Disclaimer: See Chapter One
Rosario + Vampire:
He Who Fights Monsters…
Chapter Twelve: The Human Factor
Written by: Hawker_748
The small living quarters were mostly dim, the only light coming from the kitchen, along with a faint but rapid chopping sound. The staccato rhythm of steel meeting cutting board was gently countered by a soft, melodic humming. The solitary figure rapidly chopped spring onions into small fragments before lifting the board and using the blade to carefully ease the vegetables into the pot that was boiling on the stove.
Keito brought a spoon up to her lips, careful not to spill any on her apron, and took a sip. The miso soup was as good as she could make it, but it wasn't quite an exact match for what Tsukune's mother could cook. Tsukune would say it was good enough, and quite tasty, but to her, this was just another reminder that she had to keep working on her technique. Those who had known her only as an Enforcer would have been aghast at the idea of her being all domestic, but those who had would also know enough to keep their opinions about such things to themselves.
When Tsukune had told the Headmaster that he and Keito should live together, the spiderwoman had been a little surprised that he'd make such a brazen demand to the being that ran the school. She'd been even more surprised when the human had gotten his way. Tsukune'd been lucky that the Headmaster had agreed, albeit reluctantly, allowing it when the human had told him that it was just part of taking responsibility. Their new residence, actually a vacant upperclassman room that had been specifically renovated, gave the couple a kitchen, small living room, bedroom, and a den for schoolwork.
While she was happy to be able to live with the human now, Keito always wondered if being with her had been his entire motivation. After they had moved in together, Tsukune's nightmares, which had been plaguing him since his arrival, finally stopped. Once he was able to regularly experience a full night of sleep, he lost a little bit of his haggard look, but he never did let himself relax completely when he wasn't at home. Keito hoped that with a little time, Tsukune would eventually agree to turning off the lights in the bedroom before bed. While she'd gotten used to it, it was still a little annoying to have to sleep with the lights on.
But compared to everything that had happened so far, it was just a minor inconvenience. Tsukune risked his life every day he was at Youkai Academy, so she figured it was only fair that she learn to cope with some of his habits. But in a rather ironic twist, one of the biggest changes hadn't even been here, but on a subsequent visit to his family during another break.
"Are you sure about this…?"
Tsukune let out a breath as they walked down the path towards his parent's house. "No, but I don't see any other way to do this," he admitted.
"You don't have to do this," Keito pointed out. "Things have worked out so far."
"Only because I've been lucky," Tsukune replied. "I can't rely on that. And to be honest, I'm tired of lying."
Keito was normally a supporter of being truthful, but she knew her boyfriend was an unusual case, both at school, and at home. He'd been considering this for some time, but it'd been obvious he wasn't happy about it. In the end, she'd decided to simply go along with what he decided, and live with the consequences. Keito would have given him an encouraging remark, but they'd just arrived, and Tsukune was opening the door.
"Tsukune! Welcome back," his mother cried out as she gave her son a hug. She looked surprised to see that he wasn't alone. "You should have told me you had invited her, I would have made plans. Hello Keito, it's nice to see you again."
The three of them made their way to the living room, Tsukune and Keito taking a seat while his mother went back into the kitchen to prepare tea. The couple didn't speak, Tsukune lost in thought as he tried to think of the best way to tell his mother what he wanted to say. He looked up when she walked back in carrying a tray. "Where's dad?"
Kasumi Aono looked sheepish. "He got called away at the last minute, something in Hokkaido. He'll be gone for at least a month. He told me to apologize for not being here."
Tsukune let out a short breath. It seemed that whenever he had something important he needed to say, his father was never there.
"So, how are you two doing?" Tsukune's mother asked, handing a mug to her guests.
For the next half hour or so, the three of them made small talk; or rather, Keito and Tsukune's mother did most of the talking, Tsukune only occasionally adding a word here or there, mostly just being awkwardly silent. When he finished his tea he set down his mug and took a deep breath, meeting his mother's eyes. "Mom, there's something I need to tell you."
Noticing the serious look in her son's eyes, she set her own mug down. "Keito's pregnant…?"
