Editor: Masanda Hananisa
Character list: Isao Hironori (Masanda Hananisa), Shimamura Yasunari (Felicia Caitlin)
Total words: 7252 words
Summary: Hironori received an email from Shimamura about a power that able to see what inside the people's heart. It seemed suspicious, but he decided to came to meet up with the book clerk.
Trigger warning: none
Hiro received an e-mail from Shimamura, talked about having some power that able to see what inside the people's heart. The last time he met him, he also mentioned about giving people a comic book-like power. He was a bit skeptical about that. Who would believe such thing in the first place, anyway?
But that's not the thing why he decided to come to this cafe to meet the book clerk.
Shimamura mentioned in his e-mail that 'we' deserve the chance to fight back to anyone who looked down on us. Mocked us. Oppressed us.
Once he read that line, he directly remembered his damned father. His father, who oppressed him for years and abandoned him. Although, Hiro himself drove his father away, but that is exactly the reason. He left his mother died. That man did not even deserve to live.
And for the people who laughed at him because he's dancing. The people who caged him, made him unable to freely show his emotion in dancing.
And discrimination. Hypocrisy.
So here he was, sitting on the table with his ordered mineral water (because it seemed they didn't accept own-bring water bottle), waiting for Shimamura to come.
Shimamura tightened his scarf and picked up his pace, slipping through the slowly moving crowds around the station's entrance. It was not usual for him to be late, but the damned train had to slow down due to the heavy snow the day before.
“Five minutes,” he muttered to himself.
He looked around as he reached the junction one block away from the station entrance and saw the cafe where his appointment would be. With a slight smile he waited for the traffic to turn green, shivering and shaking from the biting cold.
A minute later, he was pulling the door to the cafe. He shook off the snow from his boots at the entrance mat, loosened his scarf and looked around.
"Hello," the man approached Hironori with a smile. It wasn't really hard to spot the stern looking teenager in the cafe, "I hope you didn't wait for long."
Hiro looked up when a man approached him. He smirked a little and shrugged, "Nah, just got here a few min ago."
“I'm going to order something first, do you want something?” asked Shimamura. “My treat."
There was one thing that Hiro liked to make a new friend. Almost each of them give him a treat. He didn't know why--as in, why would people treat him of all people, but that was something that he's really grateful about.
Something's really useful for him.
Hiro smirked wider, "then I have a salmon sandwich, please." One of his favorite. Too bad cafes don't serve a salmon belly, his number one favorite.
"Alright," Shimamura left his jacket and his scarf, but kept his bag with him as he went to the counter and placed his order. Once the card had been swiped and number had been received, the rather slim man immediately head to the pickup counter while looking down on his phone.
Only five minutes later, he came back with a plate of salmon sandwich, a plain waffle, and two cups of lattes.
"Eat up," he said as he placed them on the table and took his own seat, "it's cold today."
Hiro inclined his head and grinned, "Thanks," as he took a fork of his treated salmon sandwich. As he swallowed, he shrugged nonchalantly, "I'm fine with the cold. Though it is a bit chilly."
The man crossed his leg and took his time trying the coffee. It seemed like it has been his habit to not go directly into business.
"So you're interested?" Shimamura started, "I remember I told you about a comic book-like power."
Hiro took another fork before he answered Shimamura's next words. "Honestly, I'm still a bit... unsure about your comic book-like power," Hiro said straightly as he raised an eyebrow. "But if you're talking about chances that... 'We' could fight some... bastards, sure, I'm in." He didn't need to define who the bastards were. "Though I am curious about this... comic book-like power you're keep on talking."
“That's the aim, yeah,” Shimamura smiled. He took his bread knife and began slicing his waffles, "some people needs to taste a little ... consequences of what they do."
"Simply speaking, some people has a talent to materialize their anger and hatred into a sort of weapon," he took a bite of the waffle, "I usually call them a mythical being that abides to your will, if you can control them."
"And I help them realize their power," Shimamura smiled, "for free."
Hiro stopped at picking his slice of salmon sandwich and stared at Shimamura.
Is this man for real? He talked about things like mythical being, something that Hiro never believed, like it's something... normal to him. A talent to materialize their anger and hatred into a sort of weapon?
Hiro imagined he could summon a scary, red monstrous demon that can make any of his wishes come true and obey his every command.
