As a socially inept pariah and the unluckiest half-demon in Hell, Setsuna can't help but feel her mission to befriend Konoka Konoe is doomed to fail. Everyone has their run-in with fortune sooner or later, however, and she soon finds that her assignment may be going a little /too/ well... Cosmic warfare, magic powers, and accidental romance included. [KonoSetsu]. [AU].
Konoka really hadn't been kidding about wanting to do things together.
The following Monday she'd even gifted Setsuna a phone for the express purpose of calling each other whenever they wanted.
Although Setsuna learned from Mana that refusing an offer is the polite thing to do, she hadn't argued too hard about that once she learned she can manage her WoW character's equipment using an app. Beyond that, there's also the convenience of an interactive bus schedule, a GPS, and not to mention Angry Birds.
"Where did you get that?" Mana leans over her desk to check out the fancy iPhone.
"Konoka gave it to me."
She's about to ask why, but spots the person in question walking towards them anyway. Several employees straighten up in their seats, a few wiping drool off their faces, as Konoka makes her way past the cubicles. She leans against the back of Setsuna's chair and watches her play games for a moment before speaking.
"Enjoying your new phone?"
"Yes, actually," Setsuna responds while slicing a flurry of strawberries in Fruit Ninja, "Thank you again."
"Don't worry about it," Konoka waves the thank you off and waits for Setsuna to be done with her game. Four minutes later she's still going at it though. Another three minutes and Setsuna's score is completely off the charts.
"You have some seriously ridiculous reflexes," Konoka comments, genuinely impressed.
"I've had a lot of experience with sharp objects. You kind of have to be fast."
A few feet away Mana puts her hand on her forehead and shakes her head. Who says that?
But to her surprise, Konoka goes right along with it.
"Let me guess… in WoW you're a warrior, but I think in real life you're more like a rogue? Or maybe a ninja or something, like my dad."
Setsuna finally looks up from her phone, purposely losing her game.
"Your dad's a ninja?"
"Um, kinda… actually, there's something I wanted to talk to you about in my office."
"Is it about your dad being a ninja?" Thunk.
Mana can't help but let her head hit her desk at that remark. It's completely miraculous that Konoka even wants to talk to someone as absurdly maladjusted as Setsuna. She's still not even sure what brought it on in the first place.
But then again, Konoka herself hardly seems the perfect picture of normal either. Her reactions are pretty unusual, and despite her social class, she hardly seems to care about who she spends her time with. Or what she spends her time doing, for that matter. It's hard to tell if she's too nice, or just oblivious, but either way it's turned out rather conveniently for Setsuna. The two make quite a pair.
As far as the strangeness goes, Mana can only guess it's due to her upbringing. And apparently having a ninja as a father.
Konoka puts her hand behind her head nervously, a doppleganger of her father, and admits, "Kind of, actually."
She leads Setsuna to her office and Mana's slightly disappointed to see her entertainment go. At least until she spots Setsuna's iPhone on her desk. She decides she's going to have to give the girl a lesson about leaving her nice things in the open.
But until then: Fruit Ninja. XXX
Setsuna is sitting comfortably in her favorite chair and spinning a pen between her fingers. Staring out at the skyline of the city from the huge windows along the wall, she half-listens to Konoka rifling through papers and mumbling to herself.
"Where the heck did I put it…"
Slamming a drawer shut she stands up and leans against her desk, tapping her nails on its surface.
She goes to the file cabinet against the wall and pulls out some folders before finally coming back to sit down, letter in hand. She plops in her chair in that unusual way and this time lands cross-legged.
"Here it is."
Setsuna stares at the envelope on the desk. It's blank except for a name: Eishun Konoe.
"Is that for your dad?"
Konoka shakes her head.
"Nope, it's from my dad. This company works pretty closely with a particular contracting firm – one of the biggest in the world. Their CEO is currently in Japan doing some project or other in Kyoto, and since it's part of my job, my dad's sending me there to 'maintain relations' or something," she explains, air-quotes and all.
"I see, so the letter is for this company's representative."
Konoka shakes her head again.
