So, this was just a random idea I had while I spent the day enjoying music.
I hope that you guys like what I made!
Disclaimer: Raymond Smith, known as pain17ification, owns nothing
I liked to think of myself as an observant woman. After all, I share a territory with a rival of mine; and we both have eyes for talent.
Most of the humans here in Kuoh, however, didn't have the kind of talent that I needed. Some barely had potential, and it would've take much too long for us to bring them up to snuff for what lies ahead.
Recently, I had been fortunate enough to gain a new [Pawn] who holds a Sacred Gear. I thought it was simply a Twice Critical at first, but I realized later on that it was actually the fabled Boosted Gear; one of the Thirteen Longinus. Alongside this [Pawn] was a new [Bishop] who also had a Sacred Gear; the Twilight Healing.
While both are great for my Peerage, they both still needed a great deal of help; Issei-san in particular. Sure, he had a great Sacred Gear, but he also had practically zero aptitude for magical capability. As for Asia-san, she is much too timid and kind-hearted for what's to come. As much as I hate to admit this – even if it's just to myself – she may become more of a liability in the future; a crippling point that will tear us down.
I also hate to admit that Sona might be a better [King] than myself. She picked her Peerage so easily, and she spent time and dedication into making them valued Pieces of her Peerage. She didn't wait like I did; something that has proven to be costly for me.
I was worried as the date for my meeting with HIM drew closer, and I couldn't help but think that – despite everything we've done thus far – my efforts won't be enough for what may come. I needed time to think, so I didn't show up for school and took a walk through my town. I had hoped to clear my head and come up with something; but the stress and anxiety proved stronger than I estimated.
It wasn't until I passed by a new music store – one that was playing some soothing music from their outdoor speakers – that I found something to help me calm down.
Rias Gremory curiously opened the door to the music store, taking a cursory glance at the different instruments and equipment that was on display. She saw guitars, pianos and keyboards, drum sets, different forms of brass instruments like trumpets and the like, and even some software that helped with musical editing and similar intentions.
Running the store was a woman with stunning white hair that reached her waistline, teal eyes that almost glowed, and a pale complexion that was flawless. She was dressed in a black button-down shirt, matching slacks, and white shoes. Around her neck was a tie that was as teal as her eyes while her hair had messy bangs; but they just added to her appeal.
"Welcome," she greeted. "Can I help you with anything?"
"I heard music playing on the speakers outside," Rias answered. "It was nice, and I was just wondering who was playing."
The woman raised a brow with an amused twitch of the lips. "Ah, I'm glad that someone appreciates his efforts. That would be someone who hangs out here a bit too much. He's in the back, if you wanna meet him."
Nodding, the redheaded young woman gave a grateful smile. "Thanks."
"No problem. Oh, just to warn you," the woman began, "he's…not exactly someone who can hold a conversation."
Rias raised a brow in curiosity before she mentally shrugged it off and went to the back. Going through the door, her blue-green eyes widened slightly at the studio before her that was filled with state of the art equipment that looked far superior to whatever the store itself was selling.
And, sitting at a piano with large orange headphones, was a blonde teen that looked to be her age. He had wild blonde hair that was slightly matted down by his headphones, and strangely whiskered cheeks that reminded her of Kitsune Yōkai. He was surprisingly dressed in the Kuoh Academy uniform, but his tie was loosened and the top button was undone; giving him a more comfortable look. The blazer of the uniform was draped over one of the chairs in the studio, and he seemed to be lost in the music; music she couldn't hear because his headphones were plugged into the speakers.
She spotted an extra pair by the computers and sound systems, so she walked over and put them on before plugging them into another auxiliary port.
As soon as she did, she felt the soothing sounds of the music produced wash over her. Its effect was almost instant, and she felt her worries drown away in the sound. The gentle sounds of the woodwinds blended so beautifully with the strums of the guitar at the beats of the drum. And at the core of it all was the piano keystrokes that were supplied by the blonde seated away from her.
Relaxing into her seat, she closed her eyes and simply enjoyed the music with her enhanced Devil senses. It was a wonderful feeling; having her troubles simply fade away with the symphony. She recognized the style as jazz in nature, but it held a certain flair to it that she couldn't help to appreciate.
Slowly, the music faded into silence, and she opened her eyes to look at the blonde teen. He slowly opened his own, and they were a stunning shade of azure blue that looked to be as deep as the oceans themselves. A faint smile was seen on his face, one that only enhanced his natural roguish appeal.
