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Join Date: Dec 2009
There may come a day when I update this story at a normal time. But it is not this day.
Setsuna was no stranger to being late. Being friends with Konoka, Asuna, and Negi meant that mad dashes to their classroom in the morning because someone hadn’t managed to wake up early enough were to be expected. In time, being late had almost become part of their daily training regimen. Running at a fairly demanding pace while avoiding throngs of people in as much of a rush as they were was good exercise.
However, she could count the times she had been late for an actual event—instead of just its preparation—on one hand.
So when she ran into the headmaster’s office thirty minutes after her appointment was scheduled, it was fair to say that she was most assuredly out of her element, and very, very embarrassed—and possibly a little jumpier than usual. That feeling was not helped in the least by the abrupt way Mana had chosen to wake her up.
Or the lack of sleep.
“I’m so sorry sir,” Setsuna immediately started babbling, bowing as low as she could without making it painfully obvious that she wanted to hide her face in shame. “With everything that’s happened it completely slipped my mind that I was supposed to report back to you and—”
Setsuna stopped talking and dared to raise her head. The headmaster smiled at her.
“I should be thanking you, Setsuna-kun.” He took a sip of his coffee, looking so relaxed that Setsuna almost felt like it had been expected for her to show up late. “Looking at the past few, you might not know it, but I am far from appreciating working this early on a Saturday. In fact, maybe we should arrange these meetings at a later time for both our sakes. Would that be any problem for you?”
The mortified swordswoman shook her head. “No, Headmaster, of course not. Even if we stayed at the earlier time, I would still make sure I was better prepared than I was today. I will definitely arrive on time in the future. I just—I’m sorry sir, but I completely forgot.”
Konoemon waved her excuses aside with a wave of his hand. “I have no doubt you will. As for this morning, please do not concern yourself with not being on time. I have hardly gone out of my way to remind you, and considering how trying this past week must have been for you, I should have. Asking you to keep so many new duties straight in your head was unfair.”
“Still sir, I apologize for making you wait. And, uh, I will gladly pay any fee Tatsumiya required for waking me up,” Setsuna added, wincing slightly.
The headmaster chuckled into his mug. “Thankfully, she was willing enough to help you without putting a price tag on it this time. Something as mundane as waking a roommate wasn’t enough to warrant her usual rates.”
Setsuna sagged in relief. Since returning from the Magical World, the gunslinger had started charging for even the smallest service provided by her. According to Negi, it had to do with something Shiori had done while she was acting as Asuna.
What that was, Setsuna had no idea; she was just glad that, for now, her wallet wasn’t one of the victims of Mana’s skyrocketing rates. Her tab was sizable enough without anything extra added to it.
Konoemon put aside his coffee and leaned forward. “Now, onto business; how did Tsukuyomi-kun handle her first week as a student?”
Setsuna shrugged her shoulders uncomfortably.
At least, the girl was following the rules that had been set down for her a week ago. Even the incident with Tsuji hadn’t been a result of Tsukuyomi deliberately misbehaving; she just didn’t stop to think that mundanes—or even people in general—might have a problem with her casually mentioning murder.
Killing people, Setsuna corrected herself, remembering the careful distinction Tsukuyomi made. She didn’t know for sure that it had been murder.
Beyond following the letter of the rules mentioned by the headmaster, Tsukuyomi wasn’t overly concerned with controlling herself. Setsuna was pretty sure she spent most of their classes doodling or otherwise distracting herself, and her casual approach to their interaction was maddening. Sometimes it felt like she’d forgotten how close they came to killing each other.
But Setsuna didn’t say any of that. She informed the headmaster that Tsukuyomi had been prompted into making some unfortunate remarks that could easily lead to Tsuji suspecting her of something sinister if he cared to think about it and left it at that. That Setsuna found the blonde’s default behavior annoying was her problem, not her superior’s.
Konoemon did not seem too concerned with their episode with Tsuji (most mundanes were not going to take throwaway remarks about death seriously at all), so thankfully Setsuna wasn’t forced to go into detail about what was said.
He did, however, want to know what she was doing about her own training.
“I’ve mostly been using our room,” Setsuna said. “I can’t leave Tsukuyomi alone, so it’s best just to wake up before she does.”
Konoemon stroked his beard thoughtfully. “That’s hardly a convenient way to train, Setsuna-kun.”
Setsuna couldn’t really respond to that. He was right, but she couldn’t think of any other way to watch Tsukuyomi without neglecting her training.
“Negi-kun spends his lunch hour with Evangeline, correct?”
The headmaster smiled. “Well then, considering your report, I don’t think it would be unreasonable if you left Tsukuyomi-kun alone in your room while you joined him. Unless you can think of a reason why stricter supervision would be required?”
Yes, she could think of several. Easily. But most of them were personal in some way, and the thought of spending every day of Tsukuyomi’s confinement trying not to destroy her dorm room worried her. And an even shallower part of her was reminded that training in Evangeline’s resort meant spending time with her friends… her partner.
