Character list: Isao Hironori (Morry), Yoshihiro Renge (Mani Mani)
Total words: 7740 words.
Summary: They somehow manage to keep their relationship assured, but Hiro still cannot let go of the fact that Renge is caught and threatened by Shimamura. So he has the need to do something to keep her safe.
Trigger warning: none.
*A balancé in ballet is a step where a dancer moves while alternating balance between their feet. The rhythm is usually in three counts like a waltz and has the motion of going “down, up, down” with their legs.
Cover by Mani.
Hiro opens his eyes slowly to see... whites in front of him. It's also a bit dark, he guess it's almost night time. His light brown pupils moves to the corner of his eyes to see a face so familiar.
To see Renge is fast asleep.
His heart races with warmth and amusement to realize he's been sleeping on Renge's lap. It seems that he always can sleep peacefully with her presence.
Smirking softly, he reluctantly and slowly gets up. He yawns widely and feels like he's been get enough sleep. Then he turns himself to face the sleeping girl. Her body leans onto the door, and it looks a bit uncomfortable for her. Hiro smiles guiltily at that.
He brings his hand to rubs Renge's arm gently, trying to wake her up as he speaks softly. "Hey... wake up. We have to go."
The girl didn't notice that she has dozed off, her eyelid flutters slowly when she heard Hiro's voice.
She sluggishly answer him, eyes still half open. "...good morning...?"
The girl yawns, her small hand covers her mouth. "How do you feel Isao kun?" she asks still gathering her will to wake up.
Hiro chuckles as he let go of her arm. "Good morning. Though, it's almost night time. That's why we have to go."
The boy grins as he answer her. "I'm fine, now. Thanks to you."
Hiro stands up lazily and stretches himself, letting out a groan. Then he offers a hand to Renge to help her getting up. "I'll walk you home."
"Hmm... oh! You don't have to, it's okay," she says, rubbing her eyes. Then the girl takes his hand so he can get up.
Except, because of her weird sleeping position, her leg is now cramped. Her back feels sore. She let out a tiny whimper and slumps back on the floor.
"I'm sorry, it looks like... My legs hasn't woke up yet..." She looks away in embarrassment.
Hiro snorts softly as she falls down on the floor. "Just take it easy. You also looked... not really relaxed there. Sorry about that."
Then he squats down beside her to help her relieve her legs, but not touching them as it will make her feel uncomfortable. "Straighten your legs. They will recover fast that way." He advises her.
The girl tries move her legs, but no avail. The slightest touch makes her squeak in pain. "I... can't move my legs..." she confesses.
"Yes, you can." Hiro convinces her. "Here, I'll help you."
After he says that, the boy moves behind her and slips his both arms beneath her armpits. Gingerly, he lifts her and pulls her back so that her legs are no longer under her sitting position. He keeps pulling her back until her legs are straightened.
He put her down gently and moves to her side. "Now let's just wait until your legs feel better." Then Hiro turns his head to look at her and let out a small laugh. "Sorry. I guess my head is quite heavy for you." He jokes lightly.
Renge whines when Hiro drags her, she held her breath while the tingles of the cramp courses through her body. But after a while, the cramps goes away and she can finally breathe again.
"T-thank you," she says massaging her legs. "It’s fine, it's just an awkward position for me." She smiles at him, a bit awkwardly.
Hiro chuckles softly and grins widely at her.
But then his expression turns blank as he observes her face. His eyes stop at hers, staring a bit expectantly.
"Yoshi... Are you..." He speaks softly and he stops for a moment. "Are you... still afraid of me?"
Renge widens her eyes at the question, she goes silent for a bit, and then she holds his sleeves.
"N-no... not anymore." She bows to him apologetically. "I'm sorry about that Isao-kun, I must have brought a lot of stress on you."
A bit surprised with the small tug on his sleeves, Hiro snorts and sighs in relieved. It's like all the heavy burden on his shoulders has been lift up. He presses his nose lightly on the side of her temple. "I'm glad."
Then he backs off from her a bit to look at her. "It's fine. It's not like this is my first time feeling this way." Hiro brings his hand to touch her cheek with the pads of his fingers. His touch is lingering and ever so lightly, like he's hesitant. Like he's afraid that he might break her.
"I wish I could protect you from him. Prevented him from threatening you." His brows are twisted into a regretful frown. "It must be really hard on you. I understand well why you're afraid of me when you discovered I'm the same as him."
His hand slowly and gently cups her face, nestles snugly on her cheek. "I'm so sorry."
Renge is a bit surprised when Hiro came close to her like that, the feeling of him brushing her lightly and gently makes her a bit ticklish. Red slowly creeping into her face.
