With the summer sun beating down on him, Phichit smiled to himself as he walked back to the apartment, idly swinging a bag of take-out by his side. He’d gotten Yuuri’s favorite from the little hole-in-the-wall restaurant down the street. The two of them definitely ate there more than they should, given their dietary restrictions, but it was hard to pass up cheap and delicious food.
Yuuri usually cooked for the both of them - a god send for poor college students who also happened to be professional athletes with strict nutritional plans - but he had unfortunately been struck down with a nasty fever the day before.
‘Thankfully,’ Phichit thought, ‘ it’s the off season, so Yuuri can rest without worrying about missing vital training. Though, ‘course,’ he sighed, ‘ he’ll worry anyway since he’s going to be missing his usual off season training. That boy….’
He shook his head and huffed in fond exasperation. He’d be making sure that Yuuri actually took care of himself and rested. Missing a little training because of sickness wasn’t going to kill the stubborn fool. (Yuuri just acted like it would.)
Phichit squinted up at the apartment building as he slowly drew closer. He hoped that Yuuri was still asleep, even though it was nearing noon. Yuuri desperately needed the sleep in Phichit’s extremely expert opinion (though Yuuri would disagree, which was the greatest bull Phichit had ever heard; he practically had a PhD in the science of ‘Taking Care of Yuuri Katsuki’), but Yuuri was probably awake already.
Their AC had broken last week - another unfortunate turn of luck, especially since it was an unusually hot summer for Detroit - and it hadn’t been fixed yet, so it was stiflingly hot and humid in their apartment. It’d be nearly impossible to sleep in that sort of misery. Plus, even though Yuuri wasn’t exactly a morning person, he was very dedicated to his training, including waking up on time at the ass crack of dawn in the mornings. Phichit just hoped that Yuuri hadn’t tried to go out for a run or something equally stupid to keep training, or else to escape from the heat.
A blast of cold air hit Phichit when he opened the doors to the building, and he sighed in relief. At least the rest of the building had working AC. He was sure that he’d experienced worse summers back in Thailand, but living in Detroit had acclimatized him to the cold more than heat.
He waved and smiled at the receptionist as he made his way to the elevators. One of the elevators opened immediately when he pushed the button to go up, and he entered and punched in his floor level.
‘Figures that no one with good common sense would go out in this infernal heat. ‘Cept for me, ‘parently. Could’ve sworn I had some good common sense just last week. Must’ve misplaced it somewhere….’
Phichit made a face at himself in the reflective walls of the empty elevator, and pulled at the sweat-soaked neckline of his shirt. His clothes were sticking to him in some very uncomfortable places.
‘Oh, lordy lord, it’s hot. Is this still Detroit, Michigan, or is it Satan’s ass crack? ‘Cause it certainly feels like Satan’s ass crack right now,’ Phichit mused.
As Phichit strode down the hallway of his floor, it was completely devoid of life, as expected. Everyone was taking refuge in the safety of their air conditioned apartments.
The sight of his door was a welcome relief even though he knew the AC was broken, and he sped up. It immediately gave way under his sweaty palms. It hadn’t been locked.
‘Huh, that’s weird. Could’ve sworn that I locked it ‘hind me on my way out,’ Phichit frowned. ‘ Oh well, we live in a pretty safe part of Detroit. And it’s not like…. Anyway, should be fine,’ he shrugged and nudged the door open.
‘Phew, it’s hot in here. Yeurk.’
“Hey, Yuuri,” he murmured, “you awake? Got take-out from your favorite place. You know? The one down the street?”
The only response he got was a stifling, still silence. Everything in the apartment was strangely muffled. Phichit frowned again. Something (besides the broken AC) just didn’t feel right.
‘But ,’ he sighed, ‘ Yuuri’s probably still sleeping for once - or rather, he better be….’
Phichit wandered further into the apartment after absently toeing his shoes off at the doorway. He gently set down the take-out bag on the kitchen table.
“Yuuri, my smol sunshine son,” Phichit crooned as he shuffled toward their shared bedroom. “I have food for you. I know you probably don’t feel up to it, but you need to eat.”
When he saw the rumpled sheets of Yuuri’s bed devoid of a certain roommate of his, Phichit pursed his lips against their traitorous twitch of exasperated laughter.
