In Daken’s opinion, though, Koichi wasn’t such a disaster at ordinary things. It was true that he was a very shy person and that at times he even revealed himself to be a bit clumsy, but in her opinion those little things made him look even sweeter, and she liked it. Plus, she trusted him enough to know that he would find a way to get used to his new job and get very good at it - maybe not immediately, but after all he had a lot of time for that. For sure she would go on staying close to him and repeating him that he could manage it. She had decided to become the new voice in his head, right? So she would put effort in this task and make him happy. She would do anything she could in order to make him smile a little. “…in the bag, eh?”, she said with a smirk, but it looked like it would be difficult to steal it in order to see his uniform… what a pity though.
In reality she already knew that the boy didn’t eat much at all. they had already had some meals together and in those occasions she had had the possibility to observe how little food he needed, which was easy to guess considering how skinny he was. But she wasn’t going to insist on that. “Of course, it’s fine”, she reassured him when he told her he needed to go back to his house for a moment. she just hoped his parents or his sister wouldn’t be there… It would be kinda embarrassing for him, she knew it. She also hoped that Koichi would finally start behaving in a more self-confident way around her: there was no need to be so shy after all, he could trust her.
He was what people could call ‘clumsily cute’, but this wasn’t something he really liked to be like. He would do things better if he could. Or maybe just if he trusted himself a little bit more. He trusted Daken. A lot. But if he didn’t believe in his own capacity to do things right, he would never stop behaving shyly. This would probably get better with some time together. And if he proved himself able to handle the job, it would be a good way to boost his self-esteem a little bit more too. He already appreciated the many things the girl was doing for him: spending time with him, standing his messed up mental problems, his powers and even promising she would become the new voice in his head. That would be great. But she had to give him time. It was true that he hadn’t heard that voice that day yet. "…yeah, in the bag." he repeated. It was completely out of reach. She would get to see it when she went to where he worked.
He simply considered he was skinny and nothing could change that. His metabolism was terrible in that sense because he couldn’t handle demanding tasks such as fighting or running for a long time. But there wasn’t anything he could do about it. “Okay, thanks.” he replied. At least she agreed. They arrived there fairly quickly and opened the door with his key. “…I think my parents are there so… stay here for a second and I’ll be right back.” said and done, he didn’t take more than five minutes, though he came back with a defeated look on his face. "Ah… they have made me confess I’m going out with you in order to go outside again…" he rubbed the back of his neck. Honestly, he just couldn’t win with them at times.
Maybe Koichi wasn’t so sure about how well his following day of work would go, but Daken had a feeling he would do good. The first times were always the most difficult but he would surely be able to learn what he had to do properly: for someone who was used to fight against powerful enemies, helping a lady to find the right products wouldn’t be so difficult. This thought made Daken giggle, but she hurried to hide it behind a more normal smile. “Ah, you’ll be perfect! As soon as you get used to your new job I will come and visit you. I’m curious to see you in a uniform… I bet it’s better than mine”. It was much better if the boy didn’t remember and din’t know what had happened between her and Heikichi. That conversation was something the girl wanted to forget as soon as possible, so she wouldn’t want to speak about it now. “Anywhere is fine… Let’s go there, then”. Waiting for him to lead the way to the place he was suggesting, she decided to stop blocking herself and took his hand. Oh, she had missed him so much.
After a good lunch, the couple was outside again. Daken was smiling happily as she wasn’t hungry anymore and also because of the perspective of spending a whole afternoon with Koichi: even if they had seen each other only a couple of days before, it looked like a whole millenium had passed. “Mmh… Where can we go now?”, she asked lazily, playing with one of her pigtails.
The weirdest point about the boy was that even if he could handle himself in battle quite well, he was horrible at ordinary tasks. He had never been good at studying, he didn’t know how to cook anything decent and he could barely manage a computer. For sure the job wouldn’t be an exception to his clumsy behaviour when he was supposed to act like a human. Curiously, Heikichi was better at earthly tasks than him. Excepting the ones based on intelligence. "You really want to see me in an uniform, don’t you?" he inquired, sounding lightly embarrassed. “I have it in this bag… it’s nothing special.” a dull blue collared shirt and formal trousers. At least he didn’t have to wear a suit like other employees. He put the bag under his arm. Out of reach for the moment, it seemed. "Ah, then follow me." he gave a squeeze to the girl’s hand when he felt it on his. He had really missed that.