"Not quite. Talking to this woman is kind of a side-task. He's actually sending me there mostly just to deliver this. It's for some of his personal business associates, not related to the company…"
She goes silent for a second, fumbling with her words.
"My dad is… I know this is kind of obscure, but have you ever heard of an old-school martial art called Shinmeryuu?"
Setsuna abruptly stops spinning her pen.
"Your dad trained with them?"
"Oh," Konoka looks appropriately surprised, "So you know about them?"
"I've heard of them."
If "heard" and "impersonated" mean the same thing, anyway…
"That puts you a step ahead of most people," Konoka says with a smile, glad she doesn't have to explain too thoroughly. "They believe in all kinds of weird stuff, so I never had much to do with it. Not that I'm opposed to things like fortune-telling or stuff like that," she corrects herself quickly, "But these guys take it to a whole new level; it's kind of cult-like. They seriously believe they protect the world from evil."
Konoka rolls her eyes at the supposed absurdity while that very same "evil" shifts nervously in her seat.
"Anyway, my dad actually became one of their leaders while he lived in Japan."
"Your dad helps run the Shinmeryuu?"
Konoka shrugs. "I guess so, yeah."
That is very not good for her mission, Setsuna knows.
The Shinmeryuu's cult-like insistence that they protect the world from evil exists because they actually do protect the world from evil. Or demons, as the case may be. Setsuna is only vaguely versed in their behaviors from Evangeline, but she knows they're not to be messed with. She's no slouch with a sword herself, but there's no doubt in her mind that someone as presumably skilled as Konoka's father could kill her pretty easily. And probably without anyone noticing. Is that why her dad was staring at me like that? Could he tell?
There should technically be no way to identify her as a demon just by looking at her, and her half-humanness should hopefully help disguise any metaphysical traits that would otherwise give her away. But that doesn't mean it's not possible. But considering how protective he is of Konoka, I doubt he would've let me walk away from that house so easily if he knew what I am…
Regardless, this is not good.
Konoka thankfully interprets Setsuna's nervousness as disbelief.
"I know it's kind of hard to believe in that type of stuff, but my dad's super into it. And the reason I'm telling you this is because," she averts her gaze, "I know we don't know each other that well, but I can tell you have a really level head. I could use that while I'm in a foreign country trying to do business I hardly know anything about. So I was kind of wondering if you'd come with me…?"
"Where the Shinmeryuu are?"
On the one hand, saying yes could end very, very badly. Not only is there the potential of being killed and getting her soul sent back to Hell, making it extremely difficult to explain to Nagi and Asuna what happened, but if everything were found out, the angels would be on full alert. There's no way she, or anyone else willing to try, would get another chance at this.
On the other hand, saying no would undoubtedly put a big dent in her progress thus far. And depending on how long the trip is, it might also be difficult to pick back up where they left off. Not to mention she'd have Evangeline and Mana complaining about how long it's taking her to get anything done.
"How long would we be gone?" She finally asks.
Konoka smiles, taking her question as a positive sign. "Three weeks. And don't worry; the company will pay for everything. We even get first-class tickets."
"Tickets to what?"
"The airplane, silly." Airplane?
Well, she's never been on an airplane…
And hadn't Evangeline told her to enjoy herself? …Kind of?
"Okay," she says finally, and Konoka bites her lip to contain a girly squeal.
"Thank you thank you thank you! It'll be so much more fun if I have someone going with me. We're supposed to leave this Thursday, is that alright with you?"
"That should be fine. Let me run it over with my roommate and make sure I'm not forgetting anything."
"Sure," Konoka says, still smiling, "This is going to be so cool…" I certainly hope so, Setsuna thinks, trying to hide her nervousness. XXX
Setsuna waited until after work to discuss the trip with Mana, and now she's glad she did.
"Do you realize how idiotic this is?" Mana shouts – or as close to shouting as the apathetic girl can get, anyway.
"I don't think it's so bad. It's not like I have to walk in there with her when she hands the letter over. Besides, don't you think it'll be a good opportunity to get closer to her?"
