Disclaimer: I do not own the Shin Megami Tensei series or any characters or music referenced hereafter.
Time never waits.
It delivers all equally to the same end.
You, who wish to safeguard the future,
However limited it may be...
You will be given one year;
Go forth, never falter,
With your heart as your guide...
I can't say I'm a normal person. Then again, who is? Of course that's just the kind of question an abnormal person would ask.
When I boarded the mainline train from the airport I was already in uncommon circumstances from the get-go.
My parents died ten years ago. Since then I've lived on my own, either in a room of the local orphanage, or in a school dormitory backed by the country's funding. Not much of a family life really.
Regardless, myself being a person prone to unexpected and unusual situations for years now, have found myself buried all too deep in a situation more unusual and unexpected than anything that I've experienced before.
Shadows, Tartaurus, The Dark Hour.
Despite the specialized extra-curricular execution sector duties that had been thrust upon me, I felt fairly content passing the days with my and friends along the way.
Those of us living together in the dormitory we now call home, and headquarters for SEES, have become closer to a family than anything I have had since all those years ago.
Unfortunately, when you mix supernatural happenings and a group of highschoolers, you end up with either a mainstream anime…
…Or a magical fuck up.
Guess which one I woke up to?
The alarm went off at 6:00 a.m. as it always did, and my hand regretfully silenced the dull beeping as I got out of bed.
While school wouldn't begin until 8:30, Gekkoukan students like many others are expected to show up and hour or two early to participate in school clubs or sports before the day begins.
Considering the number of clubs and sports I was a part of, I had no say in the matter.
I washed my face in the sink and looked out the window while brushing my teeth. The thrush that had built a nest in a tree between our dormitory and the adjacent building had lain three eggs the day before. I wonder if they'd hatched?
Nope, not yet.
Jacket on, headphones on, volume up. I'm off.
It's a nice walk. Brisk morning weather and everything just lighting up in shades of pastel blue. The morning sun warms my face as I pace along, I really enjoy this time of day. I would enjoy it even more if I could get some more sleep out of it.
A short train ride from Iwatodai and I'm at the school gates. Thus begins another average day, in the life of average me.
Mrs. Toriumi lectures 2-F on the finer points of the English language, as usual. I discreetly try to lay my head down for a few extra minutes of sleep when I hear my name called.
"Hayate maybe you can answer this one."
I step out of my seat and nonchalantly slip my hands into my pockets. What? No…I wasn't trying to sleep through a class. Not I.
"Give an example of a statement in the future progressive tense."
"I'll be leaving in a few minutes." I say with the same deadpan expression as always.
"Good! I didn't think you'd get that one."
The class murmured appreciatively as I sat back down. Now that I had been called upon, I was safe until the end of class. Naptime…
Chihiro's dulcet tones snapped me out of my daze. I blinked awake and turned my head as it rested on my palm, arm balanced on the student council table.
"Oh, uhm…I need you to take a look o-over these flyers."
She let out her breath and proffered the sheets to me. While Chihiro and I had hung out together before, she still had some shaky nerves when it came to talking to boys; more so in the student council room where she had to talk to them almost every day.
Then again she had confided that she was more confident in speaking with ME…
I gave her a winning smile and accepted the papers.
"Sure Chihiro, I'd be glad to help."
And as she stood there blushing I serenely scanned the papers only pretending to read like the king of assholes that I am.
"They're fine. I'll drop them off with Nakamura-san."
She smiled and shuffled away in embarrassment. I slid over to Nakamura's seat and dropped the papers in front of him.
"We need you to edit these."
He stared at my retreating back from behind the stacks of forms he had to fill out before going home today with tears in his eyes.
When lunchtime rolled around Keisuke from the music club caught me leaving 2-F.
"Heeey, Minato-san! Coming to art-club today?"
Hiraga is unfortunately a person who will innately get on your nerves. However, being born without a personality, I can stomach this.
But I don't want to.
"I have other plans today."