At least in the lunch she hadn’t paid too much attention to how little he usually ate. For some reason, he didn’t need much, even if this drove his other selves angry. "Can we pass by my house for a second so I can drop the bag? I don’t want to be around with it if we’re going to spend the evening together." he asked, somewhat shyly. He really should stop behaving like that. She was a person he could trust into not laughing at him, for crying out loud! But some habits were hard to drop.
How could have Daken forgot about the meeting she had been waiting for so long? Of course she was going to arrive, and she also looked sorry for being slightly late, but it looked like Koichi was happy to see her too so she just kept smiling cheerfully and resisted the urge to grab his hand or to even hug him. Not in the middle of the crowded park, maybe. But as soon as they would start walking she was surely going to take his hand. “Ooh… Tomorrow you’re going to be alone, then? It sounds difficult!”, she said, her eyes widening like a child’s would do. “But you’ll surely be great!”. She blew a rebel lock of black hair away from the tip of her nose and giggled. It looked like all the anger of the previous day had disappeared into nothingness, or maybe she was simply good at hiding it. However, she was glad Koichi seemed to have had a good start with his job: at first it would surely be difficult, but he would soon get used to it. She had managed to learn how to carry a tray without making it fall after all, so everyone could learn everything. It was just a matter of time. “Mmh… I don’t know, everything is fine for me. But I’m really hungry”, she admitted. It was 3pm and she was used to eat quite early, not to mention that she had barely eaten on the previous day. “Decide whatever you want, just quickly!”.
Koichi had even pulled his thumbs inside of his hands to refrain from hugging her all of a sudden. For some reason, the simple fact of being there with her sounded exciting. Maybe because he ought to have a better day than the last two. “Yes, it sounds difficult. To be honest I don’t know how well I’ll do, but thanks for the encouragement.” that would at least encourage him to try and stand the problems of his first few shifts, because there would be. He was pretty sure he wouldn’t be able to memorize the product codes any time soon. He didn’t even know for sure how angry the girl had been the previous day with his other self, but that was both the handicap and the main perk of having multiple identities: he didn’t know what his alter had been doing. Not even if he wrote it out or someone else told him. Still, so many years living with it had made him stand it without complaining. “Ah, I know it’s late… er… let me remember.” he squeezed his eyes as he tried to make memory of the restaurants in that area. Preferably somewhere he had been before with friends. “I know a place where they do a bit of everything… fish, chicken, salads… we can go there if you want.” he suggested. He had to admit he felt hungry too. He had been walking around the storage for a while and even got lost.
Differently from the boy Daken managed to fall asleep as soon as her head touched the pillow, probably because the nervousness of that day had faded away at the thought of the meeting she was going to have with him on the following day. It had been a while since they last met properly, almost two whole days - as she couldn’t count the short conversation they had on that day at Gnash’s house, also because Heikichi had interrupted them after a short time. She didn’t blame the red-eyed for that, obviously, but she was still angry with him for what he had said. She wasn’t going to tell Koichi about it though. In her opinion, it was Heikichi’s decision whether to let his alter know or not.
The morning of the following day passed quickly in the crowded Maid Café, and she even had to work for a little longer than usual because of this. In fact she barely managed to run back home and change into more comfortable clothes before hurrying to the park, where she arrived at 3 o’ clock, right on time for their meeting. Koichi was already there. “Hiii!!”. The girl’s hair were tied up in two long pigtails that kept being moved here and there by the wind. She stopped in front of him and smiled happily. At least he seemed to look better than the previous day. “So, how was your first day of work, Koichi?”. She hadn’t obviously forgotten about it.