So all she could really do was smile and nod her head at the headmaster’s suggestion.
Setsuna left the headmaster’s office feeling uncomfortably on edge.
One of the many conditions that allowed Tsukuyomi to stay at Mahora, under the Ouroboros Seal, instead of somewhere else, was that Setsuna report once a week on her behavior. Konoemon had an unusual degree of trust in his students, but he was not comfortable with having someone with a record like Tsukuyomi’s running around campus with only one person aware of her activities.
Setsuna agreed with that, but somehow, being reminded that her roommate was actually being cooperative bothered her. She wanted to be free to hate Tsukuyomi in peace. That was better than looking at her and seeing an innocent girl that could turn into a heartless, bloodthirsty monster at the drop of the hat.
And last night, lying awake for countless hours, that was all she could see.
It was disturbing.
Before Tsukuyomi opened her mouth yesterday, Setsuna had done a very good job not thinking about their past interaction. She let herself dislike Tsukuyomi, but the memories influencing that stayed far away from her conscious thoughts. The less she thought about her history with the girl, the better.
But last night, that was all she could think of.
Setsuna slowed her pace. Tsukuyomi had been sleeping in later and later, so there wasn’t much danger of the girl waking up and causing trouble. She could afford to have a little time alone with her thoughts.
Why did Tsukuyomi kill her parents?
She kept coming back to that question. Setsuna thought she knew Tsukuyomi pretty well—not that she was happy about that, but she did.
And she just… didn’t understand. She couldn’t say it was out of character, because Tsukuyomi’s love for killing was well-established, but it felt weird. Tsukuyomi might like killing people, but she didn’t always—
“You’re… cuter… alive.”
Why wouldn’t she make that exception for her own parents?
Tsukuyomi flopped down on Setsuna’s nest, curling up to the warmer parts of the bedding. It was a little frustrating to feel the lovely heat from something that couldn’t bleed, but it was still nice. Somehow, the room seemed to be getting colder every day.
And Setsuna wasn’t there.
That was more frustrating than the lack of warmth.
The note left by her bed said that her Senpai was attending a meeting of some sort with the headmaster, and would be back shortly. Tsukuyomi didn’t know when the note was left, but she thought she’d been awake for long enough that if the note had any truth to it, Setsuna would be back by now.
She couldn’t just leave the room and check for her roommate either; the wards kept on blocking her from getting out.
She did not like being stuck in a high school dorm room without Setsuna.
Tsukuyomi rubbed at her eyes. Things were always so much better when her Senpai was around. There was an extra spark to their interaction that Tsukuyomi’s past victims had always deprived her of. They bled and died satisfactorily, quite a few of them screaming, but after the high wore off, there was nothing left.
Setsuna was a very special victim. She was there again and again, surviving everything Tsukuyomi threw at her. It was such a thrill to fight with her that Tsukuyomi hadn’t even noticed how bloodless their first few fights were. Fighting Setsuna was heavenly.
…Was that why she’d felt happy when Setsuna walked away breathing?
No, Tsukuyomi noted. Back then, she’d been certain of her own death. The idea of living long enough to have another proper fight with her Senpai wasn’t something she’d entertained seriously. It was a nice thought, but bleeding to death didn’t usually lead to more battles.
They would certainly have a battle like that again though. Tsukuyomi grinned. She could feel her blood begin to boil at the thought. A true fight where only one of them could walk away to kill another day—
No, that wasn’t right. Something in Tsukuyomi’s chest twitched.
She sighed and rolled over to bury her face in Setsuna’s pillow.
She wished school was every day of the week. Now that she had an idea for removing the Seal, being kept from interacting with one of the key components of her idea was annoying. She needed the Seal
. It was one thing to have strange thoughts about an opponent when she was bleeding to death.
It was another to feel strange things about her favorite pastime.
When was Setsuna coming back?
At first it was fun to poke around the room and look at her Senpai’s stuff, but all of the fun toys were locked up tight under the bed. Tsukuyomi had tried to unlock the boxes, but some paranoid person had set up the most convoluted chain of padlocks.
Then she’d looked around on the floor for something she could use as a weapon. No matter how careful Setsuna was being around her, she was too vigilant to not keep a spare within easy reach. If Tsukuyomi had a place she consistently slept in (before her imprisonment), she’d want several things hidden around the area.
On the other hand… Setsuna knew her better than anyone else. Not as well as she’d thought—yesterday proved that—but still well enough to know how she’d behave if left alone in their room. And Setsuna definitely did not like taking any chances when it came to her.
In the end, Tsukuyomi had dutifully searched the rest of the room without expecting to find anything. She did find something, but it was only useful in psychological warfare. She didn’t mind that, but she only liked it when it was
with slicing people.
Not that a picture of Setsuna with her dear Ojou-sama was likable in any way.
Tsukuyomi pulled the heavily worn picture out of her pocket and scowled at it. She recognized the clothes, and that helped, but she did not like the way Konoka was clinging to her Senpai.
