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Things Can Only Get Better

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You took a deep breath, trying to relax your stiffened limbs from sitting ramrod straight on the school bus. You hoped to God he didn’t see you, not yet. You hadn’t thought of a good excuse as to why you were here. Why you transferred High Schools for your Junior year from one of the most elite High schools' of the country, Sanguinem, to... well, here. But the more stops the bus made - the more kids bustling on that weren’t Yuu - the more you relaxed. Maybe he doesn’t get the bus in? You rolled your eyes at yourself, you know Yuu better than that.

“He’s not coming.”

You muttered to yourself. Or he’s not coming on time at least, but that’s still not great. You sighed as the report of Yuuichirou Amane being arrested for assaulting a Police Officer. You found you were rubbing your temples with your fingertips at the memory. Even though you knew exactly why he was acting up. You winced as a flash of blue eyes came to mind before you exhaled a sharp breath to shake the feeling of unease. You didn’t feel comfortable interrupting the swarm of students tripping over each other to get out the bus and so you sat and waited. Why could they possibly want to get off of the bus so quickly? People don’t like school that much. You dusted your long, warm brown skirt down as you rose from your seat, re-adjusting your lilac cardigan and grabbed your bag.

You thanked the bus driver as you hopped off of the last step and onto the school grounds and the driver offered raised brows with a stuttered ‘sure’, not being accustomed to ever receiving a thank you from the students they drove. You allowed another deep breath as you took in your surroundings, the school was much larger than the one you’d come from. Cars whizzed by with loud rock music booming from the seems of the windows and if you didn’t watch yourself you could have been taken out by that skater kid that shot passed.

“Watch it!”

The guy turned to bark before flying off again – all you’d registered was an agitated face with follicles and bright pink hair. You held yourself as a group of girls walked passed as if you weren’t there, nearly knocking into you. You huffed impatiently at the lack of manners before overhearing their conversation,

“… Oh my God! It’s him

“Ugh can’t he just notice me already!”

“I know, right?”

The girls giggled to each other as they’d stopped in their tracks a few feet away. Out of curiosity you followed their gaze to see some guy get out of a bright red car, an arrogant aura clearly surrounded him as he finished a drag of his cigarette before flicking it away carelessly. Upon first look, if you didn’t know any better you would have thought it was Yuu, but he was too tall. Despite his apparent attitude, you understood why these girls were fawning over him: He had a tall, lean and muscular frame with messy raven locks that were pushed back by black sunglasses. He was clad in a white sleeveless t-shirt and a sleeveless denim jacket that was dark blue, a red flannel shirt hugged his waist at his black boyfriend-cut jeans with tears in and he stomped on the cigarette stub on the concrete with black doc martens. He screamed sex appeal. You rolled your eyes as you swept passed the girls to go inside.

Others got out the car and Shinya asked from the driver’s side,

“Isn’t that supposed to be Yuu’s friend?”

As he leant on the roof of the car to address Guren, but he wasn’t paying attention. He followed Shinya’s gaze to where he could see your back walking towards the building in your sweet clothing and neat (h/c) hair. He shrugged as he fiddled with his ear spike on his left ear,

“How am I supposed to know?”

He rebuffed with a chuckle before their group made their way to their first class. You couldn’t help but scan the hallways to see if Yuu was anywhere to be seen, but there was no sign of his messy black mop of hair. You sighed, you’d been so worried about him since -

“Hi there, you must be (Y/N) (L/N)?”

You huffed as you jumped before turning to source the voice. It was a preppy blonde girl with great blue orbs for eyes, in high waisted, bright blue slacks that held an oversized pink top in place with a white belt, her shining blonde hair in voluminous neat waves.

“My name is Mitsuba, I’m your class president and will be giving you a tour during our first class.”

You sighed, allowing a smile whilst offering your hand back to her extended one to shake,

“Hi, yea, I’m (Y/N). Nice to meet you.”

So, Mitsuba was a Junior like you, Class president, president of the debate club and head of the prom committee. The poster girl for good, but she was surprisingly comforting to be around and not as stuck up as she initially appeared. She showed you the cafeteria, the buildings you needed to know for your subjects, counselling, the library, the gymnasium all whilst offering you flyers for the various clubs and activities you could join.

“… Down there is the Drama studio where they obviously do Drama club as well as lessons – the music hall’s here…”

Pointing out the many different classrooms that you may not remember due to just how many there were, but you appreciated her efforts nonetheless. All in under the hour too, you raised your brows, impressed. You were being shown the football field and you sat on the bleachers together to discuss any questions. The sun was surprisingly warm as it crawled to 10am, you allowed the warm sensation soak into your skin, removing your cardigan to free your arms.

“Thank you for showing me around, by the way.”

You stated sincerely and she smiled brightly,

“Of course! If you need anything, you know where the student council is! Our office hours for drop ins are between 4-5pm on a Wednesday and – HEY!”

You jolted at her sudden change in tone and shielded your eyes with your hand from the sun in order to see why she’d pounced to the other side of the football field. She was yelling at some burn outs who were smoking on school grounds during class. Unthinkingly your legs carried you to follow her across the dewy grass and as you were about ten feet away from peering beneath the bleachers in between the steel steps, your furrowed brows shot up as you saw who one of the ‘burn outs’ was.

“Yuu?”

Your voice an agitated whimper as you’d manoeuvred under the bleachers. His spring green eyes widened with a start at the sight of you. Ignoring his prior lazy stance, he took a measured step towards you,

“(Y/N)?”

His voice almost broke with his whisper. Whilst Mitsuba initially didn’t take too kindly to being ignored, she sensed a sadness to the obvious history shared between you both. She shifted her gaze a moment before clearing her throat in the hopes of easing some tension.

“Well if Little Miss President hasn’t killed the buzz, this vibe’s sure gonna do it.”

A tall blonde crossed his arms clad in oxford blue denim with a flick of his mullet. A cloud of smoke drifted your way and you scrunched your nose in disgust, glaring at the mullet before turning your attention back to Yuu, who shifted uncomfortably under your gaze. Mitsuba frowned,

“Shut up, Goshi. You and Ichinose might be seniors but I can still report you if you piss me off.”

Whilst jabbing a finger at the mullet and you internally smirked, you liked her more already. You couldn’t believe you didn’t notice him before, but it was when she’d pointed at them both did you see who must have been Ichinose. That guy from the parking lot that the girls mewed over. He was leaning against the underneath of the bleachers the whole time until now,

“Both of you can it, would ya?”

He commanded with a lazy smile and the two shot him a glare but Goshi rolled his eyes, leaning back against the bleachers, crossing his arms again. Your eyes flit to Yuu who’s great emerald orbs were shining with an almost childlike innocence since having seen you, as he looked on at Mitsuba and Guren.

“Don’t test me, Ichinose - !”

“Calm down, Prez. We’re leaving.”

He spoke in a silky voice as he flit his head towards the school and Goshi followed suite.

“Get to class, kid.”

He told Yuu before glancing at you with his sultry, purple eyes and sweeping towards the school. Mitsuba let out an exhausted sigh as she faced you both again, appearing upset,

“Again, Yuu? Really?”

She’d passed anger. His eyes were glazed over in thought, he must have been really shocked to see you as he normally always had something to say, being the hot head he was. She shook her head before pointing towards the school,

“Come on guys, let’s get to class.”

***

Your class crawled by and you eagerly awaited lunch with the hopes of seeing Yuu. Hopefully under better circumstances, you internally rolled your eyes. Being one year his senior, you wouldn’t be in classes together. It was as you’d expected and worse, then. Not only was he smoking with seniors during first period, but he even looked different too. He always had this stubborn agitation about him but, it looked like he was going all out what with his black, studded leather jacket and torn jeans and smoking? You sighed for the fiftieth time this hour, this is going to be harder than you thought.

“Where did he even get a jacket like that? Jeesh.”

You muttered to yourself unintentionally and earned some curious frowns before a tint of rouge dusted your cheeks. Great. From thinking of Yuu, you couldn’t help but ponder on Mika. You grimaced. Thinking of Mika hurt more than thinking about Yuu. How you all grew up together in the orphanage. You three with Akane were inseparable. The nostalgic thought allowed a smile to grace your lips, but it dimmed when you thought of how Akane had passed away. You sighed a hefty sigh, holding your face in your hands a moment. I hate cancer. At least it’s been long enough now that thinking of Akane only left a dull ache in it’s wake instead of the pang of despair felt when Mika’s beautiful blue eyes and soft blonde locks graced your thoughts.

As you’d wandered to the cafeteria, you’d seen those very same eyes on a poster upon the cork board.

 

MISSING

Have you seen this boy?

Mikaela Shindo, 16, 5ft 8,

Last seen on 22/03/1983 at 21:04 along the…

 

You couldn’t bring yourself to stare at the poster for much longer to see the other details given. You realized you hadn’t really made an effort to make any friends yet and scanned the cafeteria for Mitsuba but couldn’t spot her in the hoard. You rolled your eyes and just decided to eat on a random table alone, not caring that it likely looked ‘weird’ or ‘sad’ to others. You were nibbling on your sandwich quite peacefully, trying not to think about Mika, when you were interrupted by a pair of strong palms being placed on the opposite side of your table. You trailed your gaze up to see an arrogant smirk plastered upon Ichinose’s face, his purple eyes piercing and you found your mouth gaped infinitesimally for a moment before commanding yourself to snap it shut.

“(Y/N), right?”

How does he know my name? His smirk grew as he spoke with velvet tones that usually made girls drool. You broke the intense eye contact with a slightly uneasy laugh,

“Uhm… are you lost?”

Finally meeting his beautiful lavender eyes again. What could he possibly want? And you realized, what if it’s about Yuu? But you had no time to ponder on the thought. He gave you a flirtatious once over before claiming to your (e/c) eyes,

“Lost in your eyes.”

With an almost imperceptible wink that dripped with sex. After a moment of dumb silence, you burst out in a bubbling, uncontrollable laughter. His shoulders shifted slightly along with his brows, only for a moment. He’s never had that reaction before.

“Ok…”

You stifled a snigger to say. You bit down your smile at the situation, unbeknownst to the two of you, girls from all around the cafeteria were glaring daggers. Before you could interrogate him about Yuu, Goshi yelled from behind Guren’s bent frame,

“Hey, Guren! Shinya’s waiting.”

Guren twisted his shoulders to see Goshi flick his head behind him, his palms remained on the table as his gaze returned to you. You offered a bright smile before stating,

“Uhm I actually need to go too, so – uh… see you.”

With an awkward air about it, still trying not to laugh at his line as you gather your things. Guren straightened himself, a fleeting moment of furrowed brows before relaxing into his usual smirk but it didn’t touch his eyes. He was taken aback that you didn’t swoon at his presence like everyone else seemed to. He watched you with a questioning smirk as you attempted to brush past Goshi’s frame that almost took up the entire doorway.

“Weird.”

He commented to himself with a pompous scoff. Looks like getting what he wanted from you was going to take more tact than he usually needed when talking to girls.

***

“So… thanks for meeting me.”

You said to the back of Yuu’s head with an anxious flutter of your heart as you both perched on the steps outside the Arcade. There was a moment of silence where you played with your hands and he fidgeted, before he finally faced you,

“I can’t believe you’re really here.”

He smiled at you brightly, seemingly out of nowhere and you couldn’t help but smile back, finally being re-united with your best friend, your family.

“How long has it been? Two years?”

He emphasised, and you offered a guilt-ridden smile before you ruffled his jet-black locks as you claimed,

“I couldn’t leave you to fend for yourself for too long, now could I?”

He laughed in protest as he tried to swat you away,

God, I forgot how annoying you were.”

He smirked and you bubbled in laughter until his smirk looked too much like Ichinose. You hoped he didn’t spend as much time with that guy as much as you feared. You lightly punched his shoulder with a,

“I’m still not as annoying as you.”

You quipped. He smiled more genuinely and you wanted to return the smile for a moment before you were about to soil the levity.

“Yuu… how regularly to do skip class?”

He sighed, sensing this was coming. His eyes found the concrete steps as he answered,

“I don’t know… a lot.”

You ran a hand through your (h/c) hair as he rolled his skateboard under his foot back and forth idly where the steps met the parking lot.

“Is it because of Ichinose?”

“Wha – Guren?! Pff.”

Yuu’s emerald eyes flared as he snapped his glare to you before scoffing vehemently. You were anxious not to lecture him too harshly, for fear he wouldn’t listen and leave you here with some foul words on his lips.

“If that’s his name… but –“

You articulated carefully but lost the words. But he’s not the reason, just an influence. It suddenly clicked. You took a deep breath before daring to touch the sensitive subject,

“Is this because of Mika?”

He audibly flinched with a wince, but otherwise chose not to answer. Your eyes pricked as you wrapped your arms around his bicep, plonking your head on his shoulder,

“I miss him too.”

You both stayed there a moment, his head hung low as both of your thoughts lead to Mika.

“I just want to know that he’s safe. That’s all I want.”

He tensed under your arms as his voice strained, a pang of sadness shot through you as Mika’s bright smile came to mind along with Yuu’s pain. Suddenly Yuu wrapped his arms around your neck in embrace and you felt a wetness at your neck from his tears,

“I know he’s out there, (Y/N), but the more I look –“

He choked back a small sob, wrapping his arms around you tighter. You ensnared him in a protective embrace as if protecting a child. He managed,

“I just want him back. I’m tired of losing people.”

You held him with an equalled fervour as you cooed,

“I know. Me too.”

You knew for a fact that Yuu never gave up on anything he cared about, especially not family. He would have been the first to opt for the search parties. By this point, over half a year has passed since his disappearance. Most believe Mika ran away. Or worse. People had started to care less and give up on finding him, but Yuu? There must be a reason he hasn’t run away himself just to try to find Mika. Yuu had loosened his grip on you, apologizing for his sudden outburst,

“I haven’t cried for months.”

He’d added with a humorless laugh. You assured him that it’s ok,

“It’s good to cry sometimes.”

You added before holding each other quietly.

Chapter Text

“What’s this? Don’t tell me someone actually wants to date you, Amane?”

You both broke your embrace to see the bored face of a tall, punky pink haired guy with glasses, holding the hand of a young girl with similar features. You wondered where you’d seen this guy before. They stood before your seated position upon the steps to the arcade on what appeared to be an intimate moment romantically, you rolled your eyes at his assumption. The little girl was smiling and dressed in a sweet, white ruffled dress with a matching bow holding lose, rose locks. He however was not smiling. He had studs in his ears as well as studs on a leather wrist band, clad in a casual black bomber jacket and khaki coloured jeans. Yuu stiffened with a glare,

“What are you doing here, Kimizuki?”

Shiho rolled his eyes,

“And they say I’m blind. I’m taking Mirai to the Arcade, dumbass. What’s it look like?”

Your lips tightened not only at his attitude but at the way he spoke in front of the little girl. Luckily, she wasn’t paying attention though, she was dragging her foot across the concrete in an attempt to entertain herself.

“It looks like you’ve been grounded, why else would you bring your sister here.”

Yuu smirked darkly and you frowned. Again, it didn’t look like Yuu but that Ichinose. It was then you’d realized where you’d seen the punky guy, he was that skater who almost knocked straight into you on your first day of joining Shinjuku high school. You were seconds from asserting as such, but Kimizuki had rolled his eyes and stated,

“I don’t have time for this.”

Before waltzing up the steps, guiding little Mirai. Yuu twisted around with a bark,

“Don’t start anything then, Jackass.”

Kimizuki half turned briefly as they reached the doors to the arcade,

“You know if I didn’t have Mirai, your ass would be grass right now.”

“Only losers rhyme in their threats, waistoid.”

Yuu scowled and Kimizuki balled his spare hand into a fist in a moment of rage before jabbing it to Yuu,

“We’ll see who the loser is when I kick your ass at school, Amane.”

Before stalking off through the doors of the arcade, not before offering Yuu a death glare. Yuu rolled his eyes as he turned his body back around away from the arcade. Your lips thinned, yep, this is definitely going to be a challenge, you thought to yourself.

***

You both walked along the sidewalk and reached the records store,

“This is where I work.”

Yuu beamed and you smiled in return, you both loved music. So did Mika. Better yet, Yuu actually had a job now. He held the door for you as you stepped into the store with mild awe. Rows of records lined like bookcases with band posters decorating the stone walls. You loved the edgy feel to the quaint store that was deluged in amber and red hues, it held the punk rock vibe of a basement venue. Dio’s metal track ‘Stand up and shout’ was playing in the background.

“This is great!”

You beamed and he scoffed a laugh, pointing at your attire of another soft cardigan and neat skirt and you rolled your eyes, giving him a shove as you both laughed.

“You’re late, brat.”

A husky voice boomed over the faint metal track in the back ground. Yuu’s smile dropped,

“Am not! I was on time!”

He shot back. Your eyes reflexively rolled as you saw who it was that spoke, as he emerged from behind the back of the store. None other than Guren Ichinose. He was donning a black leather jacket with studs and his raven locks were slicked back, save for a few runaways.

“You were two minutes late.”

Yuu frowned in thought and you found yourself rolling your eyes again as he furthered,

“Now I’m two minutes late for my cigarette break.”

“You can’t smoke in here?”

You asked without thinking, curiosity taking over and he allowed a sly smirk at your doe eyes,

“’Boss doesn’t like it.”

Huh. Weird, but fair enough. In that moment you recognized the jacket Guren was wearing. It’s the one Yuu had worn the other day at school. Guren raised his brows casually,

“Got a problem, Peach?”

Your furrowed brows knit together further as he stuck a cigarette between his lips. Clearly you’d looked displeased enough for him to catch onto your thought process. Apparently, you were unable to form a cohesive sentence as you staggered,

“That jacket –“

Pointing between the two boys, before scowling,

“Wait – Peach? -

“Where d’ya think the idiot got the jacket from?”

Guren interrupted with a scoffed laugh, managing to sound cohesive with a cigarette between his lips. Your jaw dropped in that moment as he’d made his way outside, starting to light his cigarette as he swept passed. Your wide eyes trailed his wake before you huffed with the closing of the store’s front door. Yuu allowed a smile,

“He’s not so bad, once you get to know him.”