At least he had the luck in his first day of work to not have Heikichi around, as he would probably have been still cranky about the previous day and it would have come out much worse. Was he going to tell Koichi what happened? Of course not. His pride prevented him from doing so. When the boy arrived at the park he suddenly feared Daken had forgotten about it, but she appeared almost as soon as he thought that. "Hello!" he greeted back, his face lightening up with a faint blush. He had been careful enough to bring a small bag to store his uniform instead of having to go home to change. “It was… strange. I never knew how many things there have to be done in a store. Today I sort of was taught how to handle everything so, technically speaking, tomorrow it’s my first day.” he ruffled his own hair. "I hope your day was good. Do you want to eat something specific?" he asked. He was glad to see the girl looked good and happy, thankfully. He had to give the same impression, which wasn’t hard considering how much he had missed having a calm day with her with no problems involved.
The last couple of sketchbook doodles, featuring some OFF and Homestuck.
Despite the fact that she hadn’t eaten anything for several hours, she didn’t feel hungry at all; but she had to force herself to eat something or else she would risk to feel too weak the gfollowing day, and she couldn’t allow this to happen. She wanted to meet Koichi and nothing would change this plan. The boy’s reply arrived while she was finishing to eat a bowl of milk and cereals - not exactly a dinner, but at least it would give her some energy - and she couldn’t help a little smile at the sight of his words. Even if she had to frown a little for the ‘he was trying to get you angry’. In her opinion, Heikichi had simply spoken without thinking: in fact he looked sorry after realizing what his words had caused in her. But maybe this meant that Koichi didn’t know exactly what had happened, and this was a good thing. She wasn’t surely going to tell him. Not now, at least. it would just make him feel nervous, and she guessed he was already nervous enough because the following day he would start with his job. About this… ‘3pm is perfect! We can meet in the park and then decide where to go for lunch. Good luck for your first day of work!’. She also added a little heart-shaped emoji, laughing at her own stupidity, before sending the text. She couldn’t wait for the following day to come.
The boy couldn’t sleep. No wonder why, he had spent most of the day sleeping off the hangover after all. He saw her message, smiling at the sight of that dumb emoji he had never seen her using. She really seemed to be looking forward to see him. He didn’t answer, though. He had to let her sleep after all. He ended up going for an extra training session for the only purpose to get tired and sleep a little, which seemed to pay off.
The next day, he was overwhelmed at work. They had assigned him to woman’s clothing section for some reason and he spent most of the morning being teach by a woman with more experience how to handle the payments and how to find things in the storage among other things. The next day he’d be flying alone and he didn’t think he’d be able to do it, but he didn’t want to get fired anyway. He had to try. And also ignore the glares of some customers at the scar of his cheek the best he could. Carrying a small backpack over a shoulder, he arrived to the park at almost the hour they had arranged. He couldn’t wait to see the girl. Hopefully they would be able to have a normal evening.
Once she was back home, Daken had closed herself in her bedroom and laid on her bed for some hours, with her eyes open, staring at the monochromatic ceiling and allowing a lonely tear to roll down her cheek from time to time. She shouldn’t have got so angry with Heikichi and she knew it, but she couldn’t have really helped it. He had spoken about Koichi’s pain as if it were such a stupid thing, like a child asking for attention… She couldn’t bear such words. Heikichi could insult her as much as he wanted and she wouldn’t care about it; but if he dared doing so with Koichi, it was obvious that she would react in that way. But now she felt guilty. After some time, when the sun was already about to disappear behind the line of the horizon, she finally obliged herself to get up and go to the bathroom to wash her face. She looked horrible, it was clear that she had been crying for long. She should also eat something as the last time she had eaten was for breakfast, several hours earlier. In the kitchen she also found her phone and she switched it on. The sight of all those lost calls from Koichi’s number startled her, and it increased the feeling of guilt. While hearing his message her hands were shaking, but this time she managed not to cry again. Enough crying for today, she thought with a sigh. At least the boy didn’t sound angry. She texted him quickly in reply: ‘I’m sorry. I didn’t want to get so angry with him. Tomorrow my shift ends at 2pm. If it’s okay for you, we can meet up somewhere or… just see each other’. She thought about it for a moment, then she added one last line before sending it: ‘I can’t wait to see you’. And it was true.
