Character list: Isao Hironori (Morry), Yoshihiro Renge (Mani Mani)
Total words: 7058 words.
Summary: There is something wrong with Renge's behavior toward him. It's been week that she's avoiding him without telling her reason, so he decides to make her tell him why. And the very reason of her evasive act to him is exactly what he feared from the very start when he sensed her hidden power.
Trigger warning: none.
*Brisé is a classical ballet term meaning “broken” or “breaking.” A brisé is when a dancer takes off from one or two feet, jumps and beat their legs and ends on one or two feet.
Cover by Morry.
It's been a week since Renge is acting weird whenever he's around, and Hiro doesn't know why. At first, he thought she wanted to gain some space from him or there was something bothering her. But she doesn't say anything to him why, and every time he approached her, she avoids him and tries to go away from him.
It's unusual for her to behave like that with him, so it's kind of odd, and now Hiro wants to know why. It's really bothering him that Renge has a sudden change of behavior without knowing the reason.
He looks around the class, and he doesn't see Renge around. Probably she already goes out from the room, so the boy proceeds to pick his bag up and walks hurriedly to search the girl.
After several minutes of searching, he finds the ginger-headed girl walking toward the school gate. Hiro trots to reach her, and when he does, he goes to in front of her, so she's facing him and hinders her from walking through.
"Yoshi," he says with rather blank, yet serious face. "It's time you say something to me."
Renge is about to go straight home until the most familiar raven haired boy stops her tracks. She looks shocked, even though she has predicted that this will come sooner or later.
Since the Shimamura incident, the girl has found out about the real power of 'Shadow Persona', the sinister power that takes one's soul. The memory of that day is enough to make her shudder. Renge also knew of Hiro's other self, and she knew that both Shimamura and Hiro owns the same power. The black flower of her Persona's sensing ability shows it all.
Renge herself is reluctant to avoid Hiro like this, but whenever the boy gets close to her, her mind can't help but remember how Shimamura ate a soul like it's no big deal. It reminds her that she knows nothing about this side of him.
And it scares her greatly.
"I-I'm in a hurry right now, sorry Isao-kun." The girl averts her gaze from him and quickly making her way past Hiro.
Hiro raises his eyebrows when she insists on keep going. It's been already a week and she still behaves like this? This is probably related to him, or he did something to her. But well, even if he knows that he himself is quite sharp, he's not a fortune teller. He doesn't know what she's thinking, and he doesn't know if he has done anything wrong to her.
"Hey," Hiro moves to hinder her way again. "Please," he pleads with softer tone. "I need to know why you're acting like this." Even she doesn't look at him, his face is revealing that he's quite desperate.
He glances around. Probably he needs somewhere more private and safe. "Let's go to the studio. We can talk there with no one hearing." He suggests.
It looks like he's not backing off this time. It's been a week after all, she does owe him some explanations.
But how will he react to it? What will happen to their friendship after this? Renge's grip on her school bag tightens.
She musters her courage and nods. "...okay." The girl said quietly.
Hiro sighs and his shoulders are relaxed in relief when she finally agrees. He puts some distance before saying, "Let's go, then." And so they go together to the train station.
Their trip on the train is quite awkward. There's no interaction at all between them. The tense atmosphere is choking him. He will ask her about her change in behavior toward him to settle this situation.
If she's another person, most likely that he will just shrugs it off like nothing happens. But this is Renge, she is... important to him. She matters to him, since she knows that he's dancing and all.
Or so he thought.
When they finally arrive at the studio, he closes the door and the tension creeps into the room. At first, he's quiet for several seconds to guess her reasoning to act weird around him.
But there's no guesses that seems to be likely the case between the two, since they were... fine, before this happens. Her change is pretty sudden to him, because they didn't had any argument or fight that resulting them being like this. Resulting her to avoid him as far as she can.
"So, Yoshi," he starts softly, he turns himself to face her in front of the door. "Why are you avoiding me? Is there something wrong?"
"I...." she starts to talk but then she goes silent again. How can she tell him about it? I met Shimamura and he has threatened to hunt me and my friends, because of it I’m now scared of you.
