder was still there, and one of them was currently sitting next to him. Azazel sighed. Whether he liked it or not, he needed to talk to her about it. “Walk with me to the lake.”

“But Mugaro—”

He deftly scooped Mugaro from her lap, settled the child in his arms and walked briskly towards Bacchus’ caravan. After he tucked Mugaro in, he bounced out of the caravan and stared at Nina. She was already waiting for him.

And she was looking anywhere but him.

He turned sharply to the left. “Come on.” He didn’t look over his shoulder to see if she followed him. The sound of the crunching grass behind him was an enough proof that she was.

They passed a few trees until they reached the edge of the lake. The small moon was hidden tonight, but the big moon was shining so brightly that the lake seemed like it was made of the moon itself. However, the beauty of it all went unnoticed by Azazel, who was too busy arranging his thoughts and words in his head.

It was Nina who spoke first. “I’m...sorry.”

Azazel whirled to look at her. “What?”

Nina still didn’t meet his gaze. “I’m sorry...during that time. At the parade. I couldn’t turn into a dragon like you wanted...and you lost a lot of your friends. I’m sorry.”

“Nina, I—” Azazel gritted his teeth, the words were still stuck in his throat. He suddenly grabbed her wrist and pulled her into an embrace.

“Wha—Azazel!”

“You don’t turn into a dragon anymore when I hug you, right?” At her nod, he snapped his wings out. “Hold on tight then.”

He took off, the fingers clutching on his jacket got tighter and tighter as they flew up the sky. He then glided sideward, flew through a thick cloud and hovered, maintaining their altitude with an occasional flap of his wings. “Nina, look up.”

The head buried in his chest shook vigorously. “I’ll fall.”

“You’ll be fine. I won’t let you fall. Besides, since when Nina Drango know how to be afraid?”

Garnet eyes slowly peeked out, glaring at him for bringing her up there in the first place. But then her eyes caught a brilliant light, and she gasped. “Oh, wow...the moon! It’s so big!”

Azazel smirked at her apparent delight, holding her tight when she started to bounce in his arms. “I suppose you never fly before? As a dragon?”

She shook her head. “I don’t think so. Even if I did, I don’t remember.”

“Hmm.” He stared at the big moon, and nodded to himself as if he had decided something. “Alright. Put your feet on mine.”

“Huh? Why?”

“Just do it, will you?”

Nina huffed at his tone, but considering how her life was literally a drop away, she did as he told. She tried not to look down as she cautiously slid her feet down on his. He held her right hand in his while maintaining a steady arm around her waist. And because of her lack of height, Nina had no choice but to grip her free hand on his upper arm.

Then he started to move.

He swung them around here and there, their awkward position made it impossible for him to glide around gracefully. Nina didn’t understand what he was trying to do and him glaring past her head at the moon, not once looking at her, wasn’t helping. She could feel his knees occasionally bumping on her thighs as he guided their legs back and forth in a familiar tempo, made a turn and start all over again.

Back and forth... Back and forth...Turn...

Then it finally dawned on her. The thought of it was so ridiculous that she sputtered a laugh. “Are we...waltzing?”

Azazel beat his wings once as he stopped abruptly. He turned his glare from the moon to her. There was also a tinge of pink on his usual pale cheeks and she suddenly realized he was embarrassed. “You want to stop?”

When she shook her head with a grin, he started to glide again. Now that she knew what he was doing, Nina happily moved around with him. She couldn’t help but laugh every time he awkwardly spun themselves around that by the third spin, he laughed along with her.

What they were doing really shouldn’t be called a waltz though. Nina couldn’t move her feet away without falling. Even the occasional flap of his wings disrupt their tempo. And they were swaying too much. Laughing too much.

Azazel suddenly held the sides of her waist, raised her up above his head and spun her around. She laughed but it immediately turned into a gleeful scream as he suddenly dropped down without warning. The cold wind blasted her face and hair but she was too happy to care. Instead, she spread her arms wide, pretending as if she was flying.

They were still trying to catch their breath when he landed them back at the edge of the lake. When she recovered, Nina chuckled. “That was so fun!” The grin on her face slowly faded. Azazel was scowling again. “Azazel?”

“I’m sorry.”

Nina blinked owlishly.

“I’m sorry. For using you. I should have told you about the plan but I didn’t. I know you wouldn’t go through with it if I told you, so that’s why I—” The curve between his brows deepened as he looked away. The last words were mumbled. “I’m sorry.”

Nina smiled softly. “I know.”

It wasn’t exactly a forgiveness, but Azazel took what he could get. “Ready to go home?”

“Yup!”

They walked silently back towards Bacchus’ caravan when he suddenly smirked mischievously. “So you’re not curious?”

Nina looked at him. “About what?”

“About...these?” Then he deliberately and slowly licked his lips.

Nina froze in her tracks, went red, and sent him flying through the trees.