another what if scenario: a truly nasty Erina who goes to every extent to expel Yukihira due to her own complex and fear of isolation - after all, Yukihira is all about proving that gourmet food/cooking styles aren’t the only way to go, directly threatening everything Erina has been taught. once everyone adopts Souma’s POV of never achieving perfection to continue pushing their limits, then where should Erina and her impeccable taste buds go?
but then she’s forced to seek his help (or Megumi’s tbh) when Azami returns and she flees her abuser with Alice. she struggles to come to terms that her existence isnt defined by the God’s Tongue; that she’s worth more than that, that people are worth more than their backgrounds and cooking abilities thanks to the Polar Star Dorm, completely tearing her entire world apart and being utterly terrified every single step of the way, but she forges on still.
when the Polar Star Dorm is under siege, they don’t see her as a sneering queen bee or the sole cause of the near destruction of a home, not even as a scared little girl who never escaped the darkness of the basement - but as a friend, a very awkward one who never asked for help but is getting it anyway, because that’s what friends are for, aren’t they, Yuki had exhaustedly beamed, while the rest tiredly agreed. it tugs something in her, but she doesn’t know what.
when Alice crushes Rentarou and Erina runs gasping again into the scene, Alice is waiting with crossed arms and averting eyes, but Erina hugs her anyway, and tells her ‘sorry’ and ‘thank you’ and numerous other, other words her father had never taught her how to say, but one kindhearted girl with too much love had.
when she stands in the middle of a foreign park, laden with the forgiveness of a girl she’d wronged and the acceptance of another one who had interpreted every word of Erina’s as such, she utters ‘thank you’, and it comes so much more easily now. Ikumi blushes and runs, Tadokoro giggles shyly but doesn’t ask why. the words slip out again at the outstretched hands of the boys, and Aldini just smiles, while Yukihira laughs. everything is sparkling and beautiful and it all hurts, in ways good and bad.
when she rushes to the roof, her voice is not shaking, although her eyes are wet when she dips her head in habit. her spine cracks when she rights herself, stares at the man who’d died all those years ago alongside her mother straight in the eyes and demands (not begs, there is no need to beg from a man who has stolen from her. she has (re)learnt the dignity of a life loved and will never let anyone steal that from her, not anymore) for the return of her comrades, no, friends, and relishes in the adrenaline from watching her father turn wide eyed at her rebellion, all glory and untarnished pride -
she is Nakiri Erina, and she will take back her kingdom with her own hands, her lineage and throne and crown, take back everything that belonged to her since she was born (love and belonging and faith), that no one had ever deserved to deprive her from - not even her father.
(when her clammy hand had crossed the balcony railing and took Alice’s, she took a gulp of air and it was exhilaration and fear and knowledge of freedom and - she knew that it was waiting for her all along, since Sanzaemon exiled Azami, since Hisako, since Alice and her shredded letters - she could have cried.
and it is months later that she does, in the arms of the boy who gave her everything while asking for nothing.)
there’s a bowl of transforming furikake and an autumn selection that her damnation about nearly ruins the life, the future of a sixteen year old boy.
there’s a bowl of tempura don and a decision that her selfishness nearly, again, ruins the life of the same boy.
Yukihira is in the middle of it all, every decision, every flawed move. the eye of the storm - calm yet destructive and insanely fun to watch, with his mad grin and madder actions.
she doesn’t understand, why he throws himself in head first for everything; why he doesn’t think things through or worry or get confused and muddled and scared. not for himself, not for anyone else. confidence is a fragile weapon that he welds with ease, and she can’t understand how.
she’s made of twisted irony and cruelty and an inability to move on, so she cannot understand why someone as courageous and good as Yukihira who looks nowhere but forward would stay by her
but when Yukihira enters her cabin with a packet of salmon chips and sardonic jokes - hand trembling just slightly at the mention of a Shokugeki and expulsion and things they have no choice but to do - Erina thinks she understands, maybe, the pain of a child who had to grow up far too quickly and too unseemly for anyone to deem as anything but confidence when really, its pieces of a childhood clutched so tightly in fists they’re cracking - but if you don’t look back, you’ll never have to acknowledge it; and she understands, perhaps, that demons don’t always come in the form of people but can come in the form of memories and scars (like the one he has).
riddled with guilt and soft affection, she covers her face as tears begin to drip, long overdue ‘im sorry’s mixed with broken explanations between her hiccups (she had no right to trample on his pain, his future, his life and she had, was she truly becoming the demon she feared, was nothing she did ever enough; she doesn’t want forgiveness she wants him to just know -), and Yukihira reaches across the table to uncover her face, cradling her hands and says, with a soft smile she still can’t understand, ‘thank you’.
and his words, once more, give her the courage to forgive herself.
(sanzaemon asks souma, ‘save erina’, and souma laughs.
‘i dont need to,’ he says, thinking of the way erina’s hands had shook in megumi’s, voice rattling ‘i wont go back, nothing will make me’, and his smile is painful pride and love.
‘she’s doing a perfectly good job of saving herself’)
So, on my birthday in rf4, I noticed something interesting about the gift Bado gives once he has high friend level with the MC. He says ‘it wouldn’t sell for some reason’ but the item description says it’s sold out in stores.
He’s downplaying a sweet gift he chose quite deliberately by claiming it’s just an extra thing and I just… gah. I love this character. I can’t help it.
Oh and right before this convo he said “ya know, I’m tired of carrying this around so… here, you have it.” And handed me a tempura bowl… his FAVORITE dish. Like, my gods, Bado you’re just so transparent it’s hysterical.