Yu’s eyes shot open, the familiar chimes echoing throughout the Dojima Residence. He blinked a few times, hazily trying to pull himself into reality from his slumber.
Was that the doorbell? He thought, puzzled as he sat up on his bed and looked around, shivering slightly from the mid-October cold. It was nearly pitch black in Yu’s room, his surroundings only being illuminated by the light of the moon shining through his curtains. It was still dark outside; why did the doorbell ring? Who could be at the door at this time of night? Did he just imagine it?
Yu’s mind was still fuzzy as he tried to comprehend whether someone was actually at the door in the dead of night or not. His concentration was interrupted by a high-pitched voice coming from the outside Yu’s room, followed by the sound of light footsteps rushing down the hallway.
“Oh, Dad must be home!”
Yu recognized Nanako’s voice instantly. Maybe Dojima got locked out… I guess I didn’t imagine it. Somewhat relieved that he wasn’t going crazy, Yu laid back down and pulled the covers back over his head. He shut his eyes, trying to fall back asleep.
But, his brain wouldn’t let him, still put off by the disturbance. Something felt off… seriously off...
After a few split seconds, Yu figured out what exactly was wrong. He remembered a specific detail his friends all had shared after being rescued from the TV...
“I think… the doorbell rang at the entrance… and someone called for me…” Yukiko recalled, though her memories prior to her kidnapping were still hazy.
“I was gonna sleep it off in my room… Wait, I think someone came…” Kanji had said with uncertainty.
“First, I heard the doorbell ring…” Naoto had recollected clearly.
Yu suddenly shot up, tearing the covers off his body. Yukiko, Kanji, Naoto… The killer had come to their houses and rang the doorbell before kidnapping them…
Anxiety flared in Yu’s chest. Had the culprit come for him, knowing Yu was the one rescuing all of his victims? Or, did he come for…
“Nanako!” Yu cried out, fear for his younger cousin igniting in his mind. He sprang out of bed and stumbled across his room, squinting hard to see where he was going through the darkness. He flung open his bedroom door and hurried down the stairs, bursting into the living room to see Nanako by the front door, about to open it.
Nanako stopped, turning her attention to Yu, startled slightly by his sudden appearance. “Big Bro? Is something wrong?” She asked upon noticing the frightened look on Yu’s face.
“Don’t open the door!” Yu blurted out suddenly.
Nanako tilted her head in confusion. “Huh? But...why?”
Yu paused. What the hell was he supposed to say? ‘Hey Nanako, there might be a serial murdered behind that door, so don’t open it.’ That’d just terrify her! “I…” He started, his voice wavering despite his efforts to nerves under control.
Nanako looked at Yu expectantly for an answer. He cleared his throat, trying to regain his composure. “You… should go back to sleep. It’s too late for you to be up.”
“But Dad might’ve gotten locked out!” Nanako exclaimed. “We can’t just leave him out there, right?”
“Here, I-I’ll get the door, you go back to bed,” Yu said, desperately wanting Nanako to just go back to her room and away from danger.
“Nanako.” Yu interrupted sternly. “Go back to bed.”
Nanako was taken aback by Yu’s tone. He had never spoken to her like that. Yu felt a pang of guilt as Nanako’s face softened into a somber expression. It killed him inside to be so harsh on his cousin, but he knew it had to be done. He didn’t know what he’d do with himself if the killer got his hands on her.
“Okay…” Nanako whined sadly, pushing past Yu and heading up the stairs to her room.
Though he felt awful seeing Nanako so pained, Yu let out a sigh of relief. He’d take Nanako to Junes tomorrow to apologize, but for now, she was safe. That’s all that mattered.
Yu slowly approached the door. Was he really about to open the door for a serial killer? There was still the chance that it actually was Dojima, but it wasn’t like him to just forget his keys or lose them. Yu considered simply turning his back and going back to bed, but would the killer really stop at no one answering the door? Surely if he came here with the intent to kidnap someone, he’d probably just pick the door’s lock, or sneak in through the back of the house. It would be easier to just face him here- and possibly even be able to take him down and put an end to this case once and for all.