Gnash had been very vague about Daken’s argument with Heikichi on purpose, and Koichi didn’t exactly know why she was so upset. He had only supposed he had generally been mean, just as he acted when he wanted people to leave him alone. And he wondered why he didn’t have any friends? Sometimes he didn’t get him, and they were basically supposed to be parts of a whole. After some training with his powers outside, he returned home to see the girl had surprisingly replied to his message with a text. He didn’t call her. It probably wasn’t the best idea, so another text would be enough: “He was trying to get you angry so you have all the right to be upset. I’m the one who’s sorry about it. My shift ends half an hour later. Do you want to meet at 3pm to have lunch, even if it’s a little late? I’ll be very happy to see you too.” and sent it. It wasn’t actually late for Spanish standards, but he had never been a fan of those. He smiled. For some reason, when she said things like that, wanting to see him, he felt happy. But it was time for dinner and a very shaken up sleep before his first day in his first job that he wasn’t sure he would grab the hang of quickly.
Differently from the beginning of the conversation, at the moment Daken had completely forgotten about Gnash’s presence in the other room, and, even if she happened to remember about it, she wouldn’t care at all. In this moment her priority was another, that is going away from there as soon as possible before she started crying. She didn’t want to cry in front of Heikichi, it would just give him another reason to consider her weak and she didn’t want this to happen - maybe because after all it was true that she was weak. And she knew it. But admitting it would be even more difficult than hearing Heikichi apologize out loud for what he did the previous day. Now that she was in front of the door, she squeezed her eyes in a last attempt to stop her tears. The other seemed to have realized that he had just said a painful thing, but she didn’t want any excuses nor apologies. She didn’t say anything else because her voice would sound shaky and unsure: she just opened the door, walked out and closed it behind herself. Only when she was out of the building she allowed herself to cry, leaning her back onto the wall for a second before slowly walking back towards her house. While walking, she switched her phone off, and she would leave it in that state for at least that whole day. She didn’t feel like speaking with anyone, not even with Koichi.
He tried to give the girl the least thought possible. She was gone. He had hurt her feeling, just as expected of him… but it wasn’t really his intention. Just this time, he didn’t mean to hurt. But now he just wanted to forget about that and catch a good nap. He thought he really needed one. Some hour later, Koichi woke up again. He hurried home, as he felt better, shrugged off Gnash and tried to call Daken several times. Her phone was switched off. Normally, this would have worried him but he was aware of what Heikichi had said to her thanks for the other infernal’s sharp ear (sometimes his nosiness was useful after all) but maybe she just wanted to be alone. Nonetheless, he left a message for her. “Hey… it’s me, Koichi. I’m sorry for whatever happened today… really. I wouldn’t have called you if I had known it would end up like that. In any case… tomorrow I’m starting at my new job so, my shift is more or less the same as yours so we can meet or whatever once we’re both done, but I just wanted to let you know.” he didn’t think the message was very good, but it was already sent. After standing some shouting from his parents that he actually deserved for being out for so long, he tried to train for a while and get himself ready for his first day at work. He was more nervous than he wanted to admit.
She seemed pleased with his response. At least he had some sort of manners. That was a relief. As interesting as he was, their attitudes didn’t exactly mingle well. Clashed, was more like it. Ice casually continued on with their conversation, smirking as he seemed annoyed with her pleas. “I’m not whiny. Have you heard yourself in the past few minutes? ‘I want out’, ‘this game sucks’, ‘blah blah blah’, the girl mocked in a light tone. She was just teasing him but she had a feeling he might blow up at her. “Ease up. I told you I’d get you out, didn’t I?”
When Heikichi asked about the ‘ice shit’ she could control, the girl gave him a perplexed look. “Er, yes?” She was confused. How did he know about her ice powers. It wasn’t something she often talked about or flaunted…? Oh! Perhaps he meant her ice creatures. That would’ve made more sense. “They’re all around the mountain, though there’s only one who remotely listens to me.” She rolled her eyes. “He’s a pain, really. But helpful. I got the ability when I was coded into the game, though there are some other perks that came with dying,” she snorted.