Tsukune nearly fell over in surprise. "No! She's not!" he replied with more force than he'd intended to, feeling uncomfortable when he saw the look Keito was giving him.
"Then, you're engaged…? That's wonderful!" Kasumi Aono gushed. "Oh, why couldn't your father have been here to hear this?"
Tsukune pinched the bridge of his nose to try to regain his focus. "That's not it either," he explained, not noticing his mother's crestfallen look. "It's about the school."
"What about the school?"
"It's… Not a normal school," he explained.
"Not normal? You mean it's for gifted students?" his mother wondered.
"Then it's a special school?"
"You could say that," he acknowledged. "It's a school for monsters."
"You mean delinquents?"
"No, monsters. Real, things that go bump in the night, monsters."
Tsukune's mom gave him a confused look. "There's no such thing as monsters."
"There are," Tsukune insisted. "This school is designed to help monsters fit into the human world."
Standing up Tsukune's mom laid her hand on her son's forehead. "Did you hit your head? Maybe eat something bad?"
"No mom, I didn't," Tsukune replied. He'd expected this, but he'd held out faint hope that he wouldn't have to resort to this. Turning to look at Keito he nodded. "Show her."
"You sure about this?"
Keito nodded grimly and stood up, walking to the center of the room. "Perhaps you'd better sit down."
"Mom, just trust her. Sit down."
Waiting until after Kasumi Aono sat back down, Keito opened the blazer of her school uniform, then undid the blouse. She saw Tsukune's mother staring at her uncomprehendingly when she extended her arachnid legs, letting them wiggle, being careful to not knock anything over.
Tsukune's mother had her eyes go wide as saucers, her jaw dropping, before she partially regained her composure. She was still faltering a little as she forced some words out. "So-so she's into c-cosplay…" she murmured in a sing-song voice. "That-that's not a problem…"
"Show her everything," Tsukune directed. He'd hoped they wouldn't need to go this far.
Keito allowed her mandibles and extra eyes to appear, using her arachnid legs to skitter up the walls and onto the ceiling over Tsukune's mother, staring down at her with all eight eyes. This was apparently too much for even her to deny, and her eyes rolled back into her head as she fainted dead away, slumping back onto the sofa. "I told you that would happen," she chittered.
Tsukune shrugged. "That went better than I thought it would."
Kasumi Aono's first sensation was a cool pressure on her forehead as she regained consciousness. Opening her eyes she saw her son looking down on her as he tenderly held her hand, the relief on his face obvious to her.
"Are you okay mom?"
"Oh Tsukune, you wouldn't believe the nightmare I had…" She saw his lips tighten a little, but she continued. "You told me some crazy story about monsters, and Keito turn-" She froze when she happened to see Keito standing over her son's shoulder.
Next to the light.
On the ceiling.
"It-it wasn't a dream…?" she whimpered.
Tsukune shook his head sadly. "No, it wasn't."
As she watched in horrified fascination, Keito's face rippled and returned to a more human appearance. The relief was tempered by the fact she was still clinging to the ceiling with her arachnid legs.
"Sorry to have frightened you," Keito told her sincerely. "But Tsukune figured this was the only way you'd believe him."
"W-what are you…?"
"I'm a Jorogumo," she explained.
"I thought they were a legend," Tsukune's mother murmured.
"We are. The legend just happens to be true. Most monster legends are true, actually."
Tsukune's mother just looked up in growing comprehension, thinking about everything she'd ever heard about spiders and spiderwomen. A horrified look came over her face as she remembered something. "Y-you aren't a Black Widow, are you…?"
Keito gave an indignant sniff. "That almost sounds racist."
"No mom, she isn't." Tsukune came to his girlfriend's defense. "If she was going to kill me after… being with me, I'd already be dead."
"Oh…" Watching the spiderwoman deftly make her way back down the walls onto the floor, retracting her extra legs and resuming looking like an ordinary human helped her calm down, even though she knew that the woman before her was still a monster. After trying to recompose herself, she looked at her son. "Why did you get accepted at a school for monsters?"
