A/N: Yay, persona crossover. If you read my other stories, I had to flesh out this idea before I could continue working on them. It was too much fun to write. So I got the idea for this while reading Eyes to the World. It's also a Persona and DxD cross. But, it's a much more serious nature, and doesn't introduce Yu to being a devil immediately, which is where I got the premise from.
It had been barely a week since Yu came back to the city. It was in a word, surreal. He had gone from an active lifestyle, both socially and physically, to the sedentary style reminiscent of a hikkikomori. Perhaps, the realization that he was no longer in Yaso-Inaba had not yet occurred. He would wake up, completely expecting to be greeted by his Little sis. A smile on her face, and eggs with slightly burnt toast in hand. The first day he had arrived, he had sat around for half an hour before reality struck him. Then he would go to school and the difference only seemed more exaggerated. Because there was no Yosuke to help cheat. There was no Chie with which to discuss cheesey martial arts films. And there was no Yukiko to compare bentos with. As the days went on, it seemingly got worse.
Talking to many of the students in his new school often reminded him of his endearing kouhai. Many were flirty, trying to capture him via cutesy charms and gimmicks, though none would hold a candle to Rise. Others were overtly serious, similar to Naoto, and he would often chuckle at their expense when they were embarrassed by their friends. Though it was hard to find a substitute for Kanji, because Kanji was a once in a lifetime oddity (in a good way), it was difficult not to see the younger man in some of the other students. Often they would bely their tough exteriors through their acts of kindness, much like the bleached blonde. Although, Yu found many similarities, he had to admit, finding someone like Teddie was probably going to be impossible. Afterall, not many could pull off the shamelessness of the shadow turned human so innocently.
Then he would come straight home. In a city as large as Kuoh, it was difficult to find the freelance-esque part time rules he had operated under in Inaba, as regulations were followed with religious zeal in cities. He would enter the house, and his greeting would go unanswered in an empty home as he put his shoes away. That is not to say he was living alone. No, his parents had made good on their promise after a few choice words from his Uncle. This would be the family's last abode, until his parents decided to relocate to a less stressful environment after their working years. It was almost unfair. For them to uproot him when he had finally found his own life, only to continue with this same charade.
He cleared his thoughts of such negative judgement, because it wasn't a truly fair assessment. Even though they were rarely home, they still made the effort to try and be family, which was a far improvement from before. Yu noticed that it was in the little things they did. Often, his mother would leave sweet buns on the kitchen counter for when he woke up, long after she left. He noticed that they had recently become predominantly sweetened black sesame after he mentioned his favorite flavor in passing.
His father, far less subtle, would "accidentally" leave some odd fifteen thousand yen in bills in the family change receptacle every two days. After the wad had begun to spill out of the tin, the man took the whole wad and dropped it on Yu's nightstand. Yu had felt that it was a bit too much of an allowance, but his father simply laughed it off saying that there was no reason to be successful if one could not share such success. Yu accepted the money graciously after that explanation, not having the heart to tell his father that his son was quite literally swimming in yen.
And, the one time they had been home early this week, Yu had offered to cook, and they shared a meal as a family. That night, the hollow feeling that had been eating away at his chest had lessened, and he felt slightly less agonized over his forced transfer. However, none of this changed the fact they were rarely home, and as a whole, it made Yu's sudden return to solitude sting all the more poignant. He chuckled to himself as he finally pulled himself out of his bed, silver hair matted from the grime he accumulated while sleeping. He was spoiled he supposed. Coming home every day to his little cousin's bright disposition, and being there to welcome home the gruff detective that was his Uncle and her father.
Even now, he could smell the perpetual scent of coffee and cigarettes that wafted around the house, and he could hear the constant buzz and chatter of the television.
"Everyday's great at your Junes," he sang to himself quietly, pulling himself into the shower. It would be best to grit his teeth and bare it for now. It wouldn't do for his first call back to be completely void of meaning. He was their leader. If he couldn't move on for his own sake, than he would do it for theirs. He sighed, turning off the faucet, stepping out and reaching for the hung towel. He dried his body before giving a quick run through his hair. He thoroughly dried himself before wrapping the towel around his waist.
