Disclaimer: I own nothing.
AN: So. First time writing KonoSetsu, so if this reads somewhat awkwardly, that's why. Seriously. That's the only reason.
"She really is pretty… I can see why you like her so much, Senpai."
"Get away from her Tsukuyomi."
"So beautiful… and so powerful. You have very good taste."
"Don't you touch her!"
"You say that, but can you really stop me?"
"We really are similar, aren't we, Setsuna-senpai? How long did you watch her from the shadows—wanting her?"
"Let her go. Now."
"Are you going to hurt me if I don't?"
"Shinmeiryuu Ougi: Zanmaken Ni no Tachi!"
Setsuna jolted awake, pain erupting in her chest as she collapsed on her bed, Mana's arms pinning her tightly to the mattress. A coin fell from the sheets onto the floor, and Setsuna stared blankly up at her roommate. Mana glared back.
"Finally up, are you?"
"Tatsumiya?" Setsuna blinked a few times, trying to figure out why her roommate was on top of her and why her chest hurt so badly. "What are you doing?"
Mana yanked something out of the smaller girl's hand, still scowling, and lifted it up to Setsuna's face, making the half-demon go cross-eyed. It was a knife. Her blood ran cold. No, not a knife, Tsukuyomi's knife. "Trying to protect myself from my sleepwalking roommate."
Mana shook her head and lifted herself off of Setsuna, dropping the knife on the knot of sheets taking up space on the bed. The sparkling blade winked maliciously. "I don't know where the sheath is—if you want it you're going to have to look around some."
Wouldn't that be fun? If the state of her bed was anything to go by, their room wouldn't be the easiest place to find anything in. "Right."
Mana picked her coin up off the floor and looked like she was about to head to the door before she sighed and turned back around. "Setsuna, this can't continue. I am perfectly capable of defending myself from you, but your sleep problems are making you sloppy. If you don't pull yourself together, someone is going to get hurt."
"I know that," Setsuna snapped, "but I can't stop dreaming about—" She clamped her mouth shut abruptly, remembering that just because she was talking to someone who had a vague idea of what was going on didn't mean that Mana knew everything, and explaining it wasn't something Setsuna wanted to get into.
She looked down at the knife on her bed, avoiding Mana's sharp gaze. Somehow, she couldn't help but think that if she just got rid of the damn knife, things would be back to normal. If she hadn't picked it up in the first place, everything would have been fine.
…No. If the knife hadn't been there to pick up—if Tsukuyomi had remained its wielder—then everything would be fine. If the bloodthirsty maniac had just managed to stay alive—
Setsuna rolled off of her bed and looked around at the mess she'd made of their room in her sleep. Considering how organized they usually kept things, the sheer amount of untidy chaos that had taken over was nothing short of impressive.
There was no way she was finding Tsukuyomi's sheath anytime soon. She'd have enough trouble finding a uniform to pull on. And—she checked the cracked clock that was resting on the floor—that was something she needed to deal with quickly. She'd slept in too much. Again.
At least she and Asuna had unofficially agreed to put their sparring sessions to a temporary halt; she was the only one whose training was suffering from her recent sleep issues. That was something.
Sighing, Setsuna started picking through the clothes that had wound up on the floor. Thankfully, she hadn't done much damage with the knife, so everything was more or less intact. It was just thrown all over the floor.
"Evangeline might be willing to help," Mana noted blithely.
"Evangeline-san would want an explanation."
"And that's not something you can handle?" The mercenary mocked.
Setsuna's face flushed, and she returned to searching for her uniform with renewed vigor.
"Your partner's starting to know something's up, you know."
The half-demon winced at the thought of Konoka. "Yes, I know."
Mana stayed quiet for a few seconds. "You might want to explain it to her."
Before Setsuna's head could jerk its way up to look at Mana, the older girl went out the door, leaving Setsuna to sort her way through the mess she'd created.
The dreams had started a few days after leaving the Magical World. The nightmares. Since then, Setsuna had barely been able to close her eyes without seeing her sword shredding through Tsukuyomi's body, the blonde girl's eyes widening in shock for an instant before going completely blank. She could still hear Tsukuyomi's startled gasp and the sound of her knife clattering on the floor.
Setsuna had killed people before. She'd never liked it, but she was Konoka's bodyguard, and protecting her meant completely eliminating any threat. After the first few times, she'd stopped losing sleep over it. If it meant protecting Konoka, she would do anything. It didn't matter what.