Yu put his hand on the door handle. Fear and unease ate at his mind, but he pushed it aside, forcing himself to be brave. He wasn’t going to back down- especially not after how far they’d come to catch this guy. He slowly turned the knob, pulling on it slightly…
Not even seconds after opening the door, Yu was attacked from the front, given little time to react. Before he could push his attacker off him and fight back, he felt someone wrap their arms around him.
“Huh?!” Yu looked down to see that someone was hugging him tightly. He saw a mass of unkempt, fawn-colored hair.
“Yosuke…?” He breathed out.
Yu’s partner pulled away from the hug, but kept his hands on Yu’s shoulders. “I-I’m s-so glad you’re okay!” Yosuke sniffed. His eyes were red, and tears were streaming down his face.
Yu was stunned by such an unexpected sight. “My God, Yosuke, are you crying?” Yu asked with concern. He’d only seen his boyfriend cry once before- and even then it was Yu who had hugged Yosuke in support, not the other way around. “What the hell happened?”
“I-I…Y-You...” Yosuke gasped through his sobs, holding his hands up to his face to try to clear the tears, but to no avail. They kept on flowing, as if a dam in Yosuke’s eyes had been broken down.
Yu pulled Yosuke back into their embrace, wrapping his arms around the sobbing brunette. “Hey, hey… it’s okay, I’m here… you’re okay now, I’ve got ya.” Yu cooed soothingly as he stroked his fingers over Yosuke’s hair. He had no idea what had him in such distress, but nevertheless, Yu did his best to get his partner to calm down.
For a few minutes, all that could be heard was Yosuke’s cries. Yu continued to hold on to him as they slowly died down into soft sniffles. “Wanna tell me what this is all about?” Yu asked gently. He didn’t want to pry if it was something personal, but if it was something bad enough to leave Yosuke blubbering like a child, Yu wanted to help him get through it as much as he could.
“I…” Yosuke’s soft voice was hoarse from crying. “I had... a nightmare…”
“A nightmare?” Yu repeated, somewhat surprised. Yosuke never seemed like the type to get upset over just a bad dream. “What was it about?”
“T-They…” Yosuke shut his eyes, even more tears spilling out as he shoved his face closer to Yu’s chest. “T-They… f-found you…” Yosuke hiccuped, his voice almost incomprehensible as he continued to sob.
“They… found me? Yosuke, I’m afraid don’t follow.”
“THEY FOUND YOU TIED UP ON A TELEPHONE POLE, DAMMIT!” Yosuke wailed, now crying even harder than he had before.
“Oh…” Yu breathed out, at a loss for words. “That’s… awful.” was all he managed to say.
“ It was horrible! ” Yosuke bawled, his tears leaving dark stains on the white fabric of Yu’s shirt. “I-I tried to tell myself it was j-just a dream… but the image seemed so real ! I couldn’t unsee your body… strung upside-down on a telephone pole, j-just like…”
Yosuke trailed off into a sob, and Yu knew he was thinking about his late senpai, Saki Konishi. “I couldn’t help but worry that something had happened to you…” Yosuke continued. “So I snuck out and ran over here as fast as I could. I needed to make sure that you were okay.”
“I’m sorry that happened,” Yu said weakly, searching desperately for the right words to comfort his boyfriend. He couldn’t begin to imagine what Yosuke was feeling right now. After what happened to Saki, the thought of losing another loved one in the same horrible way no doubt caused him a lot of anguish. “I... don’t know what to say.”
Yosuke hugged Yu tighter. “You... don’t have to say anything, partner.” He whispered, tears still flowing down his face. “Just seeing you alive… being in your arms… that’s all I need right now.”
Yu nodded in understanding, planting a kiss on Yosuke’s forehead. The two stood in silence, simply embracing each others warmth.