She can't tell him that, especially when it's supposed to be a secret. The girl averts her gaze. "It’s... nothing, I just have something on my mind that makes me want to be alone."
The boy frowns. He's clearly unsatisfied with her answer. The girl definitely is hiding something from him.
Hiro sighs and inclines his head. "If it's nothing, then why do you have to avoid me that much? It is clear that you're hiding something from me." He frowns deeper. "Something that might be related about me, and it's bothering you. But I don't know what it is until you tell me."
He tries to be patient and talk as softly as possible with her, since she looks pretty uncomfortable with his presence, judging from how she avoid eye contact with him.
The girl's mind swirls in either telling him the truth or keeping silent. She wants to tell him but at the same time she doesn't. She’s too scared to face what's in front of her.
Renge goes silent for a while before saying. "...As I thought, I'm not... ready to talk about this. I'm sorry--" She turns her back and quickly goes for the exit.
Hiro's eyes widen when Renge tries to escape from him. He thought she will finally tell him, but it seems it's quite difficult for her.
To think that it might be something about him... He has to know, while she's here.
Hiro stops the girl by snatching her wrist and grips her firmly. “Hey—“
She is shocked when he grabs her wrist. A flash of memory when Amanojaku rushed to attack her flooded through her head. Fear immediately came into her mind.
"N-No!!" A loud slap echoes in the room, the girl reflexively hits his hand away. Renge takes a step back from Hiro, as her face is pale and eyes filled with terror.
Hiro is beyond shocked to see Renge's reaction. The boy takes a step back from her with a clear startled expression.
As he sees Renge's face, his own turns into pure dismay. This is the first time he sees her so terrified. And she is terrified of him.
His brows are curled upwards, as he feels confused and dejected. If this reaction of her doesn't explain about her evasive behavior toward him, he doesn't know what else.
He bows his body a bit lower as he keep his eyes on her. "Yoshi..." He whispers lowly. "Is there... Is it something I did? Something I said?" He asks desperately. "Did I... do something wrong? Please tell me... I need to know..."
Horror is now painted in her eyes. Now she has done it. She hurts him and it's the last thing she wants to do.
Renge stammers. "I-I'm sorry! I... didn't mean to...” She panics, but the girl still kept her distance from him.
"I-it's not your fault! It's... it's not your fault..." She looks down and grips the hem of her skirt tightly.
The boy slowly straightens his body, but his face is still frowning. His heart feels like constricted seeing her like this. Afraid of him.
"Then... why?" Hiro asks again. "Why are you... seemed like you're scared of me? It must be something about me, right?" He still can't figure out her reasons. He will keep asking her until she answer him.
She has to tell him doesn't she? The girl gulps, cold sweat starts to drip down her hands, her heart is beating hard.
"I'm... scared of you..." She says quietly. “Or...To be precise, I'm scared of the other... you." she emphasizes at her last word.
He frowns deeper at Renge's answer. "Other... me?" He echoes confusedly. He's silent for a moment to think about what it means.
And when it comes to his realization, it's like a meteor just fall right to him and crush him into pieces.
His face twists into pure shock. His eyes and mouth are wide open. His heart is racing maddeningly, thinking about the possibility what might she mean by "other him."
He closes his eyes and shakes his head to regain his composure. How can it be about his other self? The self that he only expose at the 'sea'. But from what she implies and also her presence he senses right now, it's a big probability.
Hiro tries to confirm about it again to her. "W-what do you mean by that, Yoshi? Other 'me'?" His face is mixed with anxiety and fear, and his heart is drumming in anticipation of what's coming.
The look on his face breaks her heart, he must know what she's talking about.
"You're perceptive. I'm sure you know what I mean." Renge grips on her arm. "I am talking about your other self."
She looks straight to his eyes. "Your Persona. The... power it holds."
Hiro faintly gasps at the mention of Persona. So, it seems that she has one too, then. It confirms his fear of her being another Persona user. It means that she sides with Daisuke... and probably Chiura.
So that's why the three of them were there, back at the hanami? Does it mean that... all of those people are the other Persona users, too?