"I-its fine, Isao-kun! You don't need to apologize..." The girl's face is probably completely red now. "It’s not your duty to keep me safe or anything, I’m the one who should make sure of that," she continues.
"I must have worried you a lot these past week, I’m really... sorry about that"
Hiro just smiles at her softly and ruffles her hair. He stands up to tidy up his bag and pick it up, then back to Renge and offers his hand again.
"Then allow me to take you home to make up for that." He smirks teasingly, and then he pouts. "It's been a long week without you. You had made me so anxious." He says with a whiny tone, jokingly guilt-tripping the girl. Just another trick so she will let him to be with her for a little longer. And also to lift the awkwardness between them after all those talks.
"Oh--umm... Okay then." The girl fixes her hair, takes his hand and finally gets up.
"I'm so-" Renge stops before changing her words. "Thank you, Isao-kun." She gives him an apologetic smile.
"Let me get my bag first." The girl scoot away to take her back and then back to Hiro. "Okay, I'm ready."
The boy scoffs lightly as a reply to her thanks.
When Renge returns from getting her bag, Hiro once again observes her form and quiet.
Their relationship is almost broken over their difference in their power. How he scares her by having the same power as Shimamura. Hiro was the one behind the instant-euphoria victim. He ate his soul just for a taste. He paid no mind who his victim was, how many people he hunt, what status that person has as his victim. He even already forget how his first hunt taste was like. Sure, it was kind of fulfilling, but that's it.
He just eat their soul if he thinks it's necessary. Hiro just has one, big target. And that target is the only one he cares for. That man is a must.
And that side of him scares her. Of course it does. And Hiro doesn't want to lose her because of it. One of the reason he told her to not go to the sea again.
The boy takes a step closer to Renge, and he opens his arms to embrace her. He buries his face to her hair. "Thank you for trusting me." A pause. "...even if you don't, at least you're no longer afraid of me."
Hiro strokes her long hair. "Promise me you won't go to the sea again. And if there's anything happen... just tell me."
The girl is surprised by then sudden embrace, she really should get used to his impulsive skinship. Renge smiles again and nods at his words, she returns the hug and pats his back reassuringly.
Though her smile doesn't last long when Hiro brings up the 'sea's again, she shakes her head and answers. "I can't... I can't promise you that Isao-kun," she says glumly, her hands grips on his back.
Hiro scowls behind her hair at her answer. Why can't she understand? Can't she see the situation she's in? Doesn't she know how dangerous Shimamura is? Why can't she just stay at home, be safe and stay away from him and the other?
He cannot say that Shimamura and he are not alone. He cannot reveal his teammates identity to her just to make her know what she might be facing. He knows that she might not be alone too, and who knows that she will hinders him and his team from advancing to their plan.
Not alone, huh? Well, if she's not alone, then she might be... okay with them. But he doesn't like the idea how her friends protecting her instead of him. Yet he has no choice if she insists to go to the sea. But he's also not sure if this teammates of her can be trusted or not.
Now, he have an idea.
Hiro releases her slowly, his hands are on her shoulders. The boy is staring at Renge with a tired frown. He sighs and closes his eyes before he speaks, "Alright. If you insist, then I can't force you."
Then he opens his eyes, revealing his seriousness. "But you must confirm me two things first. Answer me honestly, then you can go there as you like."
Hiro's serious gaze is making her nervous, she wonders what he will ask. Hopefully he won't ask about her team mates or something related to that.
Renge gives him a puzzled look and asked. "O-okay, what is it?"
There's a moment of a tense silence before he speak again with a small smile to loosen the tension a bit. "Just answer me with a yes or no. Simple as that." He explains.
But then the tension returns when he asks the question. "First. These people who need you... are they the other Persona-user like you?"
He gives a pause before asking the next question. "Second. Is Inoshishi Chiura one of these people?"
Then he goes silent as he keep staring at Renge in the eye, expecting her honest answer. He cannot tell her why he asks these questions because he might have the same power as her. Like how she knows him being the same as Shimamura. He wants to know the answer first before telling her.
And that if she asks him.
Renge's heart beats faster listening to his questions. What is she going to do? She goes silent for a while, thinking hard on what to do.
But maybe if this will make him worry about her less, she could tell him a little.
The girl contemplates on revealing Chiura's powers, she doesn't want to tell Hiro in his stead. But isn't he allied with Shimamura? If that's it then it's just a matter of time that her underclassman's identity is known to Hiro.
"....if I tell you, what will you do with this information?" She asks, looking straight into his eyes.
He keeps his stare neutral as he receives another question. Of course it's for his own information with who she's going with at the sea. He wants to know what kind of people surround her.
