Frigid Hearts (one shot)
Act I – Snow One Like You (Chiho’s POV)
Snow was falling softly on that particular evening. The bustling of people inside MgRonald’s was a surprise even to the employees of the fast food restaurant. Winter usually meant the oncoming of Christmas Season and tourists trudging around the city. Although Chiho usually went out and brought gifts for her friends and family, she was silently pondering over her thoughts.
Chiho though had a different
view for this season. She would finally gather up the courage to ask Maou out.
Subtlety wasn’t her field, neither were direct confrontations. So she decided
to leave a letter to him instead. Letters of infatuation were never her
expertise either. But she couldn’t just pass up the opportunity that the
universe gave to her.
She went to her own locker to change her dress. She couldn’t just meet him wearing their work uniform. She had to look good and appropriate for him. Wearing a parka and a dress would seem casual and good, at least to her. Before deciding to go out, she sat on the chair near the dining area. Chiho decided to take a nap, not because she wanted to look fresh to Maou (another reason still) but she was exhausted from work.
Waking up from her nap, Chiho glanced at the clock and began to panic. The time of their meeting was coming to a close and she wasn’t in the single sense prepared. Although she looked good (as she would say) but in her mind, she was mentally panicking.
“This is the time. I’ve been waiting for this for a long time now. Even the universe is siding with me. I have to leave it in his locker. But wouldn’t he know that it’s just me since I’m his only coworker?” Chiho’s thoughts were becoming antagonistic by the moment. Doubts were settling and fears were creeping in on her.
“I have to be brave. Or else someone else will snatch up Maou and the next thing I’ll know, I’d be hearing wedding bells and kissing noises,” She puffed her chest and walked towards his locker. Grabbing the letter inside her parka, she slipped the letter inside his locker. “Hopefully, he’ll come to the place,” She had never hoped this much in her life and she was gambling the chances of him actually going to the place.
She walked out of the door silently wishing that she didn’t look suspicious enough. For a brief moment, she saw Maou raising an eyebrow at her as she took her leave. Heat rose up to her cheeks thinking that she was blushing furiously. She immediately took her leave seeing that it was already embarrassing enough that she left a something as intimate as a letter to him.
The overwhelming feeling she’s had since having a crush on him was returning right now. She never felt anything closely related to love or anything. All she knew was that the thing she has with Maou was just infatuation. She was confused even about her own feelings. She couldn’t even find the thin line between infatuation and love. If the feeling she was experiencing right now was even love, then she’s just going to find out.
Walking through the streets towards her house became a routine for Chiho ever since she’s worked at MgRonald’s. She can still remember the first time Maou stumbled upon the doors of MgRonald’s like yesterday. The wave of nostalgia was fleeting on her. She had spent too much time obsessing about Maou that she already forgot about herself.
She suddenly halted in the pavements of the city when a sudden realization beckoned upon her. It was like going to somewhere else and remembering you forgot something at home or someplace. Everything zoomed out in her vision. She couldn’t hear everyone’s lively chatter or the loud trudging of shoes against the snow or that annoying music that’s been repeated for everyone knows how long.
In order for Maou to notice her, she had lost herself.
Her breathing hitched as she realized the truth that she had been sidestepping all along. Maybe she already knew about this realization but somehow kept pushing it in the back of her mind. Tiptoeing around fragile ice usually never ended well, and she felt as if she broke the ice and fell into the dark cold waters.
“I can’t do this. This is the worst choice I had ever made in my life. What was I thinking anyway when I thought that I can face him and finally say it to his face?” She mumbled to herself in the middle of the pavement. She hugged herself as if trying to keep herself warm. Even though she was wearing her parka, it wasn’t the cold she was trying to keep out.
“I can just tell him that the letter wasn’t genuine and that it was just a fluke all along,” She told herself. “Yeah, I think that’s going to work,” Although she was forcing herself to be confident about the whole situation, she just couldn’t help being afraid of saying it to Maou. Directly in his face. Various situations were brewing in her head and reactions from him ranged from understanding to angry.
“Maybe he’s still working right now. If I run fast enough maybe I can still grab the letter from his locker and waltz out of there as if nothing ever happened.” She thought happily and started to run towards the fast food restaurant.
But just as she was about to run, she heard a familiar voice calling out, “Chiho!”
Her feet were suddenly frozen and her breathing went erratic as she recognized the familiarity of the voice. She could recognize the way that Maou drawled out her name as if it was something bittersweet to her.