Hiro is so confused that his face turns into scowl. If she really knew, then why she was acting... normal around him before this? Did someone tell her? Is it Shenji? Or did she meet someone at the 'sea' and leaked his identity?
But if she really does have Persona, then it also confirms one thing.
"Then... You really were the one who blanketed me at the studio back then... And all of those foods and drinks." Of course, there were no other people at the studio; Chinatsu was out of town, and the studio was still in closing hour in early morning. Who else knows about him being in the studio other than the girl who knows him dancing?
He gulps, cold sweat starts to materialize on his temple. "So it was really you."
Renge reluctantly nods, he really did knew after all. Now they can't go back to how it used to be. She knew it would come like this but the reality still hurts.
If only she could pretend it's nothing, maybe they can still be like usual. If only she stayed oblivious, maybe she won't ever have to make him look like this.
"I'm sorry." She apologizes. She really doesn't know what else to say to him. "I'm really sorry..." Her eyes are starting to tear up, but she braced herself so she won't cry in front of him.
Hiro's breath hitches. He takes a step forward to her, trying to hold her, but then he stops. He doesn't know whether she will welcome him or... reject him like earlier.
He fists his both hands and shakes his head. "No, it's..." The boy sighs rather tiredly. "You... don't have to apologize."
The room goes silent for long moment, the tension becomes thicker. And somehow sorrow also starts to creep in between them, seeing how their platonic relationship has turned out now.
But then a thought passes through his mind. "If... you really were there back when I was at the studio and saw me, why... now?" Hiro inquires with a confused frown. "That was like, several months ago. And you still acted normal with me."
The dark-haired boy inclines his head. "Did... someone tell you about me? You met someone?" He thinks if it will be Shenji and tells her to be cautious of him and revealed his identity to her, but then his second thought tells him that won't be likely, since it will risk his identity too. But then, who?
"I-I... I didn't know yet back then." She gulps. "I was careless"
"I didn't know what you're capable of, or maybe I simply wanted to stay oblivious about it." She begins to babble, her emotions began to spiral out of control. "But now... I know... A-and I'm scared...!" The tears she's been holding back fall down. The girl brought up her hand to cover her crying face.
"I'm-- I'm sorry... you've been... s-so nice to me... so I want it to stay like that, I want us to hang out and have fun together." She sobs. "But now, even though we're just alone like usual, I can't stop being afraid, I keep on thinking that you're going to hurt me."
"No!" Hiro suddenly shouts when she mentions he's going to hurt her. "No, Yoshi-- I never-- I would never... would never hurt you..." His voice is lower with each words.
The boy grits his teeth and his fists tightens. He knew this was coming. He knew, sooner or later, this will happen. He knew this the moment he had sensed someone back when he was testing Fenris' ability and guessed that it was her. And they're here to confirm that fact and his fear. He had predicted this.
But to think it's going to be this soon... Hiro hisses in frustration, both about the situation they are having now and the inability to hold her close to him. To let her know that he's always on her side, even if it means he has to double cross his team.
But unfortunately, he can't. The deal has been sealed, and his path has been chosen.
The girl cries for a while. She hates feeling like this. It was not supposed to be like this. His company used to bring so much comfort to her. But now she can't even look him in the eye.
After a while, Renge composes herself again, she sniffed and wipes her tears before answering Hiro. "I.... I met... Shimamura. You know him, don't you?"
He stands in silence as he hears Renge's sobbing in distressed. Until she mentions the name, Hiro immediately perks up.
Without warning, he steps forward to the girl and grips her arms rather roughly and tight, like it's a very urgent matter. "Shimamura, you say?" Hiro hisses with a scowl, and he unknowingly bare his teeth. "What did he do to you? Did he hurt you? What did he say? Did he try to attack you?"
The questions keep coming out with hurried tone. His heart is palpitating so fast that it might blow out. He has the mind to make that man understand clearly to stay away from the girl he holds so close.
Renge is startled when Hiro suddenly shakes her like that. The girl winces as his grips got tighter. "I-Isao-kun! It hurts!" She whimpers.
The boy immediately loosen his grasp on the girl, but still holding her firmly.