“Partner…?” Yosuke spoke suddenly, tilting his head up to look Yu straight in the eyes.
“Will you… will you promise not to leave me?” Yosuke pleaded, his hazel eyes full of pain and grief. “Will you promise not to die…?”
Yu hesitated for a few seconds, then blurted out an answer without thinking. “Yes, I promise.” Though he spoke with sincerity, Yu knew he couldn’t keep a promise like that. He wasn’t stupid. There were so many ways that he could die that were out of his control. Car accidents, natural disasters, serial murders… There was no way to guarantee that Yu’s promise would be kept.
But he was sure as hell going to try keeping it... for Yosuke’s sake.
Yu lifted his hand to Yosuke’s face, wiping away his tears. “I promise not to leave you.”
Yosuke wasn’t stupid either. He knew the possibility of death was always looming over their heads, especially since they faced near-death experiences in the TV World almost daily. Yet, hearing Yu promise to stay with him caused a calming warmth to spread throughout his body. He gave a weak smile, staring into Yu’s gray eyes. “I love you, partner.”
“I love you too, Yosuke.” Yu whispered, leaning in for a tender kiss. As his lips connected with Yu’s, Yosuke could feel the heated passion melting away all of his worries. In that instant, nothing else mattered, as if Yu and Yosuke were the only two people in the world.
After the moment was over, the two squeezed each other once more before pulling away from their embrace.
“Thanks for being there for me. I’m sorry for all this…” Yosuke said somberly, averting his gaze to the floor. “Y’know, for showing up to your house at midnight like this… I probably woke you up, didn’t I?”
“Don’t apologize,” Yu said simply with a comforting smile. “I’m glad you came to me about this.”
Yosuke grinned, though he still looked apologetic. “Still, I should get going. I don’t wanna be a pain in the ass and intrude further.”
Yu shook his head. “You’re not intruding at all. In fact,” Yu assured, coming up with an idea. “Why don’t you stay the night? We can chill on the couch and watch TV or something.”
“Huh? A-Are you sure? But, my parents’ll kill me…” Yosuke stammered, and though he wanted nothing more than to stay by Yu’s side until the sun came up, he didn’t want to annoy him by overstaying his welcome.
“You can head home just before it gets light outside, they’ll never know you were gone.” Yu grabbed Yosuke’s hand, slowly rubbing the back of it with his thumb. “Come on, it’ll help get your mind off everything.”
“Alright, if you insist.” Yosuke laughed, all thoughts of his nightmare gone from his mind.
To Yu’s dismay, most of the late-night channels on TV were airing news broadcasts and talk shows discussing the April murders. That’s the last thing he needs to think of right now… Yu thought bitterly, quickly flipping through the channels to find something that wouldn’t end up making Yosuke even more upset than he already was.
He stopped at one of the channels that he often found Nanako watching when he came home from school. On the screen was a small girl in a cutesy detective uniform, with pink pigtails and a dog magnifying glass in her hand. Yu recognized the show as Loveline, as Nanako would often time dress up as the show’s main character. Yu decided to keep the show on since it didn’t seem like there was much else on that didn’t have to do with the incidents. And though Yosuke complained that Loveline was just some dumb kids show, Yu could faintly hear him humming the catchy theme song under his breath whenever it came on. Yu found this fact strangely amusing and absolutely adorable.
It didn’t take long for Yosuke to fall asleep after the two settled in on the couch. The sound of Yu’s heartbeat as he laid his head against his chest soothed Yosuke to sleep faster than any lullaby ever could. Yu remained awake, watching over Yosuke as he slept while aimlessly playing with his hair. Yosuke’s face was soft and relaxed and his breaths were deep and steady, and in that moment, he looked like the very image of pure tranquility. Seeing his boyfriend at such peace caused a flood of love filled Yu’s heart, leaving him to wonder how the hell he got so lucky.