She turned her head looking for him so fast that she could’ve had whiplash. She saw him in a distance waving at her in a distance. Her heart fluttered at the sight of him and she smiled widely when she saw it was really him calling out to her in a distance. He was wearing casual clothing with a wool jacket to warm himself up.
Maou then walked towards her, smiling softly while looking at her. As if Maou was a magnet, she suddenly dragged her feet to walk towards him, like she was a magnet attracted to him even though she looked like an idiot for smiling this much.
“Uh, hey?” Although she tried for the casual greeting, it sounded like a question due to the jittery feelings she was getting from her stomach.
“Hey Chiho,” Maou smiled at her. That smile of his was enough for her to melt into a puddle of mush.
“So. . .”
“I got that letter of yours,” He began digging out for the letter inside his jacket.
“Yeah,” She chuckled trying to shake off the awkwardness around him. Why couldn’t she just be calm for this once? She’s usually calm and funny when they’re working, but why is it so different now? “Maybe it’s because you’re thinking it’s a date?”
“It’s a good thing I caught up with you. It would’ve been better if I had Dullahan II with me but it wouldn’t look good for me if I left you alone on the streets huh?” Maou joked with a huge grin on his face. Unfortunately, Chiho’s cheeks just had to blush. Hopefully he’ll think it was due to the cold and not because of his gentlemanly words he said right then.
“It would be nice if Dullahan had two seats though,” She smirked. The courage she’s totally acquiring right now can be contributed to the fact that she’s dreamed about this moment more often than necessary.
“It sure would’ve been better. Let’s go right right now then?” Maou held her hand as they went together to the place.
Although Chiho knew in the back of her mind that this was a very wrong decision and she’s only hurting herself, she just can’t bring herself to care. Because at that moment, it’s as if everything fell into place. Right there with him just by his side.
Arriving at the place or more accurately the park wasn’t certainly the best place to finally (hopefully she’ll answer her with a concrete answer unlike last time) confess her feelings to Maou. The park just gave off that serene feeling and with snow falling slightly from the sky. It was the best mood to talk with everything that’s happening. They sat down from a nearby bench that wasn’t soaking and cold.
“Maou, I really want to talk with you,” She fiddled with her fingers.
“Look,” He sighed. “I know why you’re here to talk to me.”
“Y-you do?” She couldn’t help but feel surprised with his sudden bluntness.
“Yeah,” He said slowly as if he’s hiding something terrible. “He isn’t hiding something terrible isn’t he?” Her hands were sweating even with cold weather and her heart was beating wildly awaiting what he had to say.
“I know that I might not be the same person you expect me to be-”
“Wait, this isn’t about my crush on him?”
“But I’ll make sure that I’ll make up everything to you Chiho,” Maou looked at her expectantly. “Is he awaiting a reply from me?”
“Of course he is, can’t you the way he’s looking at you? Ugh, you’re so dense sometimes” Her inner voice chided her.
“You were always the same person since I met you. Even with you being the demon king and all- I still think you’re the same Maou that I met during that day and nothing is ever going to change from that. You’re probably the person I trust most right now and hopefully it won’t change,” Chiho then looked at him softly.
She then reached out her hand and placed them at the side of his face softly feeling his face. “You might even be the only person that I gave my heart out to,” Her face slowly went close to his. So close she could feel his breathing and their foreheads touching each other. She could see the way his eyes shone and his lips were so close to her that she could just close the distance between them. All doubts that clouded her mind back then disappeared and it’s as if the world was closing in on them.
Just as they were about to do the unthinkable, a flash went off nearby causing them to separate quickly with cheeks both flushed. She looked at source of the flash and saw an old man grinning at them.
“Oh forgive me, I didn’t mean to distract you two. It’s just that you two look so good with each other,” The old man chuckled at them.
Maou was the first one to recover from the situation as he was the one to him, “Nah, it’s fine clearly.”
“Yeah, there’s no problem,” Although they had separated from each other, their hands were still intertwined. Chiho laughed softly when she thought that just an hour ago, she doubted herself and for the feelings she had for him and now they’re sitting on a bench holding hands together.
The old man then grabbed his camera and began to stuff it in his bag, “Well, I’m really sorry to have interrupted you two. I have to go now.”
“Goodbye then,” Maou waved his hand at the old man just as the old man walked away.
Just as he was about to remove his hand, she gripped lightly as if telling him to stay like this for a while. Silence hung quietly in the air. It was the kind of silence where no words were needed to be spoken. Their presence filling everything they needed for this moment.
It was then that Christmas was truly in her heart and that there was no one like him.
