It took a while, but here's another chapter! I'll probably have to go back and edit it again later though...
Chapter 2: Acceptance
Yuki holds a hand over her mouth and tries to stifle her laughter. She is unsuccessful and a giggle escapes anyway. It is the fourth time this has happened and it is no less hilarious—well, at least to her. She doubts the maids will be pleased. Luka looks up from his silent stare down with the now ruined china set and hopes he appears less flustered than he feels. Although the sound of Yuki's laughter is always pleasant to hear, he can't stop silently berating himself for his lack of control. It has only been a few weeks since his arrival at the Twilight Mansion and he finds living amongst humans far more difficult than he thought it would be—and in the most unsuspecting ways.
Yuki notices the tension in his shoulders and the way he won't meet her eyes. Reading Luka's moods was difficult at the best of times, but she's noticed it's become easier; either due to her getting better at it or him opening up more. She hopes it's the latter. Right now she can tell he is ridiculously embarrassed and even slightly ashamed of what he must think of as his repeated failure to keep his strength in check. In her opinion Luka was far too hard on himself. It was a simple mistake! She actually thought the duras was doing quite well, considering.
Here was the most powerful being she had ever encountered, probably the most powerful, next to the demon king himself, and yet his emotions and self-confidence seemed as fragile as the porcelain china teacup that had just shattered under his fingers.
The thought was so amusing that she felt laughter bubbling up again. This time she made no attempt to hold back, in hopes to reassure Luka that all was well. The teacup would be replaced, it's not like the Giou clan was hurting for money.
Luka relaxed at the sound, and even allowed himself to see the humor in the situation. He was still adjusting to the fragility of everything in her world and constantly worried whether she would eventually get fed up with the destruction that always followed him. He never wished to be a burden to her but he knew that he was already causing problems just by being here.
Put nicely, the other Giou clan members were very unpleasantly surprised when their revered princess suddenly turned up with an Opast linked around her arm.
Yuki sees the small upturn of Luka's lips, the way his stiff shoulders loosen and is glad she was the one to cause it. She knows how out of place her lover felt and knew it would take a lot of effort on both their parts before he was fully accepted. But he would be accepted. She felt that the day would come when Luka could interact with humans normally and he would be appreciated. She had already pointed out how having a powerful Opast on their side would benefit. And while this was true, she hoped that one day others would see him for more than just his strength.
Tachibana-san was once again teasing Luka and Yuki wondered why the duras put up with it. He was glad that this was the case of course, but it did make him wonder if Luka really minded as much as he appeared. Yuki rarely argued with others, and only fought when necessary, but the thought of ever getting on Luka's bad side terrified him. He wondered what the excitable man would do if the demon really snapped one day.
He'd only been at the Twilight Manor for about a week and was still getting used to the dramatic change in his life. Strangely, navigating the large house posed no problems as he'd feared in the beginning, and sharing living space was also nothing to blink at considering the environment he grew up in. It was the complexity of the relationships between his new friends and family members that tripped him up. Namely the demon in their midst.
The way the others interacted with Luka was both strange and fascinating. There were Tsukumo-kun and Aya-san who regarded the demon with respectful politeness, who were friendly but kept their distance; Shusei also fell into that category but his respectfulness was tinged with wariness and his politeness was a touch too cold to be considered friendly. Then there was Hotsuma-kun who always seemed to take anything Luka said the wrong way. Tachibana-san deliberately provoked Luka and seemed to make it his mission to annoy their resident duras at every turn and Tooma-san cowered and trembled in fear whenever Luka so much as looked at him. Yuki thought there was probably a story behind that. Surprisingly it was Toko-chan who Luka seemed to get along with the best. Toko-chan was one of the most friendly people Yuki had ever met but she was also very touchy-feely, which he knew took some getting used to.
Watching them over the last few days though he noticed that she never broke into Luka's personal space and seemed to know just when to back off or when it was okay to tease without offending. It was amazing and if he was being honest, watching them interact made a little tendril of jealousy rise up within himself that he just couldn't explain. Logically he knew that it was ridiculous to feel jealous. Toko-chan was a good friend, sweet and kind, and had known Luka for much longer than Yuki did. It made no sense, and he later felt ashamed, but when he found out that he was the first to call Luka by his real name, not 'Zess', it was the happiest he'd felt in weeks.
The commotion died down and Yuki blinked only to realize that he'd spaced out. He shook his head a little and hoped his face wasn't as red as it felt; he really needed to stop zoning so much. Tachibana-san had disappeared and now it was only Luka standing in the foyer, still looking irritated by whatever parting shot the hat wearing curator undoubtedly made. It was weird, but somehow the scene made Yuki smile, and if the expression was a touch too knowing he didn't notice.
Yuki's own feelings for Luka were confusing. He felt a deep connection and sense of safety whenever he was near the duras and sometimes he said things without thinking, and it felt like he'd said them before even though he'd only just met Luka. He was actually pretty worried about this borderline obsession he had with Luka and he really hoped it was just a bad case of hero worship. The guy did save his life multiple times after all. That had to be it. That and Luka was also a person he hoped to become good friends with, to be as familiar with him as Toko-chan was. Maybe more so.
Tachibana was as irritating as ever, shouting out inappropriate things about Yuki and 'forbidden love' like it was all a big joke. He didn't get half of the references but they were annoying all the same. What was worse was that Yuki was standing right next to the stairs, though by the vacant expression Luka doubted he was paying attention. At least he hoped so. Luka really didn't want to get in to past lives with Yuki at the moment or have him asking what Tachibana was going on about. He didn't need to burden Yuki with that knowledge.
Watching Yuki grow comfortable in his new home over the last eight days was a series of déjà vu moments. Memories of another Yuki in a different time but same setting kept overlapping with reality, driving Luka to distraction far too often. In response he tried to put some distance between himself and Yuki, to give the both of them some time to adjust. This was easier said than done since Yuki had an uncanny ability to find him wherever he went. He wondered if it had anything to do with the buried memories of his previous life; the same way Yuki knew his way around the manor despite never having set foot in the building in this lifetime.
Either way, Luka needed to stop confusing this present Yuki with the past. It wasn't fair to Yuki and he was only hurting himself. Yuki was starting 'school' the next day, and although Luka didn't really get why humans found this activity so important, he needed to have his head on straight if he was going to be able to protect Yuki out in the open. He didn't think any duras would be stupid enough to confront a being of his power recklessly but he couldn't be too careful. Besides, Takashiro said something about 'driving'…
Well there it is! Hope it meets standard and many thanks to all those who favorited/followed P&P, and my one reviewer!