Though... he has a hunch that the group at the hanami back then is her actual teammates. Because he felt so many presence of Persona-users, but he still doesn't know who they are. But some that he's certain are Daisuke, Chiura and Renge. Though they are fainter than the ones who he already witnessed like Shimamura, Shenji and Aru, he can tell because their presence feel... different.
But of course he cannot tell her that. He pulls a small smile as he answers her. "I just want to know that you won't be alone when you go there. At least there will be someone accompany you while I'm not there beside you. And that boy looked... dependable, so maybe I can trust him." At least that's not a lie. And though he says that out loud, he's seething inside.
Dependable? Huh. That brat is no more than a bothersome and hindrance.
Renge hums as she is still doubtful about Hiro's intention. She knows he cares about her, but spilling her friend's information is another thing.
"I... I can't, I can't tell you about it..." She looks down, guilt painting her expression.
"I'm really... sorry about this..." She grips her arm tightly. "If you really want to know, I think it would be better to ask him directly, and not from me."
His grip on Renge unconsiously goes tighter. He inwardly gritting his teeth and irritated.
A loyal dog, huh? Seems she won't sell out her teammates then. Since she cannot confirm his questions, his hunch will remain a hunch. Just a simple yes or no from her will completely confirm his thoughts.
He's growling mentally. So she's not totally trust him yet, it seems. Hiro wants to make a certain situation if she won't cooperate, but he thinks the better of it. He cannot risk the girl distancing herself from him again. Not when he already makes her to not feel afraid of him anymore.
If he does that, there might be possibility that she won't be coming back again.
Hiro closes his eyes as he let out a tired sigh. He needs to think another way. He cannot force her or even harm her.
This girl really makes things difficult. This is why he wished that the girl wouldn't have the power so she wouldn't be involved in this kind of thing. She will be a big hindrance for him.
And Hiro's eye twitch when she say to him to ask the brat directly. How can that brat even give him an honest answer? He knows pretty well that brat is a hard-headed, he knows he won't admit it, just like her. Just thinking about it gives him headache.
He refrain himself from massaging his temple with his fingers. Why do things have to go this difficult again?
The boy finally opens his eyes as he knows what to do. For this one, he hopes Renge will cooperate with this. "Fine. I take it that you cannot confirm my questions, then." He informs.
"I'll change it, then." Hiro stares at Renge straight in the eyes. "Tonight. We will go to the sea. I will witness your Persona, as you will mine. That way, I can completely acknowledge your presence, so I can watch you whenever you are near me."
He closes their proximity, his eyes are directly in front of her and stares at her expectantly. "This is for your own sake. And also mine. For your safety." He whispers softly as he gently tightens his grip on her upper arms. "I won't let Shimamura get to you again. So please." He frowns rather desperately. "Don't make things difficult for me. I want you to be safe. I want to protect you."
The girl nods. "O... okay." Their close distance is making her a bit uncomfortable but she decided to comply to his request.
At least this time it's about her own persona. If it's about that she doesn't mind telling him.
Renge thinks on how he's going to... keep an eye on her. Does he maybe have the same kind of power like she has? But maybe not as specialized as hers if he needs to have a look at the Personae to differentiate it.
"Tonight then... Um, where should we meet?" She asks but his close face is surely making her a bit nervous. "Also, Isao-kun, you're too close," She blurts out.
Hiro sighs in relieved. At least this one she can agree with him. "Thank you." He mutters softly.
Before answering to her question, he smirks teasingly at her. He brings his both hands to hold her face, tilts his head a bit to face him and inclines his head. "Why, are you feeling uncomfortable with me?"
Without waiting her answer, he let her go, but not before he presses his lips to her forehead for a short time. He takes a step back to give her some space.
"Let's go to the shrine. We'll meet at the gate. There will be less people around." He replies. Then he adds a warning with a serious scowl, "Do not enter inside the shrine without me. Stay at the gate."
Renge reflexively shuts her eyes when Hiro closes their distance and kisses her forehead.
"Geez, please stop teasing me like this Isao-kun..." The girl blushes and touches her forehead.
She quickly composes herself again. "Okay... don't worry I will stay by the gate." She assures him.
Hiro laughs heartily and grins widely when she whines. "I just can't help it." He replies simply, without telling the actual reason why. The boy pats Renge's head twice before gesturing to go out.
He nods at her respond. "Let's go for now. We need some sleep before going to the sea." Well, not him, though. His sleep deprivation makes him stay awake until the time comes. Most of the time, it is.
Hiro smirks a bit as he opens the studio door for the girl and waits her to walk outside.