“He seems like a pain in the ass.”

You countered as you met Yuu’s gaze, he chuckled,

“Remind you of anyone?”

You quirked a brow,

“I hope you mean yourself.”

You remarked, making you both chuckle. But when you thought about it, you wondered how well Yuu could possibly know Ichinose. Not to mention how naive Yuu’s always been. You somehow just knew that there was this mysterious, dark aura around Ichinose, telling you that he had much to hide. And warning you to run away, even though it’s trying to lure you in.

***

Whilst you were there you were somehow roped into buying Yuu’s new favorite album.

“It’s the best rock music of ’83, I swear it.”

He lilted, fluttering his long lashes as he swayed you into buying ‘Shout at the Devil’ by Mötley Crüe. You liked rock but did you like it as much as Yuu? Unlikely. You laughed,

“What if I don’t like it?”

“You will!”

“But what if I don’t?”

You both laughed harder. You realized the song in the background of the store was now ‘Whip it’ by DEVO, a new wave synth-pop song from a couple of years or so before and you hopped up and down a moment,

“I love this song! This is more me, Yuu.”

You claimed playfully and he shook his head before insisting with a raised brow and a wave of the Mötley Crüe record,

“Ok, I’ll let you listen to my tape of it before, but I’m reserving this record for you.”

 You laughed a cackle,

“You’re so stupid, Yuu.”

As you started to cave, he wore a victorious grin,

“You won’t regret it, I promise.”

“I better not.”

He laughed again before you noticed the time, gathering yourself to leave,

“It’s getting late, I better head. I’ll listen to it another time - see you at school?”

“Sure, cool. See ya.”

He waved with his smile that you were anxious you wouldn’t see. You were curious as to why the store was kept open so late, considering stores usually close by around 7pm latest. You saw Guren leaning against the building as you exited and offered a cursory glance as you walked by, only to be stopped by his words,

“You’re walking home?”

He asked, incredulous as he flicked a cigarette stub away. He thought the bike attached to the lamp post in front of the store was yours. You turned on your heel to face him with a mild, sarcastic scoff,

“Uh… yea?”

He allowed a stupid smile as he raised his brows, peeling himself from the brick wall of the store.

“Alone, at this time? You can’t live nearby.”

He stated confidently, hands in his pockets, and you retorted,

“How do you know where I live, did you stalk me or something?”

You wondered if you went too far, but he just laughed at your attitude. As he flicked his chin to you,

“One look at your clothes and I know you don’t.”

Your cheeks tinged rose at your cardigan and skirt combo and you held your arms a moment. Of course he was right, you didn’t live in Nagoya, you were just outside. He rolled his eyes but sighed, rubbing the back of his neck a moment before offering,

“Look, do you want a ride?”

Your eyes shot up to meet his and you were even more amazed at how his charming, violet eyes were sincere.

“I can get the little welp to watch the shop, I doubt he’d want you walking all that way.”

Your eyes shifted as the dusting of blush covered your cheeks again, causing Guren to tilt his head back with a small laugh,

“You didn’t tell him you were walking, did you?”

“No.”

You drew out petulantly. His smirk was starting to really irritate you now.

“D’you want the ride or not?”

He asked, his patience supposedly thinning and you huffed as you saw the darkening sky beside you, the street dimming with it with the fewer cars. You bit your lip, prompting him,

“Oh come on. No funny business, I swear.”

He spoke with a natural authoritative tone before he laughed, his hands up in a mock surrender. You fought the urge to smirk at his stupidity, giving him a skeptical once over before claiming,

“Fine. I’ll take the ride.”

***

“I thought you were offering me a ride?!”

You snapped, clenching your fists as you faced his stupid fucking smirk.

“I am. Here.”

He said innocently as he gestured to the push bike to his left. You fought the urge to square up to him as you two stood out back. He’d come back with a push bike?

“What are you, twelve?”

You spat only for him to break out into a boyish grin. You rolled your eyes,

“I thought you were driving?!”

You asked, astounded at his nonchalance. He shrugged,

“I never said I was driving.”

“What?!”

“I don’t drive.”

“WHAT?!”

He’d turned on his heel to stalk off,

“'Later!”

He called over his shoulder as he wandered off in the opposite direction to the store.

“So, you got Yuu to watch the shop just so you could slack?!”

You hollered to his back, eyes sending daggers.

“Yup.”

He called without looking back. You growled.

“What about your bike? How are you gonna get home now?”

You asked tersely but he only laughed as he carried on walking, making you even angrier.

“Ichinose? Ichinose! HEY IDIOT!... Dammit.”

You called irritably, only to be ignored until he left, causing you to grumble.

“Jackass.”

You muttered darkly as you mounted the stupid bike to get home.

“’No funny business’ my ass.”

You scoffed as you began to pedal.

 ***

You rode the bike back to school in order to give it back to the idiot Ichinose but quickly realized you didn’t know how to find him. He was a senior so he wasn’t in your classes, unless I find him somehow at lunch? I could ask Yuu? Ugh, I really don’t like the idea of Yuu being around that guy, he’s so shady. You grumbled to yourself, chaining the bike to the bike stands outside the school in a huff, just hoping you’d bump into him to tell him you have his bike. Although, knowing your luck, you knew you'd see him again.

***

“You’ll be transferring to the senior class for (F/S), and for (R/S) as well, due to your abilities simply excelling expectation, Miss (L/N).”

Mr. F. Bathory beamed in his weirdly over-excited manor, silver hair slicked behind him in a ponytail, hands intertwined in front of his chest, a lazy smirk that sent uncomfortable shivers down your spine. Looks like I could see Guren sooner than I hoped, you thought with a disappointed sigh. Mr. Bathory took you to your new (R/S) class and low and behold, Idiot Ichinose was actually there even in a class. He had an infamous reputation to skip nowadays supposedly. However, when you entered the classroom you’d cringed for an entirely different reason - It was chaos. The teacher wasn’t there for whatever reason, and there were tables on their sides, papers strewn along with random books and pencils littering the floor. Some guy with seaweed coloured hair in a red letterman jacket was being held back as he laughed a guttural chuckle, Ichinose being held back by Goshi and an ash blonde you didn’t know but recognized as their friend.

“Now, now, what’s this ruckus for? Hmm?”

Mr. Bathory asked from the door frame with a voice of honey coated ice-shards. They all dropped their hold on the two, Ichinose broke free with an abrupt jutt of his shoulders, whilst the other seemed in pretty bad shape… you could hardly make out his features they were so swollen and blood congealed. Guren’s ear was bleeding but the other guy had an eye already swelling shut. Despite this, he was smiling malevolently. It was almost creepy. Maybe he’s some kind of freak masochist, you scrunched your nose. In any case, it was abundantly clear that he’d wanted a rise out of Guren. And he got one. The ash blonde stepped forward and dipped his head,

“I apologize for the mess, Mr. Bathory. We will clean it immediately.”

You couldn’t help but raise a brow at how polite he is, being affiliated with Ichinose and Goshi.

“Whilst I appreciate your efforts, Shinya, that’s not what I asked.”

That same voice was back, threatening and he offered a small smile that didn’t touch his blazing eyes. When all were reluctant to answer, Ferid warned,

“My patience is wearing thin.”

“The psycho attacked me.”

The pummelled masochist stated with that same eerie smile.

“What?!”

Guren bellowed, almost lunging for him again if it weren’t for Goshi blocking him. You cringed, why is he still winding Guren up?  Better yet, what could he have possibly said to get Ichinose so angry? Ferid started tutting,

“Uh-uh, stop that. I’ll offer one last chance for you to explain yourselves for making such a scene before your teacher’s arrival – in fact, I’m surprised no one reported their absence, as they should have arrived by now. And you all know the drill.”

A unanimous sigh filled the room before Goshi stepped forward and admitted,

“It got out of hand when these two started trash talking, stuff like family and…”

Goshi winced with a side glance before meeting Ferid’s piercing gaze.

“And Mahiru.”

Ferid’s brows raised and he shifted his gaze for a split second before recomposing,

“I see.”

A heavy silence fell as you observed those in the room, most either solemn or exhausted. Or they were that guy who fought Ichinose. Either way, it was clear that whoever Mahiru was, it was a sore topic for all of them. The thought made a wave of compassion wash over you and you dared not ask why. Ferid measured the silence for an excruciating moment before announcing.

“I want this cleaned up. Now. You –“

He pointed at one of the guys holding back the masochist in the letterman.

“Take Hiiragi to the infirmary.”

He ordered and it was done. They brushed passed, this Hiiragi slumped over the shoulders of his escort, blood narrowly missed spluttering over you as they clambered passed and you fought your gag reflex.

“Ichinose. My office.”

Guren was still out of breath and his lavender eyes had still somehow darkened when meeting Ferid’s gaze. Mr. Bathory offered one last glance at the room before adding,

“I look forward to seeing you all this Saturday, in detention.”

A collective groan emanated from them all, which their sudden winces that followed indicated they instantly regretted the outburst. Mr. Bathory slowly turned to the class with a cocked brow,

“For that, add another Saturday. All of you.”

“What?! –“

“No way! –“

“I have plans! –“

A chorus of complaints ensued before his gaze darkened,

“Want there to be a third Saturday?”

With that threateningly silky voice. You’d realized you’d been biting your lip, having felt a small pang of sympathy for the class, after all they weren’t all involved in the fight. You tried,

“Sir? With all due respect, not everyone was involved. I think that’s why they’re upset.”

He seemed to consider your attempt at diplomacy for a second, only to smile cunningly whilst bending to your height to level with your gaze,

“Well you can ponder on that when you join them this Saturday.”

Your jaw dropped -  WHAT?! I got a Saturday detention for that?! You’ve never had a Saturday detention in your life. He smiled at your racing thoughts before rising to watch the class and caught the glares of many before stating to you,

“Welcome to the senior class, Miss (L/N).”

Before he swept out of the dilapidated class. You found yourself watching Ichinose as he swept up his denim sleeveless jacket before glancing at you and leaving the rest of you to clean up his and Hiiragi’s mess.

“AFTER that classroom is clean, Ichinose.”

You heard Mr. Bathory’s command from in the halls and recoiled as it was shortly followed by a hissed string of cusses from Ichinose upon his agitated return.

“I never thought you’d actually listen.”

Shinya teased Ichinose which flabbergasted you, he was clearly not in the mood for banter. Guren gave him a murderous glance but otherwise ignored him. Goshi laughed,

“It’s only ‘cause it’s Ferid fucking Bathory. That dude is evil with punishments I’m telling you, we got off easy as.”

After a dumb moment of watching Ichinose picking up a desk to place it, you shook yourself out of it to help them.

 

Chapter Text

“Sorry this isn’t the best introduction to this class, (L/N).”

The one that Bathory had called Shinya had said to you, as he helped you with a desk, with a light smile. He was in a white polo with a green stripe through the middle and the same lime green in slacks, a yellow jumper neatly knotted from over his shoulders. He seemed too preppy to be friends with Guren and Goshi but you considered that maybe it just wasn’t as cliquey here as you thought it would be. Your old school, Sanguinem certainly was. You returned his pleasant smile and answered,

“It’s fine, really.”

“What are you doing here anyway? I thought you were a junior?”

Goshi asked as he was picking up the strewn papers and books and you answered almost reluctantly,

“Uhm well in this class and another I got – I got moved.”

Few glances and glares were shot your way with mutterings you chose to ignore. You offered Goshi a thin-lipped smile before moving to another desk. This time it was Idiot Ichinose who decided to help you out of the blue –

“Does it look like I can’t lift a desk on my own or something?”

You unthinkingly huffed to which he smirked and abruptly let go, causing you to sway some in a struggle before regaining composure with a glare shot his way. How could he still be smiling? When he has a bloody ear alongside two detentions, and to follow, what you’re certain will be a deal with the devil – also known as Ferid Bathory. You moved the desk yourself with a slightly strained effort but there was no way you were going to let that on. Guren watched you with a playful, impish smirk dancing on his features all the while, stifling a laugh at your struggle and your pride.

“Is Guren actually smiling?”

Shinya asked Goshi with what appeared to be light curiosity. Goshi shrugged,

“He always looks like that.”

Before helping others. Shinya frowned infinitesimally, he knew Guren better than that. He was also far more perceptive than most. Shinya allowed a smile, maybe – just maybe, Guren might be surfacing from his darkness that’s been drowning him since spring. 

“It just had to be Bathory to see this fight, God.”

The other guy that held back Hiiragi had complained, only for him to look at you,

“He just had to be the one to bring you! Couldn’t you find this classroom by yourself?”

He waved his arm at you. Shinya took a step forward to interject, only for you to snap back at the random dude,

“Hey, I’ve never been to this building before – if you’re thinking about the blame game he wouldn’t have punished you if you’d stopped them sooner and actually reported the teacher’s absence, think about that before pointing the finger. Where is the teacher that’s supposed to take this class?”

You trailed off, running a hand through your (h/c) hair in exasperation as you glanced around. Only to see the class glaring at you. Oh Jesus, what now? A brunette with an oversized yellow sweater that lipped over a short, pleated white skirt had said softly,

“Can we not fight anymore please, guys?”

“It’s fine, Sayuri.”

Guren had stated curtly from leaning against a desk with his arms crossed, watching the show it seems.

“Obviously not, Guren.”

A red head stepped forward and countered with an eyeroll towards Ichinose. She offered you a half-hearted smile as she gripped Sayuri’s wrist to finish what they’d started the other side of the near dilapidated room. She was in light denim boyfriend cut jeans and a bright orange T-shirt tucked into her jeans against her flaming red hair. Guren allowed a chuckle from where he was lazing on the desk. Your disapproving glare was on him,

“Are you just gonna sit there?”

You asked, only he cocked his head with a sultry smile,

“Wanna join me, Peach? I’ll make it real cosy.”

He added a sexy wink. You scoffed, having to fight your gag reflex once again.

“Come on, Guren.”

Goshi drawled half-heartedly as he smiled after. You raised your voice,

“Get off your ass, this is half your fault.”

He chuckled a husky laugh at you but nevertheless, rose to help out again. You were just trying to manoeuvre one of the last desks as you claimed –

“We need to get a mop and bucket from the janitors or something, there’s blood on the floor –“

“What in the hell happened in here?”

A bemused voice sounded from the doorway and you internally face palmed. The teacher’s finally here at least. You could tell as the voice still somehow held an eerie authority. You turned to cock your head in surprise, the teacher was quite young, and fit you'd assumed he'd be a PE teacher. He had bright red, scruffy hair and an undone smart shirt over slacks. His expression was mild and yet somehow the class still shrivelled as he claimed nonchalantly,

"Now I see why Ferid always hates me being late."

***

It was lunch when your eyes couldn’t help but glue to another missing person’s poster of Mika, sending your heart into a frenzy of uncomfortable flips. You stopped in your tracks, breathing uneven as your fingers subconsciously reached out to touch his cheek in the photo. He’s getting handsome, you thought with a tear-stained smile. He always did seem to obtain an angelic beauty. His beautiful smile stabbed your heart and your doe eyes watered.

His sweet laughter rang in your mind as you remembered a time when you were but twelve, at 'the secret lake' as you'd call it with Yuu, Akane and Mika. Yuu and Akane were skipping rocks under the beating sun, ankle deep in the water as you watched with beaming smiles from the edge of the lake. Mika moved to lean back and accidentally placed his hand over yours. His hand was softer than you'd imagined. He gaped at you with a light blush dusting his cheeks before retracting his hand as if it had burnt to touch you. You both offered awkward chuckles as you tucked a stray lock of hair behind your ear. The smell of verbena in the warm breeze.

"Sorry!"

He giggled sweetly, scratching his head of beautiful blonde locks and you smiled,

"Don't be."

It was nice, you'd wanted to say. You watched the glittering water ripple around the skipped rocks and listened to the bubbling laughter of Yuu and Akane in their competition,

"No way can you skip farther -"

"Uh-huh! I'll prove it!"

And you burst into laughter as Yuu's face dropped, Akane had proved she could skip the rock farther than he had.

"Hold on a second, I can do better - watch!"

As he crouched in a serious stance.

"Oh dear."

Mika uttered to you in a teasing tone, making you chuckle, to which he reciprocated before he smiled to you lazily.

Being ripped from your memories, you sharply inhaled when your fingertips reached the poster, as if expecting to find his soft skin instead. It’s been seven whole months since he was declared missing, nearly two years since you’d seen him - you wondered if he looked different. You allowed your tears to flow freely as you gently stroked the mirage of where you wished his cheek was.

“Where are you, Mika?”

You whispered, barely audible, before finally releasing yourself from the moment and removing your fingertips from the paper upon the notice board.

“Hey.”

You turned to see the red head from your senior class earlier. You quickly wiped your cheeks of the evidence of your current despair, attempting at least a sardonic smile. Her gaze shifted uncomfortably along with the shoulders as she said,

“I’m sorry – was he your friend?”

You turned your attention back to the illusion of Mika’s bright blue eyes and confirmed quietly,

“One of the best.”

Another moment passed before you turned back to her.

“I’m Mito, by the way.”

She said with more confidence but for whatever reason this red head was unfathomably uncomfortable in your presence. Probably because she’s caught me at a bad time, you thought.

“(Y/N).”

You uttered, bemused as to her aura.

“Wanna grab lunch and join us outside?”

She offered in a lilt. She wasn’t the type to lilt, you could tell. Was it in some kind of - pity? No, it wasn’t pity. Was she feeling… guilty?

“Mito! Come on.”

You both shot your gaze down the hall to see Goshi raise his arms impatiently alongside Shinya, Guren and Sayuri and some other girl you didn’t recognize. Did you really want to go to lunch with them all? You caught Ichinose’s plastered sly smirk and turned to Mito. She must have read your features as she claimed,

“Just – think about it. You can always come another time.”