He grasped his toothbrush and vigorously began his morning rituals, trying to summon up energy that he could no longer find. He stared at himself in the mirror. It had been a long time since he had gotten time to truly study himself. He lived a very hectic life in Inaba. His skin was now fairly tan, and it was contrasted by his silver, now nearly white bangs. His hair had gotten far messier, and while not near Yosuke's "working mess" as Chie had described, he still needed a trim. A fair amount of scars littered his upper torso as well. Reminders of when he was too slow, or the enemy too strong. Reminders of that horrid world of lies.
He gently traced one that bisected him from collar to hip. His grimace was obvious in the reflection. That was a battle that would be hard to forget. He had gotten it when he pushed himself too hard while trying to rescue Nanako from the misled Namatame. If it weren't for Kanji's quick reactions to pull him back, Yosuke's moderate skill in healing magics, and Naoto pulling through on that massive Mahamaon, he would likely have thrown away his life in his desperation. It reminded him. They reminded him. All of them. The Investigation Team was behind him, and although Yu was their leader, he did not have to go through it alone.
In fact, it was that moment that Yu thought of when he fused one of his most important Persona, Helel. Teddie's tear strewn face had stirred him out of his self destructive thoughts and saved him back then. So, in response he created Helel by fusing Metatron and Arahabaki. As a result, the long scar he had been tracing had also been his last one. In return for their trust, their kindness, Yu himself would "bear" the brunt of the enemy's attacks. The only attacks that could penetrate Helel's immeasurable defense had been those of the Almighty. It certainly had surprised the whole team when Yu had taken a blow meant for Chie directly to the face and came out completely unphased. That didn't mean they let him off easy for scaring them.
He spat out the waste in his mouth, before cleaning his face. He still winced at the pain from when Rise of all people used Megido to teach him a lesson about "stupid bullheadedness". Yu didn't even know that Kouzeon could learn offensive skills, let alone the fact that Rise had managed to master the low-power Almighty spell. He sighed wistfully while shaving. He missed them.
Finished with his bathroom routines, the young man strolled into his closet and pulled out his ensemble for the day. An off-white grey shirt that "complimented his eyes" according to the many girls he had met, and a pair of slacks he had bought on Marie's recommendation. The name crossed his mind again. Marie. She was their "hidden member". Almost like Ranger Golden Eagle in Phoenix Featherman R. Though she did not participate in the take down of Adachi, it was her actions that defeated Izanami, and brought about a world without Fog. Realizing that his knuckles had begun to whiten, the young man slowly let out a deep breath to calm himself.
It was a badly kept secret that Yu was going out with the black haired girl. After her disappearance from the final battle, none of the other IT members tried to bring up her involvement. It wasn't until Yu had confronted them about it days later that they confessed. They tried to push her out of mind, to move on as though nothing happened. He, in response, called them out on their delusions. Reminding them that no matter how painful it was, that they had to face the truth. The truth, no matter how ugly, no matter how painful, that hid in their hearts. Marie was gone. If it hadn't been for the timely intervention of Margaret, Yu was not sure how far he would have gone.
"She's still out there. Just resting. It's up to us to find her now." He said to himself while chewing through his breakfast. When they were told this, the entire team had reacted in anger. Yosuke handled it the worst. Afterall, he had known what it was like to have an unrequited and unresolved love die. In his sympathy for Yu, the brown haired teen nearly struck the Velvet Room worker, had Kanji not held him back. Naoto had calmly asked the attendant to leave. Yukiko, Chie, and Rise all fumed, unwilling to speak up for fear of lashing out. Teddie had been the saving grace.
It was unfair to say that the blonde had a low emotional awareness, because Yu honestly thought the young shadow was the most expressive person he had ever met. However, when Teddie had told them that those who resided in the other world didn't die, but simply reform, Yu actually almost hit him. The blue eyed shadow was a lovable idiot on a scale that could not be measured, which was all the singular reason that stayed his hand. The same could not be said for Kanji, who did hit him. Upside the head in fact.
After the boy rubbed away his ensuing headache from the other blonde's abuse, he explained further. Sealing away Izanami into herself would have likely consumed all of Marie's energy. She was most likely resting, and when Marie was done, would appear in this world. Although Teddie had also added that this was mostly speculation on his part, he knew for a fact Shadows and other beings did not die. Yu had left shortly afterwards, after a set of heartfelt goodbyes, at both the request of his parents, and in search of Marie.