"If you keep doing this---" She suddenly goes silent. "Never mind... "
I'll get the wrong idea is what she wanted to say, but she decides not to. He'll probably goad her about it.
When Hiro mentions about rest, the fatigue caught up to her. So much has happened today, though she didn't do anything physical; it's still mentally taxing.
The girl nods and follows him to the exit, as promised Hiro takes her home and they part their ways. Renge eats her dinner, takes a shower and immediately falls asleep.
It's 3AM and the sea rises without delay. A single girl with red coat makes her way towards the shrine.
Even though it's in the middle of spring, the dark hour is always so cold. Renge hides in her coat in wait, trying to get some warmth from it.
It's her first time wandering this far away from home in the dark hour. Usually she lingers around the city centre to test her powers and the girl hasn't been wandering around since the incident with Shimamura. So her trip makes her a little anxious.
"I hope he'll arrive soon..." The girl fiddles with her coat, trying to calm herself.
Just as he thought, he couldn't get any sleep. Like always. And now he's on the way to the shrine, wearing his dark fur coat with a scarf wrapped around his neck.
Not that he's feeling cold. The breeze of spring never bothers him. Well, just a casual wear.
As he walks just several meters more toward the shrine, the sea rises. The eerie silence yet silent whispers creeps the surrounding, and the city is covered with underwater lights.
When the shrine's gate is come to his sight, he also see a familiar figure. Fiddling with her coat, and seemingly anxious waiting for something or someone. Hiro smirks faintly as he approaches the girl.
"Um, excuse me, miss," he calls out casually. "Are you waiting for someone?" The boy raises a questioning brow at her and gives a polite smile as he teases.
The girl jumps a little in surprise of his arrival. "Oh you're here! Y-you startled me Isao-kun!"
She clears her throat and turns to face the boy. Renge bows lightly to greet him. "Good evening... Or... should I say good morning?"
Hiro cackles at her reaction. He brings a hand to pat her head affectionately. "You look tense." Then he smiles softer at her, "Sorry to keep you waiting."
The raven haired boy looks around as he chuckles. "Well, I'm not sure the answer. But it seems time doesn't really matter here, does it?" He replies.
Then his head turns to look at the shrine. The 'core' of the dungeon seems a bit far from here, so he can assume that they're safe from the Shadows. Hopefully.
He observes the surrounding after he's done looking at the shrine. He's making sure that there's no 'alive' people watching. Well, he sense no presence of them around, or any other Persona-user presence other than the girl in front of him.
Then he face back to Renge. "There's no one around, so we can start now." Hiro states. The boy takes several steps back from her, and about to summon his Shadow Persona. "I'll show you mine first."
But then he hesitates. The boy frowns, as if he's not sure about this.
No. More like, he's not sure if the girl is ready for this. After what happened between them last day. Hiro doesn't know if she even willing to see this side of him. And also if he's sure enough to reveal it to her.
He's not sure if the girl is no longer afraid of him.
He's getting cautious. He cannot risk the girl to run away from him again.
"Uh," the boy croaks rather nervously. "Are you... do you want to see mine? I mean, if you... really want to and no longer afraid of me and won't run away again and--" He suddenly talks so fast that he stops.
He's nervous. And he curses inside as he pursed his lips and averts his eyes from her.
"I'm just, uhh... A bit nervous..." She fiddles with her fingers. "I haven't been out for a while.... "
Before going to the shrine, the girl has checked for possible shadow encounter and the results was negative. But who knows what could happen?
She laughs at the equally nervous Hiro. He really doesn’t want to scare her off, does he? It warms her heart seeing him being this considerate.
"I... it’s okay Isao-kun, I won't run," she says trying to assure him. "Plus, I actually umm, have seen yours before. It's... a wolf right? If I remember correctly...," she confesses. Hopefully he won't mind the fact that she has actually peeped on his dark hour activities, though not too much.
The tall boy blinks. "Oh... You knew." Hiro responses simply. That lifts his nervousness almost totally. But the fact that she actually doesn't truly trust him still a bit... bothering.
"Uh, alright then... I'll call them now." Hiro takes another step back to make a distance. Then his eyes turn bright yellow, the color glows like a creature of the night. A gust of wind surrounds him as he summons his power.
A red, rather wicked aura swirls behind him, materializing the gigantic Fenris with a sound of rattling chain. Seconds after that, Skoll and Hati appears in both of Hiro's sides.
The boy waits for a bit until silence covers them again. "So, uh. They call themselves as Fenris Wolf, but each of them has their own name. This is Skoll," he pats the shoulder of the blue-skulled wolf on his left. "This is Hati," he turns his head to gesture the red-skulled wolf on his right. "And behind me is the big boss, Fenris himself."
