Fool Me Once

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seeing the reflection

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Ever get caught at the wrong place in the wrong time?
Akito and Yuki are poster boys. Caught up in a faction that is claiming to be working for the "greater good". They're forced to use their persona to fight shadows and, occasionally, other persona users.

It's a dog eat dog world and while they fight through betrayal, encounter stressful scenarios, and decide if their faction is truly doing the good they claim - can their new found love survive?

Seeing the Reflection as The Good Shepherd Yukimara Matsushita
Fuufy as The Princely Akito Morino

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seeing the reflection

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And recently a sting of murders has been puzzling the local police. Dead bodies found in unorthodox places with little DNA evidence to how or why they got there…” The sound of the TV was faint; a soft buzz in the background to Yuki’s World Government homework. The task to write a “journal”, as his lethargic history teacher Mr. Yuudai called, was turning out to be more vexing then the teen first thought. Ten examples of people in America being protected by the Bill of Rights was a lot harder for the boy who wasn’t an American to generate. The textbook helped, but its own examples only went so far. Yuki was on the verge of despair; however, mercifully a kind voice interrupted him mid-panic;

“Give the books a rest, dear?” The warm voice was stern, but caring and even if the words appeared to be a question, Yuki knew they weren’t. Giving the open book and blank notebook page a withering gaze his chair scrapped against the wooden floor as Yuki rose from the seat; bare feet creating a gentle thump as he strode towards the living room.

The room in question a testament to how tiny and homely the small apartment was: flora wallpaper, dingy and peeling, lined the walls with scruffy beige carpet blanking the floor; a cramped space, no larger than a supply closet, with a sofa, coffee table, and a hand-me-down television set filling it. But the elder woman sitting on the warn leather sofa didn’t seem to mind her surroundings. Neither did Yuki for that matter.

“Of course, Mrs. Aimi-san.” Yuki’s voice was stiff, his role in this domesticated household to new to him to be comfortable, much like the jeans and polo drowning his slim frame. Shirt hanging off his right shoulder and pants cuffed at the bottom. Much like everything in the small apartment even Yuki’s clothes were hand-me-downs. Yet the gentle soul refused to let that get to him. When he had traded in his priests robes and mountainside temple dwellings for high school the high priest had been forthcoming; his only condition that Yuki be a sort of live-in companion for an aging friend whose son and husband had died. Yuki flourished in the role, if a little awkwardly.

“So polite, so polite.” Aimi’s hand shook as she reached out to Yuki, wrinkled skin and smooth skin clashing as Yuki grasped the trembling appendage. “Mother raised such a polite boy.” Yuki smiled kindly at the women’s mistake, wisely keeping quiet at the lapse in memory.

Mrs. Aimi was a frail eight-three year-old woman. Coarse black hair framing her large oval head once velvety with a shimmering glow; old age had stolen most of the retired actress’s beauty. Wrinkles in place of rich ivory skin, petite ruler frame now plump and hunched. Everything seemed to tire her nowadays, heavy-lidded amber eyes hollow with a pursed grimace always bordering her face.

“But you should really call me mother, dear. Don’t want to put your father in a huffy.” Mrs. Aimi cautioned. Her voice airy as she sunk deeper into the dream, face turning this way and that as if making sure the cost was clear before continuing. “You remember how upset he was last time, don’t you dear?” Sweet face crumbling, Aimi tugged on Yuki’s hands to bring him closer. Whispering shakily, “oh, he didn’t mean to hit you dear – my pretty baby – you known how much he values manners. He didn’t mean it, sweet boy. My strong little angle.” Somewhere in the middle of her words Aimi had grasped Yuki’s head in her hands, cooing praise.

Yuki circled the aged hands in his own. “I understand, mother. I know.” Yuki’s words seem to light up Aimi’s face. Smile brightening her features one second before her eyes were widening in alarm the next. Jerking away from their intimate position, Aimi struggled up onto her feet all signs of earlier peace distorted into fear and apprehension as she regarded the room, eyes taking in everything but seeing nothing.

“Where’s Shinobu?!” She shouted. Air oozing with tension as she pierced Yuki with scandalized eyes. “He said he was going out to play earlier and now it’s dark out. I don’t remember him coming home. Is he here? Shinobu? Shinobu!” Aimi was frantic, moving what little her weaken legs allowed, searching the apartment for her dead son. Yuki trailed behind her gradually. Far enough not to crowd but close enough in case she fell.

“Shinobu?!” Once they reached the hallway leading towards the sole bedrooms in the apartment, the desk Yuki’s homework lay upon taking up most of the space, Aimi turned on him with a sneer.

“What did you do!” Her voice was steel. “I told you not to touch him again. What did you do?! Where’s Shinobu? Shinobu?”

“Shhh,” Yuki started quietly, used to having to do this, he raised both arms slowly, stopping short of touching the hysterical woman. “I’ll find him. Let me find him. I’ll look everywhere and I won’t come back until I do.” Placated by his words Aimi allowed herself to be led back into the living room, and Yuki sat her down on the sofa, a late night variety show playing on the TV now.