Before she skipped off down the corridor in her white high tops, long red ponytail flicking with each energetic skip before she crashed into Goshi in a tackle, making the two guffaw as they pounced off. Their group followed suite save for Guren and Shinya. Shinya watched you intently for a moment and you wondered if you had something smudged on your face from crying, until Guren moved his gaze from you to Shinya and pushed himself up from leaning against the lockers. You could see he clearly said something as Shinya averted his gaze to him for a second before glancing at you one moment more. Shinya offered a smile and a small wave before turning to leave with Guren. What the hell was that about?

“Smile!”

You turned to a smack of a camera flash and shot your head back. The short girl afore you giggled as she emerged from the other side of the camera with an playful smile,

“That’ll look hilarious in the yearbook!”

She winked and you frowned until she clarified,

“I’m Shinoa, I bet Yuu I could find you before he could for lunch. Now he even has proof –“

She said waving the camera in front of you. She had lilac hair half pinned back with a large plum bow and big doe brown eyes that looked up to mischief. She was in a short white pleated skirt, much like Sayuri, with the yellow sweater hugging her shoulders over a lavender polo, donning white sneakers. In that moment, Yuu came bustling passed in the hall only to stop at the sight of you both, holding his knees to regain composure as he sighed,

“Dammit.”

Shinoa smiled to his defeated stance, victorious,

“Told ya!”

You stifled a giggle at his expression. You went to lunch with those two and met up with Mitsuba and met a guy who you thought couldn’t be old enough to be here, with his small frame, sweet hazel eyes and scruffy brown locks. He was so sweet, he almost reminded you of a young Mika. He was in a brown flannel shirt and a sunset orange gele despite the weather being quite warm for the fall. You were on a round table outside in a kind, fall breeze and dull sun light that tinted orange with the coloured leaves.

“I’m Yoichi, head of the AV club.”

Your brows shot up,

“You run it? In your Sophomore year? You must be good.”

You smiled and he beamed brightly,

“Thank you, I like to think so.”

You all ate your lunch together surprisingly nicely. You pondered just how different you all were from each other, but Yuu’s friends were pretty nice, you liked them already.

“Amane!”

You looked over to see that pink haired guy, Kimizuki, his finger jabbed towards Yuu at your table in rage and Yuu shot up from his seat, palms against the table. You failed to see the sad glance of Yoichi and the gritted jaw of Mitsuba. Shinoa didn't even look his way. You held your chin in your hand,

“Fucking great.”

You uttered. Another fight. Yuu had heard you though, glancing your way a fraction of a second. He growled with stiffened limbs for a moment before sitting back down, fists against the table as he fought to regain composure. Kimizuki stormed over,

“Don’t tell me you’ve gotten soft all of a sudden? Did you wet your pants at the sight of me?”

Yuu shot back up,

“Shut your mouth, wastoid! I’m trying to eat with my friends. Food’s more important than you.”

He calmed as he sat back down, twitching. Itching to hit him. Mitsuba interjected,

“Want a detention, Kimizuki? I’ll report your ass to –“

“Shut it, blondie, this isn’t about you.”

“Don’t speak to her that way.”

You said calmly, staring him dead in the eyes with a murderous glance. Your demeanour took him aback to the point of being speechless for a moment. Before his pink brows twitched back into a frown and he fisted Yuu’s (Well, Guren’s) leather jacket at the collar to get Yuu’s attention,

“You better watch your back, your little friends won’t always be here to protect you.”

"We're not little!"

Mitsuba balled her hands into fists and you fought the urge to smile, not used to seeing her this way. The boys didn't notice anyone else though as they squared each other's gaze. Yuu grit his teeth and fought the urge to fight back,

“Bite me!”

Well, fought the urge to physically fight back. Before anything else could occur, you all heard a deafening camera flash and Shinoa’s evil laugh,

“Thanks guys, this is going to look GREAT in the yearbook!”

She cackled further and Yuu used Kimizuki’s temporary shock to rip himself from his vice grip and straighten himself out before stating,

“Don’t fuck with my friends, unless you wanna kiss JIDA college goodbye?”

Whilst pointing towards Shinoa's camera, where the evidence of a surefire route out of that college resides. When internally Yuu was rolling his eyes at Shinoa. Sure her timing was great but Jesus. After a dumb moment of his deep set frown, Kimizuki stormed off with a, ‘whatever’ leaving you all to release the bated breath you didn’t realize you were holding. Jesus what a day, this school is crazier than I realized.

“Glad you joined Shinjuku High, (L/N)?”

Shinoa winked and you huffed a sigh. Until Yuu looked at you with a perplexed frown,

“Why did you transfer, (Y/N)?”

You gulped. You didn’t have a good excuse yet, only the truth. You couldn’t tell him. But could you lie to him? It was that moment that you’d spotted Guren’s push bike that you’d borrowed the night before and remembered you had to make sure he got it back,

“Would you excuse me? I just remembered I have to do something – I won’t be long.”

You said distractedly as you hurried off without offering further detail, leaving all bemused.

“What was that about?”

Mitsuba asked and Shinoa shrugged but it didn’t touch her suspiscious glance,

“No idea.”

All the while Yuu was watching you with a deep-set frown as you left, ignoring Yoichi who started telling them all about how he’d recently been stolen from.

***

Finally, you thought as you found Guren with Goshi, Shinya and Mito all around that red car in the high school lot, where you first saw the Idiot Ichinose. Goshi was slamming on a boombox to make it work. There was some random blonde girl fawning over Guren, attached to his hip. Whilst he paid her a little attention, he otherwise seemed disinterested. Either way, you felt a pang of disgust shoot through you, ignoring it as you approached them.

“Hey guys –“

You greeted the others chirpily before turning to Guren, who already had his eyes on you.

“I wanted to let you know, I brought your bike back, before I forget to – let you know, that is.”

You pointed to where you’d tied it to the bike stands and he smiled deviously before breaking out into a raucous laughter, Goshi joining in and Shinya trying to stifle a smile. Mito was as confused as you. The girl at Guren’s side wasn’t happy with the lack of attention she was receiving and huffed. You frowned to him,

“What?”

When his laughter finally died down, he smirked,

“That’s not my bike.”

Your mouth gaped for half a minute and you tried to snap it shut as the boys laughed again. You stuttered, flushed,

“But – you – you said –“

“I offered you a ride, didn’t I?”

He cocked his head and started chuckling again and you growled before raising your voice,

Jesus, Ichinose! Would it kill you not to talk in riddles?”

That only made him laugh harder, he found a new favorite pass time. Teasing you. You had the best reactions. You were turning beet red with a mixture of rage and embarrassment.

“Don’t feel too bad, (L/N), he does it to all of us.”

Mito rolled her eyes at Guren as she said this to you, Goshi chuckled. Your (e/c) eyes suddenly darkened as you bit back at Guren,

“You have to return it! Somebody’s missing their bike – you stole somebody’s bike, Guren!”

The girl at his side had fully given up as she peeled herself off of him and leant against the car, facing the other direction with her arms crossed. He didn’t notice. He was fighting a smirk as he replied in nonchalance,

“Technically, you rode the bike outta there, Peach.”

“Technically, you brought it to me – you had to take it from somewhere.”

You were really trying not to let him rile you up, you really were. But he was just so. Fucking. Annoying.

“She’s right, you know.”

Shinya remarked looking at his nails casually before flashing you a knowing smile. Your brows knit as you met his gaze but shook it off as Shinya motioned for Goshi to stop smacking the boombox. Another moment passed before you snapped,

“And stop calling me Peach - God.”

“It's cute you think so highly of me, most do.”

He grinned and you cocked your head a moment before realizing,

“Wha – Oh, give me a break already! Idiot Ichinose.”

With that agitated mutter, you spun on your heel and left, calling over your shoulder,

“Return the bike!”

Leaving the group with amused grins plastered on their features. Mito smirked as she moved to change a tape over on the boombox in the hopes the fault was the tape,

Idiot Ichinose kinda has a good ring to it.”

Making the group laugh and his jaw twitched before he jested,

“Shut up, Juujo.”

Chapter Text

Mitsuba and Shinoa had invited you to come out with them that Friday night, as you couldn’t come out with them Saturday because of Bathory giving you a Saturday detention for sticking up for your classmates. Ugh.

“Huh. To be honest, he’s usually more harsh about these things but that still sucks.”

Shinoa reflected as she pulled out her camera to get a picture of you with Mitsuba outside the movie theatre. You and Mitsuba were in position as Mitsuba commented,

“It won’t go unnoticed in the council, don’t worry (Y/N).”

You smiled,

“Thanks Mitsuba but don’t worry it’s a little late to change it, but the others have two Saturdays, maybe with the help of the student council they only have to go to tomorrow’s?”

She considered you and in this moment was when Shinoa decided to take the picture.

“Shinoa! We weren’t ready!”

Mitsuba whined with an indignant fluff of her honey coloured hair in it's pristine waves. Shinoa giggled,

“But the natural photos are the best kind!”

“We’ll see about that when they’ve been developed in the dark room.”

Mitsuba retorted with an eyeroll, making you and Shinoa bubble in laughter. In that moment, Yuu and Yoichi rode passed on the road behind Shinoa on a skateboard and a push bike respectively, and Yuu hollered,

“Hey Shinoa! Catch this!”

As he crouched to ride his board down the road with near lightning speed, shortly followed by Yoichi on a questionably feminine bike.

“Wait!”

Shinoa demanded as she fumbled with her camera to try snapping a picture of them,

“Think you got that, huh?”

Yuu teased as he doubled back casually, his chest puffed out in pride underneath the leather Jacket he borrowed from Idiot Ichinose.

“We’ll see who's laughing when I get to the dark room!”

She teased right back, hands behind her back innocently before sparing a wink at Mitsuba who seemed a little sour at the other picture Shinoa would likely laugh at. Yuu chuckled as he skated around that stretch of road where the girls were some more. Yoichi rode back too and you asked,

“Where did you get the bike, Yoichi?”

With barely stifled laughter along with the others, his cheeks tinted rose as he smiled an answer,

“Well my bike got stolen so I’m borrowing my cousin’s.”

Suddenly, you paled. Shit. No, surely… it couldn’t have been

“Where did you leave it last, Yo?”

Mitsuba asked as Yuu did some tricks and Yoichi pondered a moment, riding in circles around him on the near deserted street,

“Umm… Just outside the grocery store – the one next to where Yuu works at that Record’s place.”

Double shit. You opened your mouth to speak but you were unintentionally interrupted as Shinoa tugged at your cardigan’s sleeve roughly, you followed her stricken gaze to focus on what could have the usually teasing mischief maker so worried. That’s when you saw it. That Hiiragi guy with the dark seaweed coloured hair in the red letterman. He didn’t seem injured at all by comparison to when he needed carrying out of the classroom earlier that week. But that wasn’t what concerned you. He was in the alley between the hardware store and a bar, across the street where Yuu and Yoichi rode blissfully unaware of the scenario. There was a girl, thrashing in his forceful embrace. You sharply inhaled, paralysed to the spot.

Yuu followed your gaze with knotted brows, immediately grinding to a halt along with Yoichi as they saw it too. Without so much as another glance at one another, you made haste to across the street. You were all moments from stepping in, until you saw Guren and Shinya appear out of nowhere where Hiiragi was in that alley, causing you to double take a moment. Goshi was close at hand, hidden behind the the crumbling outer wall of the bar that faced you and your friends, as what you assumed to be back up. You'd caught Goshi's gaze and flit your eyes away as not to expose him. It was too late for you and your friends though, Hiiragi had seen you. He started eyeing you up in particular, prompting Yuu to jut his shoulder in front of you protectively in response. All the while, Shinoa stared at the scene in a dumb struck horror. Hiirgai laughed at Yuu’s protective stance before smiling darkly at you, his grip unwavering on the poor girl whose doe eyes were fixed on you as a cry for help,

“Well if it isn’t Miss (L/N)? You know if it wasn’t for you, Psycho Ichinose might’ve killed me – how can I express my gratitude?”

He took a step forward with a spare hand outstretched, causing everyone to flinch, all on edge. You couldn’t understand why as you outnumbered him… The girl with the short, fuchsia hair that he had by the wrist had managed to use such a moment to wriggle and wrench free, running into Shinya’s arms, clearly close enough that she chose him than to flee. In the silent moment that followed, the air was thick with tension. Yuu's shoulder blades tensed at Hiiragi's comment. To save Yuu getting himself into another fight, you responded quickly,

“You’ve got some nerve calling Ichinose the psycho.”

Hiiragi’s smile only grew on his swollen, purplish face a moment,

“Look at that, you’re here five minuets and everyone’s willing to break their backs to protect you.”

“This isn’t about me!”

You spat, disgusted,

“How could you force yourself onto her?”

You finished venomously. The girl was wracking with sobs and wept in Shinya’s arms as he held her gently, glaring murderously towards Hiiragi. He didn’t answer you for a minute, merely allowed a smirk to toy with his lips. He turned and said,

“Come on boys, I was only having a little fun. She wanted it.”

You immediately gripped Yuu’s arm, sensing he’d lunge before he’d even done so. Guren sensed this also, his usual sultry violet eyes had flared as he took a measured step forward, his step echoed on the concrete.

“Get out of here, Kureto. You’re outnumbered.”

Guren commanded. It was strange for you to hear such anger in his silky voice that was usually so playful. Hiiragi scoffed a laugh as he looked around and measured the situation, now eyeing Shinoa. A halo of light filtered over her ashen lilac hair as she stood at the mouth of the alleyway, her doe brown eyes shimmered as she stood, paralysed to the spot.

“Don’t look at her to get you out of this, Kureto –“

Mitsuba started domineeringly, undertaking a strong stance as she planted herself to the spot, before finishing,

“And don’t think for a moment that I won’t report you for this just because of who your family are.”

With a cross of her arms and a look that could kill. Yoichi squirmed at the situation a moment but refused to back down and stood with you all. You briefly wondered why Mitsuba thought Shinoa could get this piece of scum in front of you out of anything. Kureto started laughing and held his hands up lazily,

“Relax Prez, I didn’t mean to get you so upset, it was only a joke.”

Your blood boiled to the point where you had to keep yourself in check. Yuu was seconds from hurtling himself onto Kureto, knowing full well he’d lose one way or another – from the sounds of it, Hiiragi came from a powerful family so Yuu had a very strong chance of winding up behind bars if he tried anything, off school grounds especially.

“Don’t Yuu, we stopped him, that’s what matters right now.”

You whispered to your best friend, praying that just this once he was smart enough to listen to you. Besides, you'd remembered how Goshi was ready and waiting on the wall behind you in case anything went wrong. He snapped his gaze to you but he didn’t have a chance to react as sirens were blaring down the road - flashes of blue and red danced across the brick walls and across the faces afore you. Mitsuba turned to Yoichi,

“Get out of here, Yo, don’t get caught up in all this.”

He yelped but shook his head,

“No. I won’t leave this all to you guys.”

She sighed. In that moment, Kureto made to shoulder passed you, Yuu and Shinoa –

“Goshi!”

Guren bellowed, Goshi ripped himself from the wall and pounced onto Kureto, you all jumped out of the way in time. Goshi was on top of Kureto’s back, holding him in place with a hearty laugh as he ran a hand through his dirty blonde mullet. He pinned Kureto's arms behind his back as he writhed with a victorious smirk,

"It's not so fun when the shoe's on the other foot, huh Hiiragi?"

Goshi taunted before he spat on the concrete next to Kureto's face, just shy of hitting his swollen cheek. Kureto jerked vehemently but Goshi had yanked his left arm in a twist behind his back to thwart him from getting anywhere. Guren stood forward with a terse tone,

"That's enough. Nice work, Goshi, hold him 'til the police get here - someone's clearly reported us all being here for their sirens to be going off like that."

Goshi relaxed his raging form some, tilting his head back with a sigh, not enough for Kureto to get away though. Kureto growled, the wheel of his cheek grinding against the sharp concrete. Mitsuba had sighed, Yoichi nearly shook in the spot and you gripped Yuu's shoulder in reassurance as he released an extensive huff. Guren turned,

“Shinya, get Yayoi out of here.”

Guren told Shinya, only for him to protest with a near solemn air,

“Wait, we should wait for the cops.”

Their gazes locked, as much as they didn’t want the poor girl waiting, it was the only way she would likely get any justice. Yayoi had stopped crying, her eyes only left the floor to look at Guren. Her eyes shimmered in the hopes to communicate her determination to him, that she wanted to stay, to get justice. Guren unintentionally allowed a sharp intake of breath with the small stab of his heart. To his fortune, no one seemed to notice. Guren looked to Shinoa and then to Shinya, Shinya caught the glance and lowered his voice,

“It’s good that me and Shinoa are here.”

As if them being there could have been a bad thing instead. You wondered when things got so crazy as the police made their way over, and you shared an anxious glance with Guren.

***

The morning was slightly overcast, and a cold breeze shot passed. You had just walked onto school grounds for your Saturday detention when you’d spotted who could only be Guren with his nonchalant walk – sunglasses covering his eyes, in his sleeveless denim jacket and sleeveless white shirt. Classic Guren, you thought. You found yourself rolling your eyes with a half smile that faded almost instantly as you asked,

“Did you return that bike you stole?”

 He smirked from behind his sunglasses, as he stood on the lip of the road afore you, before sliding them back to push his raven locks from his face,

“No, why?”

You looked at him disapprovingly,

“Because I worked out that it’s Yoichi Saotome’s.”

He frowned in thought before shrugging,

“Who’s that?”

He feigned a wince as you lightly smacked his arm,

“He’s Yuu’s friend, a sophomore and about the most adorable person who did not deserve to have their bike taken!”

A devilish smirk danced on his lips, trying not to laugh. His violet eyes luring you in to laugh with him, you tried not to succumb to the smile that taunted your lips, twitching. The levity was short lived however, as a Porsche 911 SC Cabriolet rolled by - Guren leapt out of the way it came by so fast, almost falling into you but you’d gripped his shoulders in an attempt to stop it. His chest was inches from yours. This close you could smell a delicious cologne you didn’t think he’d wear and noticed his raven locks held violet hues. His lavender orbs were wider than you’d ever seen them and you swallowed a golf ball sized lump as before you asked,

“You ok, Ichinose?”