Act II- Winter Angel (Emi’s POV)
With work finally over, Emi can finally get out and watch people celebrate the weird tradition this world held. Christmas as Rika would have put it, was something you just can’t miss and that it should be worth celebrating with your loved ones.
Thinking back to Ente Isla, Emi did have a loved one. Her dad was something she couldn’t forget. Hearing about her dad’s death was the sole reason why everything led up to this moment. She had a mission to take down the Demon Lord and so far, everything wasn’t doing quite well.
Emi was so deep in thought that she didn’t realize someone was tapping on her shoulder.
Rika looked at her and said, “Hey Emi, you okay? You seem deep in thought.”
She shrugged, “Just thinking about my dad at home,” She tried to force a smile that would send off as being fine, when inside-she didn’t know what to do with everything that’s happening in her right now.
“Well, this isn’t the time to be sad right now,” Rika grabbed Emi’s shoulder, “You know what we should do? We should totally eat somewhere and find some hot guys.”
Emi chuckled, “Don’t you even have a crush on someone?”
“Actually, yes I have. But I think he’s emotionally unavailable right now with him taking care of his roommates after all. Isn’t he so responsible and dreamy?” Rika sighed at the thought of him.
“I think he’d find time for you if he really wants to spend tonight with you right?”
Rika shook her head, “Nope. You’re not getting out of this. Let’s go and find someplace to eat,” Rika smiled and whispered, “and hopefully to find some cute boys.”
(Emi thinks Rika’s really deprived of attention from the opposite sex therefore increasing her hunger for them, to which they should look out for)
Emi smiled at the thought of Rika going out with someone. She didn’t know why she even let herself come along with Rika in the first place. Maybe it’s because she’s spent too much time alone with herself and now, there was someone who finally cared for her. So she let herself dragged towards some unknown destination. Somehow, she felt happy at the thought that someone cares for her.
They arrived at some place called “Crabby Nights”. Just looking at the place made her shiver a bit. Unfortunately, Crabby Nights didn’t live to its name, it looked shabby enough from the outside with black walls and windows were covered with think curtains (which she thinks are velvet red) and the place itself can only be accessed by passing through a dark alley.
(Emi thinks that this place would be the perfect scene for a murder. And also, she thinks that Rika might’ve been planning to come here for a long time but didn’t find someone to go along with)
“Are you sure we’re safe here Rika?” Emi’s voice became strained. She didn’t have enough magic to protect herself and Rika from this world. Their guns would prove to be lethal and her weapon Better Half can only be summoned for a limited duration. Avoiding possible danger would’ve been the best course to take for now, if it weren’t for Rika who seems to like living dangerously.
Rika waved her concern off, “Emi, if it was clearly dangerous here-which totally isn’t-we would’ve been dead right now. Plus, I’ve been looking forward to go to this place and going alone made me seem like an old woman.”
(This claim made Emi very happy since her claim was totally right and that she was just dragged by Rika because of her loneliness and her friendship. Screw friendship, she’s going to leave when the opportunity arises)
Emi narrowed her eyes at her, “I didn’t ask to be kidnapped tonight Rika.”
“Oh please, if anything’s going to happen tonight. It’s going to be with you and some other guy,” She smiled coyly, “hopefully.”
Emi rolled her eyes finding it hopeless to argue with a woman who’s clearly deprived of men.
(Emi thinks she’ll go for an uptight personality since it’s going to ward off men -hopefully-and she’ll leave out of this night safe and alone)
They entered the shabby restaurant having different reactions. Rika’s face was mostly comprised of happiness and the occasional semi-silent squeal from her. Emi’s face was of pure shock and her mouth was left agape for everyone to see.
It seemed that the saying ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’ was pretty appropriate for this situation. The restaurant’s exterior looked like a pretty shabby place unlike the interior. Fancy decorations and art were placed around the wall and the tables and chairs looked like it came out from a fairy tale. Even the waiters looked fancy enough (cute too).
“Oh, look at that waiter. He seems cute doesn’t he?” Rika nudged Emi with her elbow. The waiter was dressed in formal clothing, with raven black hair clearly raised in a man bun and sharp features adorning his face. He had beautiful honey eyes too which clearly goes well with the illumination in this place (Although she won’t admit to everything she just thought about the guy to Rika).
Emi rolled her eyes, “Why don’t you talk to him then Rika?”
“I plan to alright,” She smiled creepily as if thinking of ways how to approach the waiter without creeping him out.
(Although Emi suspects she’ll likely end up scaring the waiter because of her aggressiveness and the face she’s likely projecting right now seems like that of a psychopath rather than a succubus)
Emi grabbed Rika from her reverie and walked through an empty table. Even the plate seemed extravagant for her taste.
