Slightly late, but happy birthday to Luka!
Luka took a deep breath. She tugged at her jacket nervously as she looked up at the two-story house already bustling with energy. People occupied what seemed like every area of the building save some parts of the upstairs. Screens were present all around the outside, showcasing the inside of the house. Strobe lights shone through the windows, silhouetting the crowd inside. Music thumped so hard Luka could feel it under her feet.
"Well, here goes," she thought, making her way closer. Stepping into the house was like stepping through a portal. The music washed over her and, while the inside wasn't as crowded as the screens and windows had made it seem, there was still a good number of people in there.
"Luka!" a voice called. The woman in question turned to find Aria making her way closer, holding two cups. "You finally made it!"
She handed a cup to Luka, who took it gratefully. "There's more people than expected," Luka murmured.
"Yeah, we told you it gets into full swing around eight." Aria led her through the crowd. Luka kept a hesitant grip on her shirt so they didn't get separated. Aria plopped down on a couch and motioned for Luka to join her.
Luka sat down on the couch and glanced around at all of the people. Truth be told, it was a little difficult to see in the dark with the strobe lights flashing. Maybe she really should take off her patch. It was dark enough that no one would be able to tell the difference in eye color. And if they did, she could always claim it was the glare of the strobe light.
"Hey, Aria?" she asked as quietly as she could over the music. Her friend turned to her expectantly. "Do you mind holding my drink for a second?"
"Yeah, no problem." Aria took her cup and watched as Luka lifted her hands to unfasten her eyepatch.
Luka blinked to readjust her eyes and looked over at Aria. The other girl smiled at her and handed her drink back. Luka tucked her patch into one of the pockets in her jacket and took a sip of the drink.
"So, how do you feel?" Aria asked hesitantly. "Is it okay?"
"Surprisingly, yes," Luka replied. "There aren't many people touching me so it doesn't hurt as much, and with the lights dim like this, no one will notice my eye." She caught sight of some of her former classmates, one of whom glared at her suspiciously. "Well, no one familiar…"
"What's up, weirdos!" a voice shouted. Gumi flopped onto the couch beside Aria and grinned at them. "You two look cozy over here! Sharing some time with her finally, Ari?"
"Shut up, you spazz!" Aria hissed, swatting Gumi's arm irritably.
Gumi only laughed and turned to Luka. Her expression fell into one of shock when she found two eyes gazing at her instead of one. Up until this point, she hadn't seen Luka take off her patch. They'd shared lunch every day that week, and Luka still remembered what Gumi had said her second day of school. Would she go back on that now that her memories were coming back?
"Well, look at you!" Luka jumped as Gumi gave her a playful punch on the arm. "Finally got the stones to take it off, huh? Hell yeah! Knew this party would be good for ya!"
Luka stared at her in surprise. It seemed Gumi really was serious about starting over with her. Smiling, she gave Gumi a light tap back. "Well, it's safer here. There are some people that… remember… but mostly, no one's said anything."
"Well, what're you two over here for then?" Gumi demanded, hopping up. "Come on, let's go mingle!"
Aria laughed and stood. "Come on, Luka," she chirped, holding out her hand. "Let's go meet some people. You can't come to a party like this and not make friends!"
"Right." Luka accepted Aria's hand, only feeling a small bit of pain as her friends led her into the crowd.
Nearby, one of the students watched the trio disappear and typed a quick message out on his phone. The patch is gone. Plan's good to go.
Meiko smirked when her phone buzzed. "Looks like it's time to make sure no one lets that freak too close." She pressed send on a group chat, alerting her friends that the plan was in motion. That weirdo wouldn't have a single friend in Crypton Academy by the time Meiko was finished with her.
Miku gazed around in awe as she and the twins entered the house. They'd never been to an upperclassmen party before. Len waved to some girls from their class who were over by the food. Rin spotted some of her teammates from the tennis team.
"What are we waiting for?" Len told his friends. "Let's go have fun! Everyone got their phones on them?"
Miku and Rin held up their phones and the trio split up. This wasn't as wild as Miku had expected. There was no one swinging from any chandeliers, the punch didn't appear to be spiked, and most of the people were hanging out and talking.