Then he looks at the girl in front of him. "Probably you already know if you saw me back there summoning them, but once I called them out, I cannot move from the spot where I summoned them. These boys are the only one who can roam around, so I really depend on them much." He explains as he pats Skoll's head. "Well, in turn, I also gain their sensing ability. That's why I asked you to show me yours, so I can acknowledge your presence more clearly, to know if there's anything happened to you being here.
"That being said... If you already knew that... Mine is the 'same' as Shimamura, I figured you also have the same ability... But more advanced than mine, if you can differ between Persona-users like yourself and Shadow Persona-user ones." He smiles then. "I cannot do that. They are in the same wavelength in my sense, so I cannot differ them like you do." He explains more.
Renge shudders as the boy's eye glints gold, the cold air concentrates where the wolves materializes.
She listens to Hiro's explanations quietly and nods along, so that's how it works. "I see"
Renge stares at the wolves, they looked big when she saw them from her “eyes” but looking at them directly like this makes her marvel at its actual size. They look intimidating and scary, yet somehow the girl is not scared of them.
She looks at Hiro in his black fur coat and then back at the wolves. Persona is really the “other you” because both Fenris and Hiro looks very similar and the girl can't help but smile at it. "The both of you look so fluffy," she comments off handedly.
Hiro raises his eyebrows and grins at the comment of their resemblance. The boy then snorts and closes his eyes as he smirks. Then he opens his eyes, staring at Renge rather flirtatiously, inclining his head.
Then Hati moves forward toward Renge, silently commanded by Hiro. And when they're close, the red-skulled wolf speaks in Hiro's voice. "I'll take it as a compliment, then." After saying that, the wolf nuzzles the girl's hair with his muzzle.
The girl is a bit shocked when Hati closes into her, Renge was a little... scared when it comes near her. But the fear easily goes away when she hears Hiro's voice from the beast.
"Oh you can communicate through them too? Whoa!" She's surprised yet again when the wolf nuzzles her. It's big, warm and fluffy. It feels nice, she thought mentally.
Looking at it up close, the fur looks even more lustrous and fluffy. Her hand aches to pet it. "Can I... touch it?" She turns her head to ask Hiro, the girl's eyes looks pretty excited.
Hiro laughs at her request. Then he speaks through Hati again, "Of course you can touch me. I won't bite you. My master won't let me, anyway." Hiro is playing acting with the wolf.
Then Hati hesitantly sniffing the girl in his own action, without his master command. He's moving in his own now, and he's staring at Renge with those expressionless, glowing eyes. The wolf tilts his head curiously at her, like he's trying to get to know the figure in front of him. Then he hesitantly licks her cheek, seemingly isn't sure of her yet.
Renge giggles at Hiro's voice acting, the girl brings her hand to pet its head softly. The fur feels dense and soft at touch.
When Hati licks her face, she smiles happily. "It tickles." Renge gives it a stroke on the chin, scratching it a little.
Hiro feels the ticklish sensation as Renge strokes the head and the chin of his Persona. He can feel blush creeping from his neck, then to his face rather quickly. The feeling is so warm and comforting that he craves more of it.
Then he hangs his head and closes his mouth with his hand out of embarrassment. He hides his face into Skoll's fur, and curses softly under his breath.
Never been he thought that having such Persona would give him this kind of advantage.
He savors the feeling for several moments, until then he clears his throat and orders Hati silently to back off of her. The wolf kind of reluctant to get off from Renge's kind hands, but then he obeys. Just backs off for a few inches.
"Uh, well," Hiro speaks by himself, his face is still a bit red. "Can I... see yours, now?"
"Aww... okay," Renge whines a little as the canine walks away from her. She directs her sight back to Hiro and sees that his face is kind of red.
"Hmm? What's wrong Isao-kun? Your face looks red, are you feeling alright?" she asks him, concerned.
Hiro tenses when she asks about his blushing face. "N-nothing! Nothing is wrong! Yeah!" He squeaks, but when he says that, his face is getting redder. "I uhh... Um, it's just cute to see you patting Hati like that. Usually he's kind of stern and a bit wild, but it seems that he's kinda into you, so..."
The red-skulled wolf silently snorts at his master's comment, and Skoll nudges his master beside him with his leg, as if the wolf is teasing him.
Hiro brushes them off. He knows what the wolves are saying to him and it's a bit irritating to see that your own Persona is making fun of yourself.
"Don't worry about me, I'm fi-- HEY!" Hiro suddenly shouts at Skoll who keeps nudging him. "Cut it off!" But the wolves just snicker as they let their tongues out and wagging their tails at the boy.