But the situation with Tsukuyomi had been different. Of course. Tsukuyomi had practically made it her mission in life to interfere with the natural order of Setsuna's. And she'd been very, very good at it, getting under Setsuna's skin and annoying her just by existing.
Tsukuyomi had presented a very real threat to Konoka. Somehow, the psychopath had managed to get around Setsuna and grab her partner. She'd had her knife up against Konoka's throat. If she hadn't been so interested in taunting Setsuna, Konoka's life would have ended right there.
All of that gave Setsuna a very simple reason to kill Tsukuyomi; the same reason she held onto whenever she had to take a life: Konoka is in danger. But because nothing with Tsukuyomi could ever be simple, it had gone deeper than that. Tsukuyomi wasn't just someone to protect Konoka from; she was someone Setsuna wanted to kill.
That wasn't a feeling Setsuna had experienced before, and she never wanted to feel it again. That intense yearning for violence wasn't something she wanted at all.
It was when Tsukuyomi started to make the comparisons that she really started to lose it. That Tsukuyomi dared to draw similarities between her stalking of Setsuna and Setsuna's diligent watching of Konoka… Fury took over, and Tsukuyomi died without them even having a proper duel.
Mana had gone to the trouble of retrieving Tsukuyomi's body later so that the uncorrupted government officials would at least have the bodies of those responsible for all the trouble. For some reason, Setsuna had decided to go down and look at the girl one last time. And then she just hadn't been able to resist grabbing the blonde's knife. She still wasn't sure why she did that. It wasn't like she needed something to remember the other girl by—Tsukuyomi had left a very strong impression.
Still… Tsukuyomi had only ever looked at her. All of their other opponents were blindly following Fate or fighting their way through the Ala Alba to get to Negi, but Tsukuyomi had remained entirely focused on Setsuna. For a while, when Tsukuyomi's more homicidal tendencies weren't as obvious, it was nice. Setsuna had even gotten used to the feeling of her stalker's eyes constantly on her.
Truthfully, it was almost lonely without the bloodthirsty maniac.
That was okay, though. Setsuna could handle loneliness.
Which was a very good thing, because if she couldn't, avoiding Konoka the way she was right now would be driving her crazy.
Setsuna could feel Konoka's eyes burning into her back as she tried to pay attention to what Negi was saying. Yes, Konoka definitely knew that something was wrong. But Setsuna didn't know how to comfort her. Konoka hadn't said anything either, but the few minutes she'd been under Tsukuyomi's control couldn't have been pleasant. She shouldn't have to deal with her partner's issues with Tsukuyomi on top of that.
There was also the problem that Tsukuyomi had been right in a way.
Not about the way Setsuna had sort of been stalking Konoka when they both started school—no. Absolutely not. She had been guarding Konoka, not—she'd never shadowed Konoka because of, ah, that sort of interest in her friend. It had been entirely innocent. She was Konoka's bodyguard, not her stalker.
But she was still like Tsukuyomi.
She'd felt it, that instant before killing the girl. There had been something different about her eyes. She didn't need a mirror to know that her eyes had been almost completely black with her irises glowing gold when she charged. Setsuna had seen it happen to enough Shinmeiryuu swordsmen to know what that much fury and bloodlust would do to her.
It was an expression that Konoka would only be able to recognize as Tsukuyomi's—one that had terrified her the first time she'd seen it. And even though she hadn't said anything, Setsuna had still been able to tell that seeing that look in her partner's eyes had also scared her. Konoka had realized what Setsuna herself had in that moment; Setsuna was just as much a monster as Tsukuyomi was.
Setsuna just wished Konoka had realized that back when she'd first shown her friend her wings. At least that would have been expected. The situation with Tsukuyomi hadn't been expected at all, and spun out of control very quickly.
Setsuna jumped up in her seat and turned to smile awkwardly at her partner, who had somehow managed to wrap her arms around Setsuna's shoulders without being caught. "Kono—ah, Ojou-sama! What are you doing here?"
Konoka smiled down at her. "I was waiting for you to realize that class is over."
"It's what?" Setsuna looked around her, feeling embarrassed and very foolish at the number of empty seats. "How long ago did it end?"
"About ten minutes ago." Konoka giggled at the flummoxed expression on Setsuna's face. "I would have told you earlier, but you looked like you were thinking about something really important. I didn't want to interrupt."
"Oh…" Setsuna looked down at her desk, her cheeks starting to burn as she realized just how tightly Konoka was wrapped around her. "Um, thank you."
