Rias and Akeno watched Kyouka pace the length of their meeting room. She'd been doing that since classes let out half an hour ago. Usually, Kyouka was calm and in control. Yes, she could get a bit wild, but so did Moka. The two were like peas in a pod. Now, though, something was making Kyouka antsy.
Moka hardly paid her best friend any mind. She already knew what the problem was, so she contented herself with reading her favorite fighting magazine instead. Neither Lightning nor Seras were paying attention, distracted by an intense game of cards. Seras had an unfair advantage thanks to the other souls in her body, but Lightning kept up with her through sheer speed.
Asuka, Reina, and Sibella had all been called out on contracts and Washu had science club (or a date with Ryouko, it was hard to tell with her). That just left Rias and Akeno to watch Kyouka.
Akeno glanced at her girlfriend with a sigh. "I doubt she'll mention anything if we don't. She'd probably wear a hole into the floor first."
Rias had to admit, Akeno was probably right. Kyouka rarely ever talked out her problems. She tended to need a bit of prodding. As King, the duty of making her talk fell on Rias’ shoulders.
“Kyouka,” Rias called. Kyouka immediately paused, turning to her master expectantly. “Is there something on your mind?”
Kyouka stood straighter at the question. “Yes, M’Lady,” she sighed.
“Care to share?” Rias knew the prodding seemed redundant, but if she didn’t keep the conversation going, Kyouka might take the opportunity to fall silent and go back to pacing.
“Ah, Valentine’s Day is… coming up.” Kyouka bit her lip and shifted from foot to foot. The bird claws dug into the carpet, but thankfully, Reina’s magic kept them from tearing it.
The rest of the pieces perked up at this. All of them knew Valentine’s Day was coming closer, of course. Moka and Lightning were taking their respective girlfriends out for dinner that night and Seras had an entire night in planned for her and her girlfriend. The others likely had similar plans, save Reina. However, that wasn’t what caught their interest.
For several weeks now, the entire club had watched Kyouka fawn over a new transfer student. Seilah was an Etherious, just like Kyouka and the two of them had hit it off immediately. Kyouka was positively smitten with her. Seilah clearly returned her feelings, but Kyouka never had the courage to make a move. Was she going to use Valentine’s Day to take her chance?
“Do you have somethin’ planned for it?” Seras asked curiously.
“Well… not really.” Kyouka was never nervous, but this really seemed to be eating at her.
Rias stood to perch on her desk. This matter likely would need to be handled delicately. “So, since you brought up Valentine’s Day, does that mean you’ve found someone you’re interested in?”
Kyouka’s cheeks flushed and she tapped her claws together. “Yes, the… the new transfer, Seilah. She’s… everything I could ever hope for. She’s so smart and calm. She’s quiet, but she has the prettiest laugh. When she smiles, I don’t want to Curse anyone…”
“Whoa, you not wanting to Curse someone?” Moka snorted. “This girl’s got her claws deep in you if that’s the case.”
“Seilah doesn’t have claws!” Kyouka snapped. “She’s the sweetest demon I’ve ever met. I don’t even know what her Curse is, but it doesn’t matter. I bet it’s as soft and pure as she is.”
Lightning just barely covered up a snicker. “An Etherious with a ‘soft’ and ‘pure’ Curse? As if. Didn’t you meet one who could explode things on command?”
“Yeah, but Jackal’s an idiot,” Kyouka said, waving her off. “Seilah’s nothing like him. All Etherious are capable of destroying an entire country, but Seilah… Seilah could probably destroy the world. And it would be a privilege to bear witness to something that spectacular.”
“You Etherious are so weird,” Seras muttered. “Can’t be a writah, or a café barista ta be romantic, no. Gotta be capable’a crushin’ lit’rally everything in ya path…”
“So, what’s got you all wound up, then?” Akeno inquired. “You were about ready to wear a hole in the floor.”
Kyouka went back to shifting from foot to foot. “I… don’t know how to ask her to… be my Valentine.”
Instantly, her three housemates piped up. “Chocolates,” Seras called.
“Flowers,” Lightning told her.
“Underground fighting rings,” Moka stated. All eyes swiveled to her and she shrugged. “What? Keito loves them. All the excitement and shouting. She says the atmosphere makes her feel almost human, without the weakness.”