"No one-- I'm not hurt-- he told me to keep my mouth shut, that's it." She changes her wording. She is not about to include Chiura in this problem of her.
"To keep your mouth shut?" Hiro echoes the words. "About what?"
The girl is silent, contemplating whether she should tell him or not. But then she finally speaks, "I saw him." She averts her gaze from Hiro again. "I saw him... 'taking care of someone'. I saw him taking a person's soul."
The raven haired boy’s eyes widen with fear and anger. "Did he threaten you? What did he make you do?" He inquires urgently as grits his teeth harder.
Shimamura did tell her to obtain names and information of other Persona users, her team mates. But she certainly can't tell him that. Renge nods her head and continues speaking.
"Yes... he threatened me, he told me not to tell anyone about this." She gulps. "Or else I'm next."
His breath hitches again, painfully this time. Hiro's face grown into a snarl, like a person who about to snap. His insides boiling hotly, the beast inside him is baring its fangs, ready to lash out. His breath quickens as his body is filled with unbearable madness.
But then he shoulders go slump, and his face looks so defeated.
No. He cannot face Shimamura. Although probably in strength he easily outmatched him, but he already made a deal with him. And from the conversation they had back at the ryokan, it's clear that the man is quite experienced in things like making things corrupt or blackmail. And he also have knowledge about the 'sea.'
And he also cannot risk for the man to cut off their deal. That man is a valuable resource for him.
Hiro is not stupid. He might easily approach Shimamura and beat him into pulp. But if he do that, there's always probability that something would happen to him too.
And of course, to her also.
He's frustrated. Frustrated and defeated.
"No..." Hiro whispers weakly. "H-how... Why..." He mumbles as he shakes his head in despair. The boy hangs his head. His grip on Renge's arms tightens again, but not too tight as the hold is rather desperate.
"He... he is the book clerk I asked you back then... I was meant to warn you about him..." He explains. "And... Now that he got you... I'm too late..." His shoulders slump further. "Way too late."
"Warn... me? Oh...” She sounds puzzled at first, but then remembers him talking about it months ago. It was when they just got home from watching Hiro’s dancing for the first time. Who could've known? Now she wonders what the connection between these two men is.
Then Hiro raises his head slowly and looks at Renge. His face is frowning in pure desperation and regret. He stares at her and his eyes search hers. "I'm so sorry."
Hearing his apology makes her shakes her head. She braves herself to look at him again. "Are you... allied with him?" She asks grimly. "Have you.... also," Renge's body shakes slightly and she finally looks him in the eye. "Taken a person's soul?"
Hiro's frown now turns into confused one. He had ate a soul of a person before, but of course he cannot tell her that. It will make her more afraid of him.
"I do know Shimamura. I'm a regular customer at his book store. I usually search for books related to arts, especially dancing." He replies as he purposely avoids the exact question.
Then he tilts his head a bit and blinks in confusion. "How... could you say that, Yoshi?" He asks her back and purposely doesn't define the question. He's sure that Renge didn't see him ate a soul yet, hence the question she asked him. And he wants to make sure she doesn't think that he's actually the same as the book clerk.
Renge eyes went wide hearing his answers. “...You're not answering my questions....” She mutters silently, averting her gaze from him once again. “You're not denying it and you're not surprised at the concept of soul harvesting too...” Her body began to tremble again. Hiro's ambiguous words are starting to stir some unbelievable scenarios in her head.
"How could I?" She began to grip on her skirt tightly. "It's because I... I don't know anything about this side of yours Isao-kun!" Renge exclaims, cold sweat began to drip down her palms.
"I... I don't know if you are dangerous or not! Or if I can trust you!" Her voice gets higher in every each words and sounds more desperate. The girl goes quiet for a bit before muttering weakly. "I'm... I'm not even sure if I know anything about you to begin with..."
Renge hangs her head with her hands still grasping the hem of her skirt. "Please Isao-kun... I want to trust you... "
Eyebrows raises high and the boy faintly gasps.
Don't know anything?
Hiro is frozen for several moment. As he thought, he cannot lie to this girl. Of course. All this time, he mostly honest to her. But this matter? When she already terrified of him before he even say anything at all about it?