“So, what are your plans for tomorrow Christmas, Em?” Rika tried to lighten up the mood.
“Wait, I thought you said it was Christmas?” Emi raised her eyebrow.
“Nope silly, it’s Christmas Eve tonight. Tomorrow is where the real fun begins.”
“Oh,” Emi couldn’t find anything to continue the conversation anymore. So she looked anything from the menu that looked edible and didn’t sound like a foreign dish to her.
After trying to check out what looked like delicious, Emi finally ordered something that was shown in a picture (She decided to play safe rather than ordering something that she would regret later) and Rika expertly ordered like she’d been here before (Again, Emi thinks she’s been eyeing this restaurant for a very long time).
Silence hung in the air around them. Although Emi was thinking about work and progress on Ente Isla (and maybe some guy), Rika was fiddling in her seat while trying to glance at someone surreptitiously (Which she failed to do so. She is so totally obvious).
Emi couldn’t take it anymore, “Rika! Why do you keep looking at that guy?”
“I don’t know. He just looks very familiar though,” Rika contemplated.
“You’re not hiding something from me are you?” Emi spoke softly. At times like these, it was better not to force the person into telling the story. If they’re confident enough, they’ll tell you.
“We all hide things Emi. Some just chose to forget them,” Rika closed her eyes.
Seeing as this was a sore topic for Rika, Emi decided to drop the topic. Emi wasn’t the kind of person to push people into telling things for her, (Although the demons back home would disagree on this. Especially someone. . .) so she decided to stay quiet.
Silence once graced itself around them. Unlike the last time, this one was awkward. The one that usually made you cringe and want to get away as far as possible without remembering anything that happened. Finally, the waiter arrived and gave them their food.
The food was simply delicious and fantastic, even Rika could vouch for that one (She made suggestive moans when she ate her food which gained a few glares from the rest). Emi was quiet when she ate her food. She was wondering what made Rika change her mood so fast and she felt slightly guilty for not being there for her even when Rika was constantly there for her.
(Emi might’ve admitted that another factor that made this restaurant famous was that the waiters were cute. But she isn’t going to say that out loud when Rika would just try to set her up)
Rika chewing her food quickly asked Emi a question, “So, how’s it going with you and Maou?”
Unlike other people who would’ve spit their drink if they were asked about a boy (to which it is true), Emi remained her composure, “Nothing.”
“You’re being evasive Emi. I know that attitude of yours. When you don’t want to talk to something, you usually ignore them or tell them it’s ‘nothing’,” Rika grinned. Damn her for being so observant.
Emi narrowed her eyes at Rika, “I told you, we’re not together. Another girl is already in love with him,” Emi trying to think of ways to divert the topic (just anything but not that idiot), she then pointed her finger to the waiter Rika said a while ago, “Hey Rika, isn’t that the waiter you said you were going to talk to?”
“I plan to talk to him. Just wait alright? Everything has been carefully calculated and planned,” Rika’s eyes gleamed with mischievousness.
(Emi internally sighed and thanked for Rika’s short attention span)
“When we finish eating and we’ll ask for that tip, I’ll try to talk to him and hopefully get his number by tonight!” Rika grinned widely.
Emi rolled her eyes, “Alright, just be careful okay? Remember about “Stranger Danger”?
Rika scoffed, “After tonight, he won’t just be another stranger to me.”
“Just for you it is.”
When they finished eating, Rika stood up and walked towards the guy. Emi pondered quietly about the bad feeling she’s got from that guy (Even though he’s cute).
Before Rika could leave Emi, she already left a wad of bills at their table. Emi added her own portion of the payment and called another waiter to get theirs.
When the waiter finally came back, Emi hurriedly went towards Rika and the (cute) guy. Apparently, they were having an interesting conversation (which mostly comprises of (cute) guy talking and smiling and Rika laughing at everything he said).
Emi lightly tapped Rika, “Rika. Do you want me to go ahead or should I wait for you outside?”
The (cute) guy intercepted Rika before she could speak, “Uh it isn’t a problem. I’ll even go with you two.”
Rika looked at him in awe while Emi narrowed her eyes at him. The guy (not so cute anymore) just smiled at Rika and Emi.
“But aren’t you working now? It would seem rude for us to distract you while you’re working,” Emi inquired ‘innocently’.
“I don’t actually work at this place,” The guy smiled at them. Before Emi could attack him with another question, he said “You don’t mind me walking with you together?”
