Author's note: just a quick drabble in response to a challenge. so it might not be up to par. But I also don't have a huge amount of time to spend on recursive fan fics, so there you go...
Also, I originally was going to have Harry exposition that he discovered after the Incident, that he can now speak Japanese w/o Lash. Not as well as he can with, but that after two years of constant translation, some of it had soaked in. But I cut it for messing with the flow, and because I did not want to drift too far from the original fic.
Finally, as it has been made known me it was not clear, "the Incident" refers to gabriel blessing's Rule 63 omake. Just so you know.
Since I have been getting so many questions about it, said omake can be found here:
www fanfiction net/topic/88086/107502467/1/Compilation-Beyond-the-Outer-Gates-Lies-Dragons-by-Gabriel-Blessing (replace spaces with '.')
It starts about halfway down the second page.
I glanced at the phone in my right hand, my left resting on a the thick, hated tome. She was about twelve minutes late, and I had to resist the urge to drum my gloved fingers on the heavy book. She wasn't the type to keep me waiting, so my mind naturally began to spin out worst case scenarios. An attack by the Hero Faction, the Old Maou Faction, or another element of the Chaos Brigade? Or Azazel conducting another experiment? The latter thought made me shudder slightly.
Then the door to the library opened, and I craned my head out of the secluded alcove where we met. She quickly crossed the open area near the entrance, and slipped between the shelves to the smaller table by the window where we met. I quickly pocketed my cellular so she wouldn't see I had been watching the time.
"I am truly sorry I am late, Dresden-kun," the girl bowed her head slightly, "Kaichou kept us longer than I expected."
Kusaka Reya was tall for a Japanese girl, not quite a half-inch shorter than Tsubasa. She had soft brown hair with just a hint of red, drawn into twin braids that ran down to the middle of her back. Her hazel eyes also had a soft cant, and while she currently wore her usual kind expression, I knew from experience that those eyes could look fierce when they needed to. And while not quite up to Rias or Akeno's standard, the Bishop rivaled Tsubaki for the title of 'Most Well-Endowed Member of Kouh's Student Council'.
Silently cursing Ise for that last thought, I clamped down on both my hormones and Winter, and shot Lash a warning mental glare. Reya was interested in Kiba anyway, so there was not any risk from that angle. But I did not want to let myself get into the habit of objectifying the girls around me to much. Or else the Fallen shadow trapped in my head might get more ideas.
"It's no problem," I told her easily, "I was just getting a little worried that something happened."
"No, just paperwork," the book-girl explained softly. She took the seat next to me, her eyes shining slightly as they fell on the book. I could not share her excitement, but buried my distaste.
"Shall we get started?" she asked, and I nodded. Placing the hardcover volume between us, I grabbed the bookmark and levering it open to where we had left off.
"Here stood the hundred or so horseless stag coaches that always took the students above first year up to the castle. Harry glanced quickly at them, turned away to keep a lookout for Ron and Hermione, then did a double take." she read aloud dutifully.
"Stagecoaches," I pointed to the word as I gently corrected her. She let out a soft 'ah', and then continued reading.
You might be wondering why I was with Reya, reading from the series that was the bane of my existence. It started a few days after the Incident that Will Never Be Spoken Of Again. Sona's Bishop had approached me, and asked for a favor. Reya was an avid reader, to put it lightly. And thanks to my frequent offhand quotes and references, she knew that our areas of interest overlapped. She wanted to reread some of her favorites in the original English. And since I was an American, she thought I would be able to help her understand them, and more importantly, improve her English reading skills at the same time.
Even though they had told me more than once in the past, I tended to forget that the devil's Language ability only covered speech, not text; one more point for Lash. Reya explained to me that with a phonetic alphabet, like Japanese kana or Latin letters, a devil could sound out the words, speak them aloud, and Language would kick in with the translation. Of course, that was much slower than just reading, and was embarrassing to the reader and disruptive to anyone around them. Which was better than nothing, until you took into account that English is a pretty messed up language. 'ei' can sound like a hard e, or hard a, depending on the word. And that's just for starters. Language might have been able to translate, but it was pretty dumb about it. Pronounce the word wrong, and it would give you the meaning of the word you said, not the word you meant. Assuming the word you said wasn't just gibberish.