"The Headmaster wanted me to be a bridge between humans and monsters. Show that we could live peacefully," Tsukune growled.
"That doesn't seem like a bad thing…"
"It might have been," Tsukune admitted. "If he'd warned me, or made even a half assed effort to protect me…"
"He didn't tell you?"
"No! I had no idea what was going on till I arrived! If anyone else had known I was human, I'd have been killed!"
"He's right," Keito added. "Humans are normally forbidden to go there. If found, they're eliminated."
"My God…" Kasumi Aono breathed. "Why did you stay?"
Tsukune meet his mother's eyes. "You and dad were so proud of me being accepted somewhere… I didn't want to let you down."
Her son's tone had been even, without accusation, but the phrase had hit her like a knife to the gut. Sure, she'd been relieved for her son to be accepted, but for him to think that he'd have to go through hell… "How-how did you survive…?"
"You're supposed to stay in human form," Tsukune explained. "I just pretended to really stick to that rule."
His mom relaxed a little. "That doesn't seem too bad."
"That part wasn't, but it got difficult to stay out of fights."
"It's not uncommon for monsters to fight among themselves," Keito told her. "Tsukune occasionally got caught up in it."
"What did you do?"
Tsukune gave a slight shrug. "I did what I had to do. The first time I had to kill someone was the hardest, but it got a little easier after that."
"Wait, the FIRST time you killed someone?"
"I'm already up to five. But I don't think I'll have to do it again."
"Five people?" Tsukune's mom whispered
"Well... not technically PEOPLE..." he admitted. "The last one was a vampire. People left me alone after that one."
"Dendroid, golem," Tsukune paused. "I have no idea WHAT Harunobu was, a monstrel, and finally a vampire."
"I killed him before he could change, crushed his skull with a desk," Tsukune related. "He looked pretty human after he died."
Tsukune's mother gave Keito a hurt glare. "Why didn't you help him?!"
Keito's face wore a sardonic smile. "I didn't know he was human until later. If I had, I would have probably killed him."
Tsukune gave his girlfriend a half smile. "Well, you would have TRIED..." He then reached over and took her hand, giving it a squeeze.
"Why didn't you TELL me?" There were tears welling in Kasumi Aono's eyes.
Tsukune gave her an indulgent look. "Would you have believed me…?"
"There you go."
Wiping at her eyes, Tsukune's mother looked right in her son's eyes. "Well, you don't have to stay there anymore, we'll help you transfer out right now."
"No mom, I can't."
"What are you talking about?" She looked at him as if he'd gone mad.
"I fit in there too well now, I'm where I belong."
"You're not a monster…" his mother insisted.
"Yes, I am. Remember the black eye I had?"
"Yes…?" she replied, surprised by the new tangent her son was taking.
"Got that from an old bully I met," Tsukune replied.
"I came this close to killing him," Tsukune hissed, trying to keep his composure. "I WANTED to hurt him, maybe even kill him. That's how I deal with things now. I can't go to a human school anymore…"
"So you got angry-"
"No, I DID hurt him," Tsukune clarified. "The hard part was NOT killing him."
Kasumi Aono could see that her son was dead serious about this. She thought back to how he'd been when he'd first come back, and now everything made sense. The constant vigilance, the hardness in his eyes, the occasional haunted expression… The school they'd sent her son to had turned him into this.
It was their fault.
And he'd felt he needed to lie to keep from disappointing them.
The tears came slowly at first, then much faster, as her body was wracked by sobs. When Tsukune attempted to embrace her to comfort her, she tried to push him away, feeling like she didn't deserve his compassion. For a while she wept openly, her tears soaking a spot on her son's shirt. When she finally regained her composure she wiped at her eyes and looked at her son, and the spiderwoman he'd fallen for.
"So-so why didn't you kill him…?"
Keito looked a little uncomfortable. "I should have, according to the rules. But we'd spent so much time together, I suppose I became a little fond of him. Now I couldn't even imagine hurting Tsukune."
"Is this why we couldn't come to visit you?" his mother asked.