It's either Shimamura told her about him, or... He doesn't know any the other alternative how she could know about him being the same with that man.
Could it be her Persona ability? Like him, perhaps? But if it's so, then hers is more advanced than his. She knows that his power is actually a Shadow Persona without witnessing him devouring one’s soul. And that’s why she asks him about it.
Even if she knows it already, Hiro cannot admit and reveal his dark side to her. Not when she already fears him.
The boy purses his lips, then hangs his head as his grip on the girl goes loose and let go of her. He shakes his head in shame, that he is unable to uncover the truth to her.
He's afraid, too. He fears that if he does, it will make things worse, like... losing her, resulting her to step out of this room and never coming back.
"I... it's..." What should he say? Is it best for him to stay away from her, then? But what could he be without her company? Without her presence?
"No..." He answers his own questions in low whisper. Then he shakes his head again weakly, and speaks lowly as he still hangs his head and eyes are closed, frowning in sorrow. "You're... you’re right. You don't know anything about me. And I can't reveal all of it because I'm--" afraid. The last word left unsaid because he's not sure if he even has the right to say that when she's also afraid of him.
This is so unfair. Does he really have to lose her before he even start?
Hiro sighs dejectedly. "I'm sorry. I can't answer that." He says with a shake of his head again. "If you... If you really feel... uncomfortable with my presence..." He takes several step back from her, distancing himself. Is this it? Is this the end of them? Is there any other way to prevent this?
Even if there is, it's too late. What can he do about it?
"...I won't force you. I... understand." Though he still doesn't understand how she knows, but maybe this is best for him to be the one who step back.
He doesn't deserve her in the first place, anyway.
"I... will leave, then. I'm sorry for bringing you into this." If she doesn't trust him, he can't make her. The only way to make her trust him is to reveal that he's indeed ate a soul of a human. But how could he say that to her?
Hiro slowly turns himself and walks to the door. He will distance himself from her, then. If she cannot trust him, then it can't be helped. He's not worthy of her trust, anyway.
This is so unfair. Does he really have to leave her even before he have her in his arms?
Renge’s heart breaks yet again as she looks at Hiro's expression. Is this what she's been afraid of? She could only watch him going for the door silently.
This is what she wanted right? She's the one that pushed him away.
But why does it hurt her? It hurts so much to see his lonely back. Renge's hand unconsciously reaches out to him, wants called out for him. But then the girl retracts her hand.
This is for the best, she thought to herself, the girl grips on her arm tightly.
This is it, huh? Their friendship has broken even before he take them further. Because this is his fault in the first place, anyway, for choosing this path. But taking his revenge is the most important one.
He will get to Shimamura after this. Yes, this is all his fault for threatening her. He will get his revenge to him for this, too.
But, can he? Shimamura is way more experienced than him. And no doubt that he will get threatened too, and it will get to Renge in the end. No, he cannot risk that.
Then, what should he do? What must he do now? What can he do without Renge?
Get your revenge. Cower in fear. Cry out your desperation.
End your life. LEAVE HER.
Hiro freezes in his steps. His mind and emotion are starting to get wild. The whispers are coming to him.
"No... No!" He shouts before he falls forward, hitting the door with a loud bang. He hangs on the door, but then his raging emotion is winning on him and makes him slump down to the floor.
Renge is startled when Hiro suddenly shouts, she eyed the boy with confused look on her face. Her expression turned into horror when she saw him fall over and struggles on the floor.
He grunts and growls, his hands gripping his shirt tightly where his heart is. He thrashes wildly, as the whispers of desperation, despair, fear and anger are keep coming, wrecking his heart.
Get your revenge. Kill the man.
He tries to get up, but the pain on his heart is way too much. He grunts weakly and tries again with a hard effort. "M-my... pills... where--" Then he holds down a shout, which turns out to be a painful growl. The wrecking emotions are getting him painfully that he cries.
"I-Isao-kun?!" she calls out to him, the girl rushes to him. "A-are you alright-- What's wrong??" She looks at his pained expression with worry, she brought her hands to check his temple--it's awfully hot and he's sweating a lot.