Yu shook himself out of his reminiscence, realizing that he had sluggishly moved through the rest of his morning, including his breakfast. He smiled thinly to himself. He didn't even taste it. Stepping out of the kitchen, the young man walked down to the hall closet, pulling out a light black tie and a lapelled jacket.
His school's dress code this year was actually less strict than Yasogami High School's, oddly enough. It certainly required a school uniform, but in the sense that the school simply required clothes within its mandates, not clothes provided by the school itself, besides the jacket and tie. He threw the jacket over himself, and tightened up the black tie denoting his third year.
While he had worn his old schoolwear without either the tie or the buttons, this year was much different. The school president herself, a Sona Shitori, pretty much gave him two options after seeing his appearance. Reprimand or acceptable. He loosened his tie slightly before unbuttoning the first button on his chest. Passable, at least. Yu nodded to himself, walking out the door and locking it behind him.
He padded along the sidewalk, thinking about his new school. He was so lost in thought that he did not notice someone who sidled up next to him. Still completely unaware, the young man stepped onto the bus that routed towards the center of the city, and to his new school, Kuoh Academy. He sighed once again. He stared out the window, at the unfamiliar passerby, and cold steel structures. It was real. This was real. Yaso-Inaba, was no longer his home. He frowned. No, rather, it was simply not his place of residence. Inaba would always be his home, so long as the people he cared for lived there. A melodic voice interrupted his thoughts. Turning to his left, he realized another student had occupied the seat next to him.
"Excuse me? I seem to have missed what you said." He said politely to the girl next to him. She was foreign, that much Yu could tell. Red, long hair fell in tresses around the girl's shoulders, framing a beautiful face. Cerulean eyes peeked out from long lashes, adding a sense of exoticism to the curiosity that was evident. It was what she wore that surprised him. She seemed to have been wearing a slightly modified Kuoh Academy girl's uniform.
"I asked 'Did you know that every time you sigh, you let out a bit of happiness?'" She repeated for him, a small grin stretching across her face. Yu, unsure how to answer, simply smiled grimly and nodded once. His sixth sense, one honed over a year of fighting the supernatural, one that would allow him to dodge even bullets blindly, was screaming at him. This girl, was dangerous. He wasn't exactly sure why, because it was nothing more than a gut feeling. But Yu resolved to be cautious around her, lest he find out why.
"It would seem apt, I suppose. One doesn't often sigh when they are happy." He finally replied. The girl's eyes twinkled in amusement. As though she were playing some game that only she was privy to. Deep down, her attitude only gave him a deep-seated annoyance. In some ways, he supposed that interacting with others was a game. A game of tact and resilience. It was trying, some times, and difficult the next. It was a game he had mastered. Though calling it a game left a bad taste in his mouth, for it devalued his interactions with others. Waiting for her to respond, Yu held back his tongue, not wanting his observations to offend the girl.
"No, I suppose not. But what is making someone like you so unhappy?" She asked, tilting her head, her voice showing nothing beyond simple curiosity. The boy mulled over his response. It would be a bit too much to burden others with his problems, especially a girl that gave him such apprehension. So he answered a question with a question.
" 'Someone like me'? I don't believe we have met before…" He said, voice lilting upwards indicating that he was asking more than saying. The girl closed one eye in thought, as though racking her head for some instance of their meeting. She looked straight at him once she was done, blue eyes peering into his grey.
"I guess we haven't. But, just from first impressions, you seem quite reliable and quick witted. I don't think you would naturally be so discontent." The girl explained, deftly dodging Yu's probing for her name. The silver haired senior studied the girl closely.
"Narukami Yu, third year transfer at Kuoh Academy." He conceded. To be honest, he was far more skilled than this, as his constant rebuffing of Rise would show. He just simply wasn't in the mood. In fact, similar to his previous years before Inaba, he simply wanted to be left alone, wallowing in his own light misery.
"Gremory Rias, third year at Kuoh Academy." The girl introduced herself with a victorious smirk on her face. Yu simply smiled slightly before shaking her hand. It was all he could do to stop himself from chuckling at how similar this girl was to Rise. Not in the traditional sense either. Rather it was the self satisfaction he could feel oozing out of her pores that made the two seem so similar.