Konoka smiled into her hair. "You're welcome." She twisted around and placed herself down in Setsuna's lap, her expression suddenly serious. "Are you going to tell me what's been bothering you now?"
Setsuna tensed, and Konoka responded by wrapping her arms even more securely around her partner. "Please, Set-chan. You've been like this ever since we got back. We're supposed to be partners now, right? So you aren't allowed to hide things that bother you this much anymore."
The half-demon tried halfheartedly to remove herself from Konoka's grip, which earned her a serious scowl. "Set-chan."
"They're just nightmares," Setsuna mumbled. She didn't want to have this conversation. She didn't want to remind the person she cared about most what she really was. It was selfish, but she wanted to hang onto what she had with Konoka for as long as possible.
"They aren't just nightmares if they're hurting you." Konoka ran her fingers through Setsuna's hair lightly, making her poor guardian's face turn bright red.
"It's… Tsukuyomi," Setsuna blurted out, regretting it the instant she said it and Konoka's hand froze.
Setsuna nodded, avoiding looking anywhere that might let her see any of Konoka's face. This was going to hurt. A lot.
"Did you like her?"
Setsuna nearly fell out of her chair in shock. "What?!" Breaking her self-imposed rule of avoiding Konoka's eyes until this painful conversation was over, she looked at her partner in confusion.
Konoka was blushing a little, and her eyes were flitting back and forth between a spot over Setsuna's shoulder and above her head. She looked extremely embarrassed. An odd expression for her. "Tsukuyomi-san," she clarified. "Did you like her? After she—you—that's when you started acting like something was wrong. And the way you looked at each other was a little—different than how you look at other people. It was like no one else existed."
Setsuna opened and closed her mouth, staring at Konoka. She wasn't wrong about the way they'd acted around each other, but liking Tsukuyomi? The girl was completely insane—a bloodthirsty maniac through and through.
But Setsuna still wished she hadn't killed the girl. She was still waiting to feel Tsukuyomi's presence following her every waking moment, and there was also that weird impulse that had made her pick up Tsukuyomi's weapon. …Tsukuyomi had somehow become a very large part of her life. A part she was coming close to missing. But what Konoka was saying still wasn't true.
"You always exist," Setsuna blurted out, ignoring Konoka's question and thoroughly embarrassing herself. "I mean, I never looked at Tsukuyomi the way I look at you." Oh please stop talking. "You're the only person who makes me forget the rest of the world. It was never her. She just…"
"Made you angry," Konoka finished.
"Yes." Very, very angry. So angry that, even if it was just for a split second, all that existed in the world was the need to kill. Angry enough to scare Kono-chan. Just thinking about it was enough to make her feel ashamed.
Konoka leaned back to get a better look at her partner.
She was smiling.
"Set-chan, you were amazing."
Setsuna stared into Konoka's eyes, transfixed by the beautiful expression there. There was nothing even remotely fearful in her gaze. It was just… loving. Infinitely loving.
Konoka brought up a hand to Setsuna's cheek, still smiling softly. "And you're nothing like her at all. No matter what you do, you'll never be able to scare me. I love you too much to be afraid of you."
Setsuna's eyes widened comically, her face going such a dark shade of red that it looked purple. "A-ah, K-Kono-chan…"
Konoka darted forward, pressing her lips to Setsuna's before the stubborn knight could make a more coherent protest. Setsuna froze. She could dimly feel herself trying to resist—she was still Konoka's bodyguard, and this really wasn't proper—but her eyes were fluttering shut before that thought could even be fully processed. She leaned back in her chair, pulling Konoka with her, utterly content to bask in the warmth that could only be from being so deeply connected with her Kono-chan.
Then Konoka pulled away, unfortunately giving Setsuna the time to come to her senses. Thankfully, a well-placed hand kept Setsuna from babbling something that would probably ruin the moment.
"You really shouldn't worry so much. We're partners, Set-chan. No matter what, we'll always be together. Right?"
Unable to talk around Konoka's hand, Setsuna nodded. Konoka beamed and flung her arms around her precious partner. Setsuna returned the hug numbly, feeling very odd about whether or not this was really appropriate contact after what had just happened. Konoka hugged her all the time, but this seemed different enough to qualify as awkward.
It felt good though. Like sunshine. It was impossibly better than the uncomfortable cloud of emotions that had been following her around since their homecoming.
I don't think there's anything I can do that will make me deserving of a fraction of this happiness, but, "Thank you, Kono-chan."