He struggles to reach his bag blindly, but result nothing and he doubles over with desperate snarls.
Punish the girl for not trusting you. Cry in despair. You're so useless.
Why does it have to be now? With Renge here? He tries again to reach his bag where the medicine should be, but he just cries again, repressing his loud voice to get out of his throat.
What is happening to him? Is it something she did? The girl can feel her heart beat getting faster, panic seeping into her system. "O-oh no, what to do?" She is about to go call for the staff until he mentions about his pills.
Renge immediately goes through his belongings, and after a little rummaging, she finds a case filled with pills. The girl opens the case and takes several pills before offering them to Hiro. She also takes his water bottle for him to douse the medicine with. "H-Here you go Isao-kun!"
You cannot save her. Leave her. You don't deserve her. Stay in the corner and just watch.
Run. Run away and never return.
"NOOOO!!!" Hiro shouts loudly to fight back the wicked whispers of his own Shadow as the tears are keep streaming down his face.
The girl startles as the struggling boy shouts again. The loud cry is full of agony that her heart wrenches more hearing it. She hesitates then, but she keeps her composure and brings her hands in front of Hiro’s eyes so that he finds what he’s searching. “Isao-kun, here’s the pills!” She tells him again, trying to get his attention.
The thrashing boy sees the hands that offering him the pills and a bottle of water. He desperately takes one pill from the hand and immediately eats it and gulps it down. Then he takes the bottle and drinks the water carelessly with struggle, the water comes down messily through his jaw.
Hiro gasps heavily when he finishes gulping the water. The whispers are still coming, but they slowly become faint. He's breathing hurriedly and he's gripping his chest tightly and he's still crying.
He falls and lays down sideway on the floor as he waits for himself to calm down and until the medicine to take effect.
Renge breathes in relief when she sees him calm down. She takes out her handkerchief and slowly wipes the water and sweat from his face.
"A-are you alright? Where does it hurt? Should I call for a doctor?" She speaks meekly, but concern is clear in her voice. The girl unconsciously brings her hand to stroke his hair softly.
Hiro opens his eyes when he feels a hand stroking his hair. He looks up to the owner of the hand.
Renge. She's still here.
"Y-yoshi...?" He asks weakly with a confused frown. It seems the shock of his raging emotion episode makes him forget temporarily. "I... you're not... leaving?" He mumbles, his mind is not all gathered yet.
"How can I leave if you're hurting like this?" Renge moves her hand to check his temperature again, it's not as hot as before. "How are you feeling? Do you need anything else?" She questions worriedly.
Hiro's breath is gradually calmed down, but he still feels so weak. It was just an emotional attack, and he feels like his stamina has all drained out.
"I... feel... tired..." He mutters lowly with each breath he let out. The whispers are still there, but it's becoming fainter that he can put them in the back of his head.
Then he looks up again to see her face. Her face is painted with worry and looking at him. As he observes her face, he slowly brings his hand to grip her wrist loosely and with a weak touch.
You don't deserve her. You don't deserve her trust. You don't even deserve to be on her side to begin with. You’re only using her so you won’t be alone.
No one can replace your mother. She’s just a tool to you.
"I'm... sorry..." He whispers weakly, and his tone is full of regret. The tears that just dried out are streaming down again across the bridge of his nose. "I'm so sorry..." He sobs. He doesn't know exactly what he's apologizing for, but he just has feel the need to say it. For everything.
"W-Why are you apologizing...?" She brings her hand to wipe his tears, her eyes are also starting to get wet. "I'm... I'm the one...” A single tear falls down her face. “I'm... the one who should apologize.” She sniffs.
Her hands now began to stroke his face while she looks into his crying eyes with so much sadness. She's so selfish, she isn't even willing to hear why he does this. She just pushes him away just because she's scared.
"I'm sorry." She says while sobbing.
"No..." Hiro brings a hand with a slow movement to cup her face and gently wipes her tears with his thumb. "It's never been your fault... I... wasn't there for you... couldn't protect you from him..." He says hoarsely.