The rest of the ride had been spent in light chatter. Mostly mindless comments about current trends, class difficulty, and personal interests. It was odd, to Yu at least. This girl was so normal, just like every other girl he had met at his school, yet he could not shake this vague sensation that he needed to be wary of her. Even though he would not judge someone for such a vapid reason, the same caution had saved his life and the lives of his friends far too often to be dismissed out of hand.
Soon enough, the bus had stopped at what Yu designated the optimal spot. Although his mother often bought him sweet buns for breakfast, Yu was often still very hungry. He supposed it was a combination of Inaba's large portions and his regular order at Aiya's, the Rainy Day Bowl. When the Investigation Team first saw him devour that thing, they had been torn between aghast, disgusted, and amazed. Kou and Daisuke, on the other hand simply ordered seconds.
"Excuse me." He said politely to Rias, using the lull in their conversation as a convenient escape. He shuffled out of the window seat before stepping into the aisle and pulling his backpack over the shoulder. He was about to step off before he felt a tug on his sleeve.
"You know, this route stops about a block away from the school right?" The girl asked, eyebrows raised. He shrugged, and with a polite smile plucked her hand off his sleeve.
"Yes, I know. I usually buy breakfast here before walking the rest of the way. It wakes me up." He lied. Rather, it simply gave him a good excuse to spend his father's pocket money and avoid the man's totally out of place look of disappointment. He had long since grown used to his father sending him stoic looks, or the rare look of pride when Yu described his achievements. Seeing the man actually seem so hurt made the teen rather uncomfortable.
"Oh, I'll go with you then, I still haven't eaten yet." She said, this time loud enough for others on the bus to here. In fact, there were a few other Kuoh students a few rows up who stared back at them like they were on exhibit. Well, they stared at Yu like he was on exhibit. He noticed that the two girls had given Rias a look that could only described as some sort of cross between celebrity recognition and unrestrained curiosity. Seeing that he was in little position to refuse, the young man sighed and acquiesced. The girl laughed before gathering up her own belongings and following him off the vehicle. She turned to him, smirk set on her face.
"You know, if you sigh that much around someone, it might give the wrong impression." The red haired teen said teasingly. Yu simply sighed once more.
"Who says I'm giving the wrong impression?" He asked brazenly, finally getting a feel for the girl's personality. His polite distancing would not get him far with Rias. She was determined to know him, for some reason or another, and would likely intrude upon his life until he gave her all the little details. The part of him that declared his fellow student a danger simply thrummed with an undertone of pride.
"Why, Narukami-kun, are you saying that you're unhappy around me?" She asked him, leaning into his personal space. Long since used to such boldness, the boy simply smiled wryly before pushing her away with the barest of his finger tips on her shoulder.
"Among other things." He said simply, speeding up and turning into an oddly designed shop. He heard the female student laugh behind her hand before she caught up to him and turned into the same shop. Rias, interested in her fellow student, looked around, absorbing all she could about the food stall. She took one more glance before her gaze settled on Yu. She raised a single delicate eyebrow, obviously unimpressed.
"Gyudon in the morning?" She asked, voice completely bare of any emotion. The other teen nodded. It was not exactly a beef bowl shop, but rather one of the few family owned restaurants in the upper-class district of Kuoh. To put simply, in a city that prided itself on renovation, from its most renown school to even its seedier underbelly, the store stood out like a sore thumb. But, it was simply one of the few remaining bastions of tradition that not even the city's leaders would touch. It simply had too many supporters.
"Ah, Narukami-san. Here again early today?" An elderly man asked as he walked out to the service counter from the back room. The man was like many other Japanese. He was short, but not terribly so, and was the type of wiry that came with old age. His darkly tanned skin stood in contrast with his beige working shirt, and the white bandanna tied around his forehead. The man's bald scalp gleamed in the artificial lighting of the store, matching the tone of the polished wood that the floor and counter were layered with. Yu nodded towards the shopkeep before resting himself on one of the old velvet upholstered cushions. Rias took one more look around, taking in the decorated tiled walls and ceilings before sitting down herself. The old store owner looked the girl over with beady eyes before he pulled out his notepad.