“I don’t know,” Kyouka murmured. “I don’t really know what she likes. What if she doesn’t like chocolates or flowers?”
“Who doesn’t like chocolate and flowers?” Seras scoffed. “Come on, mate, ya gonna sit here twiddlin’ ya thumbs or are ya gonna get out there an’ get ya girl?”
Lightning stood. “You can’t go wrong with the regular ways of asking,” she explained. “Every girl wants her crush to sweep her off her feet and take her on a magical motorcycle ride.”
“You are so lucky Vanille has magic too or I would have words with you about that,” Rias reprimanded her. She turned her attention back to Kyouka. “They’re right, you know. If Seilah’s as sweet as you say she is, I’m sure she would absolutely love for you to bring her flowers and chocolate.”
Akeno draped her arms around Rias’ shoulders with a soft smile at Kyouka. “You never know until you try. Strut your stuff like you usually do. Etherious are…?”
“A proud demon race far above the scum of humanity,” Kyouka recited, standing taller. “There is no obstacle we cannot overcome.”
“Exactly,” Akeno chirped. “This is just another obstacle.”
“Yeah,” Moka agreed. “You hold yourself like a god, get out there and act like one. Gods don’t cower in their clubrooms.”
Kyouka’s eyes flashed at her fellow Rook, but she knew Moka was right. They all were right. She needed to grow a spine and take the plunge. She… Well, she couldn’t say she loved Seilah, but she definitely felt something other than friendship. The only way she’d know how Seilah felt about her was to find out. Seilah wasn’t a mind reader. Unless that was her Curse, and if it was, Kyouka was already in a world of trouble.
The next few days were spent trying to find the perfect flowers and the perfect chocolates for Seilah. She would forgo the card for right now. She didn’t want to seem too presumptuous. Instead, Kyouka just got a traditional rose bouquet and a box of assorted chocolates. Couldn’t go wrong with the classics, or so the others kept telling her.
Asuka watched Kyouka psych herself up to ask Seilah the big question. “You know,” she said slowly. “If you want, Kurumi can go with you. She’s good at calming people down.”
“Using her nurse powers to shoot people with tranquilizer darts is not calming them down,” Vanille called from Lightning’s side.
“I might be able to make something really quick to boost your courage,” Washu tried.
Ryouko snorted from her side. “None of your chemical compounds work on the Etherious, remember, Babe? It would give her a boost for maybe five seconds and then wear off.”
“It would be so much easier if she wasn’t a homunculus,” Washu grumbled, receiving a chuckle as Ryouko ruffled her hair affectionately.
“I think you’re all making her more nervous,” Sibella sighed. “It’s best to just do it, Kyouka. You never know if the bat is ready to leave the cave until you shine a light in.”
“Sounds hollow coming from someone who’s dating her best friend since childhood,” Kyouka grumbled. “Whatever. Better do this. Classes are going to be starting soon.”
“Ya’ve got this, Babe!” Seras cheered for her. “We’re all rootin’ for ya!”
Kyouka took one last deep breath and made her way into the school. Students milled about, waiting for classes to start. Most were already in class, chatting with their friends, but a few were hanging out in the halls as well. Because of how few people there were in the hall, Kyouka easily picked out the golden horns of her crush. Seilah was reading further down the hall. She loved reading, something Kyouka had learned within the first few days of talking to her.
As Kyouka made her way through the halls, she spotted Akeno and Rias shooting her encouraging grins. They were all there to support her, even Reina, who appeared to be eating something, as always. Keito and Moka leaned against the walls further up, prepared to stall Seilah if Kyouka needed them to. Alright, no time like the present.
Before Kyouka could make her move, some knucklehead stepped in her path, leaning against the wall next to Seilah. Kyouka’s eyes narrowed at him. Saizou Komiya. An orc, disgusting monster trash, not even worth a glance. What did scum like that think he was doing talking to an Etherious demon?
“Hey, beautiful,” Saizou said in a rough voice. “Whatcha readin’?”
Seilah glanced up at him for all of a second before going back to her book. Kyouka felt pride fill her chest at the gesture. Seilah knew her status, knew who she was. Good. The worm had no business even breathing the same air as her.