Those are valid points, but Mana still can't help but be worried about it. If it were her, or someone with more experience, she could trust that even if the Shinmeryuu were suspicious she could talk her way out of it or remedy the situation through force. But Setsuna? Setsuna wouldn't even realize she'd walked into the damn school until she was face-to-face with a sword pointed at her.
She takes a deep breath and holds it for a second before exhaling. Maybe that's a bit harsh. Setsuna is hardly the most appropriate candidate to bump noses with an opposing force, but she has come quite a way since she'd been dropped in their living room. And the trip would undoubtedly speed up her progress, which means the money comes in sooner. Still, Mana can't figure out how the hell no one had mentioned that her boss's father is a leader of the most prominent demon-slaying school on Earth. It's kind of a big oversight.
"That's true," Mana concedes, "But if you're going I want you to be able to contact me if anything goes wrong."
"You mean on the phone? I think I have international calling –"
"Verbal communication could be risky depending on the situation. Wait here."
Mana leaves her in the living room and disappears into the kitchen. Setsuna can hear a couple of drawers opening and closing, and the taller woman reappears with a paring knife in one hand and the kitchen's rug in the other.
Setsuna doesn't like where this is going.
"What are we doing with those?"
"Making a contract."
She puts the rug on the floor and gestures for Setsuna to sit across from her. She does so, though tentatively.
"What kind of contract?"
"It's called a pactio. I think you made one with Asuna, although you probably didn't realize it. You have the card for one at least."
Setsuna's been keeping it faithfully in her pocket despite the fact that she has no idea what it does. Pulling it out, she examines her picture and the various symbols in the corners. It's certainly pretty, with its white background and the circular diagram imprinted on the other side. Her own image appears apathetic, being true to her nature, and her wings are half folded against her back. In one hand she carries the long blade she'd trained with when she'd been in Heaven. Since she'd lied about being part of the Shinmeryuu to explain her lack of reaction concerning the existence of an alternate dimension, they'd offered it to her as her personal training weapon. 'To help her get accustomed.'
The irony is, unfortunately, lost on her.
"I guess I must have; maybe while we were training or something. I don't know what it does though," Setsuna admits, placing the card on the floor.
"A card of that power probably has two functions. The first is telepathic communication. If you touch it to your forehead, the person it's linked to can hear your thoughts."
"I think I remember Asuna saying something about that," Setsuna agrees, putting the card back in her pocket.
"The other function is to call forth your true image. As you've probably noticed, Guardians alter their appearance slightly when they come back to Earth so they're not approached by people they knew while they lived here."
"Oh. That's why my eyes are black and I'm not so pale, then?"
Mana shakes her head in disbelief. That someone could notice their appearance change and not question it is… something. She's not sure what, but it's certainly something.
"Right. The image on the card will always be what you actually look like, although angels always appear with their wings, thankfully for your cover. However, unlike most angels on Earth, If you activate it your wings will also return. And possibly that sword," Mana adds after a moment of thought. "Beyond that, depending on how the pactio is made and who it's made with, you may also get a special item that can be summoned as well. But ours won't be powerful enough for that, so don't bother yourself with those details."
"So how do we make one? I don't remember doing it with Asuna."
Mana lifts the knife to her arm and tests its sharpness before responding. Seemingly happy with the result, she replies, "That's probably because she activated the pactio while you both were already bleeding from training, and you'd already consented by signing the Guardian's contract. That's one of two ways to do it: by exchanging blood."
"What's the other way?"
"It can also be invoked by a kiss."
"Oh. Well why don't we just –"
"Okay," Setsuna sighs, not really understanding what the big deal is. It's a pretty simple act, and to her it certainly seems more attractive than cutting herself open.
Mana holds the knife out to her.
"Certain spirits govern the making of pactios, and it has to be clear the contract is consensual. Do you agree that providing your blood makes you a willing participant?"
Setsuna eyes the knife and sighs in resignation.
She grabs it by the handle, trying to decide how to go about it. Finally she grips the blade loosely with her left hand, and with nothing more than a grimace, pulls it through with her right. The blood comes quickly and spills onto the rug.