"So what can I get you and your lady friend Narukami-san?" He asked with a countenance filled with energy that didn't quite match his advanced age. The silver haired teen nodded.
"One gyudon and omelette rice please, Takeda-san." The boy said. Shocked, the other patron turned towards Yu.
"They serve omelette rice here?" The foreign girl asked apprehensively. Confused, the calm teen nodded. Unbeknownst to Yu, the girl had a deep dark secret. Rias was indeed foreign, and was also possibly the biggest Japanophile that Yu would ever meet in his life. The girl had an entire room dedicated to anime, with figurines, manga, and light novels decorating the shelves. To hear that she could try a dish so synonymous with her guilty pleasure was a dream come true. Of course, it did raise one question.
"But how did you know that's what I wanted?" Rias asked genuinely curious. The boy simply stared at her like she was missing something. In fact, the shopkeep was as well. The gruff man cleared his throat.
"He didn't. Narukami-san has been ordering that same combo for the past couple of days." The man stated as he jotted down the order. Rias simply stared at the boy, who was fiddling with his wallet. Two whole plate sets for breakfast? It was a miracle the young man wasn't bloated beyond belief. She continued staring, trying to figure out where her classmate put it all. Perhaps he stored some of it away for lunch. That had to be the only feasible explanation. She was interrupted out of her thoughts by the boy. He motioned towards the old man. Embarrassed,she had realized she had forgotten to order in her surprise.
"One small serving of omelette rice for me as well. Extra ketchup please." She asked demurely. The man nodded. His pen danced across his notebook before he ripped the small sheet out and turned into the kitchen. Now alone, the two simply sat in silence before Yu broke it with a small snort. Rias turned her gaze curiously to the boy.
"Are you alright?" She asked worriedly. Even though they had only known each other for a little over half an hour, Rias could tell that it was completely out of character for the other teen. Yu simply stared at her, a grin threatening to split his face in half. He covered his mouth, realizing how his actions could seem unsightly. It took a few minutes before Rias could get a word out of the young man.
"I'm sorry. It's just, that sounded exactly like something my seven year old cousin would order." He let out, humor obvious in his tone. And Yu wasn't wrong. It was almost exactly word for word what Nanako had ordered at Aiya the last time Yu had taken the young girl there. No matter how dangerous Gremory Rias could be, Yu simply could not reconcile the girl in front of him with the one that he had found threatening. The disparity was simply too large, dimensions apart even.
Rias huffed, turning away before grumbling something about "not childish" and "otherwise it wouldn't be in anime". Yu had full understanding of these grumblings, because of his position next to her but decided not to pry. It would be a few moments before the event repeated itself, but this time with Rias in control.
"So, how do you hide all that weight, Narukami-kun? I mean, eating this much every day…" She trailed off, teeth bared like an animal about to feast. Her tone was teasing, but Yu could tell that this was payback for embarrassing her earlier. He chuckled before he rolled up his sleeve and flexed a bit. While it was not anything overtly showy, like the muscles of a bodybuilder, his arm was tightly defined, as though it were wound using steel cables. To be honest, Yu felt that the action itself was showy enough, but he wasn't about to lose this bout as well. He relaxed his arm, and rolled down his sleeve.
"I play a lot of sports. I was actually hoping to join a sports club, but considering the school only recently became co-ed, many of the clubs are still structuring for integration." He explained. Or at least, repeated the explanation he had been given as to why he couldn't join. The only clubs that had actually been properly integrated had been the Kendo and Baseball clubs. Mainly because a fair amount of the school's small male population played baseball, and Kendo operated in a duelist fashion, so the only worry was changing rooms and matchup orders. Waiting for a response, Yu turned to the girl next to him. She was silent, and had a slight flush in her cheeks.
"I see." Rias said quietly. That had been quite unexpected for the young woman. It wasn't as though she hadn't seen the male form before, rather, she had seen perfect examples of the male form, and in much more detail. Just, the abrupt action had thrown her for quite a loop. She would have to concede this bout, as it had been masterfully played by the silver haired teen. Acting like a referee in a wrestling match, the bald cook stepped out of the kitchen, one arm draped with food and protected by a towel and the other holding a small plate. Stopping between them, the man placed the smaller plate in front of Rias, before carefully taking the stacked bowl and plate on his other and placing them in front of Yu.