"You guys are just happy that I'm not telling you to-- HEY STOP RIGHT THERE--" The wolves pounce their master to the ground, ignoring Hiro's command.
Actually, they're behaving themselves out of Hiro's control. The boy can freely set them on or off his command, and they're currently free from their orders.
The wolves happily snuggles their master and keep on wagging their tails. Hiro groans, pushing their heads with his hands and sits up. "Huh. Usually they're just sitting nicely on their ground like good boys if I'm not commanding them anything." The boy shrugs and sighs heavily. The twin wolves then lay down on both of his side as they keep staring at him with their tongues out as if they're excited about something.
Hiro knows. And he's not going to mention about it.
Renge can only laugh lightly at the wolves’ behavior, it's good that they look happy right? Well, it means the user is happy too.
Well the girl doesn't read too much into the thought.
Renge closes her eyes and takes a deep breath. She summons her sacrificial dagger, the blade glints with a blue light.
The girl stabs the dagger to her heart and in instant she is enveloped in blue light, a wire mannequin wearing a white dress adorned in red white lace materializes behind her.
The figure do a curtsy as if greeting the group in front of them. Renge gestures to her Persona, introducing it. "This is my persona, Marie Antoinette. I call her Marie"
"She doesn't like to fight, but instead she specializes in giving intel of what's happening." She waves her hand to Hiro, asking him to come closer. "It's a bit hard to explain with words so come here, I'll just show you."
Hiro tenses once again as he sees Renge summons her dagger and stab herself with it. It's like she's about... killing herself. The concept of summoning her Persona is kind of absurd to him, and makes him a bit... scared of what might happen to her. Though before this was already explained by Shimamura about Daisuke.
He looks up to her Persona. It is indeed have some kind of resemblance to her owner somehow, with those red ribbons and the painting frame which she seemingly appears from it.
"Hm?" Hiro then turns to look at Renge, signaling him to come over. He stands up and walks nonchalantly to the girl. And the wolves are following him behind while panting excitingly and still wagging their tails. "What is it?"
Renge closes her eyes and called forth her “garden”. A patch of grass grows underneath them, the smell of earth and flowers waft through the air.
When she opens her eyes again, the shape of her iris changes into a red flower. Several golden frames floats around them before settling in front of Renge. The girl sits down and gestures Hiro to do so too.
"Okay umm, so you see the display in front of us? It's the map of this place." She points to the panel in front of them. "This is how I usually observe... mostly everything"
She zooms into a random point, revealing a footage of the area. "Like this. This is how I saw you near the dance studio back then."
Hiro is sitting cross-legged beside Renge to observe what she's doing. And so the wolves also mimicking him, laying down on the ground and peek curiously behind him.
"Whoa. This is really... convenient." Hiro comments as he rubs his chin with his fingers. No wonder the people she mentioned need her. This kind of power really handy when it comes to go to an expedition to dungeons. "So, you can detect the presence of others with this?" Hiro asks. And she's not only can detect and differentiate between Persona and Shadow Persona users, but she also can scan the map of a certain place.
She's indeed have a way more advanced sensing ability than him.
"Yeah! I can observe anything as long as it's still in the garden's spectrum," she explains.
The girl brought a smaller panel and lends it to Hiro, the panel shows the shrine area. A bunch of wolfsbane flower icon and a small red bow icon could be seen on the map.
"So umm... That flower is you, and that ribbon is me. That’s how I can differentiate people."
"Ah, I see. If you're saying that these icon telling you who they are, so each person has their own icon, then?" Hiro catches up to the concept as he holds the panel Renge offers him. He's quiet as he eyes the wolfsbane flower icon, signaling that it is him.
Wolfsbane flower. One of the most poisonous flowers in the world. Hiro faintly purses his lips at the symbolization and his face turns grim.
Is that how she sees him? Poisonous?
Sensing their master's change of mood, Skoll and Hati stops wagging their tail and their ears are flipped downward, their jaws are closed as they whine.
Hiro suddenly perks up at the sound of his wolves' make. The boy then shushed them down with a small scowl. "Quiet down," he commands.
She looks back to the wolves, listening to their cries and then looks back at Hiro. He looks like a bit upset.
"Is there something wrong?" She approaches him to look at him more closely.
Hiro startles as Renge coming closer to him. His heart beats fast at their proximity. "N-no, it's... It's nothing." The boy closes his eyes and shakes his head lightly. "The wolves are just being noisy, that's all." He horribly lies as he turns away from her.
Before the wolves are acting further at his comment, Hiro clears his throat and returns his attention to the panel in front of him. "So... The icons. Each person has different icon for this? I mean, you did tell it's how you differs people, I thought just that." He restates his question.
