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Chapter 2: How I met my Padawan

To understand how I got to meet Issei and why I had that kind of close relationship, I would have to start from the 'beginning'.

To be more specific, the time around I got to Kuoh Town and settled in my current home. Sure, Azazel gave me a nice house with a small garden and a budget to use while I waited for my first round of work under Grigori. I had to clean things up, I had to get some groceries, I had to prepare for my new life in this troublesome soon-to-become battlefield and… I wasn't spared even a day that I was suddenly flung before a new issue that I was quite sure the dickhead had left for me to sort out due to my knowledge. Cue a visit from the neighbors which proved to be a nice couple of parents bringing to visit their young son. Miki and Gorou… Hyoudou. And Issei.

I was sweating bullets when I saw the kid. I almost failed to recognize him and I got a bit pale on my face when they introduced themselves. Common sense ruled to kick them out, no explanation given. It would have been simple in the short-term planning, yet it would have fucked me up harshly in the long run. Not only did I need to keep away from the main cast, I also had to avoid getting any spotlight on myself. The rumor of a new foreigner in town that was known to avoid social gatherings could have easily spelled the necessity from the current holder of Kuoh Town to investigate me.

From what I could deduce out of the current timeline, Rias and Sona would end up becoming the new guardians in a matter of months, which also translated that there wasn't an owner of the city but a commission of devils keeping track of that. Now, I could brainstorm how the fuck I could just outsmart them all but… there was an issue I couldn't ignore. This commission was going to be a bitch to predict if they started to look over the census of the city for any developments. If they find my name, they will definitely pick up some doubt about my official claim of being there. Hopefully, nothing cray-cray to worry about.

Going back to the Hyoudou visiting… I ultimately chose to let it happen. One visit, it shouldn't have been that bad. So, I behaved as the kind young man that hosted the small family for a brief interaction. Both parents were instantly stunned by the house, the fact I was a foreigner and that I… cleaned after myself. I wasn't sure where that last one came from, but the comment from Miki seemed to relate to both her husband and son. The brunette looked to be the standard mom, quite pretty but overall not as gorgeous as other 'devilish' women in the show. Still, terribly clever and knowing when she sniffed a good opportunity to get her son started to get a proper hold of his own life. During the exchange of tea and cookies, the woman advanced a 'fair' offer considering my current disposition about the garden.

Around the weekends, Issei could come to my house, help around that small chore, and then get paid out of it. And yet, I know, why the hell would you even consider it if the little pervert was going to become a trouble for me if I kept him too close to myself and… and then I realized. Technically speaking, I could trigger a massive change in the plot for good if I carefully molded him into becoming less of an obnoxious pervert and more of a controlled one about it. And many would ask at this point 'why the hell would you even consider that?' and… the truth was a moment of personal weakness. Cynical I could get and be, but this Ise wasn't the little jerk from the anime.

He was 'littler' and not much of a jerk. Shy guy fits better than a 'jerk'. And this situation reminded me of something. Before Kuoh Academy, Issei Hyoudou wasn't a fucking creep. Like, one can still be a pervert but there is something called self-control that I could see in full display within this guy. He knew that he wasn't meant to be obnoxious about shit and could hold back from mentioning lewd situations. I could tell he would tell much if given allowance, I could see him hold back when it came to hobbies and stuff like that and… and I decided to take a chance. Call me a moron, I long accepted to be crowned as such due to how that ended for me three years later, but in that moment, I believed in doing something that, truth be told, I managed.

Issei would become a functional human being rather than a little puppet for others. I wasn't planning to turn him into an OP character, not this soon. Not when there was much to be wary about and how Azazel was keen to send a message on how I should be careful around the user of the 'Boosted Gear'. By his own words, 'it was best to introduce him to it once something worrying unfolded and required him to know'. Sounded dumb but… power attracts power. And, as far as I could tell, making him unleash his power this soon could have drawn Hell's attention to him earlier than in canon. And I couldn't defend him much if that came to happen.

So, I waited in that regard and focused on the very thing that would have made the difference without me getting in trouble with the Governor-General: Making Issei a good character. I was no mad genius on social interactions, but I decided to start slow and make sure that the boy knew of the basis, he trusted those, and that he could talk about what he could and could not do when talking with others. Plus, I realized how easy it was to get him to chat things out despite him being 14 and quite clever in his own right. I got him talking about himself and his school situation right during the first shift of work. I wasn't sure if it was because I made a good enough impression and managed to get him to confide about any issues through that friendly exchange… but I still got a clear understanding of the problem. If you want to solve a problem, you need to know it through all the details. And what I got was that Issei was a loner with few 'associates' and no genuine friend beyond one he could barely remember from his childhood. And now that I got a clear sight of who I was dealing with, it was time to get him to understand his flaws and work on those. I will have Issei ready to deal with the weird shit of high school. At least, the basis of what was needed to face a high school that was once meant just for girls.