"One small serving of omelette rice extra ketchup, for the young miss. One gyudon, with fried rice and salted boiled egg, and a large plate of mediterranean style omelette rice for Narukami-san. Enjoy." The man said, walking away. Before the man could make it into the kitchen, Yu called him back and handed him a stack of bills. Realising her faux pas, the girl pulled out her own purse, prepared to ask how much it cost. The teen next to her put a hand on her purse and shook his head.
"I already payed for yours. My parents give me too much pocket money anyways." He said dryly, as though there were some hidden joke. Rias, seeing that there wasn't much of a way to argue without causing a scene, simply accepted the outcome and placed her belongings back into her book bag. She stared down at the plate in front of her. It was just like all the ones she had seen in her anime. It was a perfectly fluffy layer of egg laid upon a bed of rice. The top had been decorated in ketchup, etching a small cats face. She examined it in great detail, even using her chopsticks to lift the egg and see the rice underneath. It was red, like she had expected. She looked over to Yu's plate, wondering what the mediterranean style looked like. Only to find that the entire large plate was gone.
"You've been staring at your plate for the past twenty minutes. If you're not that hungry, we can pack it to go." The boy offered as he began digging into his beef bowl. Rias snapped out of her stupor. Realizing how much time she spent examining her food, she dug into it with great gusto. It was a little colder than she expected, which simply confirmed how long she had been examining it. However, it's temperature did little to detract from its taste. It was delicious. A perfect combination of sour, sweet, and salty. Rias couldn't tell if it was because she hadn't actually eaten breakfast, or if it truly was that delightful. Finishing up the last few bites, she realized she had actually been far hungrier than she realized.
She pulled out her phone and looked at the clock, and sighed in disappointment once she realized they barely had thirty minutes to walk the two and a half miles to school. On a full stomach, trying to cut it any closer would put them at risk of cramps. She stared longingly at the kitchen before a fresh scent invaded her nostrils. She stared down at her plate. Resting on it was a small slice of beef and a couple spoonfuls of fried rice. She turned to the boy, eyebrow raised once again.
"You looked like you were still hungry. Don't worry, I used the other side of my chopsticks and pulled it before I started eating." He explained, motioning to the now greasy end of his utensil. Rias nodded, seeing the light bounce off the piece of wood herself. Using her own chopsticks, she took a clump of rice and put it in her mouth before taking a quick bite of the beef. It was just as good as the dish she had earlier. Tender and salty in contrast to the sweet and sour of the omelette rice. The smell of the dish invaded her palate, a mixture of herbs she was somewhat unfamiliar with. Soon, all of the proffered food was gone as well.
Seeing that the boy was unfinished, Rias was left to her own thoughts. Narukami Yu was a different person than she was expecting. Little did he know, but Yu's gut feelings were correct. Rias was a dangerous being. But, not a malicious one. She was a devil, a high-class family member of one of the 72 Pillars of Hell as described in the Ars Goetia. Her family name, Gremory, was the very same Gremory, Duke of Hell as listed in the Lesser Key of Solomon. She had orchestrated this meeting with Narukami Yu as a means of evaluating his talent.
Devils in the modern era, much to the denial of the Church, were actually a peaceful race. The one singular thing they truly cared about was rebuilding their population. To do so, they used a device known as an Evil Piece to determine magical potential of a being and to then convert them into a lesser devil, as part of a Peerage. The Evil Pieces were rated based on chess terms, with the weakest being one of Eight Pawns, and the most valuable being the King. Of course, the King would be used by the high-class devil to control the lesser pieces in the peerage.
In pursuit of building her Peerage, Rias had approached Yu. Given his background from last year, it was not unlikely that he had some magical awakening of some sort. While the teen's grades were relatively the same, a few points up even, he had undergone a dramatic personality change. He had gone from stoic, possibly anti-social, to the most popular person in the entire school, and if her sources were to be believed, the entire town. The boy held down three part time jobs, relationships with multiple influential people, and managed to be a part of two to three clubs. There was even an online video of him playing bass instrumental for a popular idol's performance.
