Part III: Someone Like You
I was still deep in my thoughts before Yougen spoke again.
“Hey, I’m kinda hungry. Can you help me? I’m really tired.” Yougen seemed hesitant on speaking her own thoughts.
“Ah, of course.” I remained absentminded as I helped her to the kitchen.
She eagerly went over to the fridge and kind of dug into random things in one of the most strangest displays of gusto I’ve ever seen. I wondered how hungry she’d been to have been so…passionate about that sort of thing. Yougen tried to get the dishes done, so I helped her with that too. She seemed happy that I was doing so.
“Hey, so…I made something for you.” Her voice was now really quiet.
“What? Why? Why would you do this?”
“Did I do something wrong?” She frowned.
“You’ve already done so much for me. This is plain unheard of…I am to serve your kind, not the other way around.”
“Serve? Don’t be silly…Just try it, okay?”
“I’m afraid I can’t do that.”
“Gosh, you’re stubborn. Is there any chance you’ll reconsider?”
“I don’t think so.” I looked away.
“Please?” She gave a look that only made things harder for me.
“Oh, good. Here, it’s probably cold by now…” She held out something I didn’t recognize.
I sighed and tried the…mystery item. I expected to not be able to taste anything, but there was a slight sweetness to it that brought back a few fond memories. My father wasn’t a very good cook though, he did do his best. As much as I missed him I couldn’t afford to dwell on these thoughts.
“Is it good?”
“Yeah, it is. You might have a knack for this sort of thing.”
“You think so? It’s just something I threw together.”
“Yeah, I’m sure they’d let you join them whenever they make something.”
“I…don’t think so. They seem to do good enough without me.”
“Is that why you don’t talk much with the others?”
“H-Hey, you don’t, either!” She was clearly trying to defend herself, but I saw right through it.
“I don’t have the time to build on such bonds. If I’m going to, I have to keep them…limited. I don’t see your reason, though.”
“If you must know, I often feel out of place here…It might just be in my head, but I’m sometimes more self-conscious than I realize.” She scratched her arm out of how uncomfortable she was.
“I know how it feels.”
“Do you? Whatever you go during your time…do you feel out of place there to? I heard you came through a rift too, yes?” She seemed doubtful.
“It was a part of an experiment. I’m still trying to find answers about other things…It’s only gotten more difficult since I came through it.”
“We’re somewhere completely different now. I’m trying to adjust the best I can. I didn’t think you’d be going through something similar. You just seem so…disciplined?”
“Yeah, I…where I came from, they treated me a certain way. It hasn’t changed at all here.”
“Is that a bad thing?”
I went silent.
“They treat me like a monster. I thought they’d be more accepting. Even after everything I do for them.” I mumbled bitterly.
“Now, why would they do that? You don’t seem dangerous?”
I laughed in disbelief.
“Oh, right. You weren’t there for the whole power party thing nor did you do too much to the Rook, either. I never found out what you could do.”
“Perhaps that’s for the better.” My voice remained bitter.
“Let’s go back to my room. We can show each other there if you want?”
“I don’t know…I’m not really supposed to use my abilities without a good enough reason.”
“They don’t need to know every detail of your life. Come on.” She gave a small pout before going back to her room with a new found energy.
I sighed and followed her. One we were back in the room, she was a little silent and seemed deep in thought. She went over to the desk and looked through some notes she had written down. They didn’t look very organized. I wondered what she was looking for. When I went over there, she got flustered and shut the notebook suddenly.
“I was just looking for something to help with the transformation. Certain memories make it a little easier. I had them written down somewhere. Along with a LOT of other crap…like, crap you shouldn’t see.” Yougen seemed flustered.
“Embarrassing notes about the others? Got it.”
“N-No…They’re just so I remember, I swear! And they’re not about everyone…”
“Sure.” I gave an amused grin.
“So, were we gonna do the reveal or what?” She said, desperate for a topic change.
“I guess so.”
“Ladies first.” Yougen didn’t seem to realize I didn’t get the joke.
“I don’t get your sense of humour.” I took the coat off so it wouldn’t be damaged.
“Don’t worry, it was kinda lame, heheh.” She said before staring up at me expectantly.
I took a few steps away and held out my left arm. I focused and felt the spiked blades jut out from my arm. It stung slightly and I flinched a bit from the strain. Seeing as how much I’d already pushed myself, it wasn’t wise that I was doing this at all. I was breathing harder than I realized and tried to relax a little. Looking over at Yougen, there was a fascination in her eyes.
“Can I…Touch them?”
“They’re not supposed to be touched…”
“You are much too tense.” She pouted again.
“I assume your ability is one that easily lets you convince others to get your way…” I looked away.
“Nah, I’m a lot like you, but I’m sure you already knew that.”
“So, can I?”
“Fine, I guess I do owe you for the coat.”
“Thank you.” Yougen smiled and I tried to remain still as she came close and touched the now black skin.
She brushed my skin with her fingertips and I got even more tense than I already was. My fatigue was already taking it’s toll on me. She seemed to notice and pulled away.
“Does it hurt you?”
“A little. It gets more noticeable with overuse.”
“I didn’t know, I’m sorry.” She frowned.
“It’s alright.” I relaxed and the blades melted away.
“So, does it only happen with your arm?”
“I had a full transformation once…” I admitted, wondering how she’d respond.
“What did it look like?”
“Something like Rowan, only…spikier, I guess?”
“Because, well…the thing is…”
“I already know.”
“Oh, right you saw me during class…Do you still want to see?”
“If you don’t mind.”
“Okay. I just gotta clear my head.” She shut her eyes and exhaled.
The transformation came suddenly and I felt something burn inside of me. I wasn’t exactly sure why this was happening and dismissed it. Yougen’s slightly familiar form revealed itself and she smiled shyly. She stood taller than me when she got up from the wheelchair. Her eyes were down at the floor, like she was avoiding looking at me.
“I’ve gotta stretch out, haha. It gets sorta cramped.”
“Hm.” I remained deep in thought.
“What’s wrong?” She looked nervous.
“Is it really that bad?”
“No, I’m just thinking of what it was like back then.”
“Sorry if this brought up anything nasty.”
“I would probably be more useful in that form, but I cannot control it.”
“You’re already really strong. I could tell you could’ve taken on Rook, but you held back. I’m sure your other form would just be unfair for our enemies, haha.” She gave a bright smile.
Her smile was a little different at the moment, before it was uncertain and cautious. It was currently filled with confidence. I wasn’t sure why I took note of this, but I was felt a little happy knowing she was feeling a little better.
“Pff…Flattery?” I scoffed, slightly amused.
“Maybe a little. And, um…I hear Annabelle coming back.”
“Can we, like…hang out again?”
“Sure. I’m sure we have a lot to talk about still.” I took the coat in my hands.
“You can still use that if you want. It’s gonna get cold soon.”
“I must repay your kindness. Somehow.”
“Don’t worry about that.”
“Alright, well…goodnight, Yougen.”
She bid me farewell and I went back to my assigned room. My roommate was there, but already fast asleep. She was either a deep sleeper or oddly restless. There was no in between. However, I was able to tell that her mood was a little lighter too. Seems things were possibly looking up for the both of us.