Setsuna looks at Mana for approval and the gunman nods, taking the blade and repeating the action on her own hand. They push their bleeding palms together.
For a moment nothing happens and Setsuna thinks maybe it didn't work, but a glowing light from the floor quickly proves her wrong. It flashes only briefly, but it's long enough for her to recognize the diagram. When the light dies down Mana separates their hands and picks up the two cards sitting between them. She glances briefly at the picture before handing one to Setsuna.
"The picture's different," Setsuna remarks, turning it over in the hand that isn't bleeding profusely. It's only a slight difference in position and angle, but the colors of the card itself are reversed as well; the background is black and the lettering is white.
"The image changes depending on who you make the contract with. The coloration is due to our demonic heritage."
Setsuna goes to put the card away but changes her mind.
"How would I summon my wings, if I need them?"
"Hold the card and say adeat. Reversing it would be abeat. Just don't do it accidentally," Mana warns. She can already imagine Setsuna attempting to activate the contract in an inappropriate place just to see if it works.
She pockets the card and lets Mana pick up the rug to throw in the washer, and they both rifle through the medicine cabinets for bandages. After running through a few more details with Mana and establishing that, yes, Setsuna will not jeopardize her mission or Mana's paycheck, she's finally dismissed.
When she's back in her room Setsuna opens her window and leans out, taking a deep breath and staring at the tree line in the distance. She idly plays with the two cards in her pocket and thinks about her wings, and how nice it would be to fly out this window. No chance of that, though. To preserve her identity, Mana had sealed them for her when she'd arrived on Earth. Even though she'd been born with wings, she'd never really gotten to use them. Just having them in Hell got her locked up and abused; she'd hate to see what would've happened if she'd actually flown.
Setsuna frowns, memories of her early life coming to the surface of her mind. The abuse had never made much sense to her. Demons despise angels – she's aware of that – but her wings are demon's wings. Angels' wings are made of magic, while hers are physically attached to her back; and besides that, they're only white because of a genetic defect
Still, they'd looked close enough to the angels' version for her to be made an example out of anyway.
Ironically, they're the same reason she was selected for this mission, and now it's her that's going to rescue her tormentors from certain doom. She was the only one in Hell able to pass for an angel both physically and spiritually, having a half-human soul.
Setsuna sighs, not wanting to think about where she'd come from. It's much easier to forget.
Still, the thought of flying lingers. Her trip to Heaven had been the first time she'd ever really gotten to be airborne. The feeling was incredible.
Turning away from the window, she leaves the cards alone and gets ready for bed. Even if she won't be using her wings, hopefully she'll be up in the sky on Thursday anyway. XXX
On Wednesday night there's a minor debacle concerning Setsuna's lack of passport.
"You couldn't have told me you didn't have one earlier?" Mana gripes, putting on her overcoat and grabbing her keys off the hook.
"I didn't know I needed one."
Mana decides not to argue any more than that; it's partly her responsibility for not realizing it sooner. Setsuna couldn't possibly have a passport because even if she'd ordered one the first day she'd gotten here – which she couldn't have because her forged birth certificate and social security card weren't made yet – in all likelihood she still wouldn't have gotten it in the mail by now.
But it's still obnoxious to have to run out at eleven at night to do some expensive fake ID making with a few shady individuals.
Regardless, she gets it done and arrives back at the apartment looking a bit worse for wear at around six the next morning. Setsuna's just finished packing at that point, and Mana tosses the forged passport on top of her suitcase.
"You're going to want to leave now if your flight's at nine. It's going to take you at least an hour to get to the airport."
"Thanks," Setsuna says, gesturing at the passport, and heads out the door.
After struggling through check in and security with the directions of a friendly concierge, she manages to make it to the departure gate with an hour to spare. She finds Konoka sitting with a People magazine spread across her lap.
"Hey!" She calls out, pulling a headphone out of her ear and looking up from an article about Jennifer Aniston's wedding, "Did you get through everything alright? I would've come to pick you up but my dad insisted we come straight here."