Tsukune nodded. "Yes, I didn't want anything to happen to you." He looked at his mom and tried to smile reassuringly at her. "I hope you don't mind having a monster in the family. Another one, I mean…"
His mother smiled as bravely as she could, the redness in her eyes not hurting the warmth. "Would you like to stay for dinner, Keito?"
"I'd love to," the spiderwoman replied.
Tsukune's mother stood up slowly, and forcing herself past her fear, gave Keito a fierce hug, the spiderwoman carefully returning the embrace, remembering that she was just human.
"Keep him safe," she whispered into Keito's ear.
'Not sure I need to,' was her first thought. But Keito decided to say what she knew the human woman wanted to hear. "I will," she whispered back.
The spiderwoman felt herself smiling as she recalled that visit with Tsukune's family. On a later trip, Keito had happened to let it slip that she'd never cooked; she'd never needed to, either by catching prey or taking meals in the cafeteria. Kasumi Aono had taken that as a challenge, and before the spiderwoman had realized, she'd been dragged into the kitchen.
Keito had tried to refuse, but Tsukune's determination apparently came from his mother's side of the family, and she'd gone ahead in spite of some fervent protests, both from her and her own son. The human woman might have been terrified of her monster form, but she'd never let that stop her from trying to help her son's mate. But through the sometimes confusing and exasperating lessons, Keito had developed a grudging respect and liking of Tsukune's mother. She may not have been very remarkable, but she had her own quiet strength, and since she'd had someone like Tsukune, she was obviously capable in her own way.
Glancing at the clock, Keito turned down the stove. Tsukune wouldn't be home for a little while, he'd mentioned being busy after class, so all she had to do was keep it warm. She walked into the living room, turning on a light and relaxing on the sofa. She briefly grimaced as she reached under the cushion and moved the hunting knife Tsukune had hidden there. The human had weapons concealed all over their home, and some of the furnishings had been chosen only for their functionality as an armament. The charming lamp in the corner was wrought iron; the shade concealed the sharp point Tsukune had added, turning it into a makeshift lance. If they ever decided to have company over for dinner, it would take almost an hour to clear some of the less well hidden weapons in the apartment.
Keito's eyes happened to rest on the door to the study where Tsukune took care of his school work. Tsukune would occasionally spend time in that room brooding, usually when he felt that he was slipping in his humanity. Keito always rolled her eyes about that. Of course he was human, why would he doubt that? Even a simple blood test would show he didn't have a trace of monster blood coursing through his veins, so it was foolish to her that he'd be worrying about something so absurd. Even though it happened at least a couple times a semester, it always sent the human into seclusion for a while.
Keito felt her smile become a little more feral as she further considered the human's behavior. True, he would brood occasionally, but when he did come out of that room, the sex that followed was especially passionate and frantic. He'd once murmured something about reminding himself about his humanity, but she'd been too distracted to care at that time. It seemed like it was a lifetime ago, but there had once been a time when she thought that her human form had no advantages.
Tsukune had certainly shown her otherwise.
Sighing wistfully, Keito poured herself a cup of tea and waited for Tsukune to come home. She told herself she should be used to all of his little quirks by now, and just accept them.
After all, he was only human.
The hallways of Youkai Academy were mostly quiet, with only a few students and staff passing through them. It was the last period before dismissal, but since it was a weekend before a teacher's meeting, many classes had let out early. Even the classes that hadn't been let go, such as Tsukune's, turned a blind eye to students leaving to do some studying in the library, even if it was understood by all that everyone was just going home.
There were a few people still in the class, possibly out of a sense of duty, or because they wanted to ask the teacher a question. It might have even been because it was currently as quiet as the library at the moment, making it an ideal place to study or do homework.
Tsukune worked in silence, the only sound being the faint scratching of a pen as it passed over the paper. He did occasionally glance up to make sure that no one was attempting to sneak up on him, even though Keito was the only person who would ever try that. It was slightly worrying that she almost always was able to do that, even if no one else ever seemed to attempt it anymore.
