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Author: Kristen Sharpe
Date: January 5, 2018
Rating: G
Warnings: None
Disclaimer: Blood Blockade Battlefront belongs to Yasuhiro Nightow, Shueisha, Studio BONES, and various other parties. “Ao no Exorcist/Blue Exorcist” belongs to Kazue Katou, Shueisha, Aniplex, and various other parties.


             “Tch, tourists.”

             Leo followed Zapp’s disinterested gaze to where a teenage boy around his age had stopped in the middle of the intersection beside them.  The boy was gawking after a millipede-like creature traveling along with the cross-street traffic.  

            Zapp was probably right about his being a tourist then since the millipede was obeying traffic laws, and Leo thought he even saw a license plate.  Unless it had just eaten someone in passing.

             Hoping not, Leo focused his unearthly sight on the millipede.  Huh.  It had a skeletal system.  So, not really all that much like a millipede.  But, the only bones inside were its own, thank goodness.

             Angry honking and cursing drew his attention back to the rubbernecking tourist.

             Fire.  Burning blue like a gas flame.  It coursed through the other boy’s body in flickering whirls.  Except right in the center of his chest where his heart should be.  That was a pulsing inferno so bright it was white.  But, oddly ghostly like it wasn’t quite there.  And, it radiated the same quiet, earthly warmth he usually saw only in the average human’s life force.

             But, there hadn’t been anything unusual about the boy when Leo first looked at him.  Though there was a sort of hazy field around him.  A shield?

            Leo looked closer.  No telltale signs of possession.  Nothing twisted or trapped.  The fire and the life force were at peace.  But, the heart was… somewhere else?  A place that—

             “Yo, Leo!”

            Zapp’s hand slapped down on his shoulder, and the world came back.  The tourist was just a boy again, being hauled out of traffic by another, taller boy with glasses and an irritated scowl.

             “You see something?” Zapp asked, the faintest edge entering his voice.

             “I… don’t know.”

             Leo rubbed at his eyes.  No blood.  Good.

             For an instant, when he started to follow the missing heart, it had been like looking into the Alterworld.  Like that day at Yggdrashiad Station, staring into an abyss filled with Elder Blood Breeds.  Twisting, alien madness had reached out for him.  And, just as quickly, it had been shoved away in a burst of blue warmth.

             “Yeah?" There was a searching note in Zapp's voice.   But, when Leo only shook his head, he slumped back into his usual distinterest. "Well, if it’s nothing, let’s go.”  Zapp started on down the street.

             Leo looked back toward the other boy, but he was already lost in the crowd.  Leo bit his lip.  If he reached out with his sight, he could find the boy again, but…

           Someone else who had one foot - or more - caught in the Alterworld probably had enough problems of his own.