She jumped and whirled around. A boy smiled at her and held out his hand. "I'm Piko! You've got my Intro to Music Appreciation class, right?"
"Yeah, that's right," Miku replied. "The teacher's kinda eccentric, huh?"
"Totally, but he's a good musician. Remember when he stopped class to play the kazoo?"
They shared a laugh over the strange behavior of the teachers. Miku looked around at all of the people. "Is this your first time coming to one of these parties?" she asked.
"Yeah." Piko rubbed his neck with a smile. "Kinda got invited by my friend Al and couldn't figure out how to say no. Usually, I just stay home and play rhythm games or something."
"That sounds cool!" Miku gasped. "I love playing rhythm games! I'm saving up for the upcoming Diva Project."
"Did you hear there's supposed to be a special bonus for the first two hundred copies of that one sold in every store?" Piko pointed out.
The music thumped around them, the crowd thinning out slightly as they waited for the next song to start up. Luka leaned against a pillar and sighed, watching Gumi and Aria talk to some of their other friends. She'd been introduced to a few people, but she needed a break. This many people at once wasn't normal.
"Hey, mind if I stand with you for a minute?"
Luka glanced over to see a tall boy with black hair and a muscular frame. "Sure, I don't mind."
He relaxed and leaned against the pillar as well. "So, you're the new girl, right? Luka?"
"That's me," Luka affirmed.
"Awesome. I'm Al. I think we've got Lit together." Luka nodded. "So, uh, hey, mind if I ask a question?"
Luka turned to him expectantly. "Go ahead."
"Well, I've heard some of my friends whispering about your patch." Luka immediately stiffened. "They said you've got, like, something wrong with your eye or whatever. Does it hurt or something?"
"Whenever I touch people too long, it hurts," Luka said slowly. She had answered his question, but from what he'd said, she may need to avoid him in the future.
"Oh, okay." He gave her an easygoing smile. "Well, if some jerk says anything or, like, touches you on purpose or whatever, just lemme know. I'll take care of'em. Crypton's supposed to be a nice place, ya know."
Luka couldn't help laughing at that. "Thank you," she said. "I'll keep that in mind."
Al nodded and straightened up. "I see one of my buddies. I'll catch ya later, Luka."
"See ya." Luka watched him go and wondered if she was having a really long dream. It was interesting what people thought of her when they had no idea what she could do. The parties may have been the only place to take the patch off, but she didn't mind. Everyone seemed okay with her having it on and didn't judge her for it.
Pushing off the pillar, Luka started making her way carefully through the crowd. Aria and Gumi must have made their way further in, but the screens inside the house were focused on the stage, so she couldn't use them as a guide. She'd have to do her best.
Up on the raised platform acting as a stage, Meiko grinned and pointed to Kaito. Kaito wondered why he was getting stuck with the job of announcing it to everyone, but if this was Meiko's plan, he couldn't really argue. Taking a deep breath, he stepped out as the most recent lip synchers laughed their way off.
"Are you guys having a great time!" he shouted, to which cheers rose from the crowd. "This is an awesome party, amiright!" More cheers and he grinned. The spotlights were in place. "Ya wanna know the best part?!"
"TELL US!" a bunch of students in the crowd shouted, ready for whatever surprise Kaito was gonna come out with.
Spotlights flashed on from around the room, all of them aimed right on Luka. The cameras hooked to the screens around the house focused solely on her, displaying both of her eyes for the entire party to see.
"We got our own personal freakshow!" Kaito yelled, gesturing grandly in Luka's direction.
Gasps rang out around the house as everyone stared at the shocked young woman. Luka glanced around, prompting the people closest to her to back away slightly. They could all see her now, they could all see what her eye looked like. Even if they didn't know what it could do, they would make up their own rumors. She'd be an outcast all over again. Hanging her head, Luka waited to see who would throw the first insult.
"The hell are you talking about, Kaito!"
All turned at the shout to find Seeu glaring at the boy on her stage. "You better have a good damn reason for saying that or I'm gonna get the jocks to throw you out RIGHT NOW!"
"You mean you don't know?" Kaito sneered. "The demon hid it from you. She's cursed. That eye of hers is unnatural."
"You better watch your mouth, buddy!" Al snarled, Piko standing in front of him to stop him from charging at the stage. "One more word and I might just throw you out without the jocks' help!"