"And you said that your Persona doesn't like to fight... But does she has some fighting skills? To defend yourself, at least," Hiro adds as he stares at Renge questioningly.
Renge blinks, wondering what has gotten into him. The girl takes a glance at her screen, then back to the boy beside him. She brings her hands to pat his head. "Are you upset about your icon perhaps?" the girl asks softly. "Don’t take it too seriously Isao-kun, I'm not even sure why it's like that in the first place." She smiles at him reassuringly.
Renge nods at him. "Yeah it's different for each person." She moves the panel to show an area with people inside it. "It’s different for non-Persona users too." She points at the leaf icon, signaling a normal humans.
"Fighting? Umm, she doesn't have anything lethal but... Marie can hinder a creature movement by tying it with her ribbons, though the ribbons aren't too sturdy, so it won't last too long..." She answers bashfully.
Hiro stiffens when he feels a hand patting him. He slowly turns his head to look at her, to see the genuine smile she gives to him. Well, at least she's no longer afraid of him, right? The boy smiles back at her and just nods.
"Ah, I see." Hiro says when she explains. "So you can also sense... them, too? The Shadows."
Hiro frowns at her response and turns his head to stare at her. Then he hums in thoughts. "So... In turn of your advanced sensing ability power, your Persona doesn't have a decent fighting skill..." He mutters. And it worries him more about her safety. Though he hates to admit it, she should not go alone to enter the sea. Not only from meeting Shimamura, but also the Shadows. They chase Persona user like her, while him not.
Only he can protect her properly. More than her people. She only need one him rather than bunch of other Persona users.
But of course he can't do that.
The boy sighs tiredly. Why is this happening, again? He stares at the girl with rather exhausted look. "Will you... keep a secret about me from your... people? Whoever they are." Hiro inquires.
Renge nods at him, affirming his words. "Yeah, but I'm fine! Don't worry too much Isao-kun." The girl pats his head again. "You’re such a worrywart."
It won’t be fair if she told everyone about him, so she nods at him again. "Of course"
Renge calls of her garden, the bed of grass sunk back to the ground and Marie goes back into her frame. "Well that's all about her, I hope it's sufficient."
Hiro pouts. "Of course I'm worried about you. One time I didn't and you're caught by Shimamura," he says teasingly. "You should be more aware of yourself at least."
The boy smiles at Renge's confirmation. "Thank you."
Just when Hiro is about to stand up and asking her to get home for now, the wolves suddenly snarl with their ears straighten up. Their heads are turning to the direction of inside the shrine.
The raven haired boy also turns his head to the same direction. He senses something is coming. And that presence is getting nearer, slow at first. But gradually it's getting faster.
Hiro stands up in alert. He's standing in front of Renge, protecting her from the presence he sensed now. "Something's coming." Hiro warns as the wolves also stand on their feet.
She smiles apologetically. "I'm working on it.”
The girl is startled when she hears the wolves suddenly snarl towards a direction. What has gotten into them? She felt a soft tug on her coat, Renge looks up to see Marie looking restless also.
Renge can't exactly pinpoint the location now that the garden is off, but she knows that presence anywhere. "Shadow!" she exclaims in panic.
"We should get away now, Isao-kun!" she says in fear, the girl tugs on his sleeves, urging him to retreat.
Before he had a chance to reply to her, the wolves are barking loudly, signaling that the Shadow is coming near.
They're probably targeting Renge, since she's a normal Persona-user. If they run, the Shadow will just keep chasing them, and they also fast. So, the best choice for this is to fight back, kill the Shadow and get away before more Shadows appear.
Hiro looks up at where the Shadows come from, and they're coming into his view quickly. There are two of them, taking shape of a snake with some kind of giant necklace with symbols of male and female tangled each other on their neck. And on their head there's a red-colored mask.
They're approaching fast toward them, and Hiro must take action. The boy tugs Renge firmly, running toward where Fenris is standing and getting under him. "Stay down. I'll kill them. If we run, they will keep chasing us," Hiro informs as he stands protectively before the girl.
The girl shudders at the sight of the shadow, the slithering snakes with the symbols looks... A little obscene. Renge calls off her Persona before she moves towards Fenris and take cover beneath the gigantic canine.
"O-okay." Her first reaction was to run away because she's not capable of fighting. "Stay safe, Isao-kun," she says with worry.
Hiro nods without leaving his sight from the snakes. The wolves are standing, hindering them from advancing further toward the two students. But the snakes ignore the canines and slip through them, seemingly targeting the girl.
"You're not getting to her," Hiro scoffs. Then the boy orders his wolves, "Freeze them."