“Say you’re sorry. My sweet boy needs to hear that.” Yuki nodded as he glanced at the glowing cable box, 11:59PM stared back in red. Biting his lip, the teen took in Aimi – scared, confused Aimi – and felt something inside of him shatter. Taking the throw blanket that always lied on the sofa edge, Yuki wrapped it around her frail shoulders. “It’ll be okay, Aimi. I’ll find him and tell him, I promise.” Staring at her with sorrowful eyes Yuki had to force himself to stride to the door and slip on his worn-out shoes.

It was much easier to go through the motions then simply say he was going to do something when Aimi got this hysterical. Yuki resolved to walk to the park and back and do his homework and sleep before 1AM rolled around. Steeling himself, Yuki opened the door and steeped into the chilly October air.


Original poster
The dream was always the same.

Akito came to in a field he'd never been in, but somehow felt at home in. Poppies brushed against his cheeks as he shook off his pleasant grogginess. He sat up slowly, brushing his hair back into place with his hand and doing his best to investigate his surroundings. Flowers, of all types - poppies, thyme, and violets, from what he could tell, but he had no idea where he got that information - as far as the eye could see, fading into a backdrop of pitch black. He had no idea the time of day, or even the time of year, and beyond the soft glow that seemed to emanate from the flowers themselves, Akito couldn't even find a source of light.

The blonde stood slowly, his limbs creaking from what felt like an eternity of sleep. He knew he wasn't alone in the field, but a quick glance in all directions showed no one within sight. Akito opened his mouth to question whatever he felt was there, but nothing came out. A small frown tugged at his soft features, and he tried to speak again. This time, however, his thoughts were drowned out by a tumultuous clap of thunder. Whipping his head in the direction of the noise, Akito was met with a wall of gray clouds rolling in on the horizon. They growled ominously, flashing with an anger that was thousands of years old.

akito had never been afraid of storms, he even liked them as a child. But something about this storm unsettled the blonde to his very core. It felt threatening - not just dangerous, but as though it was impeding on his land, invading his home. He felt challenged, which he knew was unlike him, but he tried to stand his ground. Whatever this storm brought would not prevail!

Lightning struck the ground yards away from him, demolishing his poppies and violets, which burned an anger in the blonde's stomach that he wasn't used to. The anger was only calmed by an icy hand pressed reassuringly to his shoulder, causing him to shiver. Despite the cold, it was a welcome presence. But Akito never got to see who it was.

A second hand covered his eyes, and suddenly the blonde was helplessly tired. The thunder got louder, closer, crashing impossibly close to Akito but so long as his eyes were covered, he didn't care.

Louder, closer. Louder, dangerously close.

Akito awoke with his face pressed uncomfortably to his forearms, hunched forward onto his coffee table. A quiet groan escaped him as he sat up, his bones creaking a little just like in his dream. The credits of Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de aru played in the background as the blonde tried to come to his senses. He wasn't used to sleeping that heavily, especially lurched over on his coffee table like that. He wasn't super invested in the series, but he'd still have to download the episode later.

At least he was off tomorrow.

It was a full moon that night, and Akito knew had his work cut out for him. Two long months of this dark hour business had left the teen a little strung out. Keeping up appearances was taking it out of him. He'd regretfully quit his Kendo glass in order to keep up with student council, theater club, and his studies on top of his new pass time. His counselor, Mr. Keisuke Rintarou, had assured him his college transcripts would be well taken care of the work he'd been doing.

Mr. Keisuke was a kind, but serious man, who had all bug begged with Akito to help him with his mission to stop the shadows. The blonde trusted him, and honestly underestimated the severity of the situation when he agreed to help. That had been before the mysterious "murders" had reached the media. Akito learned quick how utterly terrifying the shadows were - a few broken bones and a few tightly woven lies to his teachers an classmates proved that.

He'd be lying if he said he didn't love the idea being a hero though.

The credits of his show cut out and Akito turned off the tv. He stretched as he stood fro his spot on the floor and did his best to collect himself. The evening, he'd been told, was supposedly going to be the worst one yet, and he knew he wasn't prepared. Nonetheless, he pulled his hoodie on over his school uniform, and made sure to zip it up. He wasn't a fan of the cold. The final touches were his holder, which he secured to his belt, and an ear piece attached to a radio he used to stay in contact with the counselor while he was out. It all felt very official, and the blonde loved it.

Moments later, Akito stepped onto the side walk in front of his dorm, hugging his hoodie closer to his lean body. Keisuke chimed in his ear, a warning tone in his fuzzy voice: "My sources are telling me that there's been a lot of activity at Tenjin-sama's shrine, a few blocks from the dorms."

Akito hummed. "That's a little disrespectful of these shadows, isn't it?"

"Morino-san, please don't take this lightly. The shadows tonight are going to be more powerful than anything you've faced so far."

He rolled his eyes quietly. "Please, Counselor. Akito is fine. And I understand. If things get hairy, I'll get out of there."

The man seemed to agree with his sentiment, and continued his analysis. "Please be wary of humans, try not to destroy anything. You know that rules, Mo-... Akito-san."