Kaito rolled his eyes. "Fine then. I'll let HER tell you." All eyes switched back to Luka, who was trying to disappear through the floor. "How 'bout it, Megurine? What's that eye of yours do?"
"I-it's just a c-condition…" Luka said quietly.
"Don't lie!" someone else piped up. One of the girls that used to go to school with her, Sonika stormed closer. "That eye sees things! It sees things the rest of us can't!"
Whispers circulated the room at this news. She had a magic eye? Was it really a curse? What could she see? Luka wished she'd just stayed home.
"That sounds so cool!"
The high-pitched voice that rang out was followed by three second years bouncing from the crowd. It was the trio Luka had come across her first day of school. They showed no hesitation in getting a closer look at Luka.
"Does it really see other stuff?" the boy gushed, staring up at her.
"Y-yes," Luka answered. "I-I see white light, indicating a person's misdeeds."
"Whoa!" the blonde girl gasped. "You have an actual superpower!"
"It's not a superpower!" Kaito growled from on stage. These three would end up making the plan fall apart if they kept going. "It's a curse! It got a lot of us into trouble when we were younger!"
Piko sniffed in contempt. "Probably because you were a bunch of jerks. Wouldn't surprise me considering what you just tried to pull. Get off stage!"
Boos lit the crowd as several of the people Luka had met that night made their way closer. Clearly, they would make Kaito get down if he tried to pull anything else. By this point, Sonika had been run out of the party and Meiko had disappeared. The students operating the spotlights also bailed. Kaito had no choice but to get down.
The music started back up again and the party got back into full swing. Most of the crowd stopped to make sure Luka was alright before going back to what they were doing. This was the least expected reaction and Luka could only nod in dumbstruck silence.
A pair of arms circled her from behind and she turned to see Aria and Gumi panting behind her. "We came as fast as we could," Aria gasped.
"Soon as the monitors lit up," Gumi grunted, clutching her side. "We were outside. Crowd was real thick."
"Are you okay?" Seeu asked, coming up as well. "If not, I'll hunt that prick down and personally make him apologize."
"Me, too," Gakupo snarled, struggling through the bodies. "He was there when I told you I wanted to start over. He should've taken the damn hint."
"I'm fine," Luka told them. "I've just… never had this kind of support before. Usually, when people see my eye, they… don't take it well."
Gumi straightened up. "Kupo and I weren't kidding. We wanna make things right from when we were kids. We were jerks and it wasn't right. It just sucks Kaito, Meiko, and Sonika didn't get the memo."
"We'll deal with them and the rest of their group later," Gakupo shrugged. "If I remember right, we're in the middle of a party."
Luka nodded. As Gumi, Seeu, and Gakupo went to join the dance floor, she turned to the three second years. "Thanks," she said. "F-for all those nice things you said."
"No need to thank us," the blonde girl told her. "And don't let him call it a curse, either."
"He's not exactly wrong…" Luka said, covering her eye self-consciously.
"Well, even if that mean guy up there thought it was a curse, I think it's a pretty awesome superpower," the girl in the middle said. "And by the way, I'm Miku. These are my friends, Rin and Len. If ever you need backup, we'll be there!"
"Thank you, Miku," Luka laughed. "I look forward to seeing you three around. And thank you again."
"No problem!" Len called.
The groups split off and Aria led Luka to a quieter place. They grabbed some sodas from a nearby cooler and watched the party around them.
"So, when we first met, that's why you said it was a condition?" Aria finally asked.
"That's right," Luka whispered.
Aria sipped her soda thoughtfully. "I can't blame you," she said. "I can't guarantee my reaction wouldn't have been the same as everyone else's if you had revealed what it did right then." Luka cringed. "But still… it's your choice whether you want people to know that kinda thing, and he's a jerk for revealing it without your permission, him and all those people with him."
She turned to Luka and held out her soda for a toast. "I want you to know that we definitely have your back. And your eye, cursed or superpower, won't change that."
Luka smiled and bumped her can against Aria's. "Thanks. For my first party, I think this one actually went pretty well."
Remember, sneak peeks and updates are available on my tumblr, gothalbinoangel-fanfiction. Where you can also ask questions. I just opened up commissions, too!