Rika slapped Emi’s mouth and sweetly said, “Of course we don’t mind.”
“Shall we get going?” He offered his hand.
Rika grabbed his hand with a huge smile on her face (Seriously, does she not ever get tired of smiling?), “Yes we shall.”
Emi grunted as they went out of Crabby Nights. Perhaps she was the crabby one after all.
After walking a distance, CG (Emi was so tired of calling him ‘The guy’ in her head, she just decided to call him CG, which stands for ‘creepy guy’) suddenly halted.
“Is something wrong?” Emi asked.
CG was quiet for a while and when he turned around to face Emi and Rika, his face suddenly morphed and it made him look more deadly and handsome at the same time (if that was literally possible). His face became more defined as his jaws became more chiseled and his raven black hair was turned to chestnut brown and even his (cute) hazel eyes suddenly glowed with golden specks in them.
He then raised his hand and suddenly everything stopped. Emi just in time drew out Better Half in the spur of the moment.
Emi looked alarmed, “What are you doing and who are you?”
“Forgive me for resorting to this, but I have to warn you and reaching you was the hardest thing to accomplish,” CG (he’s confirmed creepy and deadly at the same time) smiled sheepishly.
“Warning me? I’ve always known you were creepy and you even convinced Rika to make us come with you. You creepy bastard,” Emi whispered the last part since she knew she was at a great disadvantage.
“I actually knew you thought of me as creepy. You’re face said it all even when we were in the diner. But you did kind of think of me as cute though,” CG smirked.
Even though Emi’s face was blushing so much, she had to fight it, “Say one more thing and I’ll make sure this sword ends up in your throat.”
CG raised his hands in surrender, “Look, I’m here just to warn you.”
“Whatever nonsense your speaking right now, spill it.”
If it was (more) possible, his eyes became more deadly and intimidating, “I want you to hold on tight to Better Half. Some people up in the clouds are just looking for a way to grab your sword.”
“Is it because I’m not worthy?”
“It’s not about worthiness Emi. The others are already afraid of you and they would really like to get their hands on Better Half,” CG looked at Rika, “It would be much safer if you refrain from using Better Half that often so that others won’t get affected.”
“Refrain from using? How am I able to defend others then?” Emi thinks that he was partially correct but she had to draw out more information from him.
“I don’t have much time to explain everything Hero. I’ve used up a lot of magic just to create an apparition of myself in this world,” CG showed Emi his hands which were flicking like a light bulb about to lose its battery.
“But to compensate for that, I can give you half of my magic to protect others,” Before Emi could ask a question, he cut her off, “My magic can be refilled when not in use. Just use it for emergency purposes though,” CG winked at her.
Emi lowered down her sword and made it disappear, “Alright then, I’ll trust you on this one CG.”
CG let out a hearty laugh, “Creepy Guy huh?” He then touched Emi’s hand and a blue light glowed harshly. When the lied died out, she could finally see his real state. His golden eyes were tired and his hair was a mess. Guess his use of magic exhausted him a lot.
“In my defense, you were pretty creepy though (and pretty cute).” Emi laughed softly.
She then noticed that CG was already starting to lose his apparition in this world.
CG then looked at her solemnly, “Well, I guess it’s time I have to go now Hero,” He then looked at Rika who was still petrified.
“Take care of your friends alright? They’re all you have right now.”
Emi looked at Rika, “I always take care of them.”
It seemed that CG was slowly fading and Emi couldn’t help but appreciate the things that he did just to give her a warning. Before he could fully fade, “Emi, to answer your first question a while ago. My name is Barachiel.”
Emi’s face suddenly dawned with realization, “Barachiel, the angel of lightning.”
Barachiel then gave Emi a smile before he finally disappeared. Time then suddenly went back and Rika was staring aghast at a random tree.
“What happened to him?!”
“Something happened,” Emi then flickered a small lightning in her hand and she secretly smiled.
When they arrived at Rika’s apartment, Emi was surprised at what Rika did. She hugged Emi. It caught her off guard since she wasn’t so used to being hugged.
“Thank you so much Emi. You don’t know how much I needed a friend tonight,” Rika’s eyes became teary.
“Don’t mention it,” After everything that happened. Emi was so ready to go back home and sleep everything she experienced.
“I have to go now. Have a safe trip home for me will you?” Rika then went to her apartment and left Emi outside.
She decided she would really want that sleep right now and went to her home as fast as she could. She didn’t leave without a smile of course. Emi knew that having a friend during Christmas Eve was the best gift anyone could’ve given her and sometimes, all she needed was another person to be her angel.
end of winter.