Well. That is some comic book-like power indeed.
But the man in front of him seemed really serious about it. Like it's no joke. "So you say, in order to have this kind of... weapon, I must have some sort of... uh, hatred inside me?" Hiro said it as he frowned. It seemed weird when he said it, so he was a bit confused.
If it's only hatred it required, then Hiro have lots of it.
"Hatred, talent, and enough willpower," Shimamura looked at Hiro in the eyes and with a flick of his wrist, he pointed at Hiro, "you have one, I can tell."
"As much as it sounds like a comic book, I can guarantee the truth."
Shimamura saw a flicker of determination in this boy's eyes when they first meet in the book store. In that hint of anger at the mention of his parents and his talents, the bitterness of his words as he spoke of discrimination and dancing, that hesitation of cursing a bastard he saw himself.
He just have to pull them all out.
"Hmm," Hiro hummed, squinting his eyes as he stared back at Shimamura. Probably he opened himself a bit too much back at the bookstore. Every time he mentioned about dancing, he always gets... emotional. And when that person was willing to hear his story, he just almost cannot stop himself.
What to do with it? Hironori is an honest man anyway.
So Hiro just shrugged and smirked twistedly, with a bit chuckle, "you bet I have."
He stared at the man in front of him once more. "So you can." Hiro said as he inclined his head and still smirking.
Shimamura watched Hiro smirked and replied him, trying to see through the veil and all of that smirks and gesture. He could not decide. There is something behind all that, that gave him chill. Discomfort, perhaps, or fear. Whichever it was.
He chewed on his waffle and tried to think of a plan. Can he trust this man? The trouble with the other boy back then would be enough to keep him occupied. He wouldn't want to have two of him, moreover someone he could not work with.
"I need to remind you that it is not something you can give up in the middle of the way," the man tested his water, "you will forever be bound to it, and it will ask you for fodder in return for their power."
"Are you ready?" Shimamura asked.
Hiro pulled his smirk back for a while and fold his both hands in front of his chest.
So this man really is have some serious talk about the power. The power which required hatred and anger, a talent and willpower to control it. A weapon used to deal with those discriminating bastards, who also gave him all of hatred he's having now.
Deep in his heart, Hiro didn't want to take risk. He never took any risk before. Especially if it's risking his own life. He also never would sacrifice his own freedom; he didn't even took a part-time job. He let his aunt do the job to make him keep alive and still living in his house. He just... dance whenever he wants.
But to think he would give some lesson to people who looked down on him because of dancing... to think he will be able to show those jerks what he can really do.
With the power.
For the sake of his freedom in dancing and show those bastards who's the boss, if it's only hatred things it need, he would let it all out.
And he also might have some good use of it.
He put the smirk back again. "Sure."
Shimamura looked around, then back to Hiro.
Well, they're here anyway.
"Do you know the hill area behind Shizumida High School?" Shimamura plopped the last slice of his waffle and drank his coffee, "we will go there. Meet me at 3AM nearby the school’s back gate and I will help you awaken your power."
Hiro blinked at Shimamura's appointment. "That's... so early in the morning." He commented. But then he shrugged and smirked, "Alright. I'll make sure to set my alarm for that time then." Hiro finished his last piece of sandwich and drink his treated latte.
Let's see if this comic book-like power is really worth it.
“Wear something warm and bring an umbrella. The snow is gonna be heavy tonight. I'll see you later.” So was Shimamura's message to Hiro over an hour ago.
The man yawned and stretched his stiff neck under his umbrella. He should have been resting the night before, but instead of that, he had foolishly decided to agree to a meeting until late at night, thinking that an hour nap would be sufficient. It should be, usually, but the meeting had not been smooth and it left him feeling more tired than usual.
At least the snow is beautiful. He huffed while tightening his scarf and mask, and drew something on the snow with his feet.
"It's kind of chilly today." Hiro mumbled under his yellow scarf as he arrived at the place where he's about to meet Shimamura once again. Hiro could stand the cold of winter, but he knows when the temperature dropped lower than usual.
Maybe it's because early in the morning. Way too early. It's always colder in early morning, when the sun is not up on the sky yet.
To be honest, he was a bit anxious of what he's about to... do. Or what he was about to face. He was almost chickened out by the thought of some kind of weapon made by hatred and anger--that was some abnormal... thing he's ever heard.