He parted his lips but was unable to think of the words for a split second before he cleared his throat as he straightened out, shifting out of your hold,

“Yea, ‘course. Nice catch, Peach.”

He winked, regaining composure. You rolled your eyes for the millionth time it seemed before glaring towards the convertible, realising who it was that climbed out the car. An ominous shiver ran through you as you saw it was Kureto Hiiragi. Guren followed your gaze with a glare as you spat tersely,

“What the hell is he doing here instead of a cell?”

You both watched with disdain as Hiiragi gave a sly, victorious smirk and a mocking wave before bounding up the schools steps a few feet from you. Playing nice in front of his audience, it seemed.

“Looks like Daddy Dearest fixed his little problem.”

Guren remarked snidely with a deep-rooted, bitter edge that you sensed.

“We better get inside before we’re late.”

You added, he followed suite after a moment. Everyone else from that class of the Hiiragi-Ichinose punch up were there, the detention was being held in the library due to there being so many of you. And that way, Ferid’s office was only across the hall, so the door was left open to ensure your silence. You were bored the minuet you stepped into the dull cream room. As you and Guren were the last two to arrive, you had little option but to sit with him at the available desk. Once you were sat down, your eyes felt like they had lead weights on your lids as you held your chin in your hand, noticing an almost stale smell. Goshi was looking at some inappropriate magazine that he’d whipped out of nowhere. Shinya appeared to be in deep thought. Hiiragi and his little clan had clumped, sneering about God only knows what. Mito was already asleep on Sayuri’s shoulder and Shigure was writing. Your eyes shot open when you saw Guren pop a cigarette in his mouth from the corner of your eye. You turned to him and whispered in as quiet a hiss you could muster,

“What the hell are you doing?”

His brows furrowed as he shrugged as if to say, ‘What?!’ before fishing for his lighter to direct it at the nub of the cigarette. Before he had a chance to light it, you plucked the cigarette from his lips and made a point of shoving it in your pocket and out of sight. His brows lowered with his chin as if to say, ‘Seriously?’ before rolling his eyes and regaining his usual composure.

“You keep that one, Peach.”

He uttered, no effort made to be quite as he lounged in his chair and you darted your widened eyes to Ferid, a slither of him in sight where he was sat inside his office just across the way - but Ferid either didn’t notice or didn’t bother acting on it. I mean, surely he can hear the Hiiragi clan sniggering like twelve year olds in the corner? Your brows furrowed as you turned your attention back to Guren,

“Stop calling me Peach.”

You ordered in a terse whisper. He gave a crooked grin which looked quite attractive on him. Goshi from in front of you turned to Guren,

“Hey Guren, check out the rack on this Blonde –“

He snickered and Guren cocked a brow, eyes not touching the magazine which surprised you. Goshi didn’t seem to notice and Guren found anything else in the room more interesting to look at until he caught your gaze on him that you didn’t realize you were holding. He smirked,

“Like what you see, Peach?”

“I thought you’d be more perverted than Goshi.”

You commented, hearing Goshi’s hums of approval over the content in the magazine, making you fight your gag reflex as you scrunched your face. Guren shrugged, watching his hands as he messed with his lighter,

“I prefer when it’s real.”

Your lips parted in surprise, it might have been the most genuine thing he’s ever said. Did he mean it, though? In an attempt to snap out of it, you leant forward towards Goshi and whispered in levity,

“Don’t you have anything savoury to read, Norito?”

He chuckled a dirty laugh and Guren grinned,

“You see (Y/N), when a low-life like him gets lonely he becomes sexually frustrated –“

Making Goshi laugh a little louder. Your palms began to sweat as you flit your gaze to an unsuspecting Ferid Bathory, reading intently in his office with a smile like Goshi's. You hit the boys playfully as you tried to suppress your smile,

“Shut up! You two will have Ferid in here before you could even say sexually frustrated.”

Which only made them laugh more and Goshi noted,

“You look too proper to say sexually frustrated.”

Before commenting in a playful voice,

“Welcome to the dark side, (Y/N).”

You rolled your eyes. The more time you spent around your new ‘friends’ the further you got to who you used to be at your old school, the thought made you smile internally for a second. It was as if Guren could read your mind as he asked idly,

“What was it like? At your old school?”

"You were at Sanguinem, right? Bathory used to work there - it's totally elite why the hell would you wanna come here?"

Goshi asked in a light and almost teasing tone before chuckling. You hummed in thought a moment, the hairs on the back of your neck rising at the thought of having to answer. Guren's lavender eyes narrowed curiously, now focused on you,

“Why did you transfer?”

Your eyes shot to his and he could tell he’d toed a line. Sensing this, he leant forward toward you intently, awaiting patiently for an answer with a plastered smirk. You swallowed a lump and sighed after a moment, facing your hands,

“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.”

You answered quietly with a self deprecating and weak laugh, hoping he wouldn’t pry. But this was Guren Ichinose.

“So?”

You peered up at his smirk before something in your gaze must have prompted his facade to drop into a more persuasive gaze, lavender eyes burning.

“It’s not some exciting mystery I’m afraid.”

You noted cryptically, but you weren’t lying. He’d leant even further forward, leaning his elbow on a crossed leg, chin in hand boyishly,

“Then spill.”

You scoffed to hide your laugh at his idiotic behaviour. You smirked,

“Why would I spill all my secrets to you?”

“I didn’t ask for all your secrets; a little mystery keeps things interesting after all.”

He shot back in a voice of velvet.

“You’ve always got something to say, you know that?”

He laughed and you were growing accustomed to the sound. Your attention averted to Shinya as all eyes bored into him. He’d risen from his seat at the back, taking carefully measured steps towards the front - you were grateful for the aversion.

“What’s he doing?”

You whispered. Goshi shrugged nonchalantly and Guren had his classic smirk as he did the same. His lavender eyes promised to work out what it was that brought you here, even though he was sure he already knew. You tried to ignore the look, as if his eyes couldn’t pierce through to the truth.

“Did you hear that?”

Shinya asked the room in his dulcet voice. Your ears perked as you heard a faint, muffled voice from Ferid’s office that didn’t belong to him. You looked to see Ferid frowning deeply as he listened intently. When you tucked your stray (h/c) locks behind your ears to listen, you realised the sound was coming from a radio,

“… the 16 year old was reported to have been seen by the docs three miles from town just this morning, after being missing for about seven months now…”

Your heart skipped a beat as a shot of adrenaline coursed through you.

“What’s wrong, (Y/N)?”

You didn’t realise you were standing with your palms to the table until you met Shinya’s worried gaze and snapped out of it. The rigidity refused to leave your form, however. There were mutterings behind you but you hushed them vehemently with a palm now facing them, in the hopes to hear more…

“…Mikaela Shindo belonged to the county’s orphanage so hasn’t any family but reports claim he had close friends nearby Nagoya town…”

Your heart stopped in a painful wrench and dropped to your stomach.

“Mika…”

You whispered to the air as tears stung your eyes. Kureto crossed his arms and rolled his eyes as you slumped back into your seat. Goshi turned to Guren anxiously, but Guren’s serious eyes were already on you. You didn’t realise Shinya had a gentle hand to your shoulder until he’d called you for the third time.

“(Y/N)?”

You peered up at his anxious gaze and shook your head a moment before rubbing your temples with your fingertips. Mito had woken up from Sayuri’s shoulder to see you this way, but one glance from Guren stopped her from asking any questions.

“Drama Queen.”

Kureto uttered, earning approving glances and nods of assent all from his group. Guren had heard it however, and shot him a murderous glare to which Kureto mocked a surrender with his hands held up. You finally met Shinya’s gaze as you claimed lowly,

“I’ve got to get out of here.”

His fixed frown didn’t budge from over his ice blue eyes as he straightened back up, surely she's aware we're likely to get caught, be seen or even reported on? Maybe somehow caught on security film even. You desperately turned to Guren and after a tense moment, his lips tugged into a smirk,

“I can help with that.”

Chapter Text

The next thing you knew, your heart was thudding erratically against your rib cage, sweat peppering your skin and you could hear your breaths despite the roaring in your ears. Shinya had already left the library for what the others would start to realise was too long to have been gone to get everybody's soda.

"And here I thought sending you would make me appear to be born yesterday."

Mr. Bathory smiled to Guren with that eerie, velvet voice. The smile didn't touch the venom in his eyes. Guren allowed a smirk, a small scoffed laugh escaping his lips and you couldn't tell if it was brave or stupid. You eyed the others in the room, their gazes seemed to register the new found tension also. A stand off occurred between the locked gazes of Bathory and Ichinose for what felt like an eternity, neither wavering, neither backing down. Ferid lilted in that voice of honey coated ice shards,

"I'm going to see to your little friend. Move from these seats, and i'll drag you back by your ears for the rest of your high school days, are we understood?"

To the room, before returning his glare to Ichinose, whose violet eyes were simply alight with mischief.

"Yes, sir."

Small voices of assent whispered.

"Excuse me?"

Bathory chided in a lilt.

"Yes, sir!"

The echoes of assent repeated.

"Well alright, then."

Ferid offered a bright smile that was almost psychotic, before whisking off, his ashen hair sweeping behind him in an orderly ponytail. You watched Guren as he watched Ferid leaving. Watched the quirk of his raven brow. The lock of his sharp jaw and the stubble that started to line it. The way stray strands of his raven locks had gathered over his lavender eyes. Your lips parted as all too suddenly his eyes were on you,

"It's show time."

He smirked sardonically before rising. You stumbled, but followed suite. Goshi wore a severe expression as he gave Guren a nod, which was reciprocated. Mito's knitted brows met your line of sight and she silently asked what the hell you were doing. You offered a thin-lipped smile before gathering your belongings. Shigure asked you both monotonously,

"What do you think you're doing?"

Guren turned to her with an nonchalant shrug,

"I don't think about what i'm doing."

Shigure's expression infinitesimally shifted to a disapproving, raised brow.

"Wait 'til Bathory finds out about this."

Kureto had sneered a laugh from his seat to which Goshi had jolted upright, burly form widening Kureto's eyes at the last memory he had of Goshi.

"Is he gonna hear it from you, Hiiragi?"

Goshi nearly growled. You placed a gentle hand to his shoulder, making his eyes shoot to the hand and then widen as he looked at you. You offered a sweet smile to help ebb his anger, before looking to Guren with a nod,

"Do it."

Guren's impish smirk grew,

"My pleasure."

Before he swept passed to the halls, beginning his distraction for Bathory. You offer one last glance to Mito, and Goshi, and then to Guren's other friends Shigure and Sayuri before whisking off with a fluttering heart and slightly shaking hands that had immediately stopped when you were focused on the task at hand. Your peripheral caught sight of a newspaper in Ferid's office and despite yourself, you lunged inside to rip the paper from his desk before fleeing the library from the direction Guren had told you. You ran through the halls, desperate not to lose your footing, or to allow the echoes of the stomp of your foot upon the plastic coated floor - or even your panted breaths to give away your whereabouts.

You swiped your forehead with the back of your palm as you ran, whipping your head from side to side when trying to remember which hallway was next - you were almost there when you'd heard other footsteps approaching. You forced your already aching legs to run faster, harder, work to carry you to the doors that were in your sights now. That was when you realised the footsteps were right beside you, you gasped as you half turned your face as you ran, only to see Guren - he had matched your pace with ease. His eyes were half lidded as if he were still sat at that library but being told to read the bible. He'd managed to somehow double back to meet you.

“How the hell -?!”

He shrugged,

“What?”

As you both kept running. You were astounded,

“How did you get here so fast? Where’s Ferid?”

“Shut up and run, Peach.”

He ordered in a husky yet dulcet tone as he picked up his pace. You growled to his back as you quickened your pace to match then surpassed his pace, finally reaching outside the high school doors to Shinya's bright red car. Shinya smiled from the window, a slice of bread in his mouth as he hummed in greeting. Guren smirked as he reached the car, when he levelled with you, you smacked his arm,

“Don’t speak to me that way.”

Eyeing him, which only made his smirk grow, before crawling into the back of Shinya’s car. When he’d pulled out into the main road, you noted with a frown,

“I grabbed today's paper from Ferid’s desk, but I don’t think there’s anything –“

Shinya interrupted your rushed speech, realising he was most likely to notice anything, 

“Guren, grab the wheel for a moment?”

Shinya asked casually as he reached for the paper in your hands without scrunching it, and opened It to see if he can source anything on Mika. Guren shot him a dark glare before obliging, seemingly reluctant in taking control of the wheel. His driving was so fluid and effortless you gaped.

“I thought you couldn’t drive?!”

You squeaked unintentionally. He brushed off your comment,

“I said that I didn’t drive, not that I couldn’t.”

You snapped your mouth shut, before grumbling,

“Dammit, Ichinose.”

Remembering you got out because of him, so you bit your tongue from any possible insult you wanted to hurl at him. He held back a throaty laugh as he guided the wheel some more. For a strange moment, you wondered why it was that he didn’t drive then, even when he was perfectly capable. He manoeuvred the car with ease and from the passenger’s side!

“Yea, it’s in today’s local paper (Y/N), see?”

Shinya pointed out to the small printed article, interrupting your train of thought as you scanned the article that confirmed what you had all heard on the radio at school. If only the deviant Hiiragi made the local papers from being in a cell, you thought sadly, remembering Yayoi's terror in that alleyway yesterday...

“He might’ve been taken to the station since then, do you want to try the station first or the docs where he was first sighted?”

Shinya asked, as he handed you the paper back and retrieved the wheel from Guren.

***

You burst through the police department and your eyes caught Yuu, a stage ahead of you by already demanding answers from the Police Chief, Urd Geales.

“Well why aren’t you looking for him right now? He’s gotta be out there!”

Yuu jabbed a finger into the Chief’s chest and you winced, he could get into trouble if he’s not more careful! The Chief warned lowly in an authoritative tone,

“Calm down –“

“Yuu!”

You called in the hopes he wouldn’t try anything stupid. His emerald eyes flashed to where you stood, flanked by Guren and Shinya, as the doors to the police department had swung closed in the silence. Yuu’s shoulders relaxed a moment before turning to give the Chief one more glare,

“This isn’t over, Chief.”

Before stalking over to you without a second glance at the Chief, though he was not visibly irked, the hairs on the back of your neck raised at the intensity of his eyes that bore into Yuu. Yuu huffed when he was a matter of steps from you and you blurted,

“Yuu what are you thinking? You could get into more trouble –“

“Who cares, (Y/N)?!”

He bellowed, making you flinch. He grasped the bridge of his nose,

“This is Mika we’re talking about!”

Raising his voice once more, before forcing himself to take a deep breath. He’d dialled down some but he was agitated, he ran a shaking hand through his thick black hair.

“Easy, kid.”

Guren stepped forward with a commanding tone. Yuu lunged forward and barked,

Don’t, Guren.”

Guren didn’t even flinch, barely moved at the motion. He merely deadpanned, his lavender eyes cold and unwavering as they bore relentlessly into Yuu’s. Yuu breathed a staggered breath as tears pricked his eyes,

“Just don’t.”

He pleaded, before shouldering passed him to go out the doors. Your chest heaved,

“Yuu!”

Your cracked voice called after him but he didn’t look back as he practically kicked open the doors. You sighed in defeat during the tense atmosphere that was left behind. After a heavy silence, Shinya observed,

“So Mika was spotted but not found…”

How odd, he thought but dared not say aloud, for fear of treating the subject lightly in the eyes of those who deeply cared for the teen. He couldn’t help but think it strange though, surely if he were spotted, he’d have been found? Shinya’s deepset frown had caught Guren’s attention and in their locked eyes held a silent promise to discuss the matter in question later. Your brows knit together as you traced the ugly and cheap, lino floor.

“I’m gonna go after Yuu, is there any chance you don’t mind finding out what’s going on please?”

You asked tiredly as you eyed the Chief from afar, having not noticed the silent exchange between the boys as Shinya dipped his head with grace,

“Of course.”

“Yea.”

Guren nodded faintly. You found yourself distantly missing his usual smirk, it was abnormally absent. Unthinkingly, you reached out and gripped Guren’s bare bicep,

“Thank you.”

Hoping to convey your thanks with your eyes and genuine smile before offering that smile to Shinya and whisking off out of the police department to find Yuu. The two watched you leave and Guren shifted from under his sleeveless denim jacket. Guren’s eyes had widened just enough for Shinya to notice and smirk to his feet,

“She often surprises you, doesn’t she?”

Guren’s eyes shot to his best friend, Shinya's cool blue eyes met Guren's and after a moment, the hot-head scoffed almost lazily,

“Right.”

Shinya stifled a small chuckle in his calm voice,

“I see.”

Before walking lithely to the Chief, who was receiving another heated discussion from someone else. Guren scoffed again to himself for good measure, unwilling to realise that he was surprised by you. He didn’t know where that would leave him, didn’t even know if you two were friends or if you were just another classmate. He shook off the thought, placing his sunglasses back upon the bridge of his nose as he thought he’d do some digging around… Meanwhile you scoured the tumultuous street with your eyes but couldn’t see Yuu anywhere in the seeming chaos of people, cars and sounds that rang in your ears. Your legs took off without thought in a staggered jog, whipping your head from side to side until you saw finally him. His mop of black hair facing you, as he was sat atop the hood of Shinya’s cherry red car on the side of the road. You said nothing as you slid onto the car hood, waiting patiently. The sounds of the street had mysteriously melted away as you were sat next to him, waiting with bated breath. You watched your best friend tense his shoulders and knot his brows in the silence, and when nothing came, you uttered,

“I want to find him too.”

“Then let’s go! Let's just get out of here and look ourselves!”

He suddenly turned his torso to face you and implored, you gave him a knowing look with sad eyes as you swallowed a lump before answering softly,

“We went to the docs. There are search parties in the police and volunteers. There were so many..."