The boy is silence before speaks again. "You're right, Yoshi... I'm the same as him. And this is the price I must pay." He finally decides to tell her the truth, but not the whole of it. "The... power inside me... whispers to me. They... make my depression worse if I couldn't control my emotion."
A stream of tear falls across his face. "Please forgive me... I do this for my own sake... I tried to hide this from you so you won't be dragged into this." The boy then shakes his head weakly. "But... I guess I was too late. He got you. And I wasn't there."
His face twists into regret. "I... sensed that you also have the power. The Persona. But I doubted that and ignored the fact because... I'm scared..." His hand moves from her cheek to her hair, burying his fingers softly there. "I don't want you to get involved in such a dangerous matter. I want to keep you safe. I feared that this might happen. And you being captured by Shimamura is my worst fear."
The tears are keep streaming, making him looks pale, so sorrowful and full of regret. His body is shaking as he sobs. "Forgive me... Please forgive me..." Hiro pleads weakly.
She can only hear him silently while sobbing. For his own sake? For what purpose does he use this power of him for? It's clear to see that it's dangerous, and it seems to affect him mentally too.
So many questions cross her mind, but she's not at the right condition to analyze it.
Right now she just wants to make him feel better. Seeing him hurting and crying makes her heart wrecked so much. Seeing his tears, she immediately bends down to hug him, stroking his shoulders. "No, no Isao-kun... It's not your fault... I brought this upon myself, I was careless."
Hiro stuns and goes silent to realize that he's enveloped by Renge's warmth. Then he closes his eyes to feel her and he just realizes again that he needs this. He buries his head to her shoulder and circles her waist with an arm, holding her closer.
Though the emotional exhaustion in his heart still persists, he feels calmer now. His breath is steadier, and he's no longer shaking. The tears have stop flowing, though his eyes still brimming with the wetness.
They hold each other for long moment. Until Hiro speaks again, his voice is still weak. "Can you... please... not to go to the 'sea' again?" He mumbles on her shoulder.
Renge's eyes widens. As much as she want to make him feel better, she can't promise him things she can't do, The girl went silent for a little before shaking her head slowly.
"I--I can't do that..." She says quietly.
"Why?" Hiro chokes and pulls her closer. "You might meet him again. I can't let that happen. I..." He grips her shirt. "...can't afford to risk you..."
Can't she see that it's a dangerous place? And Shimamura might roam anywhere at that time. There's always possibility that she might encounters him again if she keep on going there. And he cannot stand by her side over there. Even if he wanted to, he cannot risk the deal being cut off if the man discovered his relation to Renge and might put them in danger.
The boy presses his head more to the junction between her shoulder and neck. "Please..." He pleads once more with rather tired voice.
"There are... People who need my help... And I want to help them..." She says slowly. Her powers are needed by her team mates, and she has already agreed to help them. She can't just back out all of the sudden.
"I'm sorry Isao-kun." She says regretfully.
People? He echoes her words. What kind of help she has to offer to... these people? What kind of power does she has that people requires her help? And... Who are these people?
Whoever they might be, Hiro thinks that they might be using her. A power that can detect him being the same as Shimamura. If she keep going to the sea, she might not only encounter Shimamura, but also Shenji, Aru, Natsu and Yuko. And their identities might be uncovered.
And there's also a possibility that she might be a hindrance to achieve his revenge. Not only to him, but also to his teammates.
And his teammates might target her as their next victim or even a hostage for her people.
"You... don't know what you might be facing." He cannot tell that there are others than him to her... yet. But he knows sooner or later, she will know. And for now, that she's already in danger under Shimamura's threat, he must keep her from going there.
He backs off of her to stare at her with worry and the hand that holds her waist now cups her face. "That man... might go after you again. And you already know what he capable of. What he can do to you."
He shakes his head weakly. "Please don't make me lose you. Especially to Shimamura." He strokes her cheek with the pad of his thumb. "Don't enter the sea."
Seeing him plead so she won't go, concerning about her safety, the girl clenches her fist. How can she say no to it?
But Renge steels her resolve, her sense of duty won't let back out from this. She needs to make sure of something first.
She looks into his eyes. "Tell me Isao-kun, why are you doing this?"