She smiled as well and removed her headphones just as he did. She slowly made her way over to him as he pulled out a small laptop and typed in some notes. He must've heard her approach, for he looked up as soon as she stepped onto the smooth carpet his piano rested on.
"That was wonderful," she praised, earning a curious look from him. "Your music," she clarified. "I listened to you play."
Realization hit him, and he turned back to his laptop with a noticeable flush on his cheeks.
'Huh… He must not receive many compliments. I can't believe I never noticed him before at the Academy. He's definitely got a face to remember with those markings.'
The door to the studio opened, and the woman at the front walked in with a small smile. "Alright, Naruto," she began. "Time for you to get going. It's been well over the hour you requested."
He turned to her for a moment before closing his eyes with a defeated sigh. Nodding in understanding, he packed up his laptop in its carry-on case and shouldered it while carrying his schoolbag lazily by its top strap. As he walked out, he grabbed his blazer and carelessly laid it over his other shoulder before waving at the woman.
She in turn waved back with her smile becoming a grin. "See you soon, yeah?"
He waved over his shoulder as he left the store, Rias and the woman exiting the studio to reenter the main room of the building. "I see what you mean about him not being a conversationalist," the Gremory Heiress mused aloud.
"Yeah, that's how he was when I first met him. Took me weeks before I figured out he was mute," she replied offhandedly, catching Rias's interest.
"Mute? I thought he just kept to himself?"
"Well, that too; but he showed me he was mute after a couple of weeks. It was during one of my random spiels that I asked his opinion on, and he just answered back in Sign Language."
"Oh…" That must've been why she never really noticed him. In Kuoh, a majority of the students were rather loud and excitable; especially when certain people were within view. "How often does he come here?"
"A few times a week. He's always working on different tracks, and he told me that he wanted to make a CD someday when he was finished."
"How long has he been working on it?"
Here, the woman smiled fondly and looked at nothing in particular. "Going on two years now…"
"Two years?" Rias repeated, shocked at how long it was taking.
"The first year was actually me showing him a few things; mostly how to use the editing equipment in the studio. After a while, he found his own groove and rolled with it; pun intended."
The two women shared a small laugh at the simple joke. "Well, thanks for introducing me and telling me a bit about him."
With that, she walked out of the store and headed back to the Academy. She took hurried steps down the path Naruto walked before she spotted him a fair distance away, sporting his orange headphones once more as he strolled down the sidewalk. Not wanting to lose him in the crowd he was about to cut through, she hurried after him.
As she power walked – so that it wouldn't look so strange – she pushed her senses outwards to try and get a feel for the blonde teen. She didn't know why she did, but a nagging feeling in the back of her mind prompted her to do so.
And what she felt echo back to her made her glad she listened to that feeling. She felt an above average level of power from Naruto, with most of it centered around his upper chest; just below his neck. A surge of excitement rushed through her, and she smiled brightly before changing her pace to a light jog.
She noticed him pause in his own steps and turn back to look at her with a raised brow. This only made her mentally smirk, for there was no way he would've known she was coming since he was wearing those headphones. It meant that he must have sensed her approach; which further proved that he had some hidden power.
Pleased to see that he waited for her to catch up to him, he regarded her silently with his brow still raised. "I was hoping to walk with you back to the Academy," she answered his silent question. He tilted his head and raised a hand to speak to her in Sign Language; something she hadn't needed to know beforehand. "I can't understand what you're trying to tell me, Naruto-san."
He blinked in surprise and narrowed his eyes slightly.
Seeing the accusation, she raised her hands up placatingly and explained, "That woman at the store told me your name. I apologize if I'm coming off as rude." His accusing look sobered to a casual one, making her smile. "I don't think we've ever met before today." He shook his head, prompting her to offer him a hand. "I'm Rias Gremory. It's nice to meet you, Naruto-san."
He looked at the offered hand for a moment before he took it in his own and shared a shake with the beautiful redhead. Once his hand was free again, he set down his schoolbag and pulled out a small notebook and a pen before scribbling something quickly on it.
Turning it to her, she read, "I'm Naruto Uzumaki. Nice to meet you too."
She nodded after reading it, prompting him to put the notebook in the small pocket on the front of his shirt; something that wasn't on standard uniforms. She said nothing about it, simply falling in step with him as they headed for the Academy. As they walked, she noted that he was a head taller than she was, and his marked cheeks looked natural instead of drawn on. He also had his headphones hang around his neck, resuming the music at full volume so that they could project it loud enough to hear.