"It was fine. I've never been in an airport though, so I had to get scanned when I couldn't figure out security procedures."
"You've never been in an airport?"
"Is that strange?"
Setsuna puts her backpack down and takes a seat, pulling out her phone to check the time.
"I don't know actually," Konoka offers sympathetically. "I kind of assumed everyone flies at some point or another, but I guess maybe today is your 'sometime.'"
Setesuna's about to say that she has flown, just not on a plane, but figures that might be too hard to explain. Instead she grabs her laptop out of her backpack.
"Want to do a dungeon while we wait?"
"I don't know how good the wifi is here, but we can try."
Forty-five minutes into their adventure a voice comes on over the speakers announcing that their plane is boarding the passengers in first class.
Konoka leads them to their seats: huge comfy armchairs in a special, secluded cabin complete with a bar area and full service breakfast menu. They're greeted by wait staff and an apology that "they're out of red wine today, so white wine is half-price."
Setsuna stares at the scene and tries not to let the absolute awe she's feeling show through. This is more luxurious than anything she could've ever imagined, and Konoka let her have the window seat. It's hard to imagine that for other passengers on their flight this is all nothing particularly out of the ordinary, when for her it's literally the best day of her life.
Despite her best efforts to maintain some air of normality, some of her surprise does show through, and Konoka watches the other girl's amazement at the scenery outside the window during takeoff. That expression is priceless, she thinks, trying not to laugh at the child-like wonder on Setsuna's normally stoic features.
They haven't known each other very long at all, but as far as they've been together she's never seen Setsuna look so… something other than apathetic. Konoka decides that, although she isn't one to rub her money in other people's faces – or at least not on purpose –she'll make an exception today.
"Are you hungry?" She asks, handing Setsuna a menu.
"Kind of, but I can't really afford –"
"Get anything you want, my treat."
"Really? Is that okay?"
Even though using her money is kind of a cheap way to start a friendship, this has been the only thing thus far to get any kind of real reaction out of the girl. Setsuna actually looks happy. Heck, I might even be able to get her to smile for once.
"Sure. And help yourself to dessert too, and drinks if you want them."
Setsuna opens the menu and her eyes pour over all the options. Thus far she's only had what Mana can "cook," and what she's learned to "cook," which basically means anything that doesn't involve steps more complicated than boiling water. Blueberry buttermilk pancakes, chocolate chip waffles, corned beef hash with eggs …
She tries to remind herself to keep her cool – normal people don't freak out about breakfast – but faced with the idea of endless gourmet food she's never tried, it's pretty difficult.
Konoka watches her, but it's still not quite a smile. She tries again.
"And if you want, I think these chairs also do massages, and – oh, we can watch a movie or two if you like; they provide headphones and everything." There we go.
"This is incredible," Setsuna gushes, surprisingly infectious smile intact, "But are you sure it's okay? It's kind of expensive."
She's asking mostly per Mana's instructions about being polite, but she's already flipping through the viewing options on the TV.
"Like I said Silly, it's totally fine. That's what friends are for right?"
"Then I think I won't be a very good friend," Setsuna remarks, thinking of her bank account. She'd been taking Mana's advice about saving, and mentally counts how many of these items she could afford. Not many.
Konoka laughs at the not-quite-a-joke, seemingly perfectly content with that arrangement.
"Don't worry about it; I'm sure you can pay me back another way some other time. For now, what do you say we eat breakfast?"
Setsuna is more than happy to take that deal. XXX 2 Hours, 1 Drink XXX
"Enough is enough! I have had it with these motherfucking snakes on this motherfucking plane!"
Even though it's the third time she's seen this movie, Konoka can't help but crack up at that line.
"This movie is so ridiculous," she says between giggles, trying to stifle the noise for the sake of the other passengers. Setsuna nods in agreement.
"I don't understand why the gangsters didn't just get on the plane and kill the guy themselves."
Konoka shrugs and takes a sip of her Gin Fizz.
"Because then there wouldn't be a movie."
"That makes sense, I guess." XXX 4 Hours, 3 drinks XXX
"Oh man, is it me or does this feel extra good right now?"