The wolves bark loudly as they obey their command, leaping toward the snakes from behind. Then their mouths are fogging with cold mist and let out a freezing breath. The mist freezes not only the snakes, but also the road, turning them into glistening ice.
The wolves throw a finishing blow, biting the snakes and shatter them into pieces. Then their shards are dissolved into the thin air with sparkles of ice.
Hiro relaxes from his stance, loosening his shoulders and stand straightly. He turns himself to look at Renge behind her. "We should go home now before more of them appear and getting to us," Hiro suggests as he calls off Fenris Wolf, subside with a gust of black and red air. And the boy's eyes return to normal.
The Shadows are obliterated easily by the wolves. She doesn't even blink and the snakes are now turned to dust.
"That was fast, Isao-kun, you're strong," she says with awe, looking at the icy scape in front of her.
Though because of the wolves' icy breath, the atmosphere became severely colder. White breath puffs out of her lips, her body is shaking from the cold.
"O-o-oh yeah, it would be nice if we c-can go home now," she says holding herself, trying to warm herself.
Hiro's eyebrows rise as he hears the shaking tone of the girl. Judging from her action, she probably is cold from the earlier freezing breath.
So he chuckles, taking off his fur coat as he approaches Renge and covers her with it. "You really can't stand cold, are you?" He smirks softly as he takes steps closer to her, giving his warmth and his hands are on her shoulders.
"O-oh sorry! T-thank you--" Her words are interrupted by a small sneeze. "Ooh how embarrassing... really, Meiseki is so cold... and it's even colder at this hour... I can't never get used to it," Renge complains, snuggling herself in Hiro's coat.
"I'm more amazed with how cold proof you are, Isao-kun! What's your secret to this?" she asks, inching closer to him for warmth, almost leaning onto him.
Hiro smirks wider and he circles his right hand around her shoulders and tugs her gently to get closer to him. He holds her firmly to his body to give more of his body heat.
"Do you want to know?" he says with a rather smug face. Then he goes to her ear, whispering words. "Because every time I'm with you, you lit me up."
When Hiro brings her into an embrace, the warmth enveloping her felt really nice that she unknowingly snuggled onto him, she's getting pretty sleepy too.
Hearing the boy's flirting, her face immediately becomes red. "Geez Isao-kun, what’s with that remark...” The girl is a little too tired to retaliate, so she just buries her blushing face on his chest.
Hiro laughs cheerily at her response. And his heart beats faster as he feels joy when Renge snuggles more to him. His holding hand goes to her scalp, ruffling her hair while he massages her head affectionately.
"Let's go home for now." He backs off a bit and moves his right hand to hold hers, tugging her slightly. "I'll walk you, since it's quite far."
Renge hums in content as Hiro massages her scalp. She really could fell asleep like this.
As the boy backs off, she stifles a yawn and nodded at him silently. "Thank you...," she says quietly.
The tall boy smiles as he watches Renge yawn. They start to walk to her house with their hands holding each other.
The walk took a long time, but they finally arrived in front of Renge's house. His coat still covers her figure.
"We're here," Hiro smirks softly at her. He turns himself to her and silent at first before he finally speaks. "Please, be safe. Don't roam around on your own. I regret I cannot always be with you, but at least... At least you have your own companion. Your people."
Renge stumbles a little when they stopped in front of her house.
She smiles at him sleepily and took off the fur coat and gave it back to the boy. "Thank you for lending your coat to me."
He takes his coat as he smiles back at her, wearing the fur coat.
Then the boy brings a hand to hold her face gently. He stares at her for a moment with eyes with unknown emotion. "Take care of yourself."
The girl nods at him, her hand goes to hold his. "You too, Isao-kun... Please don't get hurt."
He strokes her cheek with the pad of his thumb softly before letting her go. "Goodbye, Yoshi. I'll see you soon." Hiro waves his hand in a lazy manner and turns himself from her and walk his way home.
"Good night." The girl waves him goodbye and watches him until he disappears from the distance. She takes out her keys and makes her way back to her room without a sound.
Renge slips back into her sleep wear and covers herself with a blanket. Her mind wanders as she tries to sleep. So much has happened today, but somehow she managed to keep her relationship with Hiro and her prior fear of him has vanished.
The memory from the dance studio flashes back again. The image of Hiro sprawled and suffering because of his power plays again in her head. The girl frowns wistfully remembering it.
"Just... what are you up to, Isao-kun? Why must you hurt yourself like that?" She looks through her curtain, the sea is still solemn and it makes her even more anxious.
"Please... be safe..." she mumbles to herself before finally slipping into slumber.