Others had tried in the past, but they were never able to get the drop on him; he was too careful for that, too vigilant. Saizo had gotten lucky that one time, but all other cases ended poorly for the unlucky individual who had decided that they would try to assume the status of alpha student.
The last time someone had even been considering it that Tsukune had learned about beforehand, he'd struck first. The opponent hadn't been much of a threat, nowhere near the strength of a vampire, or even a monstrel, but he'd been so brutal in his methods, that it appeared to have permanently ended any other challenges. Tsukune had come to accept that he fit in better with monsters than with humans now. What he'd always made an effort to avoid thinking about, even when he was brooding alone in the study, was whether his time at Youkai Academy had turned him into what he was…
Or whether it had simply unleashed what was already there.
Without him meaning to, his mind started reminiscing about that time, and all that he'd done…
"Did you know, someone wants you dead?"
"Good morning to you too, Keito," Tsukune replied as he looked up from his breakfast in the cafeteria. "So, how's that different from normal?"
"That part, not much," the spiderwoman admitted. "Those who don't respect you are afraid of you."
"As long as they just leave me alone, that's fine," Tsukune murmured.
"That's no fun," Keito pouted. It was a little unnerving to the human how she could be both cute and menacing at the same time. "This guy, he's trying to get students to work together."
Tsukune frowned. That was one of his biggest worries; if everyone else simply decided to swarm him, then even if he'd had modern weaponry, he'd soon be overwhelmed. "Why's he angry at me?"
Keito shrugged. "Maybe he's just afraid," Keito replied, sitting next to the human. "But, he was also interested in a girl, but she disappeared, so he probably blames you for that."
"You mean Guno? Moka? Saori?"
Tsukune shook his head. "Drawing a blank here."
"Doesn't really matter. Anyway, what are you going to do about it…?"
Tsukune pursed his lips. If this guy managed to get others to gang up on him… "How'd you hear about him?"
"I was on the side of a dorm, getting ready to apprehend a rule breaker, when I overheard him," Keito replied matter-of-factly. "He was trying to recruit some upperclassmen, but they didn't seem interested."
"Well, that's a relief."
Keito raised an eyebrow. "You're just going to let it go?"
"I didn't say that," Tsukune murmured. "What can you tell me about the guy?"
Keito pulled out a file folder and handed it to her boyfriend. "I figured you'd want to know."
Taking the offered package, Tsukune opened it on the table. It turned out to be a school file, belonging to a Kanou Nagare, apparently. The guy reminded him a little of Harunobu, having the same sense of nervous desperation in his picture, and Tsukune could see he'd apparently been uncomfortable being photographed, based on the way he was sweating. "Doesn't look like much."
"Feeling confident?" Keito sniffed.
"Never have before," Tsukune admitted. "Why start now?"
"Want me to help?" Keito offered, an unmistakeable glint in her eye.
The human shook his head. "Thanks, but I have to do this alone."
The spiderwoman looked a little disappointed. "I understand."
"Actually, there is something you could get for me that would help," Tsukune added as something in the student's file caught his eye.
"What do you need?" When Tsukune told her she nodded, promising to have it by the end of the day.
"Thanks. There's something I need to get as well," he explained, giving the cafeteria kitchen a thoughtful look.
The two of them ate in a comfortable silence, before Keito finished first and told him she had some business to attend to. She gave him a quick kiss and walked away, leaving the human to finish his meal. Tsukune chewed his food thoughtfully, reading over the school file Keito had given him about Nagare. There was an obvious tactic he could use, and it would probably be extremely unpleasant for him. It was definitely underhanded, but he'd earned his rep by being like that, and since Nagare was trying to have him killed, it seemed rather fitting. The human tried, with not much success, to convince himself that that fact wasn't a pleasant bonus.
"I'm NOT liking this, I'm NOT liking this, I'm NOT liking this…" he murmured almost silently.
Kanou Nagare slunk through the hallway towards his dorm room. He silently seethed over his continued lack of success in rallying the other monsters of Youkai Academy to rise up against the feared Tsukune Aono. Yes, he was feared for a very good reason, but surely he couldn't kill everyone, right? Not if they worked together.