You trailed off, smiling through the tears that threatened to break through, before you looked dead into Yuu's eyes again and finished,

"They’ve been looking since the sighting yesterday.”

After a dumbstruck moment of realisation, Yuu’s eyes widened in horror before he whispered,

“No… that can’t be – he was there! He was seen – he was.”

Growing into an agitated octave before pulling at his hair with a defeated growl. You couldn’t seem to find the right words to say, instead you just stayed with him in the silence a moment longer, idly trying to rub soothing circles into his taut back muscles with a reassuring hand. He sighed in defeat, knowing he couldn't leave to try to find him again, not since he promised he wouldn't leave... He calmed considerably and finally admitted,

“I’m glad you’re finally back.”

You were surprised at how quickly he'd calmed down, unsuspecting as to why that might have been. You retracted your hand from his back to place onto his shoulder and smiled,

“I’m always here for you, even if it might not always seem like it.”

You finished to your hands as you pulled them together onto your lap, ashamed that you didn’t think of coming back sooner. When he had needed you the most at the initial disappearance. But you just couldn’t face coming back. Couldn't face the reality that Mika was gone - you winced internally. That was of course until you’d heard about Yuu getting into all sorts of trouble, particularly with the Police. He was over being angry with you for not coming back, but that’s where the trouble had come in in the first place. Your jaw locked as you thought of the likelihood of Guren helping Yuu get into trouble back then. Yuu's voice brought you back from your thoughts,

“Did anyone ever tell you what happened? When he disappeared?”

Yuu asked with pain constricting his voice. You grimaced at his question, a flash of Mika’s bright smile filled your heart with a bittersweet sensation before you answered,

“No.”

He nodded slowly, allowing your answer to breathe before finally, he recalled the memory in a croaked voice,

“We were riding our bikes, by the Quarry. Last thing I know, we get hit by a speeding car. I wake up to being dragged out from the valley of the forest opposite the quarry. But it's just me on the other end. Not Mika.”

Your heart stopped with your breathing as you listened to him recollect the memory with a painful stab to his heart.

“I blacked out after the hit and again after. When I didn’t see Mika, I got worried and well, when I finally woke for good at the hospital… that’s when I knew he was gone.”

He finished with a dip of his head before reaching into his jacket pocket - well, again, Guren’s jacket - and opened a can of beer. You opened your mouth to protest but hesitated when you saw a tear escape and roll down his cheek. Only for a moment though as you pleaded in the silence,

“Yuu, please, we’re right next to the station, we’re asking for it.”

“Who cares? Most of them can’t even touch their toes, I’d outrun ‘em for sure.”

He rebuked in a dull voice, taking another swig with a grimace. This only caused you to hop off the hood of the car to stand in front of him, getting his full attention with a more demanding tone,

“I care, Yuu. It’s not about running from them."

Gesturing back to the Police station before gesturing between the two of you, upon the hood of a car basking in terrible and traumatic memories,

"Mika wouldn’t want this for us –“

“Stop talking about him like he’s dead!”

He raised to a shout as he finally looked at you again, and you sucked a sharp breath. That’s the second time he’s done that to me. Suddenly he narrowed his eyes at your expression,

“You think he is, don’t you?”

Jabbing a finger from the can in his hand towards you. You gave a disappointed glare,

“No, Yuu! Don’t be naive, of course I don’t! Why else would I skip a detention with Guren to hand to be here?”

He scoffed a bitter laugh,

“Like that was a problem.”

“What?”

He glared,

“It doesn’t matter.”

You stepped toward him,

“You can tell me. If there’s something up, tell me!”

You had shouted but you almost pleaded,

“Tell me so I can help fix it.”

He scoffed again with a sour, near malevolent laugh as he shook his head vehemently,

“You just don’t get it, do you?”

With a sardonic snort before finishing with a raised voice,

“I’m not broken! I don’t need fixing, (Y/N).”

Your eyes widened as they found the floor and that’s when he knew. He raised his brows, incredulously,

“Oh my God… that’s why you’re back.”

He uttered in a small voice before practically spitting,

“Isn’t it?!”

You raised your voice back,

“I didn’t come back to try to fix you! I came back for you! To… to -“

“To what, (Y/N)? Finish that sentence.”

A shameful flush heated your features as adrenaline shot through you. Your eyes traced the harsh concrete and cigarette buts upon the floor for a moment. When your eyes met his he hollered belligerently,

“Well news flash, I don’t need a babysitter! Looks like your uses here have run out.”

Before thrashing his can to the side, making you flinch, and stalking off. Leaving you to your broken thoughts.

***

You weren’t sure how long you were standing there for, but you noticed the sun had dimmed. Tears had flown freely from your cheeks in breathless sobs. Shinya meanwhile had just walked back over to Guren in the station with sad eyes that were so unlike his usual cool, blue glow.

“I’m afraid it’s not good news.”

He stated lowly. Guren thought he would try to find you and he swept outside, scanning over the streets to see you stood in front of Shinya’s car, your back to him. He made his way to you, curious as to why you hadn’t answered his call of your name. He placed a hand on your shoulder and you flinched as you came to. He retracted his hand immediately as if your flinch burnt him. You had turned with a stricken gaze, having forgotten you’d been crying.

“What happened?”

He asked, trying to mask his surprise with a frown and authoritative tone. You swept at your tear stained cheeks with a sardonic smile,

“Yuu. He thinks I’m trying to fix him.”

His gaze was cold and calculating and you were almost certain he didn’t care to know. At least, more than what he’d asked. When in reality, it was that he’d worked out what drove you to transfer to Shinjuku High. You shrugged, raising your voice some,

“That’s not why I – it’s not, argh.”

Your hands balled into fists and pushed against your forehead for a moment before meeting his bemused gaze,

“I think I should leave.”

You said brokenly. He couldn’t think of a response, instead reverted to a stone-like expression. He was never good at dealing with emotions, especially the emotions of others.

“Ok.”

He said evenly, before watching you in a sort of trance as you turned to leave, a desperate tear falling slowly from your face. Shinya had caught up seemingly out of nowhere,

“What’s going on?”

His words fading as your steps started fading to them, he’d eyed Guren’s cold expression that hadn’t moved from watching you leave and Shinya rolled his eyes before catching up to you,

“(Y/N)? (Y/N), wait!”

You turned tiredly as he offered with a kind elegance about him,

“We can drive you home.”

You smiled through the tears to the bemused man, shaking your head slightly,

"Thank you, but I want to be alone for a while."

***

Yuu grumbled as he swung open the record’s store door and stormed inside.

“And here I thought you wouldn’t be coming.”

Guren said sarcastically from behind the counter. Yuu rolled his eyes,

“Whatever, man.”

“Don’t ‘whatever man’ me, brat.”

Guren had swept to where Yuu stood and squared up to him. Yuu brought his glare to him with an eyeroll and looked up to meet his flaming gaze with equal flare,

“What?”

Guren smacked Yuu square in the jaw with such force his eyes met the wooden floor and his ear rang for a moment. Yuu held his raw cheek as his bright eyes met Guren’s with a bark,

“What the hell, Guren?!”

“Why the hell did you pick a fight with (Y/N)?”

He asked bitingly in return, Yuu raised his voice an octave,

“She said she came back for me. As if I needed watching over or kept in check – I’m fine!”

“That’s right. She did come back for you.”

Guren stated matter-of-factly with his hands at his hips indolently and Yuu’s brows knit together, she told him this? He wondered, anger morphing into confusion. Guren utilised his silence to state,

“And you’re not fine. Your best friend is still missing, you just yelled at the other – she moved back here for you.”

His authoritative aura never intimidated Yuu, but it did make him listen. You were one of the only people that was there for Yuu so unconditionally that you had done this, moved back for him - not to babysit him, Guren could see that. 

“She’s made sacrifices for you, don’t forget that and start yelling at her for caring, brat.”

Guren finished coolly before he slid out the store for a cigarette. Leaving Yuu to abandon his feeble attempt at nursing his cheek, and remember that you’d left Sanguinem. A school that could have taken you anywhere, all for him. For family.

Chapter Text

Shinya had unlocked the front door with a cool frown, carefully pushing it as he stepped inside with a long-forgotten lurch in his stomach at the thought of being home again. His frown deepened a moment when he saw that all the lights were out. It can’t have been that late? He wondered as he checked his watch, it was only 09:36pm. He took another step forward into the lavish hallway to here a faint click. His frown had melted away at the realization he wasn’t in the luxury of his own company. He turned to the sound, it came from the living room where a harsh light cast itself over Tenri Hiiragi. The lines on his face creased further, not from tiredness. His suit somehow remained crease free despite his burly frame and seated position, ram-rod straight. It seemed neither party in the room were comfortable.

“Father.”

Shinya spoke coolly, almost in question.

“Shinya.”

Tenri spoke as in answer, before reaching for a crystalline glass with what must have been whiskey, taking a hearty swig. Shinya plastered on his usual small, polite smirk as he waited patiently for his adoptive father to speak. A tense moment had passed as Tenri refused to look elsewhere other than his adoptive son’s near silver eyes in the dim light, before he quirked an ashen lilac brow,

“Where have you been?”

His voice was deep and raspy. Shinya didn’t move, merely stood dead still, the light barely cast against his feet as Tenri continued,

“I asked you a question, Shinya.”

Authoritatively.

“My apologies, father.”

“Kureto tells me you left detention today. I want to know why.”

Tenri interjected, enunciating each syllable as he pierced his gaze through to Shinya. Shinya allowed a small smile at the action, which deepened Tenri’s crevassed frown. After a deafening silence that gave Shinya bated breath, Tenri rose, glass in hand and Shinya finally answered,

“I took my friends to the Police Station.”

Monotonously. Tenri appeared as if he were made of stone for a moment, before he asked in a dangerously low voice,

“Why?”

Shinya had long since forgotten the shiver that crawled his spine whenever Tenri used that voice. He answered with a dull air,

“To follow a lead.”

Polite enough, having known how to avoid an edge. Tenri huffed a smirk, the kind that usually sent the hairs on the back of your neck rising. He took measured steps forward, taking another swig of whiskey before he was almost plunged into darkness, a foot away from Shinya who was still planted to the spot.

“I need you to let the police do that, Shinya.”

Shinya allowed his gaze to land on Tenri, rather than looking passed him, with the hope that his adoptive farther’s eyes would reveal what his words did not. He searched Tenri’s brown eyes, to find nothing but darkness as they finally fell upon him with the weight of his palm meeting Shinya’s shoulder,

“Leave the police to find that boy. It’s their job, not yours, son.”

Shinya’s lips had unintentionally parted for a split second, before he regained composure to a steely expression. A stand-off occurred between their locked eyes, before Tenri coerced a thin lipped smile before walking away, taking another swig of whiskey as he left Shinya with his whirring thoughts. Shinya found himself releasing a breath he knew he was holding as his mind raced with questions. All he knew for certain after the exchange, was that Tenri hardly ever called him ‘son’… unless he needed something.

***

Mitsuba had managed to get the class mates that weren’t involved in the Hiiragi-Ichinose punch up out of their second Saturday detention, but the two involved still had to attend, which was only fair. Concerned there may be another fight between them, Bathory sat in the room with the two. Needless to say, that was an exceedingly boring and awkward day for all three.

Your little escape plan didn’t go unnoticed, either. You, Shinya and Guren were given detention. Again. That whole week before this detention, you didn’t really speak to Ichinose or his friends. Didn’t even look at the two you shared a Saturday detention with. You saw them all around and in your (F/S) and (R/S) classes of course, but anything other than common pleasantries or near surly glances of lavender eyes meeting yours – nothing. That on top of the fact that you hadn’t even seen Yuu. You saw his friends and hung out with them some but… you’d never felt more alone in a crowd before.

You’d caught that pink haired punk eyeing you all up almost curiously once or twice when you were with Yuu’s friends.  And that girl, Yayoi, she seemed to be coming back to herself. When amongst her friends, at least. When it comes to Mika? You were starting to think his sighting was just some cruel farce, having heard nothing since. A heart-wrenching, soul destroying, nothing. It just wasn’t your week.

This week you decided you wanted to focus on lighter things. Or at least things that had the power to take your mind off of it all. That didn’t include talking to Guren’s or Yuu’s group. You thought it would be best for you and for them if you’d kept yourself to yourself. But that didn’t stop you from leaving something at the record’s store anonymously for Yuu’s 16th Birthday… The thought that you wouldn’t be spending it with him had to be shaken off of your thoughts to avoid the painful stab it brought unto your heart.

You found the workload itself tiring but nothing you couldn’t handle as the days flew by. You knew working on school and yourself would do you some good, after all the drama you’ve all been through. Finally, the end of the week came, you were having lunch alone with your notes in the canteen when Mito had skipped by, flattening a poster on your table with force. Your eyes shot up to her grin with a start,

“Halloween party at Shinya’s – you’re coming.”

Her features pulled into a playful smirk. When you’d recovered, you shook your head to shake your confusion,

“I can’t.”

She frowned her rose brows,

“Why not? You haven’t said two words to us for like two weeks!”

Placing her palms firmly to the table with an authoritative flare, and you bit down on your guilty smile, knowing that you haven’t. You said in a small voice, enunciating each syllable,

“In my defense, I didn’t really think you guys wanted me to…”

You flit your eyes from side to side, the thought having crossed your mind a multitude of times. You found you questioned whether the people you’’ve met here were really your friends or just people to pass the time with… the thought saddened you. Mito frowned again and plonked herself on the bench opposite you,

“What made you think that?”

She asked, flabbergasted. You shrugged and she sighed with her the back of her hand supporting her chin,

“Well, you’re wrong, everybody in our group’s cool with you.”

You tucked a stray (H/C) hair behind your ear with a doubtful smile before she’d offered tersely,

“Party – tomorrow night – Shinya’s place – you’re coming.”

Handing you the bright orange, yellow and red poster with grin. Your eyes darted to hers in surprise,

“This says Hiiragi – Shinya? He’s…?”

Your jaw fell slack with the shock and Mito explained candidly,

“He’s adopted, but yea, Shinya’s a Hiiragi. But just because someone’s family sucks doesn’t mean they do – you’re friends with Shinoa, right? She’s their younger sister, not adopted.”

You couldn’t force your mouth shut for a solid thirty seconds before you’d registered her words and assented,

“True.”

You realized that that must have been why Kureto looked to Shinoa to ‘get him out of’ the situation he caused for himself when harassing Yayoi… why Shinya said it was a ‘good thing’ he and Shinoa were at the scene -

“So – party!”

She waved the other flyers around that were in her hand almost impatiently, you couldn’t help but notice the stares you were receiving from arbitrary highschoolers and you huffed. Mito quirked a brow,

“What’s wrong? ‘You really hate parties that much?”

“What? – oh, no, no that’s not –“

You broke off with another sigh,

“People keep staring at me still, apparently.”

You flit your head in the general direction of the sea of eyes, she glanced around to catch a few fleeting glances that shifted immediately when caught.

“I know I was new and all but it’s been like two months.”

Mito shrugged,

“I get stared at a lot but our group’s pretty… uh –“

“Popular?”

You offered, Mito blushed slightly with an awkward smile before you furthered,

“It’s nothing to be embarrassed about, I can see why you’d be popular ‘cause you’re fun and kind – but I guess there are others in your group that are…”

You’d trailed off, biting your lip, not sure how to find the words.

“That are either Goshi or Guren?”

Mito offered with a smirk and you chuckled,

“Basically.”

She giggled with you, having spotted them sat outside by Shinya’s car. Mito started with a smile,

“Goshi’s always been a perverted little weirdo but Guren?”

She exhaled,

“He’s been a mystery that’s for sure.”

You hummed in agreement, fighting the urge to scoff,

“No kidding.”

She allowed a half smile before her eyes trailed and you wondered why she seemed so sad so suddenly. She admitted quietly,

“He wasn’t always like this, though.”

You answered with a perplexed frown until she furthered,

“He was… brighter.”

And suddenly her eyes downcast as she cleared her throat and you reached across the table with your fingertips, only to retract them. You asked softly,

“What happened?”

Her eyes met yours with that look she gave you when you first spoke to one another, when you were looking at one of Mika’s missing person posters. That look of guilt.

“I don’t really wanna talk about it but – something happened that changed us, all of us. But it hit Guren the worst.”

You nodded slowly, absorbing her words like a sponge and she allowed a small smile,

“He used to be a varsity letterman.”

Your eyes shot open – What?! The same Guren that wore torn denim with boots and spikes a like? That smoked? Like a chimney! Mito laughed at your expression before adding,

“Yea he was great at track and basketball, ‘king of the court’ they’d say. All the guys loved basketball and football – Sayuri was a cheerleader.”

With a small nod and with all this information you couldn’t help but want to know more. Couldn’t help but want to know why such a drastic change occurred. You could see it now, Guren with a smile – a real smile – as he donned a letterman alongside Goshi and Shinya, with the girls being shown Sayuri’s cheerleading routine…

“Goshi and Guren were in relationships too, I thought we were all too young for that but, well.”

Like that matters after all we’ve been through, she thought sadly before offering a strained smile.

“I’m sorry, I totally went off on one –“

“No, it’s fine, really –“

You tried to assure, hoping she’d tell you more about them, your curiosity eating away at your insides but she’d hopped up from her seat and was moments from whisking away before she mentioned somberly,

“Oh, I saw that article about your friend, Mika?”

Your eyes saddened and she finished sincerely,

“I really hope they find him, they must be close, I’m sure they will.”

You smiled sweetly to her as she waved,

“You know where we are if you wanna hang before class starts!”

Leaving you to your churning thoughts. It was that moment that you’d spotted your other friends, Yuu’s friends outside, and saw that Yoichi was riding his own bike again.

***

You were shopping with Mitsuba and Shinoa the day of the Halloween party, still deciding whether to go or not, Mitsuba poked her head from behind a changing curtain,

“I think it’d be good for you, take your mind off of everything. ‘Yuu still not talking to you?”

“No…”

You admitted in a small voice and Shinoa had popped out of nowhere from behind you with some costume pieces,

“He’s so stubborn, but he won’t ignore you forever. You’re his family, he loves you.”