‘Darn it, ’m supposed to be mad. Be mad, Chulanont. Be strong! Don’t let him get away with this blatant foolishness. I swear, this boy…. Not a lick of common sense….’
He sucked in a deep breath and yelled, “Yuuri, get your cute butt back to bed if you’re hiding somewhere! You’re supposed to be resting! And I swear to all that is holy that if you’ve gone on a run or to try to do any other type of training, I will unleash all my epic four ounces of whoop ass on you!”
Phichit cocked his head and listened to his words echo back to him from the still walls of the apartment. Grumbling to himself about stubborn, idiotic roommates, he called Yuuri and jumped when something started buzzing loudly. Whirling around with his heart in his throat and phone cradled to his chest, Phichit laughed when he realized it was just Yuuri’s phone on the floor.
‘Geez, jumpy much Chulanont? Way to go, scared by a freaking phone….’
His laughter cut off, however, when he realized how uncharacteristic this was of Yuuri. Yuuri was practically surgically attached to his phone, just like Phichit, which was one of the reasons they had become friends in the first place. He was also always meticulous and careful with his belongings. Yuuri wouldn’t just leave his phone on the floor like that.
The first creepings of dark unease preyed on the edges of his thoughts. ‘ What if,’ they whispered, ‘ you’ve seen the news -’
Phichit shook them off and picked Yuuri’s phone up off the ground to set it on his nightstand.
“He must’ve just knocked it off his bed or something when he was leaving, and then forgot to take it with him. No need to get paranoid, Chulanont,” Phichit reasoned with himself, but he couldn’t stop the stirring of panicked worry from fluttering in his chest.
Phichit paced out of Yuuri’s room to put the take-out on the table into the fridge before taking a seat at the kitchen table. He fiddled nervously with his phone for a moment and debated between waiting for Yuuri to come back or going out to look for him.
Sighing against the tight knot of his throat, Phichit abruptly stood up again, knocking the chair back with a harsh screech, and he went to put his shoes back on. He didn’t want to just wait around for Yuuri.
He saw the shoe rack, and a tidal wave of panic and worry surged inside his chest. For a moment, the world seemed to tilt on its axis, and Phichit stumbled into the wall.
Because Yuuri’s shoes were still there.
Briefly, Phichit couldn’t help himself. An image of Yuuri wandering around barefoot - or in socks - flashed through his mind. But no, Yuuri would never do something like that….
Which meant - but it couldn’t be -
Phichit decided to comb through the apartment for Yuuri, even though he knew - he knew - it was illogical, and Yuuri wouldn’t be there, tucked under his bed or anything as absurd as that. But the only other option was that Yuuri was missing , and no , just no, it couldn’t be, please -
He scrambled back to the bedroom, desperate, tremulous hope lifting his heart like a swelling balloon. He hoped to a god that he didn’t believe in, he prayed, ‘ Just - please, please, god, please.’
Phichit’s eyes alighted upon Yuuri’s floating bookshelf, and the balloon of desperate hope in his chest ruptured, heart plummeting to his feet. The panic and worry that had been throbbing with the beat of his heart gripped him like a riptide and pulled him under.
God, he couldn’t breathe. Phichit was drowning, and he just couldn’t breathe.
A tiny part of Phichit’s brain registered that he needed to calm down before he had a full-blown panic attack. Another small part wondered how he hadn’t noticed this when he first came into the bedroom.
The rest was a panicked, shrieking mess.
‘Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, ohmygod -’
Sobbing in pain, he hunched over as his lungs rebelled and seemed to collapse on themselves. Time rushed by in a blur of panic and pain, and the panic attack slowly passed.
Phichit came back to himself, collapsed on his ass in the middle of the hallway and gasping like he’d just run a marathon. He didn’t know how long it’d been, how much time had passed. It felt like it had been an eternity. He wildly groped around for his phone and dialed with trembling hands.
Chapter 2: AUTHOR'S NOTE - REWRITE
Hi! So. I'm not dead. Just very lazy. Writing is hard. You know how it is.
Like it says in the new summary, I haven't abandoned this fic. I'm just trying to find the motivation to rewrite this. The rewritten version
if I ever actually fucking get around to it will either be posted as a separate story, with this one deleted, or it will replace all chapters in this current story.