As his room came into view he found himself chuckling under his breath. Here he was, a madslug, a race hardly known for their bravery, preferring to simply scare people, trying to organize a resistance against the most dreaded monster in all of the school. One that had even taken down a vampire without breaking its human form.
Still, he hadn't had much luck; most of the students who'd even let him talk to them - his normal appearance was unsettling to many, especially girls – had wanted nothing to do with his scheme. The few that had seemed to listen didn't appear to place much hope in it, seeming to believe that Aono had an almost supernatural ability to strike down anyone. Even he felt that a little, taking great care to insure that word of his plan didn't reach the subject in question. But Aono only seemed to respond to attacks, so as long as he kept a low profile, he was probably safe.
He glanced around subtly before opening his door; there was no one around. Considering how unpopular he was, this wasn't surprising, but he let out a sigh of relief regardless, thankful that he'd safely made it home. Opening the door he stepped inside, the door slowly swinging before stopping as he set down his satchel. He paused, noticing that all the lights were on, but he was certain that he'd shut them all off before he left. He thought he sensed movement behind him, a dark shape just appearing in his peripheral vision just as crushing blow struck him on the back of the head.
Lying face down on the floor, his senses scrambled, Kanou managed to look up and through the red haze that filled his vision. His eyes widened when he made out the dispassionate visage of Tsukune Aono standing over him, casually dropping the heavy desk lamp he'd just used.
"A-Aono… is-is something wrong…?" He'd had to force the words out to keep from mewling pathetically.
Tsukune didn't say a word, simply walking over to his closet and opening it, taking out a large sack and setting it on the bed.
"If-if we just talk things over, I-I know we can work this out…" The terrified student started reverting to his monster form, getting ready to release his toxic fumes to protect himself, and maybe ooze his way into the crack between the wall and floor to escape.
Noticing the change, Tsukune stopped moving sacks from the closet to the bed and quickly pulled something smaller from a bag. Kanou felt a new jolt of terror run down his spine when he recognized it as a respirator mask.
"I-I-I haven't done anything…" he whimpered.
Tsukune placed a fourth sack on the bed and drew a knife from behind his back. While it was intimidating, it wouldn't be that dangerous to the madslug in his monster form. But he simply used it to slice open one of the sacks, dropping the weapon on the bed and hefting the bag in his arms, carrying it over to the terrified Kanou.
"I know," Tsukune's voice was muffled by the mask he wore. "I'm just making sure you don't."
The monster had just enough time for his eyes to go wide when he saw the word 'Salt' on the bag, before Tsukune upended the entire sack onto its head.
Tsukune watched the tortured student thrashing wildly as the salt drew the water out of his body. It was just like pouring salt on a snail back home, only larger. The agonized cries filled his ears as he opened the second bag and dumped it on his hapless victim, the salt turning into a paste as it relentlessly pulled out the essential moisture in the young man. Tsukune figured the closest he could relate was using alcohol on a cut.
The human didn't hesitate to dump the contents of the third bag on his would be assassin, even with a number of witnesses watching from the door he'd purposely left open. The thrashing had gotten less violent, and Tsukune was certain that he'd gotten smaller; some pseudopods had shrivelled up, reminding him of noodles that had been left out too long. After a few minutes the figure stopped moving, the only sound it made was a cracking noise as the water level inside it dropped to levels too low to sustain life.
Tsukune used his knife to carefully prod the dried-out husk that had recently been a fellow student. It reminded him of beef jerky, and had the consistency of shoe leather. He probably didn't need to use the last bag of salt he'd brought, but he decided there was no need to save it. Besides, he hadn't mentioned bringing any of them back when he'd politely asked the head of the kitchen staff for them. With a practised ease he dropped the last twenty pound bag on the withered corpse, watching for a few minutes before he was satisfied that his work was done.