The girl brings her hand to hold his. "You say you're doing this for your own sake, but why must you... risk yourself like this?" Then she pauses to gulp down her nervousness. "Your powers... Is it harming you?"
The boy widens his eyes at the question. Of course she will ask about it. After what she just saw what happened to him just several minutes ago. Though even without the power, Hiro is already has an ongoing depression. But the usual is not as bad as earlier; they actually make it worse.
"It's... a decision that I can't turn back. There is... something I want, but I can't tell you yet about it." Hiro explains. "It's a personal matter. You don't have to mind about it." The boy gives a faint smile at her.
Then his face goes blank when she asks about his power. He sighs slowly before answering. "Yes... mentally. If I'm not careful enough to control my emotion, it will... try to take over me." He let out a humorless laugh. "It's a great price for me. I have a fragile heart." Then he strokes her cheek again, "But don't worry. That's what the pills are for."
Hearing his response makes her want to hear more about it, but Renge doesn't push further. She understands that it's not something she should easily meddle with. But if he risks his own health and wellbeing like this, what kind of plot is he planning?
"P-pills?" Renge glances to Hiro's bag where the pill case is. It seems that it’s worse than she thought. "Are you... alright Isao-kun?" The girl looks into him with so much concern in her eyes.
Hiro chuckles at her concern. Doesn't she want him to go away earlier? His hand moves to stroke her long hair. "Don't worry about me. I can manage myself." The boy smiles reassuringly at Renge. "Just... don't tell anyone about this."
Hiro presses his hand more to her cheek. "What about... you? Is your power harming you, too? If it is, then the more reason you must not go there." He also wants to know how she get her power, but he cannot risk to answer if the girl questions about it too to him. So he asks just that.
"No, no, it doesn't do anything to harm me. She's a gentle soul." Renge answers with certainty.
The boy lets out a relieved sigh. "I'm glad." Hiro confesses.
Being laying on the floor like this with her warmth and tiredness taking over him make his eyes begin to droop. He retracts his hand off Renge sluggishly and breathes heavily.
"I'm... tired..." Hiro sighs again. "The earlier attack really drains my energy. I might want to get some sleep first." He looks up to Renge and makes a small smile. "You... can go home. I'm sorry for keeping you here and ended up seeing me like this." He closes his eyes and lays his head on the floor, sleeping sideways. "I'm alright. I just need some rest before I go."
It would be for the best if she leaves him alone to rest, but... His figure looked so lonely. Renge shakes her head and brings her hand to stroke his hair again.
"No... I," She pauses a little before continuing. "I'll stay. At least until you feel better Isao-kun." The girl finally gave him an apologetic smile.
"...though your sleeping’s position looks so uncomfortable, do you want to use my bag as a pillow at least?"
It's really strange, she was so scared of him seconds ago. But now she's back to being so concerned about the boy in front of him.
Hiro opens his eyes to look up at the girl beside him. The boy smirks lazily at her. "Are you sure?"
Then without saying anything more, he crawls slowly to get to near her, then he lays his head on her lap. He shifts a bit to get more comfortable position.
He sighs in content on her comfy thighs. And before his consciousness drifts away to sleep, he mumbles weakly. "I'm sorry... And thank you."
As the girl watches him fall asleep, she takes off her uniform jacket and covers him with it. Then she begins to mull over her thoughts.
Shadow persona, unlike hers, harms its user mind. So they need the pills to suppress it. Just what will happen if it goes berserk? Hopefully it won't come to that.
She looks at Hiro who's sleeping on her lap. It's calming to see that he can actually sleep soundly this time. She let out a relieved sigh and pats his head again.
Emotions are really a fickle thing. Now she feels so silly that she was so terrified of him. Fear clouded her mind so much moments ago. How could she have thought that he would hurt her? It's clear that Hiro cares about her a lot, too. The notion makes her smile a little.
The girl keeps on stroking his hair. She looks at him with a gaze mixed with content and confusion. They are not on the same side, and they might have to face each other. And neither of them are willing to back down, too.
"Everything will be alright, won't it?" She says quietly. At least that's what she wants to believe in.