Chapter 7

Urushihara's eyes darted around the darkening hallway. Outside the window, the last rays of sunlight peeked over the horizon and the air was cool and misty. He could hear his and Chiho's footsteps as they shuffled through the high school hallway.

In his opinion, sneaking into the school at this time was a bad move, since it was only half an hour past when the last students usually left. For this reason, it was quite possible that they might encounter straggling students, who would be suspicious of the purple-haired stranger in the school. Back when he still lived in the abandoned classroom and had a decent amount of magic, Lucifer would find no difficulty in clearing the memories of any and all of those who encountered him.

Now, however, he was near powerless, so the last thing he wanted was to cause trouble, since Maou would surely find out and make his life more miserable than it already was. They had to enter the school under the cover of darkness, but he had always preferred the night to the day, anyway.

"Isn't this a bit early?" he spoke softly, still weary that students might still be inside.

An obviously annoyed Chiho looked over her shoulder grumpily to pout at him, before snapping her focus back to what was directly ahead.

"Fine then," he grumbled to himself. "If you didn't want to help me, you could've just let me do this alone. This is hardly my first time in the school, you know."

Urushihara could feel Chiho's frustration at being there, her negativity seeping into him. While he could normally figure out others' trigger points of annoyance and anger, Chiho seemed angry without reason. He knitted his angelic purple brows with annoyance.

"Uh…" he started in his usual deadpan. "Chi, what's-"

"Don't call me Chi." She stopped in the hall, hands clenched in fists, and made a point of turning away from him. On one level, he felt annoyed, causing his fingertips to twitch slightly, but he controlled his anger, knowing that aggressiveness would not help him to achieve his goal.

"Sasaki, what's wrong?" The fallen angel tried to look worried, but ended up appearing as uninterested as ever.

"Oh, I'll tell you," she began. Urushihara had never heard a human, save Emi, generate such a frightening, growling voice. He leaned back in caution and hesitation.

Suddenly, the girl turned around to face the Urushihara. To his disappointment, the Chiho who had been so cool a moment before was now her usual, cute self. She pouted.

"I'm doing you a favor by doing this," Chiho mumbled. He finally began to realize what was going on.

"Sasaki… are you afraid of me?" It was a matter-of-fact question for him, holding no emotional baggage. Only now did it occur to him that kidnapping her and

but she took it differently.

"Stop trying to apologize for what you did." She looked away and started walking down the hall again.

Huh?

"Um…okay." he looked down at the floor as a slight grimace slid across his face.

I wasn't going to anyway.

They peeked around the corner. At that time, the lasts rays of sunlight were no longer glowing in the school hallway, but rather creeping up over the horizon in a last effort to make it day. Lucifer's eyes widened as he glanced down the hall. A locker was open, with a lone female figure bending into it, two messy braids hanging down the back.

Imai.

"Oh shit." he cursed under his breath.

The fallen angel abandoned his earlier confusion as Chiho pulled him sharply into the first classroom ahead. He could see her face, despite the darkness, and noticed that she stayed very calm at the appearance of her friend. Her face was expressionless, yet focused.

The look Chiho then gave him signaled that they would be waiting Imai out. This wouldn't have bothered Urushihara, had Chiho been less scared of him. He could sense her unease hidden beneath her expression, and although that felt good, he found her annoying and wished he could go home.

They waited in tense silence as the slow, steady, pacing footsteps of Imai faded away down the hall. When the girl's walk suddenly disappeared from his hearing, Urushihara's lips curled into a devious smile, but that soon returned to seriousness.

He peeked out through the doorway: the hall was now empty.

The pair crept through the doorway and to the front of the locker, Chiho staying behind Urushihara, weary. Imai's locker stood out from its rather homogenous neighbors, having a distinctive lock. Instead of the combination lock that secured the other lockers in that hallway, Imai had put in place a hefty brass padlock.

"Are you sure it's in there?" He asked Chiho snidle, putting her knowledge in question in order to annoy her. She fumbled with the padlock in her hands, finding that it was indeed securely fastened.

"Of course I'm sure! But how are we going to open it?" His companion stared at him blankly. "I don't have the key."

The fallen angel sighed, slightly agitated. He had been hoping to save up his powers for a better time, but he really did want his coat back.

"Here, let me do it." The girl stepped aside.

Urushihara grabbed the padlock roughly, pointing the bottom toward himself. Gathering into his index finger the measly amount of magic he had gathered over the past few days, Lucifer pointed at the lock, letting a thin, glowing purple beam escape his fingertip and go into the hole.

"What are you-" Chiho whispered in surprise.

He didn't answer. One by one, the pins slid into place. When he felt the last one reach its destination, he turned his hand and opened the lock, freeing it from the door. The hinges of the locker creaked as the door moved away to reveal the interior.

Urushihara's night vision was excellent, so he was able to see the contents of the locker immediately: a pile of books, two pairs of spare sneakers, a water bottle, many notebooks, a first aid kit, and a worn-out knit sweater. It looked strangely normal, compared to what one would expect from its owner. The inside of the door was wallpapered with a surprising display. He saw a city map, littered with notes, a list of phone numbers, and innumerable, fascinatingly unusual photographs of places around the city.

He then noticed the top shelf of the locker, just above his eye level. The former NEET stretched his neck up, standing slightly on his tiptoes, and peeked in, only to be blinded by the sudden brightness of Chiho's flashlight in his peripheral vision.

"Will you turn that off!" He hissed, glaring at the girl in a way that only a demon could.

She acquiesced fearfully, then warning him to be quiet by placing her index finger on her lip.

Urushihara looked into the locker's shelf once more. Here, her found that Imai kept her trinkets. Cell phone charms, all from a series that he didn't recognize, were kept in a small, jumbled up pile. Rolled up hastily and shoved into the back, he saw his coat. His hand reached into the locker greedily and retrieved the garment.

"Hey!" A familiar voice rang out behind the fallen angel as he pulled the coat down. Lucifer turned quickly to find the messy teen standing about ten feet away, a confused expression turning into a grimace. Her hands were balled into fists, her feet spread wide in a way that portrayed strength and boldness. She glared at Urushihara, seeing him in her stuff, holding her newest, most interesting find.

SHIT.

"What the hell are you guys doing in my stuff?"


Wow. It's sure been a while since I updated. I'm really sorry about this. My school work has been ridiculous this spring, so I wasn't really able to get to writing this. Plus, I kept rewriting. Anyway, here it is. Your reviews are greatly appreciated.

- topshelfpenguin