And he always bad at making decision.
So before he could change his choice, he directly wore his casual warm clothes and took a midnight train to school after some minutes his alarm went off.
Hiro turned his head around under his umbrella, searching for the book clerk. When he spotted him, Hiro approached and waved his hand, "hello." Then he made a friendly smirk, "I hope you didn't wait for long."
"Isao-san," Shimamura gave the boy a light bow, one that looked more like a deep nod, "how have you been?"
"A bit sleepy." Hiro yawned to make an emphasis. "It's the cold. Makes me want to go back to bed."
"Shall we go?" The man immediately lead the way to the quieter side of the hill, "I'm sorry I had to ask you to meet me so early in the morning, I wish I could do it in the evening too." He turned and gave out an invisible smile behind his scarf while walking backwards.
Hiro followed Shimamura's steps. He shrugged at the older man's words, "Well, it's comic book-like... power we're talking about. Sneaking at the back of the school at 3AM is already comic book-like to me."
"If you're unsure, you still can change your mind, just let me know?" the bookstore clerk added, "this is no kids play, and it's not exactly legal."
And he just had to said it again, didn't he? Hiro already struggled in deciding whether he wanted to believe this man or not, whether what this man said true or not. He partly decided to choose this out of curiosity, and the other part, if it's a real thing, then Hiro could really make a good use of it.
He might be underestimate the situation he will be facing, but... he's already here, anyway.
No kids play, no kidding. Not exactly legal, well, he already figured it out. Some abnormal power to be... 'awakened' at 3AM? Sounds already not legal to him.
He also curious, as he stared at Shimamura, what this book clerk actually could do.
"I'm already here, right?" Hiro answered simply. If this man was about to do something to him, well, he would just punch him in the face and run away and call the cops or something, despite he has... a bit disrespect toward them.
"Right," Shimamura let out a small chuckle. He then checked his watch. It's a minute past 3, the city would have been submerged in water by now.
"We're here," the man said. They were pretty much deep in the forest. Beyond them there was no manmade trail anymore, only field of snow among trees and occasionally jutting out dry grass, "Meet my shadow persona, Amanojaku."
The air next to the book clerk glowed and distorted, and from behind them, a small figure, one meter in height at max, emerged. He looked like a human kid, but his skin was red like blood, and his feet were those of a goat's. He wore a traditional funeral robe, and where his face should be, a heavy looking, huge Hannya mask stood, its raging eyes stared at Hiro unashamedly.
Hiro thought immediately that he might be already went back to sleep.
He looked at the surroundings. The appearance somehow... different, from a few minute ago. Especially the atmosphere. He felt some kind of eerie presence from... everywhere.
Then he looked at Shimamura, bewildered. Then... that thing appeared.
“Well..." Hiro started, stared back at the... demon-like creature unsurely, a bit wobbly, trying to process of what just happened.
"It is... way smaller than I was imagined it to be." He did imagined some kind of angry-red, monstrous demon that will obey every command when Shimamura described the power to him the last time they met. Huh, so not monstrous at all, Hiro thought, as he raised an eyebrow.
He might be rather calm outside, but actually, he's panicking inside. Train of thoughts started flashing inside his head. What the hell is this creature? The hell with this man? Why is it so small? Is it really the weapon he's talking about? What is he about to do? And why the hell their surrounding turned into some kind of eerie place, like they're currently deep beneath the water?
Am I still sleeping?
Hiro tried to shook his thoughts, but well, it never worked on him. He hated it when those minds start to break free wildly inside his head.
Hiro's face darkened a bit. Not because the small red creature was staring back at him, but because he couldn't control his myriad of thoughts the moment this creature popped out.
Hiro never good at calming his momentary anxiety down. All he could do was keep silent and struggled inside.
"Well, it's just that mine is small," the man closed his umbrella and patted the demon's mask, "I have seen others that stands at... Two meters, maybe."
"Wait, so there are others?" Hiro said with a shock. And a two meters creature like this? Well, that one might be the real thing that he imagined earlier.
"Yes," Shimamura chuckled, "there are others like you and me. Not so many, but yeah."
The red creature suddenly jumped from his place and bolted from tree to tree around. Wherever he touched, a huge gash was formed. On one tree it was even so deep; one could see the whitish wood on the inside.