"Issei, you have to be honest with me and I will try to give you some assistance: if you were to make a friend, how would you introduce yourself?"

We were sitting by the steps between the main door and the entrance of the property, looking over an already well-combed garden. The boy had been talking for a while, and I got a good grasp of what he would have to do to get through the little hell unfolding the next few years. I doubted anything crazy was going to happen by the first year and I was quite right about it from what I would end up seeing at that point. Back to the conversation, the boy blinked.

"How would I… introduce myself?"

"My name is John Bukharin, I'm your new neighbor. What is your name?"

He blinked, stuttering a bit at the sudden new question. "I-I'm Issei- I mean, Issei Hyoudou."

I hummed and the boy flinched at my glance, as if expecting to be judged about it. Ah yes, school is still educated to some harsh rejection in terms of being right or wrong. But I wasn't planning to educate Issei the same way school did. I was going to teach him through acceptance of mistakes and willingness to evolve from it.

"Again," I calmly pushed. "Do it again, this time keeping in mind to not stutter, to keep upright and be at ease."


This was going to be a very long training montage. But it had a fine result. Issei talked and he got better at talking. At first it was an issue about stuttering due to the surprise of being talked to, then it was about the emotion put within each response as the natural instinct dictated him to behave almost quiet and evasive in most occasions and… then get him to remember all he learned when it was time to score. By the time we were done with that, Issei had visited for a while, and I had changed from 'Bukharin-san' and 'John-san' to actually 'Sensei'. The boy was learning from me and I was the closest thing to a life teacher which granted him some backbone through social interaction. A few months pass, and it's time for Issei to begin his first year at Kuoh Academy and… the night before that he visits me for advice. The end result was the closest thing to a war room.

"Kuoh Academy was once an only-girl school that has just recently turned into a school open for everyone. This means that girls there are going to be watching you and the rest of your fellow guys to see and judge how much of a threat you are to them. Creeps, perverts, possible bastards worse than that- you need to keep away from any group of that kind, keep polite all the time and never show any behavior that would put you in any trouble," I explained sternly, making sure he got the message as clear as it could be. "This doesn't mean bowing your head to everything. If one of the girls goes too far and insults you or your family directly you have the right to call a teacher and have them deal with it."

"B-But what if the teacher sides with those that are in the wrong?" The brunet asked, not due to skepticism but unease.

After all, I always had an answer for… almost everything. There is a reason why he no longer had to worry about his mother finding his porn stash and why he spends a lot of time browsing his own PC. I swear, I will never understand why someone would actually want to keep physical porn mags under their beds when it's common knowledge that their mother would end up finding those during a quick clean up process.

"You ask them to contact your parents and bring them there. If an adult is picking a fight against you, then you have to call your parents in this regard."

"And..." The young man looked uneasy. "What if I wanted you to come and help me?"

"Ise, I appreciate the trust you're putting to me, but I remind you that I can't help you on a legal standpoint. The school could just refuse that request, which is why it has to be your parents," I explained calmly, smiling at him for that question. "Still, I will tell your parents I gave you a talk of this kind. Prepare them in case you get in trouble and someone tries to spin things against you. But only if you promise me and your parents you will not cause any shit yourself. Don't be the trouble, be the one dealing with the trouble."

"I got it," He hummed happily. "Also, mom wanted to know if you wanted to pass by tomorrow for dinner. She said she 'misses having someone actually helping around in the kitchen'."

I frowned. "Have you been skipping helping around at home, Ise?"

"N-No- I mean, not really. It's just that I focus on cleaning up the house rather than help in the kitchen. It's so difficult!"

"Well, that's life for you. Or an aspect of it," I rebuked mirthfully, ruffling his hair before having him set off for home. "But sure, I'll visit."

Now, many would imagine this is where I go back to the whole mess that would happen three years or so later but… this is a bit of a tutorial arc in my mind. A bit 'prologue' to what shitstorm canon would end up bringing by the time Ise had grown well into this kind of school. And where Ise's entry at Kuoh Academy celebrated a major point within this part of my story, another one would soon unfold as a new individual would end up becoming a frequent visitor of my humble abode. A character that sure got me a bit tense for a while but overall intrigued by the curious way she came into my life due to well…

Who? That's for you to think and for me to tell you next time!


What? You expect a clue? Uh… dunno guys. Could be everyone but… let's be honest. Only a few girls would fit that kind of stuff and… 'keep logical' about it. Or not. Just remember that this girl is not a threat to MC in the general sense of it, but still someone that got him squirming a wee bit.

Have fun with the betting and… let the show go on!

EDIT: Brain-fart regarding Cleria's death date. Now that's fixed.