The book-girl Bishop was already the sort of girl I would run errands for at the drop of my non-existent hat, so I wouldn't have said no. But when I saw the book she was carrying, I struggled not to jump at the chance. It had been years since I had read Dragons of Autumn Twilight, and since arriving in Bizzaro world, I had not seen so much as a copy. And this was an English edition. So I had told her I could not count it as a favor, since I wanted to read the book again, too.
As we worked our way through the Dragonlance Chronicles, and then The Lord of the Rings trilogies, I learned the other reasons Reya had approached me. It seemed Language had other limitations. It did reasonably well with slang, poorly with made up words like mithril, was downright abysmal when it came to metaphors, and did nothing for cultural references. It also failed to render meaning to proper names. Burrfoot was just a single word, just a name to Language. The idea the the name was a combination of 'burr' and 'foot', meaning a prickly annoyance, was lost.
Which brought us to the current series. Even though Reya's reading was rapidly improving, she still needed me for the culture gap. And after we finish The Return of the King, next on her list was Harry Potter and the Philospher's Stone. Since it was the British version, without the stupid name change, I agreed to read it. I convinced myself that I had never given the series a fair shake to begin with. I was not making excuses for the fact the I enjoyed reading with the Bishop, and couldn't say no to her. Nope, not it at all.
They weren't as bad as I was hoping. I would never stop hating them for all the grief they caused me. But I have to admit, I have read worse. Especially since I discovered fanfiction dot net.
I took over the speaking part for a bit, the words coming quicker and easier to me. Occasionally, she would stop me to go over a pronunciation or so I could explain something to her, at which point I would switch back to Japanese. I pointedly ignored the way she leaning in closer, and the way my hormones did a tap-dance at the slight pressure of her full breast against my arm.
'Nothing to think about here,' I told myself, briefly forgetting that my internal monologues were not unobserved, 'she is just trying to get a better look at the book.'
'Of course not, my host,' Lash punished my lapse with her sarcastic agreement, 'You are not interested, and neither is the Bishop. Even if her attentions have been less focused on Kiba since the Incident...'
I was suddenly treated to an image of myself and Reya, in my bed, naked, spooning so I could also read the book she held. Then the visionary me lightly ran his fingers through the devil's unbound hair.
Unsure if it was Lash or my hormones supplying the daydream, I forced it down without acknowledging it. The last thing I needed was to accuse my roommate and have her honestly deny it.
Reya sighed, returning my entire focus to the real world.
"What's wrong?" I asked, placing the bookmark.
"I was just thinking that I don't have the English versions of the last two Harry Potter books," she said.
Part of me cheered, pumping an imaginary fist. And the larger part felt saddened, understanding the implication that our lessons might be coming to an end.
"And I don't have any other English books right now," she confirmed my suspicion, "Nor are there many in the library."
"Well, if you can afford it, you could get a Nook or Kindle," I offhandedly suggested, "Then you could download English books any time you want. Probably Japanese ones, too."
I was caught completely by surprise when Reya suddenly grabbed my right hand in both of hers. She stared up at me, her eyes shining.
"Harry-san, that is brilliant," she smiled broadly at me, "I cannot believe I never even considered that."
Harry-san? Oh, no.
"Though I might have to talk to Kaichou and Yura-chan about getting more time with you," she said, more shyly than I was comfortable with.
'Fufufu,' Lash giggled triumphantly, 'Now, which one will be next?'
'Next?' I demanded, almost saying it out loud.
'Ise already has four, five if you count the former exorcist, and six with the angel. We cannot afford to let him get too far ahead.'