Hiro still couldn't process pretty well with... the creature's existence. He froze in his place as he watched the red creature... what was his name? Amano-something? It's even has his own name--jumping so quickly here and there, leaving damage to wherever he stepped on.
A red, scary little demon, then.
"I wouldn't want him to attack me," Shimamura said again when the devil had returned to his side, "though he practically doesn't really harm human. Only feed on their soul. By the way, he told me yours fit the description better."
Hiro, still struggling inside, tried to hear what Shimamura was saying. He frowned confusedly, "What description?" As if he was forgetting something he talked earlier. His mind was really jumbled, he couldn't think clearly. Well, how could he? He's in an abnormal situation, anyway.
"Weapon made out of anger," the older man said, with a raised brow. He then decided to take it slowly, letting the boy taking his time deciding. "A mythical being that abides to your will. Amanojaku is made of anger and hatred too. It's just doesn't look that way."
Oh. That weapon made out of anger. Of course.
But now, he's not definitely angry. He couldn't even identify how he's feeling. Somehow, he was getting dizzier. It's just happening too fast for him.
"Take your time to decide. But I can't tell you too much before you agreed to it, otherwise I'll get into trouble if you decided to call the police instead." Said the book clerk.
Hiro stared at Shimamura for a moment, at the red creature, and then looked down, scowling.
He hated this part. Deciding. He knew he's bad at it. Moreover, his mind was scattering like an army of ants got sprayed by a pesticide. He knew he shouldn't make decision at this situation.
So he tried to calm his mind down with a slow intake of breath, and exhaled slowly.
It worked a bit for him, but at least his mind is a bit clearer and better.
Shimamura didn't explain the whole thing, he knew. There must be something that would happen when he chose this decision. It made him more anxious.
But for a chance to show everyone what he can do with this power. Maybe, just maybe, if he really did have this kind of power, he might give those people a lesson. Especially to that bastard.
That bastard who castrate him because he dance. The bastard who didn't give any appreciation toward what he has done for him. The bastard who left when mother needed him. The bastard who wasn't there when mother lied weakly in the hospital.
When mother died. And all the discrimination and hypocrisy thrown at him.
"Alright," Hiro said with a more convinced voice. "So, what should I do?"
Yes. For his late mother, he would do anything. It took some time to remember, but when he did, his mind was back on track immediately.
Shimamura smiled a tight-lipped smile when Hiro finally made his decision.
"I will do the work," Shimamura said. He began to stretch his arm. Hiro is much bigger than him and if he needs to fight, or at least hold the boy back from killing him, he better have had himself ready, "There're things I need to warn you beforehand, Isao-san. This is a point of no return. You will be bound forever to your persona."
The man then pulled out a pen-like injection from his pocket and show it to the boy, "Shadow persona is the manifestation the things you hide. That being said, you will be emotionally unstable for a while. Two, three days, perhaps, until you get used to it. This is a kind of sedative. I will help you calm down for today, the rest is up to you."
"Shall we begin, then?"
Hiro nodded. “Right,” he said, trying to compose himself to be ready in whatever the man trying to do to him.
Amanojaku strode closer to Hironori and float until he reached Hironori's chest. The creature said nothing, not even a greeting as it raised his hand and placed it on the boy's chest, right below his thorax blade.
Without further ado, he sank first his nail into Hiro's flesh, then pushed further until all his hands sank into him. In a single breath his fingers curled and he pulled something out of the boy. At first it looked like a bluish gray figure that refused to leave, but the more it struggled to get away from Amanojaku's grip, the tighter the demon's grip became.
As Amanojaku pulled the persona out even further, the shape of the creature became clearer. A huge dog head began to emerge. Amanojaku released his grip and now the creature, like a newly born snake, began to struggle away from his host.
Shimamura took a step back and narrowed his eyes.
The moment when Amanojaku floated in front of him and thrust his hands to Hiro’s chest, he jumped a little, anticipating the pain. But there was no pain and no blood. Hiro scowled as Amanojaku tried to pull out something from inside him.
Then, he saw it. When Amanojaku pulled out the creature inside Hiro further, he could identify the form, though it was still a bit blurred. The moment Shimamura’s shadow persona released his grip, the dog-like creature began to thrashing around, trying to get out. Then it jumped so strong that Hiro thrown far way back and fell down.