Your eyes scanned the varying costume pieces in her arms as she spoke candidly. She reverted back to her mischievous tone,

“Now about this party – you should come, your costume needs to be bitchin’ – and we need to get you laid, Peach.”

She added and the endearment sent your thoughts immediately to Guren before you scoffed with a light dusting of blush upon your cheeks,

“I’m really ok, thanks – and don’t call me Peach!”

“Why? Is that reserved just for a special someone?”

She lay on thickly and you spat,

“No!”

She grinned wickedly as she eyed Mitsuba, drawling out,

“Oh yea! Guren calls you Peach. Mmmm.”

With a sensual hum of approval, making you shift uncomfortably. Mitsuba frowned,

“Shinoa, quit that – “

Your eyes thanked her silently - until she furthered bluntly,

“Even if she had feelings for him, he’ll never go there.”

Before she went back to trying her outfit for the party, you laughed,

“Gee, thanks.”

Feeling about as attractive as a potato. The girls laughed. Mitsuba explained,

“Not that you aren’t a real catch, (Y/N), just he doesn’t do… dating, and I know that’s what you do.”

Mitsuba’s right, you couldn’t bare the thought of anything that didn’t have any real meaning to it, and so hated the idea of a one-night stand. You rolled your eyes with a smile,

“I don’t care, I’m not crushing on anybody right now.”

Mitsuba had emerged from behind the curtain in a sexy (yet somehow still reserved) witch costume with a shrug to brush off the comment before gesturing,

“’I look ok?”

You smiled and Shinoa mocked salivating,

“Ooh Mitsu… I might just jump on you at that party –“

“Cut it out, Shinoa!”

Mitsuba retorted making Shinoa giggle before she turned to you,

“At least try something on, (Y/N), it might help change your mind.”

You turned inward to your own thoughts for a while as they tried on this and that, and quite inexplicably, you thought about Yayoi. How was she? Was she talking again? Did she still leave half of her lunch un-touched? Your lips thinned with these thoughts, as truthfully, you’d had no idea. A sudden wave of shame washed over you, making you flush with embarrassment, a knot in your stomach with a guilt that truly wasn’t meant for you to bear. You’d decided then and there that you wished to see her.

I wonder if she’ll go to this party.

Chapter Text

 “(Y/N)! You made it!”

Mito smiled, her flaming red hair in a high ponytail and her eyes illuminating, clad in a rich purple gypsy costume, her ivory skin glistened and people simply fell at her feet for her attention. She embraced you tightly and you smiled as you broke away, she gave you an elevator look and smirked,

“Nice costume!”

You’d decided to wear a (F/C) you smiled, moments from thanking her when Goshi had scared the living shit out of you both, picking Mito up and spinning her as if she were a feather, she laughed uncontrollably and you smiled to yourself. When he’d set her down with a hearty laugh and she’d punched his arm in jest, you’d gotten a good look at his costume. His mullet was a haphazard of dirty blonde locks and he was roughly painted pea green with purplish hues, fake blood splattered over him and in a shredded white shirt – a zombie. He smiled almost deviously,

“(Y/N), I didn’t think you’d show!”

You smirked, folding your arms as you teased,

“What? Just because I wear a cardigan that means I don’t like to party?”

Mito laughed with a cheer as Goshi chuckled,

“Bitchin’.”

You briefly wondered if you’d see a certain pair of lavender eyes and snapped your thoughts with a mild scoff before Goshi offered,

“’You girl’s wanna drink?”

***

You all drank and danced the night away, guys in toga’s had brought a keg of cheap beer which made it harder for you to try not to drink too much. Goshi encouraged you to chug and slapped your back with a cheer when you’d completed it, encouraging others to cheer as you swiped your lips with the back of your palm with a lazy chuckle.

"SACRIFICE A VIRGIN!"

A toga guy hollered, which had then encouraged the mob to chant the same words and you darted your eyes with a dark frown until you saw Mito's laughing features and you asked,

"What are they talking about?"

Having to fight to be heard over the din, and being lightly shoved as the hoard swarmed passed you and around the party. Mito turned to you with a smile,

"It's this dumb thing the guys do where they choose a girl to throw in the pool."

You frowned until she tried,

"It's actually pretty fun."

You tried to ease your frown but realised you probably just looked uncomfortable and she smirked,

"Don't believe me?"

And you'd seen a dark flash in her purple orbs, sending a fearful jolt of adrenaline through you. You were seconds from holding your hands up when Mito yelled,

"THIS VIRGIN MUST BE SACRIFICED!"

Many snapped their heads towards you in a moment of deafening silence before the mob chanted the new phrase. Mito offered a cheeky smirk,

"Have fun!"

"Mito! No!"

You squeaked before turning to see Goshi's eyes alight whilst he cheered before sweeping you up by the waist with the help of a toga guy, and you found yourself feeling giddy and almost light headed a moment as you laughed protests, Mito held a hand at the side of her mouth to call out,

"That's for not talking to us!"

"Yea stop ignoring us."

Goshi affirmed from under you as he neared the pool's edge and you briefly wondered how safe this actually was, even in the moment. Shinya hollered

"Wait!"

Somehow still sounding even. You shot your head to Shinya's gaze and your heart calmed a moment. That was until he straightened out,

"You forgot the lei."

He reprimanded jovially and your smile dropped before Goshi had to readjust his grip on your waist from laughing,

"And what are you supposed to be?"

As if you weren't dangling from his grasp. Shinya flourished with a graceful sweep of his arms,

"Cn't you tell? I'm Guren. He's the most horrifying thing I could think of."

He smirked proudly at his ripped denim ensemble with red flannel before going in search of the lei to your dissatisfaction, as you thought he was going to save you from this fate. Otherwise you might have laughed at his outfit representing Guren almost perfectly. You were now dangling over Goshi’s shoulder as he jested and feigned launching you into the pool at least three times, somehow making you laugh uncontrollably.

"Sacrifice! Sacrifice!"

The hoard chanted. You'd narrowly missed being thrown into the pool when you heard a familiar voice,

“And you weren’t even gonna wait for me? That’s a new low.”

You all turned to see Guren run a hand through his slicked back locks, clad in a black blazer with the sleeves rolled up and matching slacks holding a white t-shirt. You couldn’t believe how smart it looked despite the punk rock vibe, it suited him. You’d finally been set down as Goshi muttered something under his breath and Sayuri pointed out with a pout,

“You’re late.”

You hadn't even realised she was there, in her sensual bunny outfit. She screamed sexy and sweet. Guren shrugged,

“Yea?”

So? He thought.

“Come get a drink with me.”

She said as she gripped his hand to tug him along and he eyed Goshi with a lighthearted scoff as he had started whooping suggestively at the two. You felt weird about seeing him, having not spoken to him the last two weeks, and a strange pang hit you as he stalked off without saying anything but you were quick to shrug it off. Amongst the screaming and laughter, you’d distantly heard Mötley Crüe’s ‘Shout at The Devil’ being played and instantly thought of Yuu. The light memory of him trying to sway you into buying that new record.

“I need another drink.”

You stated with a sigh making Mito and Goshi laugh before you all went to get another. You distantly wondered why you hadn’t seen Mitsuba and Shinoa yet but thought maybe they were running late like Guren. You were in the kitchen with them when Shinya asked Goshi to hand for help with a passed out Toga guy and Shigure had popped out of nowhere, dressed as a ghost and scaring the living daylights out of you. Mito dragged her away to dance and you were about to join them when you felt two strong hands grip your waist and hot breath clung to your neck as someone whispered,

“Having fun?”

Your head turned as sharply as you could muster in your slight drunken stupor and saw it was Kureto Hiiragi. You flinched some and he chuckled, sliding his hands away as he leaned against the kitchen counter to face you with a taunting smirk. Despite what outwardly passed as charm, his expression made an alarming shiver run through you. You noticed he was in his letterman and remarked in an attempted bored tone,

“I thought this was supposed to be a costume party.”

Refusing to look him in the eye as you poured yourself a drink for something else to do. His chuckle made the hairs on your neck rise and you couldn’t help but scan the room - who is around me that I trust? He lilted suggestively,

“I’m not like everybody else.”

You got that right, psycho. You thought with an internal eyeroll.

“But you’ve blown everybody else’s costume out of the water with that get-up.”

He ran his tongue across his bottom lip as he lazily ran a hand over a loose piece of fabric that hung by your waist. Your heart pumped erratically as you tried to control your breathing, it was constricted by a lump in your throat and an adrenaline-fueled sensation tensing your muscles. An entirely different kind to earlier. You started to sweat when he rose to lean to your ear,

“It’d be a shame for such a pretty costume to get ruined in the pool, you should change.”

You sharply inhaled, swallowing as your form grew rigid as he tucked a stray lock of your hair behind your ear.

“Yuppie scum.”

Guren cleared his throat whilst saying. Your eyes darted to him in a silent cry and Kureto had taken half a step back with an exasperated sigh. Guren held a hand to his chest with mockingly wide eyes as he glanced around as if to say, ‘who could have said that?’ the whole joke wasn’t his usual style. Ordinarily you would have laughed, but you were still paralysed to the spot. Guren’s gaze turned infinitesimally when he’d seen the panic in your eyes. Kureto placed a hand on the small of your back, dangerously low, and you internally winced as he said to your ear,

“See you later.”

Loud enough for Guren to hear before shooting him a malevolent smirk and leaving. You released a shaky breath, unthinkingly leaning into the counter top afore you for support, before managing to collect yourself. Not before Guren noticed though.

“’The hell was that about?”

He questioned as his eyes trailed Kureto’s wake hatefully. You looked to him, when his intense eyes met yours you shook your head with a slight stammer,

“N-nothing.”

You turned to leave, only Guren swiftly caught your wrist lightly, his touch surprisingly gentle. You snapped your gaze back to his and unintentionally snapped,

“What?”

His lips parted for a second before he frowned, facing away from you a moment as he released your wrist.

“Just - watch yourself, ok?”

He said seriously despite his casual demeanour. This rubbed you the wrong way, and you weren’t sure as to why. You scoffed,

“Got it, thanks for the concern.”

His eyes narrowed before he shrugged,

“Fine. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

He deadpanned his face before he turned to leave.

“Some conversation after two weeks.”

You blurted and internally shunned yourself – what the hell was that? He’d stopped in his tracks for a sore moment. He’d turned his head to look over his shoulder as if to speak, but immediately thought better of it as he whisked off. You slapped your forehead and grumbled as you held your head in your hands over the kitchen counter. This party quickly turned sour. Yuu, in Guren’s leather jacket and under a Jason mask, had slid it back atop his hair at the sight of what had occurred and was suddenly less sure about approaching you at that time.

***

Having found Shinoa and Mitsuba, who were dressed as a Devil and Witch respectively and you started dancing altogether. You found yourself feeling a buzz like never before – you’d never drank like this before, but you figured you deserved to dance the night away with your girls. You swayed,

“Shinooaaa, whereis your baathroomm?”

With a slur. Her eyes lidded, she staggered,

“Yeaaa! Comeee –“

She took a year to point forwards and trudge towards the stairs, you woozily followed suit, leaving Mitsuba to dance with some guy in a Jason mask and leather jacket and with Yoichi wrapped in toilet paper as a mummy. You stumbled up the stairs and found the bathroom but had somehow lost Shinoa. You were holding yourself up at the sink for a brief moment, having washed your hands, when a nauseating voice was heard,

“’You ok there, (L/N)?”

You turned to see Kureto leaning against the door frame and adrenaline shot through you painfully, begging your senses to strengthen. Shit, why did I drink so much?! I forgot about this guy being here! You silenced your inner monologue as you attempted to straighten yourself with a flick of your chin,

“I’m perfectly capable and able - capable right now thank you, Hiiragi.”

He laughed as he drew closer, your body was screaming at you to do something – run, cry, anything! The moment he was inches from you, you were backed up against the wall of the bathroom and unthinkingly, you slapped his face as hard as you could muster as you hollered,

“Get away from me!”

The alcohol removing all of your rationality. He forced a chuckle to hide his outrage as he felt his cheek but before you could squirm past, he slammed his hand against your arm and gripped as hard as a vice, eliciting a wince from your lips. His dark eyes ogled your form and tears pricked, you were heart-wrenchingly alone. The last thing your mind registered was how shiny you thought the white tiles were.

***

You peeled open your eye-lids that stuck together like glue as you stretched like a cat, feeling soft sheets beside you. Your eyes shot open with a shot of adrenaline coursing through your veins. You froze. These weren’t your bed sheets. You shot up and immediately regretted it, you groaned as you held your pounding head a moment.

“What the hell happened last night?”

You croaked to yourself whilst biting your nails, your heart racing, a cold sweat peppering your skin. That was when you remembered. Flashes. Your friends, dancing. Kureto, Guren, your friends - More dancing. Drinks. Kureto in the bathroom. You gasped as you held yourself. You were in your own underwear but you were in a guy’s David Bowie t-shirt and grey shorts. What the hell… Please, please no… my own underwear’s a good sign though… right?

But what if.

You felt a hot tear roll down your cheek unwillingly as you hugged yourself, shame racking you in waves.

“You didn’t listen.”

Your doe eyes shot up to source the husky voice and your jaw fell slack when you saw it didn’t belong to Kureto Hiiragi. None other than Guren Ichinose stood with a cold expression and folded his arms, moving to lean against the door frame in royal blue track pants and a sweater,

“I told you to watch yourself and you didn’t. You know what could have happened.”

He lifted off from the frame to stalk further into the room. Your breath caught in your throat, you had so many questions. He had a swollen wheel on his cheek and dried blood on his eyebrow that you knew wasn’t from his costume. He stared into your doe eyes scornfully when he reached the end of the bed,

“If I didn’t save your ass –“

You’d sprung up from the bed and wrapped your arms around his torso, he tried not to stumble back as he gaped in utter surprise. His bright violet eyes flit to the top of your head. As he watched you fight against the tears, his face softened with an imperceptible sigh.

“T-thank you.”

You whispered, ear against his stomach as you held him, clutching onto him like a lifeline. He exhaled lightly with raised brows. After a dumb moment, he lightly rested his arms around your back in return.

***

You wrapped your cold fingers around the mug of hot cocoa eagerly as you peered at Guren, his eyes remained cool and calculating. You crossed your legs on the small sofa and glanced around the near vacuous room with blue hues, save for a coffee table, a record player and some posters here and there…

“Do you live alone?”

You hid your mild surprise at his eyes narrowing with your question. You wondered why he’d react that way… His stance relaxed as if he were bored and you sensed that he did this to hide his feelings on a subject.

“Why don’t you ask me what you really wanna know?”

He asked in a bored tone as he met your gaze again, sitting back on a bright red beanbag opposite where you sat. You drummed your fingers on the mug you were holding before asking,

“What – what happened? The last thing I –“

You frowned in thought,

“The last thing I think I remember is Kureto –“

Just saying his name made you wince. It was then your eyes had found faint bruises along your forearm and your eyes widened. Guren sighed,

“He grabbed you and you must have hit your head. I’d walked in to use the bathroom – he was holding you to him but nothing else happened.”

He recalled, remembering how he’d walked in on him with his hands on you, pinning your limp form against the white wall beside the sink. Mere moments from the unthinkable. Guren felt sick, his vision almost blurred he was so enraged. He’d have gotten more punches in if you weren’t lifeless on the sidelines, slinking to the floor as he’d grabbed Kureto’s collar to land one. He'd yanked him back so hard he tores Kureto's shirt underneath his letterman. He had to compartmentalise - everything felt in slow motion as you sunk to the white tiles and he held Kureto threateningly close to offer a dark murmur, 

“You’re starting to get on my nerves.”

Guren smiled with a dangerous edge, eyes alight with fury. Kureto managed a wicked smile as he'd tried to yank free,

“I could say the same about you.”

He uttered back, Guren was seconds from head-butting him when Sayuri and Shigure had stumbled on the scene, shocked.

“Guren?!”

Sayuri gaped and he shot them a glance,

“Get her out of here! Take her to Shinya and stay there.”

They had a dumbstruck second at the situation before clambering between them to pick you up from the floor, Hiiragi used the moment and wailed on Guren, landing a shovel-hook into his side which offed his balance - they were heading towards the girls by the bathroom sink and Guren attempted to stop them falling into them, resulting in smashing into the bathroom mirror. Kureto's eyes were glowing like that of an animal and Guren could feel broken shards scrape at his skull as he heaved against the broken mirror. He laughed darkly to hide the wince of pain, he moved to shove Kureto off of him when Shigure had suddenly whacked Kureto on the side of his neck at a pressure point – knocking him out cold. Guren’s eyes widened along with Sayuri’s as Kureto’s body fell slack over him.

“Where was that five minutes ago?”

Guren raised his voice an octave, shoving Kureto's sweaty and bloodied form off of him in disgust. Shigure’s lidded eyes were unwavering as she stated monotonously,

“I needed an opening.”

Shortly afterwards, Guren then carried you to Shinya’s car as Shinya drove the two of you. Shinya started,

“You should really get that checked –“

“I’m fine, Sayuri got the last of it out.”

Guren interjected, certain all the glass was out of his scalp.

“You might have a concussion –“

“I said I’m fine, Shinya.”

A quiet moment passed under the dimly lit night as Shinya asked,

“Where are we going?”

Guren’s eyes darted around before he huffed,

“Ah shit… I have no idea. I don’t know where she lives.”

He glanced back at your unconscious form buckled in the backseat and he turned to Shinya,

“She can stay at my place.”

“’You sure?”

“Better my place than yours.”

Shinya sighed, knowing he was right. Shinya held open doors so Guren could carry you inside. Guren laid you gently atop his uniform bed and went to walk away,

“Uh, you can’t leave her like that.”

Shinya reprimanded and Guren shrugged. Shinya rolled his eyes, laying on thick,

“It won’t exactly be Halloween tomorrow –“

“So how should I leave her, then? Doused in garlic to check vampires off the list for tonight?”