Even with all this, the girl could not sense a lick of magic from the boy next to her. If anything, he was an example of what humanity could achieve without the supernatural. A real life Ace, that had simply bloomed late in the social department. She grinned sadly to herself. Even though she wished to, she couldn't afford to add the teen to her Peerage unless he brought magical value to it. Rias needed all the powerful pieces she could get for the upcoming battle. The other teen put down his bowl with a clack. That was the signal to leave she supposed. They both gathered up their belongings and stepped out into the busy street. Keeping their heads down, they rushed towards the school, intent on making it on time. As a result, they barely shared any conversation, besides a few passing by comments on something particularly interesting, like a large billboard.
Around half an hour later, they both arrived at school. Stepping in through the gates, Yu was greeted by the hushed noise of whispers. It was something he was used to, being a perpetual transfer student. Though it was the subject material that threw him for a loop. Apparently the two girls he had seen on the bus had taken the little they knew of the situation and ran with it. Much of it had to do with Rias, and just as much of it operated under the belief that Yu was her secret boyfriend who had transferred to be with her. Which, according to the rumors, would also explain why she had not yet gone out with someone named Yuuto Kiba even though they were in the same club. He sighed, already tired with the subject of the rumor. The girl next to him noticed his discontent as they walked to class.
"I'm sorry. First I impose on your breakfast, and now I cause this." She said sincerely. While Yu could blame her for the first part, he couldn't exactly control what the school thought. He shook his head.
"It's fine, I've had worse." He said quietly. In fact, now that he thought about it, he had worse just last year. Had Yasogami High rumors been true, Yu would be the leader of a bisexual harem which included, but was not limited to, the entire Investigation Team, his own little cousin, and many of his other social links. Truly the minds of teenagers were a frightful thing. They turned another corner before walking up the steps. The chattering seemed to get quieter as they neared the third floor, most likely because attendance was not for another fifteen minutes.
"Still, I would like to apologize for their behavior. They're normally all quite nice, they just…" Rias said at a loss for words. There was nothing she could say to describe how the school treated her after all. It was as though she were on some unreachable pedestal. And to be honest with herself, she had come to a mortal high school to rid herself of such triviality. If she wanted to be treated like a princess, than she could have been educated at home by private tutors and been an actual princess. The boy nodded, and smiled gratefully at her, appreciating the sentiment. She supposed, this was what having a normal friend was like.
Rias treated her peerage like her family. Though she loved them, they were exactly that. Family. They grew up together. She saw some of the worst moments of their lives. Rias had seen what defined her peerage members, before they broke, and had been re-shaped into the people she knew. There was little she could hide from them, and little they could hide from her. Akeno was her sister in all but blood. Kiba was her foolish little brother. Koneko was the little sister Rias had always wanted. Gasper… was the little brother Rias had never knew she wanted til she had met him.
They didn't fill the spot in her heart that she reserved for a friend. Someone who could look her in the eye and say that she was nothing more than Rias. Sona came close, but even then, with the other girl's own trappings of nobility, it was not a friendship that could last into adulthood. At that point, it would become an alliance. Rias sighed at her situation. Which eked a grin from the teen next to her.
"You know, someone once told me that sighing released happiness. I don't suppose it would be me that makes you so sad?" He said teasingly. Rias pouted in response to hide her turmoil of emotions. In fact, she wanted to tell her school mate that it was the exact opposite. Rias had never felt so normal in her entire seventeen years, than the past hour she had spent with the young man. Yu took a quick glance at the pensive look on the red haired girl's face. She had never taken this long to quip back before, so he assumed she had simply conceded. To his surprise, she was staring dead ahead, intently focused on something that required great memory.
However, Yu had seen that look often in the last year. It was the look his friends would often adapt when thinking of their Shadows. To be faced with the truth and desires one repressed with the entirety of their soul. Seeing the look on the sly girl's face didn't sit well with him. So he did what he did best. Offer an ear.
"Is there something wrong?" He asked quietly, stepping closer to ensure their privacy. Rias, startled out of her stupor looked at him with her light blue eyes. Unlike before, the twinkle of curiosity and mischief did not exist. Rather, she gazed at him as though he were some rare beast she wished to capture and examine. He coughed into his hand to let her know she was staring. Rias flushed slightly before shaking her head and responding.