Hiro grunted. “What the...” He tried to get up and looked up to the existence that just got out from inside him. Then he blinked.
It’s a dog. Quite bigger than usual ones. But for Hiro, it seemed... quite normal for a weapon that made out of anger. Hiro frowned and inclined his head as he stared at the dog, perturbed.
But that sense of normal didn’t last long. The dog-like creature started to grow tremendously in size. It kept on growing, towering the other like a monster, until it stopped.
Then the other part of the creature started to materialize. Its head took shape of a dark purple colored wolf skull, its chest covered with soft, rather silky thick fur which identical with Hiro’s hair color. Its forefoot were chained with a mass on each feet. Its backside and hind legs were skeleton-formed without a single flesh, except its hind feet and tail. Both of its eyes were glowing purple.
Hiro froze as he stared at the monstrous wolf. It’s freaking huge! And definitely bigger than two meters.
Got no chance to say a word, the wolf started to howl.
Then, he felt it. So suddenly, Hiro felt his chest so, so empty. So empty that both of his hands and knees couldn’t support his body and fell down once more to the ground weakly.
As he lied down, a well of pent-up emotions started to burst inside him, like throwing bombs. Hatred, greed, anger, rejection, weakness, loneliness, depression, anxiousness, fear.
Couldn’t hold, Hiro started to scream so loudly that he cried. The feelings he tried to bury so deep and tried to forget, bombarding him, trying to make him shattered. His heart was beginning to wreck. Once he felt like he wanted to kill someone, and then he felt so useless that he should be the one who deserved to die. Hiro thrashed wildly, he felt like he wanted to take his heart out.
As the gigantic wolf keep howling, two other wolves started to materialize on both its sides. This time, they were smaller, but still a bit bigger than usual wolf’s size. Their form were kind of normal, except their head were skull, one was red, and the other one was blue.
The bigger wolf stopped his howl, and there was only Hiro’s scream remain.
Then, both of the smaller wolves started to bark loudly, running around so fast blindly, with no exact direction. They were destroying the surrounding; the red one biting and clawing nearby trees, while the blue one shot ice breath, freezing the trees.
While the smaller ones were wreaking havoc, the gigantic wolf seemed didn’t move at all from its place.
Shimamura cursed as the shadow persona started to grow bigger and morphed into its true form. It was, by far, one of the biggest he had ever seen. Amanojaku is clearly a no match if the forest rail turn to a free-for-all (he was, after all, nearly a no match to all persona), moreover with the twin wolf began to materialize. Thinking on the safest way to avoid a head on confrontation, the man began to move sideways, hoping to remove himself from the wolf's line of sight. He was gripping tight on the sedative inside his pocket. His palm was cold and wet.
Seeing Hiro began to scream, cry, and trash around, the bookstore clerk hardened his jaw. How dark was the boy's nightmare for him to be able to produce such monstrous being? He thought. How hard had it been on him?
When the twin wolves started to run around and destroy everything in their trail, Shimamura rolled on the ground and bolted towards the boy. He noticed that the huge wolf was merely sitting still, thank God, and the smaller wolves were too distracted to hunt after either him or his persona. Within second he withdrew his persona to minimize attention, then caught Hiro by his arms.
"Isao-san!" He called, hands gripping on his forearm to keep the boy from trashing around even further, "Isao-san, look at me. It’s okay, nobody is going to hurt you, okay? Look at me."
“Mother!” Hiro screamed loudly and wetly. While the emotions keep on coming like crazy, the image of his smiling mother, who lying weakly on the hospital bed flashed inside his head. The image of his mother saw him happily when he dance. The rejection of his father when he caught him dancing. The people who mocked him dancing ballet, seeing him with disgust.
As he felt his forearm gripped by Shimamura, Hiro screamed louder, but his movement was beginning to slow down. He was still crying, couldn’t control the tremendous emotions welling-up inside him.
He could barely hear Shimamura talking to him. His head was full of his mother’s soft voice. His loud and commanding father. The mocking laugh of the people saw him dancing.
Hiro was shaking his head wildly. He tried to come to his senses, but the raging emotions were winning against him.
“Shit, he's too deep,” the man gritted his teeth, then flinched when Hiro called for his mother. That, too, raised an aching rage inside his chest. He pushed the thought and focus on what's in front of him. A wildly raging boy was one thing, a wildly raging boy among two wildly raging persona was another thing altogether. What did the scientists did when he went through the same thing? He couldn't remember. Even if he does, he's no licensed psychiatrist.