"Are you a part of the Music Club, Naruto-san?" she asked, getting a headshake from him. "Really? I'm surprised. You definitely have talent."
He looked away from her at that, and she noticed his cheeks were once again flushed, proving her earlier theory correct. He really didn't get many compliments if he reacted so bashfully.
"Did you try to apply for the club before?" she continued, earning another shake of the head. "Why not, if I may ask?"
He pulled out his notebook and scribbled his answer before handing it to her. "I didn't feel like it. I've listened to them before, and I don't like the style they use."
"Hmm… Yes, I suppose a clash of styles would be problematic…" She handed him back his notebook and continued, "Well, have you signed up for any club?" She was pleased to see him respond in a negative, this time giving her more attention. "You know that Souna will scold you if you don't join one, right?"
"I tend to avoid her whenever she's nearby. I have more than enough tardies and absences to warrant punishment."
She giggled at his blunt response. "Somehow, I'm not surprised; no offense." He shrugged and waved her off, a small smile on his face. she mentally noted that it was a nice smile. "What if I offered you a way out of trouble?" He raised a brow before motioning her to go on. "I run the Occult Research Club, and I'd like to offer you an invitation to it."
He looked skeptical and wrote down, "Why? I've never really shown interest in the occult before."
"You don't need to have an early interest to become a member. Besides, you won't know if it does interest you unless you give it a try."
He turned away with a thoughtful expression, and she mentally hoped he would agree to join. It was an agonizing – for her – couple of minutes before he turned back to her and shrugged with a faint smile, nodding afterwards in agreement.
She gave him a beautiful smile in response that made his cheeks flush once more. "Excellent! I'll come find you after classes are over!"
He blinked at how quickly she wanted him to join before noting how they had already walked through the gate and were on the school grounds.
"I'll also talk to Souna and ask her to back off on scolding you," she continued before adding mentally, 'And also to back off in general. Good thing I noticed you first. Take that, Sona!'
He nodded in understanding, and she bid him goodbye before heading off to her current class. Holding up his wrist, he checked the time and saw that he had history next. With a grimace, he ignored the schedule and headed for the school's roof.
He wasn't a history buff, and he wasn't planning on becoming one.
"So, I believe he has a Sacred Gear," Rias concluded, informing her [Queen], Akeno Himejima.
Akeno tapped her chin thoughtfully, giving a small hum as she went over what her [King] and closest friend had told her. "Uzumaki… Uzumaki… I don't think I've heard much about him. I suppose any rumors about him are as silent as he is."
"That was in slightly poor taste," Rias admonished.
"Ara, my apologies."
"If I am going to add Naruto-san into my Peerage, then I want the rest of us to welcome him fairly and not poke fun at his mutism. I'm going to bring him here personally, so please make sure the others are here beforehand."
Finding Naruto was a bit more difficult than she thought. After getting a copy of his schedule from Sona, she expected to find him in his calligraphy class. Instead, she was informed by the teacher that he was absent and that they hadn't heard from Naruto all day; neither have his other teachers.
So, while she outwardly made it look like she was searching for him, inwardly she used her senses to find him. She got a response from the roof, and she made her way there to see him leaning against the railing with his hands in the air in front of him. She raised a brow when she saw that nothing was there, but then noted that he had his headphones on again.
She saw him swaying his head to music she couldn't hear, his fingers dancing in the air as if they were hitting the keys of a piano. Realization came to her as she saw that he was playing along with the music, immersing himself in it despite not having a live instrument in front of him. Such dedication to an art made her unconsciously smile, for she believed that he could apply that dedication to other areas; namely to her Peerage.
Walking over to him, she wasn't surprised to see him stop playing when she got within a certain distance. He turned to her and removed his headphones, giving her a small wave in greeting.
"I was looking for you, Naruto-san," she informed him. "I told you I would find you after classes ended, remember?" He nodded once. "Well, come along, then. I'm going to take you to the clubroom now to meet the others."
Nodding again, Naruto put away his headphones and gathered his bags; stuffing the school blazer into his schoolbag so he wouldn't have to wear it. His clothes also remained loose, which she couldn't blame him for. For girls as gifted as her in certain areas, the uniforms were very restricting.