Guren asked sardonically and Shinya gave a guttural scoff with his eyes to the ceiling,

“Don’t try to get smart with me, Guren. Just give her something more comfortable to sleep in.”

Shinya stalked off and Guren frowned,

“You’re just gonna leave?”

Shinya called back,

“I'll see you kids on Monday!”

Guren rolled his eyes before turning back to you. Since when did I become a babysitter to everyone?

“Fuck.”

He had whispered to himself. You flushed uncontrollably as you took a sip of your cocoa, listening to Guren’s explanation. He’d thrown a random t-shirt over your head not so gracefully and shimmied your costume off from underneath whilst muttering how weird this was after what had happened that night especially. He grumbled as he yanked some shorts on over you for good measure before throwing the covers over you.

“Dumbass.”

He commented to your unconscious form with a half-hearted grumble before returning with a bucket and glass of water to place beside you. His eyes thoughtlessly traced your sleeping features with a sigh, before leaving with his pyjamas to sleep on the couch. You looked down to the David Bowie t-shirt you’d woken in and bit your lip, seemingly unable to look at the Idiot Ichinose…

Chapter Text

 As Shinya pulled up to where he lived, hairs rose on the nape of his neck. It was eerily silent in the dead of night - there were no classmates in togas running around the front yard, no music that drew Highschool girls into a trance. Merely paper cups that littered the trampled grass and the smell of stale beer. Shinya slid out of his cherry red car, trying his best to shut the door quietly as not to disturb the strangely charged air. He adjusted his Guren costume by shifting in his jean jacket as he enclosed his fingers around the door handle. The door creaked in the silence as he crept in, a soft glow catching his eye. He shut the door with fastidious care before investigating the source of the warm glow, realising it came from Tenri's study across the hall.

"Father?"

He uttered under his breath. Why was he up so late?  Shinya's stomach had curled. When morning dawned, Shinya stepped lithely down the stairs. He stopped in his tracks when he saw Tenri straighten out his meticulous suit along with his posture from in between the bannisters, before Tenri strode out the door. Waiting for the sound of an engine growing distant, Shinya finally made his way to Tenri's study. He unlocked the study with ease, having plucked the key right from Tenri's briefcase before he'd left the breakfast table. In light of needing to be fast, he merely scanned over the pristine desk before gently opening drawers. He happened to know of a locked drawer in which anything important would be kept. He'd heard light thuds above him, and he knew he was running out of time. He whipped out the spare key that 'went missing' three months ago to the locked drawer and shot his head up to the open door of the study, sounds of metal clanging on metal and blood roaring in his ears as he worked the key.

The key was jammed. The light thuds had turned into clear, sharp steps. He worked the key free to try again with a measured breath. Shinya froze as he saw a slither of Seishiro by the door. He dared not breathe. His knuckles were white as his fingers clung to the key in the lock like a vice. Seishiro's back was to him and the study. He'd dazed, looking side to side before moving towards the kitchen with a yawn escaping him. Shinya released his bated breath before finally unlocking the drawer to rifle through an endless ream of papers. Until he finally came across something that he just knew was what he'd been waiting to find. He glanced over the document to quench his curiosity -

'The element of peril from the case accelerates the presumption of death...'

'...Their absence has been continuous and inexplicible...'

Shinya unintentioanlly gaped upon reading the final line,

'It is in the best interests of the people suffering over this case, that I file a petition to have Mikaela Shindo declared legally dead.'

 ***

 “Will I ever stop owing you?”

You remarked. Strangely, he started smirking, as did you. You looked up at his mildly swollen features and you both chuckled softly, before laughing infectiously. It was odd, but it was so nice to just laugh, even if you had every reason not to. When you’d both calmed down, he commented with a wink,

“I’ve gotta have something over you, Peach.”

Back to the playful self he usually displayed around you.

“Your payment can be that I’ll stop yelling at you for calling me that.”

He rolled his eyes,

“You can’t hate it that much.”

 As he rose to make some food. You bit down on your smile. His back was now to you as he rummaged through the kitchenette two steps behind you and you briefly wondered how on Earth he lived in a place this comfortable and this close to the city, by himself. Well he never actually confirmed that... After a comfortable silence, you glanced around again,

“So do you?… Live on your own?”

You asked carefully. His shoulder blades had tensed a moment before answering shortly,

“Yea.”

You nodded slowly, remembering any burning questions you might have had about him. You also knew one wrong move and you risked being thrown out. It was in that moment that you’d noticed the scabbing at the back of his head that congealed few strands of hair and you gasped,

“Oh my god, your head -!”

“I’m fine, ‘Just slipped.”

He shrugged. You rose from your seat on the sofa to where he was stood by the sink,

“What happened?”

You'd asked when you were a mere foot away from his left side. He took a measured breath before turning to you, smirking,

“I underestimated my footing and fell into a mirror.”

It didn’t touch the depths of his eyes. You couldn’t fight the gasp that escaped your lips and his eyes shifted, giving you a curious glance.

“Did you get it checked?”

“No.”

You cocked your brow until he alleviated,

“Sayuri got the glass out, it’s fine.”

With another smirk that you wondered was coerced. Your lips thinned disapprovingly,

“What about signs of a concussion?”

He scoffed a laugh before allowing a light eyeroll,

“You’re starting to sound like Shinya –“

“Answer the question, Guren.”

Your voice held a stern edge with the demand, which made him fight a small smile before he answered,

“No.”

As he propped himself against the sink with his hip, folding his arms with a boyish grin. You raised your brows disapprovingly whilst fighting a smirk, searching his eyes. You lifted your chin as you asked clinically,

“Have you heard a ringing in your ears, been sick or dizzy?”

You listed as he shifted his crossed arms and cocked his head with a smile, he didn’t answer. You quirked your brow once more before humming sarcastically,

“Just what I thought you’d say - nothing.”

Making him chuckle and you couldn’t stop the smile that danced on your lips before you crossed your own arms and flicked your chin towards the sofa,

“Sit down, let me get you food at least.”

***

Yuu held his forehead in his hand a moment, the Jason mask in his other hand as he inspected it. He was reflecting upon the events of last night whilst sat atop his dingy bed, in nothing but the jeans he wore at last night's party, a dull ache in his heart to accompany his hangover. He found himself nearly growling whenever he thought of you and every single opportunity he'd missed upon talking to you again. He flung the mask across the room, only for it to smack into his meagre record collection. Tape after tape littered around the collection from when he'd wake early on a Sunday especially, just to tape music on them. Though, that's not what caused his eyes to glass over. He ignored the stiffness in his limbs as he trudged over to it. He held the record with his fingertips with a sharp stab to his heart, remembering the moment he'd received the record.

He was propped against the racks of records in the back of the store, smacking his head against the rack as he held this record. He slid to the dank wooden floor, fighting the chocking sob in his chest.

"Careful, if you keep hitting your head like that you won't have any brain cells left."

Yuu swiped his arm across his face with a sardonic snort. After a moment Guren leant against the rack opposite,

"Why are you moping?"

Yuu rolled his great emerald eyes in the silence, his face still half turned from Guren as he bit back,

"Shouldn't you be serving customers right now, wastoid?"

In spite of the desired effect, Guren chuckled.

"I'm on break, Narumi's out front."

"We must be busy if we're all here today."

Yuu commented with a rasped voice.

"I got him to cover us."

Guren stated, causing Yuu to finally look up at him, bemusement drawing his jet black brows together as Guren furthered with a shrug,

"It's your Birthday."

As if he needed reminding. Yuu turned to the record in his hands, resisting the urge to trace the lines of the triangle upon it's cover in front of Guren.

"Didn't like your anonymous gift?"

Guren gestured to the record with a frown and Yuu's lips thinned as he rested it atop his thighs,

"No asshole, that's not it."

Yuu's eyes found the record again and stated,

"It's hardly anonymous. (y/n) gave it to me."

Guren fought a small smile as he asked,

"How'd you know?"

"It's Pink Floyd. Our song is on here. It was our song when we were kids - me, Mika, Akane and (y/n). 'Wish You Were Here'..."

How ironic it seems now, Yuu thought dully. He allowed the smallest of smiles as he recalled,

"It came out in '75 and almost since then, I fell in love with it."

With a weak laugh. His heart had grown heavy from the memory alone. No more Akane, no more Mika. No more (y/n). Wish you were here. A silent tear rolled down Yuu's cheek in the silence, Guren's smile gone. 

"Why does it hurt so damn much all the time?"

Yuu whispered, barely audible. He took a deep breath before asking more clearly,

"Is it always this hard?"

In the silence, Guren had taken some steps closer, crouching to Yuu's level sat on the floor.

"No. That's not to say it gets any easier, but there are times you can forget about it all."

Guren pat his shoulder with a strong palm as Yuu's eyes lidded almost in defeat.

"Come on, Kid. Let's do something. Before you start bumming me out."

Eliciting a small laugh from Yuu. Before Guren cheered him up with some skateboarding and beers with the guys...

Yuu was brought back to his current thoughts as he gently placed the record back, with a silent vow to see you. Today.

***

He panted heavily, gripping onto his arm tightly with a sharp wince. His frantic eyes darting from side to side, hot blood oozing between the cracks of his fingers as he dragged himself further down the vacuous road. Heart pounding against his rib cage as if to shatter the bones, beads of sweat peppering his forehead, clouding his vision. His muscles screaming at him to collapse. He couldn’t. He had to get there. His life depended on it. So did the lives of the people he cared for most in this fucked up world. He finally found the door and anxiously flit his gaze to ensure for the sixty fifth time that he wasn’t being followed. He barely landed his hand on the door when he slumped to his knees. The door swung open shortly after, causing him to release his grip on his near fatal wound to catch himself from falling face first onto the wooden floor. His breaths were shaky as he tried to peer up at the panic-stricken face of his family. Yuu’s bright green orbs glistened with a sharp intake of breath,

“Mika?”

***

"Can I ask... That time I walked into class with Mr. Bathory, when you were fighting... Him -"

You recoiled into your prior seat and wrapped your arms around yourself before continuing,

"I wanted to ask who Mahiru was."

You said carefully, remembering Goshi reluctantly mentioned the fight had something to do with this person. Guren's eyes flit infinitesimally, but you noticed. He shifted in the bean bag opposite you before his cold eyes turned to you and you felt your stomach curl. His gaze burned and your instincts told you to recoil from the intimidation, but you held your ground in the painful moment. He released his intense gaze on you as his eyes found the floor with a pained sigh. However, in that moment, Guren's landline phone rang. He held your eyes with his steely expression as his lavender eyes met yours again before he rose to answer it at the wall. As soon as he stood your chest didn't feel so tight, there was such a mystery and depth to him. And this Mahiru had a lot to do with it. He faced away from you to answer the phone at the wall,

"Yup."

"GUREN! Thank fuck!"

Guren ripped his ear from the phone with a grunt before drawing it closer again,

"What the hell?"

He barked before hearing,

"Guren please, it's important -"

It was Yuu, and his voice held a hysterical oscillation. Guren held the phone more tightly as he spared a glance your way with furrowed brows, satisfied that you were glancing idly around the room as Yuu explained,

"It's M- A friend! I need help - he's hurt really bad but he won't let me get help, I don't understand why but - I don't know what to do -"

"Alright, give me 10."

He stated before hanging up. You gazed up, 

"Everything cool?"

"Bitchin'"

He noted sardonically, earning an eye roll from you with thinned lips, before he plastered on another smirk,

"I gotta be somewhere, d'ya know your way home, Peach?"

Your brows knit together,

"I don't even know where we are."

Although you knew it was somewhere near the heart of Nagoya, having heard the buzz of people and several cars nearby also being fair indicators.

"You're a smart girl, just take my bike and work it out – and before you say anything, yes the bike is mine… now at least anyway."

He stated with a shrug as if it were obvious. Your jaw dropped before he left to grab his jacket. Seriously? You snapped your mouth shut, waiting for him to come back to state,

"I am not going to ride your bike home in this."

Gesturing to your attire of his David Bowie T and grey shorts emphatically before raising your voice an octave,

"Imagine what people would think when they see me riding your bike from your place - wearing this."

"I imagine somewhere along the lines of you already riding my bike."

He smirked darkly, laying it on thick to disgust you. You made a guttural sound as you frowned. 

"You’re disgusting. And what is it with you and bikes?"

You grumbled. He didn't answer, merely yanked on a black bomber jacket over his tracksuit with an impish grin. You couldn't help but assume they were his pyjamas as he never usually wore this to school. To your surprise, it actually suited him. It was then you’d remembered your conversation with Mito in the cafeteria as she handed you a flyer for the Halloween party…

He used to be a varsity letterman... he was great at track and basketball, ‘king of the court’ they’d say...'  She'd said.

Is it his old tracksuit? You pondered.

"Stop staring at me, your making me nervous."

He mocked with a voice of velvet and you gaped a moment with a light dusting of blush upon your soft cheeks as he chuckled. You folded your arms,

"Keep dreaming, Ichinose."

He smiled, giving you an elevator look before he stated,

"Look if you really don't wanna ride outta here, just call Shinya you lazy ass."

"You're one to talk, wastoid."

You quipped and he smirked as he strode over to give you a small slip of paper with a number on it and you rose from your seat to meet him halfway. As he handed you the slip between his fingers, he slid a hand behind your back and drew so close so fast you had to catch your breath.

"Now get out of my house - the neighbours might think."

He whispered to your ear seductively, making you blush again with a faltering laugh. You could smell his cologne and you swallowed before ripping away with a mild scoff in jest, unable to find any words to speak as you stalked away,

"I'm not leaving without cleaning these plates."

He frowned with a smile, barely stifling a chuckle,

"What?"

"You heard me, Ichinose. I can’t leave this place in the state it’s in."

His frown deepened but his smile widened for a dumb moment. 

"Well as long as you don’t think I’ll pay you for it."

He commented but didn't stop you as he turned to the door,

"Make sure you shut the door, I don't wanna get robbed."

You smiled to yourself with a small shake of your head as he left, piling the crockery next to you as you started to wash out the cup you used. He popped his head back in suddenly making you spin around, thinking someone had just randomly opened the door. He smirked,

“Oh and thanks for making food.”

Before closing the door again and you bit your lip to hide your smile at his bizarre behaviour…

 

Guren broke into a run when he was out of sight from his apartment, he bounded for Yuu's down the road with panted breaths, I should really quit smoking if I don't wanna die after two steps, he thought as he ran. He held his knees as he regained his breath when outside Yuu's. He offered a half-hearted salute to the boy on the paper route, whose bemused gaze never left Guren's. He huffed once more before collecting himself to go inside. The door wasn't locked. As his fingertips reached the handle, he heard a bloodcurdling cry and recoiled, his hand flying to his chest. After a moment he burst in,

"What in the hell was - oh, shit."

He groaned as he saw Yuu with his hands interlocked by his mouth as he watched Mika, who was laying on the sofa and covered in a thick, clammy sweat. Bleeding out from his arm...

 

You were rinsing out the mug at Guren's kitchen sink when you realised how weird this was... You were in Guren Ichinose's apartment. In his clothes. He just left you to leave but also didn't shove you out... You can't snoop, he'd kill you. You claimed to yourself, silencing any thoughts that said otherwise. You bit your lip, you were very curious as to what the mysterious, cold, bonafide rebel has to hide.

You couldn't help but overthink the whole scenario. You rolled your eyes to yourself. You bit your lip again with curiosity as you glanced around the spacious room, glancing at the record player.

"I wonder what music he listens to."

You said aloud as you skipped over towards it, I mean he does work at a records store, he clearly likes music. You flicked through his impressive array of varying records in a cabinet by his record player.

"Ooh Frankie Goes to Hollywood!... 'Welcome to the Pleasure Dome'? Dubious."

You commented to yourself with an immature giggle before popping it on, the opening chords to 'The Power Of Love' soon chiming in your ears as you remembered,

"Oh I should probably make up the bed."

It's the very least I could do after everything he seems to keep doing for me... You fluffed the sheets and pillows, smoothed them out and wondered to yourself why you felt a strange sensation in your stomach, is this weird? When you really thought about it, it didn't feel weird at all... But it should feel weird.

 

Mika wheezed a breath before asking with a strenuous effort,

"Where's... (Y/N)?... I want... To see H-her."

Yuu ran a shaky hand through his hair, twitching on the balls of his feet as Guren had finished patching up Mika's arm,

"Better question - what the hell happened?"

Guren demanded coolly with a final twist of his makeshift tourniquet, earning a glare from Yuu. Guren had a firm enough grip on Mika's forearm that he did not need to force it back behind his head to raise it above his heart.

"What are you doing?"

Yuu asked whilst fighting the temptation to bite his nails. Guren said clinically,

"Slowing the bleeding. This tourniquet won't last forever. I give it two hours before the real damage kicks in."

Yuu gaped slightly, having no idea Guren knew so much.

"I g- argh... guess calling-g you was a - good idea."

Mika winced with a strenuous smile. Guren met his gaze with eyes of steel,

"You mind telling us what happened?"

Unable to hide his sarcastic flare. Oddly, Mika tried a smirk before he strained a groan. After a calculated silence, he answered,

"I can't..."

"Can't remember?"

Yuu offered, but in Mika's uneasy breaths he peeled open his beautiful blue eyes and directly looked at Guren. Guren's lavender eyes pierced through,

"Thats not what he meant. He can't tell us."

"What?! That's crazy?! First you say we can't take you to a hospital - and won't tell us why, then you won't even tell us what happened?!"

Yuu started with a raised voice before he took Guren's place and knelt beside Mika's face,

"Mika... Please."

He pleaded in a quiet voice. Mika smiled gently, weakly reaching out his fingertips to rest his cold fingertips on Yuu's cheek,

"Yuu... I need you t- to trust... Me."

He strained, eyes locked onto Yuu's before he coughed violently down his chest.

"Put your arm back."

Guren ordered, Mika slowly complied. Guren's steely expression remained, but his mind raced. This is so fucked.