“Isao-san, look it's alright,” Shimamura desperately tried to talk to him. He then started to unbutton the boy's jacket and ripped half of it open, as Hiro slow down visibly, exposing his forearm to the cold and biting icy air. Within a single breath the man pulled the sedative out, activated the injector and stabbed the boy on his forearm, then throw it away. He pulled Hiro to a hug, hoping that it could calm the boy even further.
“Isao-san, it's alright,” he called again, “listen, it happened and it has passed, it is alright.”
At the same time Amanojaku reappeared and dashed--jumped--towards the blue wolf, dodging the breath as he did so. He caught the wolf by his neck, and tried a confuse spell.
Hiro grunted as if he’s in pain. He momentarily feel some kind of tingly sensation on his forearm, then he felt warmth enveloping him.
Hiro stopped screaming. He forgot the aching rage in his heart for a moment. He finally came to his senses, knowing that Shimamura was hugging him. But not for long.
Hiro shook his head once more, but weaker this time. “No... I... mother is...” Hiro mumbled wetly as he cry, feeling his heart shattered into pieces. But gradually, he could feel the bombs of emotions were reducing slowly.
The blue-skulled wolf thrashed wildly when Amanojaku caught his neck and casted a confuse spell on him. The wolf stopped raging, but instead he behave like a domesticated dog and started to chase his own tail.
Feeling his twin brother got caught, the red-skulled wolf immediately ran toward Amanojaku quickly, growled and opened his mouth widely, intending to bite the red small creature.
Amanojaku immediately released the blue eyed wolf when he saw the creature started to calm down. He rolled and turned right before the wolf bit his head off, with his small hands he caught the wolf's jaw and tried to push him away from his face.
“Okay, okay, what happened to mother, tell me,” the older man tried to speak as softly as possible, despite his highway fast panicking mind of having to control both Amanojaku and focus on Hiro. In his plan, silencing the wolves come first, as loud noises will only bother both of them, and only then after he can focus on Hiro. In reality, though, nothing goes according to planned scenario.
The wolf shook his head off and barked angrily when Amanojaku caught his jaw. He was about to cast a dark spell to his opponent, but suddenly, he came to a stop.
At that very same time, Hiro tried his best to ignore the aching pain in his heart once more and replied to the man, “She... was sick...” Hiro sobbed. “She needed... I want her back...” His voice was gradually dissipating. “I want...” And, with that last word he tried to speak out, his vision became blurred, overwhelmed by the wild emotions that wrecked his already broken heart, and he blacked out.
With Hiro fainted, all of the wolves were dissolving into the thin air.
Shimamura felt the boy's weight get heavier on him as he speak before everything turned to silence. He nearly tumbled backwards from the sudden weight if he didn't quickly used his hand to land first.
"Of all things," he disgruntled, "do I look like an ambulance to you?"
He withdrew Amanojaku and slowly lay the unconscious boy on the ground. With one hand he reached for his cellphone and called someone, his other hand busy tightening the boy's jacket.
"Hmm, it's me," he said, "yeah I did. By the way, can you drive to Minami-Shima now? I kinda get into trouble here."
He listened for a second, hand still busy properly dressing the unconscious boy.
"No, I didn't kill anyone. He just fainted." He said again, "near the school back gate. You know the hill? Eastern road, yes. I'll see you there."
With that, he dropped his cellphone back in his pocket and carefully lifted the taller boy by his arms around his shoulders. As Hiro was too tall for him, the boy's feet would dragged behind when they walk, slowing both of them down. In the end Shimamura had no choice but to give him a back ride until they reached the road side.
A silver van came up to them five minutes later. A rough looking man in his forty emerged from the driver seat. He clucked his tongue at the sight, but nevertheless lend the thin bookstore clerk a hand.
"Motel?" The driver asked.
"No, my place. I'm not spending anything."
They drove away in silence, not even the radio was turned on during the fifteen minutes drive to the western port area. Shimamura was deep in thought and even as they reached his place, he kept quiet. The man helped him move the boy to a futon, he said a simple thanks, and they parted ways.
Shimamura left the room and rested on the sofa outside. Amanojaku stood still next to him.