Leading him out of the main school building and for the older one, she guided him inside and took her position behind her desk while the other members of the Occult Research Club regarded him. He couldn't help raising a brow at the members, not expecting them all to have something in common.
For starters, Akeno was one of the Two Great Ladies of the Academy. She had her own fanbase, just like Rias did. It wasn't exactly surprising to see her in the club, though; considering how often the two were seen together.
Kiba Yuuto, who was regarded for his politeness and good looks, was a surprise. Naruto had seen him a couple of times helping the Kendo Club, and he thought his fellow blonde was a member; despite the club being comprised of nothing but female students.
Koneko Toujou was known as the School Mascot for her adorable looks. Honestly, Naruto couldn't blame the students for seeing the petite girl that way. Her features reminded him of cats, and he absently wondered if she styled her hair to look like folded cat ears.
Issei Hyoudou was a definite surprise to see; considering who he was and the relentless rumors (read: facts) about him. He was a pervert of the highest order, and he was damn proud of it. Naruto couldn't help but praise him for being so adamant in his beliefs and admirations, absently finding himself jealous of how vocal Issei could be while he couldn't utter a word.
And lastly was Asia Argento, the newest girl of the school that was rumored to be staying at Issei's home. He didn't bother listening to rumors, preferring to determine the worth of them with his own eyes and ears. Based on how close Asia was sitting to Issei, Naruto couldn't deny that something was going on between them. Perhaps a crush on her part for the resident pervert?
Absently, he remembered his late mother telling him that You don't always choose who you fall in love with. Along with that was something along the lines of Look underneath the underneath; something that a family friend always like to say.
'Huh… Wonder how Kakashi is doing, anyway,' he mused before Rias spoke up and reclaimed his attention.
"Everyone, this is Naruto Uzumaki," she informed. "He will hopefully become the newest member of our club."
He raised a brow at the hopefully she threw in there. Wasn't he already accepted by her?
The others introduced themselves. Akeno's voice held a slightly sultry undertone that he easily picked up. He couldn't help but blush at her voice, and at how she looked to him with interest.
Kiba was as polite as always, offering a smile and a handshake that Naruto readily accepted. He was always happy to get a warm welcome.
Koneko was rather stoic in her greeting, which strangely only added to her natural, catlike charm. He didn't understand it, but it probably wasn't important; so, he simply gave her a wave.
Issei looked to him briefly before turning away with a grumble of damn blondes trying to steal his harem. A sweatdrop formed on the back of Naruto's head at that. Wow, was this guy insecure. He was mute, and he still had more confidence in himself than Issei seemed to have.
And lastly was Asia, who walked over and gave a polite bow in greeting that he returned. Her innocent aura was absolutely adorable, and he found it an endearing quality that would hopefully remain with her. Innocent people tended to have the most impactful opinions, he believed; for they weren't yet biased by the beliefs of others.
"Now, Naruto," Rias continued, getting his attention once more, "you probably noticed that I said you would hopefully become a member, right?" He nodded with a confused expression. "Well, the reason for that is because your acceptance is entirely up to you."
He raised a brow at that, even more confused than before.
"There are things you need to know before I ask you if you wish to join us." She paused to take a breath before looking to him seriously, making him pay closer attention. "Let me tell you about the Three Factions…"
Well, that's all I wrote. Not bad for an unexpected idea, huh? *grins proudly*
Now, as I said, this was just a random idea that crossed my mind while I was listening to music; an idea that got me thinking of my past.
You see, growing up, I wasn't exactly popular. I was one of the background people; and I was fine with that, honestly. I'm an antisocial person, and I think I might be introverted as well. I don't do so well in large groups, and I find it easier to form friendships online than in real life; the same with potential relationships.
I also really love listening to jazz and other instrumental based music. Currently, I'm enjoying something known as Chillhop; which sounds like smooth jazz with some pop sprinkled in.
So, I decided to take a character I admire (Naruto) and, more or less, put myself into him. Like me, he enjoys music and can find himself getting lost in it. And while I'm not mute, I can understand how people with mutism may find it hard to socialize.
If any of you readers are mute, and my words come off as offensive, then I want you all to know that it was NEVER my intention to come off that way. I just wanted to incorporate mutism into Naruto, and the reason for it will be explained (assuming this idea takes off beyond what I've made so far).
That's all I got; so, I hope you guys enjoyed this! Tell me what you think of it!
Until next time!