"I don't really have a baseline to judge from," Setsuna replies, voice shaking from the vibrations of the massage chair, "But it feels pretty amazing."
They're both lying in their chairs, reclined to the maximum and letting the automatic massagers do their work.
"I dunno," Konoka stretches languidly and sighs in contentment. "Maybe I just drank too much. These things just taste like lemonade though; it's hard to believe there's really alcohol in them."
Setsuna picks up the glass and stares dubiously at the liquid inside. With the go-ahead from Konoka she takes a sip.
"It kind of has a weird aftertaste, but it's pretty good."
"Here, try this one," Konoka points to a drink on the menu. "I've had these before, they just taste like peaches." XXX 6 Hours, ? XXX
Setsuna can admit that she's stumbling a bit coming back from the bathroom. She's seen other people get drunk on TV and in movies, and they always seem to make such huge asses out of themselves. She hadn't really understood why, or why someone would purposely incapacitate himself – until now, anyway. It's kind of fun to be a little out of your head.
"Hey, hey," Konoka holds up the gossip magazine she'd been reading earlier, "Who do you think's hotter: Chris Hemsworth or Channing Tatum?"
"Um, I dunno," Setsuna squints at the pictures. "They both kind of look the same to me."
"Ahh, I see. Buff, blonde, white men not your thing?"
"I'm not sure if it's that, exactly; I just don't really look at men."
Konoka sits up suddenly, mouth agape.
(She's definitely drunk.)
"Oooooh, you like women then? Hey," she nudges Setsuna in the ribs, "Have you ever slept with a girl before? What was it like?"
"Er, wait," Setsuna replies quickly, "No to both those things. I don't really look at anyone," she corrects herself, noting again how much easier it is to talk with alcohol in her system, "And I've also never slept with anyone."
"You've never –"
Konoka cuts off her exclamation, noticing that some other passengers are glancing at them sideways. Pausing momentarily, she continues a bit more quietly when the spectators have lost interest and looked away.
"You've never had sex?"
"Are you super religious?"
"Not at all."
Konoka puts her thinking cap on and is suddenly struck by a thought. She leans back to get a better look at her traveling companion.
"How old are you?" That's a good question.
Setsuna really has no idea. She pulls out her passport and checks the date inside.
"Apparently I'm twenty-four."
Konoka raises an eyebrow at her, obviously skeptical.
"How can you not know how old you are?"
Maybe drinking wasn't the best idea.
"I didn't ever meet my parents," Setsuna blurts out. "They dropped me off at an orphanage when I was really young, before I can remember. Apparently they lived pretty crappy lives and thought I'd have a better chance without them."
Setsuna crosses her fingers and hopes her travelling companion doesn't catch on that she stole her story from Futurama.
"That's incredible," she mumbles, enthralled by the idea. Setsuna allows herself a mental sigh of relief. "What was the orphanage like?" That, at least, is easy to answer.
"Hellish." XXX 10 Hours XXX
They're two hours from landing and Konoka has officially passed out.
She fell asleep strewn across her chair so that one leg is laying across Setsuna's lap and both her arms are dangling off the other side into the aisle, which would have certainly pissed off the stewardesses if they weren't in first-class and trained in the frustrating art of 'the customer is always right.' Even if the customer is drunkenly blocking half the walkway.
Except for the offending limb, Setsuna doesn't notice much of that though. She's staring out the window at the clouds, no longer inebriated, and wonders about her earlier conversations with Konoka.
How is she supposed to "get close" with this – this ridiculous, upbeat, naïve girl who she has nothing in common with? It's not like she dislikes Konoka or anything; as far as people on Earth go, she seems far more pleasant to spend time with than any of the other humans Setsuna has run into. But her mind is loaded with questions: she doesn't have anyone to help her, she still has very little idea how the Earth works, let alone the human mind, and she's never had any friends or experiences that could possibly be of use now.
Except, maybe, Evangeline.
Would she call the vampire a friend?