Ice’s eyes twinkled with a bit of mischief and she nodded. “Maybe. Want to give it a try?” Wait, no, she was getting off topic. He wanted to leave. Though, Ice couldn’t help but feel he was stalling his departure she answered his question anyway. “Well, this wasn’t exactly my first choice. I mean, my first game was this really mint racing game where I could make ice appear on the track and spin people out! No candy what so ever, but it got unplugged and I had to move. Sugar Rush moved in and it was similar to my previous game so I just joined. I’ve never really thought about leaving though the thought is interesting.” Her fists propped themselves against her hips and her eyes trailed off, glancing at something far off as she spoke.
Once the initial shock of being inside a videogame was over, Heikichi could become slightly more friendly and less of a pain in the butt. Instead of snapping at her this time, he just clicked his tongue and shook his head. “Tche! Who wouldn’t want to be out of here? At first I honestly thought I was sleeping. What kind of sick mind can dare to create a videogame like this?” he also didn’t feel comfortable because he wasn’t good with computers, and had barely played that kind of games in his life. He wasn’t fond of new situations. "Now I understand you wanna help, but I have my rights to be wary of others, don’tcha think?"
Her explanation about the ice creatures wasn’t entirely satisfying at all, but he wouldn’t nag her more about it. he wasn’t very curious after all. But her last claim was somewhat more intriguing. "So you’re actually coded in the game? I’m not coded, aren’t I? I don’t want to become data stores in some stupid arcade machine." he didn’t understand what kind of perks could come with dying. Maybe there actually were some if you were a ghost, like her, but not being completely dead.
He pulled the pendant in one of his pockets as the girl spoke, giving the signal that he wasn’t going to leave just yet. He had ended up thinking she wasn’t too bad to talk with. Besides, it wasn’t every day when that actually happened. "So you’re basically sticking to racing games. If I were in your position, I’d have chosen a shooter or somethin’… So when games get unplugged, you get to leave so you can go somewhere else… eh, that sounds okay." he looked behind him, trying to catch whatever the girl was looking at, but there wasn’t anything interesting in that direction so he just looked at her again. “And how long have you been stuck in arcade machines?” he asked. Now he was mostly spending time there. If he thought about it, he wasn’t in a hurry to return to his normal life at all.
Maybe it was true that Heikichi was sorry for what he did the previous day, but Daken wouldn’t believe it until she would hear it with her own ears - and it looked like it wasn’t going to happen any soon, so she wasn’t even hoping to hear an excuse. Also because the male wouldn’t have any reasons to apologize to her: the one he should apologize to was Koichi, and no one else. When her eyes met the other’s, her gaze was serious; but anger and sort of a shock filled her gaze when Heikichi went on speaking, explaining how he and his alter ‘dealt with pain’. How could he compare getting drunk with hurting oneself?! She hugged her own elbows, and blinked her eyelids quickly to wipe away the tears that were threatening to form in her eyes. “You speak about it as if it were such a stupid thing”, she replied in an emotionless voice, maybe a way to try and stop her own rage from exploding on the outside. Getting angry with Heikichi wouldn’t change anything at all, so she had to keep calm and go away from there as soon as she could. She didn’t want to start an argument, not now: she would just end up crying in front of him, and she couldn’t allow that to happen. He already considered her weak, didn’t he? “You’re not getting in the way. I’m the intruder in here”, she mumbled in a sharp tone of voice. She turned back and walked to the door. “Be careful if you go home by yourself—”.
If she wouldn’t believe it until she heard it, she was in for a disappointment. He wouldn’t openly admit it, and much less with Gnash hearing the conversation from the other room. He hadn’t really realized what his words meant when he compared drinking to cutting, but he was angry and had to pick on something. He even guessed the girl did it too at a point, or was doing it by the look in her eyes. This made him realize he had made yet another mistake. He sighed as he understood this, cupping his forehead with both hands. “Look… sorry. I don’t mean that it’s the same thing. I… fuck.” he gave up trying to think about an excuse. He simply couldn’t. He didn’t look at her when she gave him another sharp reply about her being the intruder instead. He wanted to say that he didn’t really hate her, but he couldn’t get to open his mouth. "…I’ll be wary. Thanks." he somehow said after hearing her last words, still holding his head. He felt even worse than the last night. He guessed that was the reward of getting drunk. He gave up on trying to talk with her and lay down on the sofa, facing it instead of the door. Maybe some sleep would clear his mind and maybe switch him back away.