Hironori woke up with a jolt. The moment he brought his body up, he gripped his chest where his heart is, feeling so heavy. He grunted lowly, his head felt dizzy. After a while, those sensations slowly dispersed. The young boy finally able to control his own mind.
What happened to him? That was the first question that came to his head. The last thing he remembered, he heard some kind of a wolf’s howl and he... fell down and felt his hidden various emotions bursting out of him.
Oh, right. He got his shadow persona out of him by Shimamura. But somehow, he’s not in the mood to celebrate that right now.
Hiro started to look around, and he assumed he’s in somebody’s house. And the futon... Hiro frowned, understood at the situation he was in right now.
He had passed out.
The boy looked around once more and saw the door was opened. Hiro slowly stood up and walked toward the other room.
Then he saw Shimamura on the sofa, with his shadow persona beside him. The man seemed so quiet, and Hiro felt a bit reluctant.
“Uh,” Hiro started, with a low voice. He sighed and scratched his nape, “Sorry about that. I must be quite heavy.” There was no proper thanks, though, but at least he knew he should be sorry.
Shimamura shifted a little when the door opened, then turned his head to see Hiro standing in the middle of the room, apologizing quietly. He sighed and sat up, and then flashed a thin smile as Amanojaku vanished into thin air.
"How do you feel?" he shrugged and walked past the boy towards the kitchen in the same room, "better?"
“Still not good, but yeah,” Hiro shrugged. “Better, I guess.” At least he wasn’t screaming and crying like a kid having a temper tantrum right now.
"Sit down, I need to talk to you." he gestured to the sofa.
Hiro nodded, “right.” So he sat down on the sofa as told, waiting for Shimamura’s next words.
"Try to have a better control on your emotion next time," Shimamura picked up an electric kettle from the kitchen counter, emptied it out on the sink and filled half of it with tap water, "the shadow persona feeds on your emotion so if you can't control it, you won't be able to control your persona."
How in the freaking hell I can control such crazy emotions like that!? Hiro thought, a bit angrily. He really didn’t see that coming. His chest was bubbling madly with emotions like boiling water, every of it made his body fueled with various urges either to kill someone or kill himself. In the end, he cried screaming.
"It was your first time, though, so I can understand," the man flashed a thin smile, "I almost killed someone back then."
"If you have any question, ask now while I'm sober," Shimamura took the electric kettle when it finished boiling and brew two cups of tea. When he was done he place them to the coffee table, one he place in front of Hiro, the other he kept nearby him. He didn't immediately sit down but rather went to his desk and took out a bottle of pill from a box beneath the desk.
“Emotion, huh.” Said the school boy, as he combed his hair back with his hand and sighed. “That is really troublesome. Because I never good on that.” He snorted and shook his head.
Then he shrugged, “I don’t know if I could handle... something like earlier again.” Hiro shivered a bit at the thought. “But I’ll try anyway. No back down, right?”
It’s been so long he was having such nightmare. And he really hoped he wouldn’t experience it once more.
"You will have to, eventually, there's no turning back." The book clerk replied.
Hiro pursed his lip. Why was he always bad at choosing decision? Now, he could not turn back from this. He probably would experience that bombing emotion again. He’s scared, that’s for sure. He was kind of aware that his mental strength was not as strong as his physical. But he had no exact idea until that happened.
Hiro intertwined his fingers tightly. There’s no turning back. He wanted to regret his decision, but what’s the point? He’s already here anyway.
Then Hironori raised an eyebrow. “That huge wolf earlier. Is that really my shadow persona?” He asked, just to make sure. If it really is his shadow persona... then that thing was inside him all this time? And, Hiro thought grimly, it’s not even just a demon.
It’s a monster.
Shimamura sat down on the other end of the sofa and place the pill bottle on the table.
"It is, for real." the man replied, "I see you've been through a lot. You were calling for your mother."
The boy startled when he heard Shimamura’s last words. He turned his head down. “So you heard.” Hiro muttered lowly. He didn’t feel like he wanted to tell the whole truth to the book clerk. He never had someone to listen to his story, and he wasn’t sure the man would want to hear it anyway.
"I did," the man took his cup and leant back, he hesitated before asking again, "is she alive?"