That earned a wolfish smile from Akito. He nodded to himself as if the Counselor could see him, and started in the direction of the shrine. It was dedicated to the god Tenjin, a lot of students prayed there for better test grades, so there was almost always someone in the park. Akito wasn't a very religious person, but he was respectful of the people who were, and wasn't a fan of shadows hanging around a place of worship. They created areas negative energy, which was only one of their many effects on the parts of the world that didn't even know they exist.

He was a block away from the shrine when midnight came. An almost non-existence pulse tore through the city for a split second. In the blink of an eye, the entire city was covered in a green caste, the puddles littering street from the wet weather reflecting red like blood. The moon hung high in the sky, sharing the same shade of yellow as the eyes of a black cat. Even after two months of doing this, Akito had a hard time adjusting to the abrupt change. After a deep breath, he continued his trek to the park, but didn't notice anything out of the ordinary.

He was at the gates of the shrine before he saw anything. The shadow slinking across the path would have gone unnoticed if not for the fact that'd he'd had practice. Akito reached for his evoker, keeping it at the ready as he stepped over the threshold onto the cobblestone of the shrine. It was dark, and there were no streetlights to go by. Usually, he didn't have to look for shadows, they'd go after him as soon as he was close enough, so the quiet rattle of leaves and absolutely nothing else made the blonde nervous.

He was almost all the way to the shrine before he realized there was another person in the park with him. The idea took a moment to process - there was another human there with him, standing at the shrine, minding his own business. Before he could make a proper plan, Akito rushed up to the stranger and grabbed him by his shoulder. Fawny brown hair and eyes registered with Akito almost immediately - they belonged to his classmate, Yukimura Matsuhita. Everyone had talked about the "kid that was raised by the monks" when he joined their class. But He didn't have time to catch up.

"You gotta get out of here right now!" Akito told the teen immediately, turning on his heal, ready to lead his classmate to safety.

A formless black mass slinked onto the cobblestone between them and the gates. It was massive compared to any shadow Akito had fought before, easily the size of a car. It didn't have a shape, moving like a liquid, and it's only distinguishable features were six arms jutting out from it's back. Each hand held a sword save for the one in the middle, which held a blue mask. The shadow turned it's mask towards them with a flick of it's wrist, staring at Akito for a long moment.

The blonde's hand was white around his evoker, trembling slightly at the sight of his new foe as the shadow seemingly waited for him to make a move. Finally, it dropped a sword to the ground, dragging it painfully across the cobblestone, almost as if to taunt them. It rose the sword once more, holding it towards Akito and Yuki, and moved, slowly in their direction.

Akito didn't hesitate to use his evoker, knowing that hesitation had cost him a broken arm the first time he fought shadows. Easily, with determination, the blonde rose his evoker to the side of his head and pulled the trigger. The sound of glass shattering filled his head and the air around him, prompting the blonde to shut his eyes and think through the white noise. Icy blue shards of himself scattered from where the bullet wound would be on the opposite side of his head, circling for an eternity around them. The air around them became frigid as the shards converged between the teens and the shadow. Without warning, a black pair of wings broke through the shards, spreading protectively in front of Akito and his friend. A human figure, pale and limp beneath the wings that seemed to burrow into it's core as apposed to being a part of it, hung in the space between them and the shadow. The figure made no noise, and merely waited for Akito's command.

"Hypnos, use dark spot!"

The creature lurched forward fluidly, rearing one of it's impossibly dark wings back in a slashing movement. It connected with the shadow, emitting a heavy, unnatural sounding metallic sound as a the shadow recoiled.

Usually, Akito would stay and dispose of the shadow, more than aware of the damage they can cause if left alone. But he had to take care of Yuki, he was far more important at that moment. Without another word, he turned and took Yuki's hand in his own, tugging him towards the gates of the shrine. Hypnos dissipated behind them as they fled, but Akito still hoped they'd get enough of a head start to get Yuki to safety before the shadow regrouped.

"Y-Yukimura-san, right?" Akito glanced back, but kept his pace. "We have to get you away from that thing, ok? Just stay close."

They barely made it to the end of the block before Akito could sense the shadow nearing them. He didn't know how it could be so fast, but just as they approached the next break the road, the shadow headed them off. The shadow flooded into the streets, much quicker this time around, and immediately charged at them. Out of instinct, Akito pushed Yuki back behind him, and armed himself with his evoker once more.

Hypnos appeared and threw himself at the shadow in one swift motion, one of it's clawed wings digging viciously into the shadows amorphous skin. Without warning, the shadow reared an armed hand back, driving it's sword through one of Hypnos' wings. Akito stifled a pained noise, clutching at his corresponding shoulder. It barely slowed him down however, and the blonde came back as quickly as possible. "Hypnos, b-bufula!" The cement beneath the shadow froze over in the blink of an eye, Hypnos raising his hand in the direction of the shadow. The grating sound of ice on ice cried out as a series of pillar rose beneath the shadow, freezing whatever they touched and maiming a few of the shadow's arms.

Akito glanced back at Yuki. "Yukimura-san, run!" he snapped, hoping his usually calm voice wouldn't betray him.
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