"No, it's fine. But…" She started, trailing off, nervousness obvious. The boy stopped in his walking to turn towards the girl, and he waited. The red haired girl stared at him before something resolute formed in her gaze. Then, she ventured forth with her question. The silver haired boy, was caught off guard, so it took him a few moments to fully understand the question. When he finally did so, he chuckled good naturedly.
Rias, unused to this type of social interaction, had acted how she felt would be best. Which meant to act on her only source of non-forced social interaction: Anime. Which is why her head was bowed, and why she had blurted out her request to the silver haired teen. In all honestly, it probably looked like she had confessed to the teen, and given the whispers floating around them from the few straggling students, she had confirmed it. But, all the humiliation would be worth it, if he said yes. Instead, he started laughing. Aghast, Rias shot straight up, and stared at the other boy. He was indeed trying to cover up his guffaws.
Rias honestly couldn't believe it. Was her request that pathetic? It was a shock to her heart. That not even a human would want to be friends with "Rias the person". She could feel the stares of the people around her. She wasn't used to this. This sense of rejection. Her bangs covered her eyes, and she could not muster the energy to correct them. Besides, it would be easier to hide her tears.
"I-I'm sorry. It's-It's just that, aren't we friends already?" Yu tried to say through his laughter. He didn't exactly have a good reason to be laughing. Especially since he could see just how much this meant to the poor girl. It was just, that out of all his social links and interactions with others, none of them had ever been so direct with such a simple question. It was just a natural assumption, that they were friends after a certain point. It was just this sense of ease that he could feel radiated from the both of them. He saw Rias pull her bangs away, and blink away the tears that had been forming on her face. The girl looked at him, utterly confused and at a loss for words, before speaking up.
"W-W-We are?" The girl asked with a shaky voice. Rias was right to be confused. Even if their relationship had only been one meeting, Yu could tell from experience that they were friends. They fell so in-step with each other, and he had no idea why. It was just something about the way they traded banter and talked. He nodded.
"Your name is Gremory Rias. You like to tease people, and have a little bit of a competitive edge with it. You get flustered when something unexpected happens. You're a bit too curious for your own good, and given your performance right now, I think you watch too much anime." Yu said serious in action, but not in tone. It was light, and it was calm, much like how he handled the rest of his social links. While Rias wasn't a social link, that didn't mean Yu would leave her out to dry. To turn away from her would be to turn away from himself. It was now that Yu realized why they were so compatible.
In a sense, they were like everyone else he had formed a bond with in Inaba. They all felt isolated, even Yu himself, because of their own insecurities. Sayoko couldn't deal with her own failures as a nurse, and would work herself and others to death to rid herself of the feeling. Hisano couldn't come to grips with her own grief, pushing away what remained of her family and crippled herself with self loathing. Shu, cracking under the pressure of planning for the future, couldn't relate to others who were too carefree. It was the same song and dance for many of them. Even the IT, though they usually operated under trying to accept the truth that their shadows presented themselves.
However, it was Yu that felt the most kinship with Rias. She was a student that was looked up to, and isolated for it. Being foreign probably did little to help her in the friend category. Much like Yu himself. As a constant transfer student, he carried the connotation of being a troublemaker. No matter how good his grades, or how sterling his recommendations, people did not normally transfer every year.
It was much like King Moron said on his first day of Yasogami. The fact that he transferred this much probably meant he was a loser. So, knowing this sense of isolation, he accepted Rias as his friend the moment she voiced her concern. The girl began laughing, joining in Yu's good mood.
"I guess we are if you knew that much about me already." She said once she calmed down. Yu looked around once more. Much to his relief, most of the students gave them privacy once they thought a confession was taking place. The few that remained did not look like the type to gossip, or at least no one would believe them. He eyed the three second years peering around the far corner. They made eye contact, and all three rushed away, shouting and yelping in their wake. A look of relief was all that remained on Rias's face.
She had bared her heart, and while it was a bit rushed, she could tell that the other student accepted it. They were now friends, in the barest sense of the word. Even the smallest bit of turbulence could run the risk of ruining it. She smiled stupidly, and she couldn't control the grin one bit. It was a start.
A/N: Read and Review :D