Hiro shook his head slowly, responding to Shimamura’s question about his mother. “She... died before my eyes.” He whispered. The man just asked, so he thought he could tell about it then. “She got a heavy disease that required an expensive surgery, and we could have paid for it.” Hiro clenched his intertwined hands tighter and scowled deeply. “But... my father wasn’t there. Most of the money was with him. I was the only one who could take care of her. Until she’s gone.” Hiro felt like he wanted to cry again, but he hold it back. He had enough crying for today.
"I see," The man was reminded of his own mother of all sudden. He let the thought pass and instead tried to offer his warmest smile, "You’ve suffered a lot. It's really... I think you're really strong."
"Don't you think so?" He asked again, "and now you have this power and all. Maybe it's a good idea to focus on your aim and let that hatred focused on your goal."
Hiro looked down the moment the man said he was strong. He never considered himself strong when he faced such trial. He cried for days, abandoned all the school’s activities, even the student council. But after that incident, he focused himself in dancing. It was his only coping mechanism.
The boy stared at the book clerk once more. Hironori’s own goal... yes. He almost forgot that he also has his own reason why he chose this decision. So he just nodded and will think about what to do with this newly found power.
“Your persona... has his own name, doesn’t he?” Hironori asked, tried to get them back to the main topic. “Do you name him yourself, or...,” he gestured his hand. “They have their own name?”
“They have their own name, you can ask him.” Shimamura answered. “Your shadow persona is part of you, so naturally, you can communicate with them and command them at will.”
The young boy frowned. “Is that so?” At that moment, he tried to connect himself with... the earlier wolf inside of him. His frown deepen when he found out that the wolf really was inside him. He couldn’t really explain it, but he could tell that the wolf was there.
And after a moment he also found out that they were three of them. Hiro wasn’t aware of the other two smaller wolves’ existence back then.
After another moment, Hiro looked up to Shimamura. “He said he’s Fenris Wolf. And the others... the red one is Hati, and the blue one is Skoll.” It felt so foreign to him, but also felt natural at the same time.
“But wait, I have three of them? Is that normal?” He almost forgot that having such monsters that reside within him is already not normal in the first place.
"Fenris Wolf, I see. I thought they were Cerberus or something," the man uncrossed and crossed his legs again, "I guess it is. I haven't seen anyone having a set of three like yours, but it happens, so maybe we can say it is a good thing."
“Good thing, huh,” Hiro mumbled, then he shrugged, “I guess I’m a special case, then.”
He asked once again, “So, what exactly this shadow persona can do?”
"They sink people in eternal despair," Shimamura replied, "they feast on human souls. Kill without killing."
Hiro raised his eyebrows. Kill without killing? Sounds pretty... convenient. So if there's anyone he wanted to give a lesson, then he just has to use this shadow persona, then?
Hiro smirked inwardly. Now, he already got some thoughts for that. But he would think more about that later.
"By the way," the bookstore clerk suddenly steered the topic away, despite it being an important one, "I forgot to tell you that you will have to eat medicine in order to keep that beast under control."
The fair haired lad reached for the pill bottle and handed it to the boy, "you will get the same nightmare for two-three days. Eat this once a day until you're fully accustomed to your persona. Then have it only when you feel like Fenris is taking over you too much."
The young boy accepted the medicine from the man and nodded at Shimamura's explanation. Though he already expected it, but to experience that same raging emotion in his heart for two-three days long seemed... quite difficult for him.
"If these ran out, I just need to come to you for another, then?"
Shimamura leant back and heaved a long sigh after Hiro received the medicine. He nodded in response to the question, then told him to not consume the medicine more than once a day in whatever circumstances.
"Anything else?" He asked. He looked visibly tired and did not even bother to hide it anymore.
Outside the window (the curtain was open), the stars had gone and sky had gradually turned bluish. Birds started chirping, and splash of red and yellow light was spreading slowly on the horizon.
Hiro looked to the window, and it seemed the morning has come. He kind of broke his sleeping schedule today, so maybe he should go straight home now, missing his daily run.
The actual business has been done anyway.
The school boy stood up and sighed, “I guess that’s enough for today. If anything comes up, I’ll just come to you,” Hiro gave a small smirk. Then he inclined his head, “thanks anyway.” And with that, he Hiro stepped out of the room.
"You're welcome," Shimamura smiled and shrugged, "once you go out, go to your right. The bus stop will be right at the junction."
"We'll meet again." The man said as he watch Hiro left the room.