She couldn’t touch Setsuna because the high the older swordswoman tended to induce was something reserved for when she had a weapon in her hands. In her current state, she was forced to avoid physical contact with Setsuna. Also, her Senpai disliked touching her.
Setsuna’s arm was wrapped around Konoka in the picture.
They would probably never fight—never spill each other’s blood ever because Setsuna was nothing if not diligent when it came to her duties. That was something that would never happen.
All the same, the small photo of them was enough to make Tsukuyomi feel somewhat jealous.
The door squeaked open and she looked up from the source of her frustrations to see her Senpai’s cute face go from pensive to ghostly pale and horrified. When she looked down again, the photo was gone, and Setsuna was several inches away from her hand.
Tsukuyomi was tempted to reach across those several inches, but she unfortunately knew better.
Besides, it had been far too long since she’d had a chance to catch Setsuna off-guard. She smiled at the dismayed expression on her cute little Senpai’s face. Far, far too long.
did you get this?”
“It was next to your nest.”
“It’s not a—what are you doing on my bed?!”
Tsukuyomi propped herself up, keeping their distance the same and making Setsuna flush in something that didn’t look much like anger to her. Her grin broadened. Oh, that was just adorable. She was suddenly not feeling at all happy with Setsuna’s ex-primary charge, but really, Setsuna could be so impossibly cute.
“This is not a bed. That,” she pointed at her bed, “is a bed.”
Setsuna took several deep breaths and very carefully, very slowly, opened Yūnagi’s case and slipped the picture inside. “Not mine.”
“You’re more than welcome to change that.”
After I find something to fight you with. Not before. It can’t be before.
Setsuna’s unfortunate, predictable reaction to that was to put half a room of space between them. “No.”
“I keep forgetting; you don’t like them.”
“No you don’t,” Setsuna said sharply.
Tsukuyomi raised her eyebrows, but she didn’t think she pulled off a very affronted expression. That was more like it. After yesterday, she’d been slightly concerned. She was now perfectly willing to forget Setsuna keeping a photo of her and her ex-charge next to the place she slept.
Setsuna crossed her arms and looked away.
Tsukuyomi took advantage of the lack of attention and let her eyes linger on the older girl’s features.
She looked exhausted.
Tsukuyomi wasn’t used to that.
Setsuna had obviously slept poorly last night. After Konoka started spending more time with the bodyguard, the dark circles under her eyes had all but vanished. Something must have happened to put her in one of her over-thinking moods yesterday.
Setsuna stopped her imitation of a gargoyle and met Tsukuyomi’s eyes with the most peculiar, piercing expression. Tsukuyomi stopped wondering about Setsuna’s odd moods and sat up straight.
That was a serious look she recognized.
“What made you kill your parents?
Tsukuyomi blinked. “Their blood was warm.”
“And that’s all the reason you needed?”
“Yes.” That was all the reason she ever needed.
Killing was the reason she lived. Why didn’t Setsuna understand that?
Setsuna didn’t say anything for several minutes. She just kept looking at Tsukuyomi. It was enough to make the murderess feel very lightheaded.
Right now, there could be no question that her Senpai was looking only at her.
Setsuna sighed and looked out the window, breaking off her intense gaze and leaving Tsukuyomi feeling tingly all over. “You’re going to be spending your lunch hours alone on school days.”
“You’re supposed to keep an eye on me at all times, aren’t you?”
“Because you have behaved yourself so well this past week,” Setsuna almost growled the words, “the headmaster has decided that you can be trusted enough to not cause any problems alone in our room for one hour a day. Since I need to keep up my training, I will be leaving you here every school day at noon to work with Negi-sensei and the others.”
Tsukuyomi felt her good mood evaporate, a dull chill taking over the hollow of her chest. Her heartbeat was strangely loud.
Setsuna was going to be spending even more time alone with Konoka.
She was going to leave her in this empty room, alone, for an hour without anyone to play with, five days a week.
And all of the time Tsukuyomi lost would go to Konoka.
Training or not, with her partner in the same room, Setsuna’s thoughts were always,
Her Senpai just wouldn’t be there, would she?
She’d be gone.
That—Tsukuyomi didn’t like that.
She didn’t like this room without Setsuna in it.
Setsuna catches a break and Tsukuyomi has yet another problem to deal with. Poor Tsukuyomi.
Argh, when I first decided that only one day would be dealt with per chapter, I didn't realize how difficult it would be. I really want to rush things along and murder my pacing to get to the fun stuff at this point, but since the start of the fun stuff is only one chapter away, the planned pace lives. Barely.
...Note that people have different definitions of fun. The aforementioned fun falls under my definition.
Hopefully, the next chapter will be up soon, but now that Tsukuyomi's getting serious page time in the manga I'm panicking about my characterization more than usual, so things are a little slow. Sorry about that.
Thanks for reading.
Last edited by Merctrin; 2010-06-25 at
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