Opening a window to help vent the last of any toxic gas from the room, pulling off his mask (he'd have to thank Keito for lifting it from the custodial staff), and gathering the empty bags, Tsukune walked out of the room. He resheathed his knife as he left, the students who had watched him quickly making a hole to let him through. He noticed that while he was getting respectful looks from his fellow students, no one seemed that upset about what he'd done. Based on what Keito had told him about his victim, Tsukune wasn't that surprised.
Kanou Nagare hadn't been all that well liked by his peers, and based on some rumors that had been going around, a number of female students would be toasting his death when word of it spread. Tsukune ignored all the murmured comments made as he walked through the hallways, casually discarding the empty bags in the trash. He had reached the stairs when a voice called out to him.
"Why did you kill him?"
Tsukune paused and looked over his shoulder. "Ask him," he replied, before resuming his exit, leaving the gawkers behind.
The human shook his head and tried to push the memory away so he could concentrate on what he was doing. At one time it might have bothered him that he had no remorse over killing someone who hadn't technically attacked him, but he knew he was well beyond that now.
Tsukune let his eyes follow the words on the page, carefully considering them and their meaning. His analysis was interrupted when he noticed someone slowly approaching his desk. Not lifting his gaze from the paper before him, he chuckled almost silently at what had become a normal and expected ritual.
Despite his reputation, or perhaps because of it, he was still a source of curiosity to many of the students here. Tsukune might have been regarded as the most violent creature at Youkai Academy, but there'd always been some speculation over just what he was exactly. Only two people actually knew, and he was determined to make sure that number grew no higher.
That didn't mean that the students wouldn't try to find out.
Without fail, a couple of times every semester a student would come up to him and invariably ask a question. Though only a few asked just that one, they usually tried to work their way up to it. The students were either someone who'd declared that they were fearless, or someone who'd been volunteered without their consent. And judging by how this girl seemed to be trembling, she was likely one of the latter.
When she nervously cleared her throat to announce her presence, Tsukune put on his most friendly and non-threatening face. "Yes? How can I help you?"
The poor girl was shaking so much, she was fortunate she wasn't carrying a drink with her. "I-I was wondering… C-could I ask you a few questions…?"
"I think you just asked one," he deadpanned.
"N-not that," she stammered, looking as if she was afraid he'd leap up and tear her throat out. "The things that they say about you, are they true?"
"What things?" Tsukune replied, knowing full well what she meant, but simply keeping up appearances.
"Did you really jump out a ten storey window?"
Tsukune chuckled. The window seemed to get higher every time someone told the story. There wasn't even a building that tall on the entire grounds. "It was only two," he corrected. "I'd rather not have to do that again."
The girl seemed to be awed somewhat by his easygoing demeanor. "And you killed two vampires with your bare hands?"
"Just one," he replied nonchalantly. "I did… assault a witch afterwards. Maybe that's where the second came from." If Yukari had been a vampire, he'd have ended up dead.
A look of terrible wonder came over the student. "And what about your running? That when you run cross country, no one's ever caught you?"
Tsukune opened his mouth, then closed it, considering his answer. "That one is true," he admitted, a brief swelling of pride rising in him.
The girl shook her head, taking a deep breath, making Tsukune suspect she was getting ready to ask the one question she'd really been compelled to ask.
She didn't disappoint him.
"Mr. Aono, what kind of monster are you?" the girl from the back of his homeroom class blurted out.
Tsukune let out a sigh, dropping his gaze back to the Human-Monster Relations exam he'd been grading at his desk. His face wore a bittersweet expression when he met her eyes again.
"The worst kind."
End of He Who Fights Monsters.
Okay, that's the end of my first effort at Rosario + Vampire. I may write a side story or two for this one day, but for the most part I'm finished with this series.
Now, many reviewers have wondered how I'd deal with Moka's family, and the entire Alucard thing. Well, truth be told, I quit reading a little into Season 2. The artwork improved, but the story made me want to throw it against the wall. So as far as I'm concerned, Season 2 never happened, so I don't have to deal with any of it.
Thanks to everyone who left a review, whether positive or not, and for all the TvTropes love.
Special Thanks to Random1377 and Mereo Flere for pre-reading this. All mistakes are mine, not theirs.