Saizou frowned. He hated it when chicks ignored him. Usually, he’d stalk the chick and eat her, but he knew better. This chick wasn’t a regular human. Her scent was kinda weird, actually. Gave off similar vibes to that Akashiya chick he tried to bag last year. He couldn’t get a read on her power level, but that wouldn’t stop him from establishing dominance. No chick ignored him.
“Hey, I’m talkin’ to you,” he huffed, smacking the book out of Seilah’s hands. Kyouka’s eyes darkened to a deep purple. She handed the bouquet off to Akeno and handed Reina the chocolates. No way was she going to let that slide.
You just signed away your tongue, you despicable, revolting, fleabag!
Kyouka paused when Seilah extended her hand toward the book. She blinked when the book floated back up and into Seilah’s hand. Was that… was that part of her Curse? Was it telekinesis?
Saizou was not nearly as impressed. This chick was really starting to get on his nerves. If this weren’t a human school, he’d’ve eaten her already. Tongue wiggling from his mouth in irritation, Saizou growled, “Listen, I’ve been nice this whole time, but if you don’t put the book down and look at me, I’m gonna-.”
“You’ll what?” Seilah asked, flipping a page in her book. “Run off with your tail between your legs?”
“As if I would!” Saizou snarled. He reached out and gripped one of her horns, tugging on it. “No way a stupid witc-!”
Kyouka was a blur of green and violet as she slammed her fist into Saizou’s side. As one of Rias’s Rooks, she had added power to her already impressive strength. Saizou went flying down the hall, sliding across the floor and smacking into the wall. He rubbed his eyes as Kyouka glared at him. She shifted closer to Seilah.
“If you want to grab her like that, you better be prepared to fight me,” Kyouka said clearly. “If you can’t beat me, then you’re not worth her time.” Her eyes narrowed to slits. “Now scram.”
Saizou groaned and slunk off to class. Kyouka sniffed in disgust. “Utter trash, daring to touch an Etherious that way. I should have broken his wrists.”
Turning to Seilah, Kyouka was shocked to find an awed gaze directed at her. Her cheeks flushed, knowing she had Seilah's full attention now. “Your Curse,” Seilah said quietly.
Kyouka gave a nervous smile. “My main Curse is Strengthen. I can grow as strong as I please with no limit whatsoever.”
“That’s very impressive,” Seilah told her, a slight blush coloring her cheeks. Seeing it only made Kyouka blush harder.
“It’s not that amazing,” Kyouka coughed. “Yours is much more impressive. Is it telekinesis?”
Seilah giggled and Kyouka practically melted at the sound. “Not exactly,” Seilah explained. “Mine is Macro, Absolute Control. I can control any and everything I please, from inanimate objects to living beings to reality itself if I please. As far as I know, I also don’t have a limit, though my control over corpses leaves much to be desired.”
“That’s…” Kyouka stared at her in unrestrained adoration. “That’s unbelievable. You’re incredible.”
“I… wouldn’t mind talking about it a little more,” Seilah said shyly. “I would enjoy hearing about your powers as well.”
Akeno cleared her throat and held out the bouquet. Reina was already halfway through the box of chocolate, but she handed it to Kyouka anyway. Kyouka rolled her eyes at the both of them, but took the gifts with a grin.
Standing taller, Kyouka summoned as much of her usual arrogance as she could and held out her offering. “I would love to talk about it with you more,” she said, thankful her voice didn’t shake. “How about, um, Valentine’s Day?”
There was silence between them for a moment as Seilah eyed the gifts. Kyouka’s heart pounded in her chest until, finally, Seilah reached out and took the bouquet. “I’d like that a lot,” she responded at last. “Though, admittedly, I thought you punching Mister Komiya was the actual invitation.”
“You… weren’t afraid when I did that?” Kyouka asked curiously.
“I find it quite romantic,” Seilah told her. “Someone willing to fight on my behalf without being controlled by Macro is likely the most romantic plot in any novel. I would be honored to be your Valentine, Lady Kyouka.”
Kyouka spotted the rest of her housemates and their dates giving her thumbs-ups and grins, silently cheering for her. She smiled at them before turning her attention back to Seilah.
“The honor is mine, Seilah.”