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Wilted Petals

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The first time Azazel had started throwing up those pink flower petals, Rita had been both confused and horrified. Being as old as she was and dealing with the undead for a good century or so, and later demons, the zombie girl had seen her fair share of the grotesque. That wasn’t to say that this case was disgusting to look at. It kind of was, but not nearly as bad as rotting, maggot infested cadavers. This was just…weird.

A little more research into the issue just made her feel sorry for the demon. Especially since he seemed to have no idea what the hell was going on. The poor idiot.

--

“Azazel, about Nina-“
“Now isn’t the best time, zombie.” Azazel had harshly snapped at her in between retches and more petals spilling from his mouth.

From his perspective, that was probably true. But to Rita, there was no better time to tell the poor bastard what was going on. The only issue now was whether it was a good idea to tell him or not. After all, Nina was a near hopeless case when it came to this sort of thing. She knew from experience.

                “Actually, this is the perfect time.”

Azazel stepped away from the wall that he had been hunched in front of and wiped the saliva from the corner of his mouth with the back of his hand. Rita didn’t believe that it was even possible, but Azazel looked paler than usual. It was concerning, to be perfectly honest.

                “What?

                “Do you love Nina?”

                “Have you been buying those herbs from the demons at the other end of the slums?”

Well his reaction was to be expected. She was being incredibly straightforward, but that was how she had always been for the past two centuries and it wasn’t going to change any time soon.

                “Azazel, you have a disease born from unrequited love. Who else would be making you throw up flowers like this?”

Azazel kept his same expression, though his hesitation spoke for him.

                “I’m right, aren’t I?”

                “I don’t have time for your delusions, zombie. I have humans to kill.”

She didn’t have a chance to say anything more before Azazel had spread his wings and taken off to wherever the hell he was going tonight. It didn’t matter though. She had nothing more to say.

--

Rita usually didn’t mind it when Nina spoke endlessly about her destined love with the mysterious man with the ring whom she had come to know as Chris, but seeing Azazel huddled in the corner busying himself with a bottle of wine was just sad. Seeing the demon look like hell ever since Cocytus was razed was a common sigh but never to this extent.

                “It was like I was born to dance with him.” The dragon girl sighed blissfully, making Azazel roll his eyes and pour himself another cup of wine.

The zombie took a slow sip from her cup and simply stared into it with an unreadable expression. “Nina, you’re being insensitive.”

The girl looked up from her plate of food and blinked a few times. “Huh?”

She couldn’t exactly blame her for being totally clueless. The poor girl was deeper in love than what Cocytus was under rubble. “Azazel is…sick.” Rita didn’t know how else to put it. What was she supposed to say, really? ‘Azazel is in love with you and won’t stop throwing up flowers because you don’t feel the same for him’? She had no doubt in her mind that Azazel would try to kill her for that one. She could already see him glaring at her from his secluded corner of the room.

                “Azazel, you really should rest if you’re sick. Being out all night like that isn’t good for you, you know?” Naturally, Nina was still totally oblivious.

                “Idiot. I’m sick of you going on about love when you know nothing about it.”

Oh boy.

Nina’s brows furrowed into a deep frown and she turned fully to properly face the demon. “Yeah? And what would you know about love? And murder doesn’t count!”

Azazel remained silent for a moment as he drained his cup in one go and stared into the neck of the now empty bottle before looking up towards the dragon girl. “More than you could ever hope to.” He didn’t say anymore as he stood and left the room, leaving the empty bottle of wine behind.

Nina just glared holes into his back as he disappeared into the night before growling something in draconian under her breath before also taking her leave into the neighbouring room, leaving Rita to her own devices.

                “Really, you’re both as bad as each other.”

--

                “Get rid of it.”

                “What?”

The demand had come from seemingly nowhere and had caught the doctor off guard. Even Rocky had stopped working for a whole moment.

                “You said that you can take it out. I want you to take it out.”

Rita turned away from the half-organised shelves to face the demon laying wounded on the examination table. “You know what will happen if I remove the disease, right?”

                “Of course I do, idiot. That’s why I’m telling you to take it out.”

Rita just sighed softly. “Azazel, have you even thought about this? Maybe if you tell her-“

                “Then what? She’s in love with that human. I’m no more than an acquaintance that she barely tolerates. Take. It. Out.

 The zombie girl regarded Azazel seriously for a moment before sighing in exasperation. Azazel was a stubborn beast and once he had made up his mind about something, there was no changing it. She knew that he had certain issues with love in the past (though he never spared the details, not that she could blame him), perhaps this was the best idea for him. At least it would be able to save him from even more pain. The last thing this man needed was more mental wounds.

                “Fine. I’m guessing that you want it done now, then?”

                “Yes.”

Rita let go of another sigh and turned back towards the cupboards. “Leave me alone for a half hour while I get everything ready then.”

--

                “Rita?”

                “Hm?”

                “What’s wrong with Azazel? Is he still sick?”

She should have seen this one coming.

Rita glanced towards Nina, then to Azazel’s retreating form, then back to Nina. “Not anymore.”

The dragon girl only gave her a confused look, though she got over it quickly when she noticed the jar on Rita’s desk, a small wilting flower contained inside.

                “Ah! Rita what’s this?”

                “Oh, that? It’s just a flower.” That couldn’t be further from the truth.

Nina, however seemed to be enthralled by the dying bud. “Hm? Where did you get it from? It’s so pretty.”

Rita just took the jar from her desk and placed it inside a cupboard. “I think it’s best that I keep it to myself.”

The girl quickly forgot about the strange flower, almost instantly launching into a conversation that the zombie was only partly paying attention to.

                ‘If only you knew what you made him feel. You could have saved him from himself.’