She'd certainly like to. Evangeline is the only person in Hell that'd ever spoken to her without malice, and had even been so kind as to stick up for her on occasion and lighten her "punishments."
But friendship? Friends are supposed to spend lots of time together, and do fun things, and tell secrets… But Setsuna doesn't have any secrets (from Evangeline anyway), and they couldn't possibly have done anything fun in their situation, so maybe that's why?
Or maybe it's just because her idea of friendship comes from watching My Little Pony.
Determined to solve the mystery, she puts Konoka in a reasonable position and retreats to the bathroom.
With the door shut behind her, she pulls out the little compact mirror Evangeline had gifted her and opens it. She's half expecting it to ring like a telephone, but it doesn't, and all she can see is her reflection. Until Evangeline's face appears in the mirror, causing her to nearly jump out of her skin.
The girl in question pulls herself together and holds the mirror up so they're face to face.
"Is something wrong?" Evangeline asks, cutting right to the chase.
"Um, no, not really. I kind of just… wanted to talk."
The vampire raises an eyebrow and Setsuna thinks maybe this wasn't such a great idea.
"Okay, so talk."
"…So how are you doing?"
"Oh, you know, just fine and dandy down here in Hell watching this planet wither and die."
Setsuna winces at the remark.
"Ah, well, I'm working on that. I'm actually with Konoka now; we're headed to Japan for some kind of business."
"She invited you on a trip? I'm impressed."
"Really?" Setsuna can't quite keep the excitement out of her voice. Even if she can't call Evangeline a friend, she's certainly a mentor of sorts, and who doesn't want to impress their teacher?
"I'm glad," Setsuna says happily before allowing her anxiety to show through. "But I've been kind of worried…"
"About getting close to Konoka. She said she wanted to be friends with me, but I still don't really understand what it is I'm supposed to be doing."
Evangeline smiles, and it's hard to tell if it's patronizing or if she's just amused.
"Oh, the complications of humanity," she rolls her eyes. "This isn't a concept that's easy to explain. How about you just… act natural? No, that won't work for you. Hmm…"
She disappears from the mirror, reappears, then disappears again. Presumably pacing.
"Okay, think of it like this," her image pops back up again. "You know you're close to someone when you're able to predict their thoughts and feelings because what they're thinking and feeling affects how you think and feel. Does that make sense?"
Setsuna considers the idea for a solid minute.
"No, not really."
"Don't worry, it will eventually. Until then, try not to worry too hard about it. If anything, remind yourself that she has a mind and emotions just like you do, and don't forget the golden rule. "
"Treat others as you would like to be treated." Although she means what she's saying, it's obviously difficult for Evangeline to take that seriously.
"Okay, I think I can do that."
"Great. Now if there's nothing else –"
"Wait!" Setsuna holds up her hand reflexively even though the other woman can't see it. "There's just one more thing. Are we… close?"
Setsuna visibly slumps.
"You're such a dope," the vampire sighs. "If it makes you feel better, I consider us friends anyway."
"And," she continues, cutting Setsuna off, "Don't forget when you're done with your mission you'll be a hero. When we're on Earth and not in such a hurry, maybe then we can spend more time together."
"I'd really like that," Setsuna is practically glowing at the notion. Of all the people in her life she values Evangeline the most.
The vampire smiles that same unreadable smile, but it drops from her face as she glances sideways at something outside the frame of the mirror.
"Keep up the good work then," she says distractedly, "There's something I have to take care of. I'll talk to you again soon."
The "line goes dead," so to speak, and her image fades back into the mirror until only Setsuna's reflection remains.
Confidence boosted, and with something exciting to look forward to, she turns around to head back to her seat only to come face to face with a stewardess.
She makes eye contact with the confused woman for a moment.
"I'm sorry," she says, looking Setsuna up and down. "The door was unlocked so I didn't think anyone would be in here…"
"Don't worry about it. I should've remembered to lock the door."
She glances at the compact in Setsuna's hand, then at Setsuna again.
"Were you just talking to your makeup?"
After another moment of awkward eye contact, Setsuna steps around the dumbfounded stewardess and walks back to her seat.