"Oh, sorry to hear that. Well…" Hiraga slowly walked back to where he had come from. I stood there and watched him go to be sure he would not attempt a recovery swoop on me.
Now to go watch Yuko bounce around in sweaty gym clothes.
Kendo practice was exhilarating as usual. I was the best student in the club thanks in no small part to my time spent swinging live steel in Tartaurus. I slipped off the helmet and let the sweat drip off my face.
"Minato-kun! You did great as usual." Yuko said as she stepped up to me.
I looked up at her from my seat on the floor, shinai resting across my chest and over my shoulder.
"As usual, huh?" I quipped, "Are you saying I don't put any effort into this?"
"Well aren't you just perfect…" She bent at the waist and stared me in the eye. 90 degrees.
My grin gave me away.
We both laughed and she helped me to my feet.
"Today was a good practice. We're going to dominate the regionals next year!"
Her lip stuck out in a cute pout, "Why can't you be more serious about this?"
I paused and thought of something.
"There isn't anything more I want to win."
"Why?!" Yuko was suddenly taken aback.
I called to her over my shoulder as I headed for the men's change room.
"I already have you…as a coach."
I could only imagine her tanned face darken prettily to the suggestive first half of my statement.
After school we helped clean the classroom with the rest of 2-F, and then I started to walk home. This was the time of day I took to reflect. Chagall Café also helps if I feel in the mood for it. The liquid cocaine they put in the coffee might have something to do with it.
Later on I walk up the steps of our dormitory and cross the threshold like I had so many times before.
"Hi, how was your day?"
Sweet little Fuuka always takes the time to greet you as you come home from a tiring day. She would make a great wife, come to think of it.
I replied to her kind welcome as I walked in. Junpei sat on the opposite couch, playing through Final Fantasy Dissidia on his PSP. He was using the new version, his old one given to me, which was in turn given to Elizabeth who promptly returned it. Wheee.
Akihiko was eating beef bowl at the table. I left him to replenishing his nutrients and whatnot. We can't have him punching shadows on an empty stomach.
I trot up the stairs and passed Yukari painting her nails.
"Oh hey! You're back earlier than usual."
"I was a little tired after practice." A cop-out, but I felt entitled to a little break every now and then.
I also had to slip away before Kaz got me to race him around the school again. I don't know how many times we have to prove-
Oh, there's Mitsuru-sempai; elegantly stepping down the stairs with a bounce in her brilliant red hair.
"How was your day?"
"Fine, thank you."
"Splendid. I appreciated your help today in student council."
She continued towards the ground floor, not missing a beat.
"We won't be going to Tartaurus tonight, there's repairs being done on the transceivers. You're free to take the night off."
And with that, she was gone.
Sometimes I have trouble believing she is 17. Mitsuru has a commanding poise that few match. I can only imagine what a knockout she's going to be at 21.
I stand there thinking over this for a minute, and then turn and walk to my room, saying goodnight to Yukari on the way.
I open my door to find Aigis sitting on my bed.
"You have arrived." She stated in her unique monotone.
Aigis is one-of-a-kind. She's an anti-shadow weapon built by the Kirijo Group to, you guessed it, fight shadows. Despite that, her human side has begun to take root, and the mechanical maiden now is considered a real person by SEES. From the moment we met her however, she has retained some sort of priority order in her memory banks to be with me. I'm not quite sure what to make of that.
"I came to ask you a question." She paused, and then stepped closer.
"How can I be more human?"
"I wish to be more like the others, so that I have a better ability to integrate with the group." She replied.
How do you answer such a question?
"I don't know how to answer that." I finally admit.
Aigis looks down, "I see."
She glides out of my room as I step aside. I feel bad about not being able to answer her question.
I strip and change into my night clothes. I glance outside and notice that the thrush eggs had hatched at some point during the day. I slip under the covers, the sheets feel great as I finally lie down.
Had I chanced a glance out the window, I might have noticed the whole night sky flicker once, just as the dark hour hit. Something that had never happened before…