 

You hummed along to the next track of the record as you picked up your costume from the floor - you fought a lump in your throat at the memory of the night before but shook off the branded sight of Kureto's malicious eyes. You threw on your shoes and didn't bother changing from Guren's clothes... Do I really wanna be caught with his clothes on? But then I should really wash them to be polite... And then give them to him Monday right in front of all his friends - good plan! You rolled your eyes with a scoff. Since when did everything need a micro analysis? As you'd rolled your eyes, they'd landed atop a small piece of paper atop the other side to Guren's bed and you cocked your head before peeking over to see it was a photograph. You shuffled around the bed to peer at it.

You recognised almost everyone there; Goshi didn't have a goatee which looked almost foreign to you, but not as foreign as him wearing the highschool's letterman. Mito's rose hair was considerably shorter and she was under his arm. Shinya didn't look any different at all which made you chuckle. Shigure wasn't even looking to the camera and Sayuri looked to her with confusion but the most dumbfounding image in the photo was Guren. He wore a smile. Whilst donning a letterman and in the tracksuit you'd just seen him in. His arm over the shoulder of a beautiful girl. If her age and voluptuous form didn't give her away, you would have thought the girl to be Shinoa. It's as if your gut instinct kicked in as you whispered,

"You must be Mahiru?"

 

Mika had slowly closed his eyes again and sunk further into the patchy sofa. Yuu's mind was racing with his heart, feeling so much at once. His best friend, his family was finally back... But he was in a terrible state, and he had so much that he wanted to hide from him. Yuu couldn't think as to why. He came back brutally wounded, cold, his breaths faltering.

"So, literally no one else knows he's here, correct?"

Guren asked. Yuu merely nodded. Guren glanced back at the unconscious blonde and crossed his arms,

"He can't stay hidden forever."

"He was Goddamn missing for long enough."

Yuu rebuked. Guren eyed him and he sighed after a heated moment,

"So, what now?"

Guren looked over at the blonde boy once more. Yuu started,

"I wanna know why he came back if he's so bunged up over not wanting to be seen."

His hand at his chin. Yuu furthered with nod and a deepset frown,

"After that?"

But Guren's eyes didn't leave the sleeping boy's form. He stated evenly,

"And then we judge whether it’s a reason good enough not to take him to the authorities.”

***

Shinoa decided to work on the yearbook to fight the hangover from the Halloween party the night before, so she idly spread out the various snap shots over her bedroom dresser, contented taht she'd finally developed the negatives. A smile lit her features at the memories they'd already made, coming across a snap shot of Yuu on his skateboard and (y/n) with Mitsuba outside the movie theatre - The warm feeling Shinoa had felt through to her fingertips had turned cold, her breath catching in her throat. She hastily gripped at the photo as if not trusting her eyes, to inspect the image more closely. She searched around her room for an answer to whether she should feel relieved or horrified, for in the background of the photo was Kureto gripping Yayoi.

 

 

***BONUS SCENE***

 

You gave one last look around the apartment, hoping he didn’t notice how much you actually tidied, down to straightening the posters that hung slightly crooked. God I’m such a freak, you thought awkwardly before finally calling Shinya. You waited with the dial tone as your fingers traced the wire of the phone.

“Hello?”

Your heart dropped to your stomach in a faltered breath as you slammed the phone back to the cradle on the wall. You sighed in defeat, when will I stop reacting like this to his voice? You’d forgotten Shinya was a Hiiragi, Of all the people to answer, though. You decided to wait at least ten to fifteen minuets to at least blame a fault with the line and if it were… him again… You took a deep breath as you dialled, almost biting your nails as the line rang.

“Hello.”

You chewed on your bottom lip. His voice was noticeably less patient, what if he knew it was me?

“Hello, may I speak with Shinya Hiiragi?”

You tried a velvet tone with just enough steel to sound business like, despite your shaking limbs.

“May I ask what business you have with my brother?”

He asked with an intentionally intimidating voice and you took a deep breath away from the phone before adding in your lilt,

“Of course. I’m Stephanie, a scout for JIDA college and would like to discuss his options.”

“Wow, JIDA?”

He nearly scoffed and you grit your teeth with a strained hum of assent before he added,

“Do scouts often call –“

“We can, please may I speak with Shinya Hiiragi?”

Your patience now waning. He sighed before answering,

“Sure, hold on.”

Well obviously, you thought with exasperation as he called Shinya distantly. You weren’t waiting long when you heard a chirpy version of Shinya’s dulcet tones,

“Hello, I’m very excited that you’ve called –“

“I’m gonna stop you there, Shinya, it’s me (Y/N).”

You interrupted, hearing an audible sigh,

“Oh.”

You bit your lip,

“I’m sorry, Shinya I couldn’t think and I didn’t want to talk to him.”

He nodded though you couldn’t see,

“That’s alright, I understand.”

“Thanks.”

He allowed a smile and small chuckle,

“If anything, it’s amusing to see him jealous that I got a call from a JIDA scout.”

You allowed a bright smile as you both tried to stifle a chuckle. After a moment you sighed,

“Shinya, can I ask a huge favour?”

He raised his brows, curious,

“What do you need?”

You hesitated, guilt creeping in as you asked,

“Please can you drive me home from Guren’s?”

You realised how ridiculous you felt asking this of him, especially after all he’d done for you without you hardly knowing him nor doing anything in return. Despite this thinking, he smiled a knowing smile,

“Let me guess, you’d like to avoid as much neighbourly speculation as possible?”

He knew if it weren’t for his adoptive brother’s actions, you wouldn’t be there in the first place. You found you couldn’t answer as he offered a small chuckle,

“That’s fine, I’ll see you soon.”

Before he hung up. You made sure you’d gathered all your belongings and waited by Guren’s window, briefly wondering if you’d left anything or whether if anything was remotely out of place. The photo of Guren's group flashing in your mind, your curiosity on Mahiru flaring.

 

Chapter Text

That following Monday after all that had happened, it felt like something changed. You couldn’t point as to what. It was as if every now and then, the feeling that you'd missed a step would reside in your stomach. Then you'd shake the feeling away again. You'd noticed Yuu hadn't shown up to school and realised it was the first time he hadn't since your first day, when he was late and smoking during first period. You bit your lip at how different things were then to now, you'd never expected to be friends with someone like Goshi let alone Guren. Yet here you are. And no Yuu. Shaking your head, you smoothed out the small note in your fingertips that read,

'Meet me at the entrance to the Highschool when school's out. It's important. - Shinoa'

You turned your back to your locker as you pushed up against it with a sigh. Everything flew at a thousand miles a minuet, you were winded. When you'd managed to dull your racing thoughts, you straightened out your neat and soft cardigan amongst the buzzing corridor. You were making your way to meet with Shinoa just down the hall, when you were blocked by three girls out of nowhere. A tall, voluptuous blonde and her posse. All in cheer leading gear with big hair - you fought the urge to roll your eyes. Then you internally shunned yourself - wasn't i just thinking about how wrong i was to judge Goshi and Guren's appearances, when i'd first met them? Your eyes flit from side to side in confusion as they held their stances, jaws locking.

"Uhhm, excuse me, I need to get passed."

You said finally, an edge of sarcasm to your voice. Until the blonde in the middle piped indignantly,

"Hiname here says she saw you leaving Guren's apartment on Saturday... In his clothes."

You fought the blush that dusted your cheeks, I knew someone would see dammit. Trying not to feel the flood of shame wash over you, you shrugged,

"He helped me out -"

"I'm sure he did."

The girl interrupted snidely with a smile. Nevermind - these cheerleaders suck and you frowned, but out came a chuckle,

"You don't know the first thing about what happened."

A flash of Kureto's malicious eyes in your mind made you cringe. Her smile flattened as her jaw locked again, tapping her front toe in her pristine white sneakers. The girls that flanked her seemed to eye the other with uncertainty. In that moment, Yoichi had passed you with a beaming smile. You smiled back, returning his wave as he asked,

"We're going to the arcade later if you wanna come?"

Before you could respond, the blonde had turned with her palm up,

"Can it, dweeb."

You missed the slight gloss over Yoichi's eyes as he shrunk his hand back, because your scorching eyes had flared towards her. You were moments from biting down on the trigger of your tongue, before the blonde stated amidst the bustle of the corridor,

"Either way, you should stay away from Guren, for your sake. He's a heart breaker."

She stated evenly, her chin held high. You gave a sardonic snort as you blurted,

"I think I can handle an idiot."

This seemed to be the final straw for her, as she held her hips,

"I don't like your attitude."

You're one to talk! I don't even know who you are!  You hollered internally. You knit your brows,

"And that's my problem because...?"

Making her mouth gape before you enunciated,

"If you'll excuse me."

You had to push passed as they wouldn't move. You grumbled to yourself, trying to stay cool at their ridiculous attitude. You'd noticed Yoichi had stuck around, a shy smile gracing his features and you gently punched his shoulder,

"I'll see you at the arcade if i make it, Yo."

He beamed an 'ok!'  but you'd stopped in your tracks and turned back to Yoichi's bemused, bright hazel orbs. You fought back a laugh as you gently spun him around to tear off a piece of paper from the back of his sunset orange gele that had read 'kick me!' He offered a nervous chuckle whilst scratching his head as you'd turned him back around by his shoulders, waving the paper afore his eyes. The cheerleaders glared and muttered amongst themselves whilst they watched you walking away. You knew you still got looks from around the school when you were with Guren's whole group but this? The blonde girl called after you but you'd ignored her. You bit your lip, probably going to have to watch your back now. As if I needed that.

"That was quite a show."

You stopped in your tracks once more - can't a girl catch a break and reach the end of the hall? - as you turned to the lockers on your right to see a smirking Guren leant against them. Once again clad in his sleeveless denim jacket and white T, a dark blue flannel shirt hugging his waist. Only this time he had a swollen weal on his cheek, you fought the urge to bite your lip at the thought of his head wound.

"I thought you'd taken the role of my knight in shining armour?"

You jested as you eyed his attire, and he laughed as he leapt off the lockers with a shrug,

"You didn't need my help."

"True, but don't tell me it wasn't 'cause you were just being a lazy ass."

You both laughed.

"How's your head?"

You asked as he glanced back at the girls muttering as they looked over at the two of you. Suddenly his eyes grew mischievous and you were about to ask why, until he landed an arm around your shoulders and drew you close from under his arm. The action was so fast you fell into his side and huffed,

"Guren?! What are you doing?!"

Indignantly and he only laughed. You peered over your shoulder, from under his bare arm, to see the girls gape in horror at you - under his lean and muscly form. You gingerly hit his side and he laughed a feigned wince as you scorned,

"Now they definitely won't believe me! What are you trying to pull? Idiot Ichinose. People are gonna start staring - God you're such a jackass. Just let go of me-"

"Are you done?"

He asked nonchalantly as you'd both started walking down the hall, you’d stopped struggling under his arm. You sighed in a deep exasperation before tensing as you saw you were indeed receiving looks from the sea of eyes all around the hall. You swore you were so red you looked like a lobster.

"Why are you trying to humiliate me?"

You asked to the floor with a groan. He smiled as he asked in a voice of velvet,

"Are you saying your ashamed to be seen with me?"

Before you released a bubbled chuckle,

"I hate you."

He chuckled. You peeled your gaze from the floor, from those around you to peer at him. Why is he doing this?  Your mind raced with the possible motives a moment before you realised. Of course... he's saying i should care less. People will always make their own insinuations. 

In that moment he'd smirked down to you, seeing your form relax and you tentatively wound an arm around his waist with a goofy smile. You held your head a little higher and couldn't help but laugh with him as you ignored everyone's gaping stares. One of which came from a Hiiragi you've yet to meet. You thought how comfortable you were, laughing and joking with him, until you'd reached the end of the hall. Mitsuba and Shinoa had silenced your thoughts, their expressions almost as confused as everyone else's. This was the trigger for you being pulled back down into feeling flustered again. Shinoa gave a knowing smirk as she asked seductively,

"Excuse me, Guren - but can we steal her away for a moment? (Y/N)'s supposed to meet us after all."

Her hands behind her back innocently, slightly exposing the swell of her cleavage from under her lilac sweater. Guren looked down to you with a sly smirk and you peered back, unable to find words at that moment. FLASH. Your eyes darted to Shinoa's camera lense. Oh shit. You swore her laugh grew more and more evil each second.

"Shinoa!"

You whined, Mitsuba just rolled her eyes as she opened her compact to check her lipstick, already used to Shinoa's antics. Guren finally released you and you smacked his arm, only for him to laugh. Smacking his arm was like smacking a rock. Shinoa sighed emphatically,

"That's gonna come out great! I’m really excited for this year’s yearbook!"

She had quite the collection of photos of everyone now. Her laughter continued as some jocks wearing the wrestling uniform had walked passed, offering fearful glances at Guren before continuing quickly. You glanced at Guren, his smile lighting his features as he laughed. How could they be afraid of him? Maybe it was just his popularity that aided his reputation. You yourself initially assumed he was some deviant. Then there was Mito telling you how he used to be a varsity letterman, King of the Court... How does that fit the Guren you know? You could feel yourself trying to think, how well do I really know him, if at all? It was that moment that your smile had faded, that feeling that you'd missed a step having returned to curl your stomach.

***

Yuu tried handing Mika an apple, but his eyes glazed over as if he was somewhere else. Yuu's heart was in near palpitations,

"Mika, you haven't touched any food -"

"Not Hungry."

He interjected dully. 

"Or water, either."

Yuu finished, patience wavering in his tone of voice. When Mika had refused to shift his distant gaze in the strenuous silence, Yuu felt an uncomfortable swelling sensation in his chest, his voice reaching an octave of desperation,

"Look, you've gotta give me some answers here, Mika."

He began waving his hands, 

"I mean you just show up here out of nowhere - where have you been? for months - and you show up like you've been shot or something, not eating, not talking - what are we gonna do about your arm?"

Unable to articulate his whirlwind of emotions as his hand shot to the tourniquet that Guren fashioned. He tried calming his voice,

"You know i'd never rat you out if something went down while you were gone, man."

As he crouched to Mika's eye level, Mika finally having shifted his watery gaze to Yuu.

"But you gotta throw me a bone here. What can I do to help?"

When Mika's eyes shifted to life, Yuu waited with bated breath for an answer in a tense silence. He offered,

"You wanted to see (y/n), right? - we had a fight but -"

"What?"

Mika asked in a rasped voice, Yuu ran a hand through his jet black locks with agitation,

"I know, but I was trying to work on it - i know how much she'd wanna see you too -"

"I can't, Yuu."

Mika interrupted quietly, his head somehow hanging even lower. Yuu stopped his rambling with a heavy heart as he matched Mika's tone softly,

"Why not?"

Mika's azure orbs finally looked to Yuu as he croaked,

"I've already put you in danger. And that friend of yours. I know what I said, but I can't see her if I want her safe."

A ghost of a tear rolled down Mika's ashen cheek.

"Then I can't either."

Mika frowned before Yuu elaborated,

"She knows me too well. It was bad enough trying to figure out how to hide from her before all of this."

With a burning sensation in his chest, Yuu gestured to Mika's blood soaked form. Mika peeled his gaze away again before adding,

"I'm sorry, Yuu."

In a controlled tone. Yuu shifted, he didn't sound like himself. He scrutinised Mika's very being before correcting himself - Not the way I remembered. 

*** 

"So why did you want to see me?"

You asked with a smile, folding your hands at your lap as you sat upon the bleachers at the high school football pitch. Having satiated your desires of soaking in the afternoon sun, you'd finally asked why Shinoa left the cryptic note in your locker, Mitsuba had even left. So it was just the two of you now. Your smile faltered some as you noticed her usual mischievous flare had dimmed as she sighed.

"Shinoa?"

You tried, and said nothing as she riffled through her bag, carefully unveiling a folder. You took your eyes off of her in the hopes the folder's contents would enlighten you as she unfolded it upon her lap. They were photos, presumably for the year book. Your frown flit to her again, but her eyes were glued to the photos in her hands. She gently shuffled through them before plucking one from the neat pile, and handing it to you,

"I found this yesterday morning."

The seriousness of her tone sounded foreign to your ears coming from Shinoa. You threw one more cautious glance her way, but her eyes were now watching the horizon. You scanned over the photograph. It was a photograph of you and Mitsuba, talking outside the movie theatre as Shinoa took photos. You smiled, 

"You were right Shinoa, the natural photos are the best kind."

The memory filling your heart. You took a sharp breath at remembering Yoichi and Yuu where there, riding and skating around the road. You allowed a small chuckle upon remembering Yoichi had to borrow his cousin's bike that day because Guren previously stole his for you to get home safely. Shinoa had remained silent. As you inspected further, you realised why. Your heart leapt to your throat as you saw who was in the background, dread shooting through you as your throat felt deprived of any air. It wasn't Yoichi or Yuu, but across the street in the alley between the hardware store and the bar, Kureto had a grip on Yayoi, it was slightly blurred, but there was certainly a hand on her arm... her face - the look on her face made you want to weep. You only realised your hand had crept over your mouth when you spoke,

"Oh..."

Silence pervaded the solemn air for a moment until Shinoa voiced evenly,

"I honestly don't know what to do."

"Shinoa... the police need to see this."

You shook your head with a quiet voice. She must know that though... there must be something else.

"Unless - this can't be that black and white or you would have done that already."

"Exactly."

Shinoa added. Your mind cast back to that day, when you all circled Kureto and Shinoa was dumbstruck. She was torn, you realised. She finally looked at you,

"Do you know who my father is, (y/n)?"

You searched her amber eyes before shaking your head slowly. She explained,

"In short, he's a very powerful man, and holds influence over the papers the police..." 

"That's why you don't want to take it to the station."

You finished. Her lips thinned sadly and your eyes glanced at the photo, remembering how when you'd served your first Saturday detention ever the day after. Kureto was there. He had smiled and waved to you and Guren before entering the high school, as if triumphant. He wasn't even detained for what had almost happened...

"We can't do nothing. If we do nothing, we accept what he did -"

"But if we do something, we might be worse off."

Shinoa interjected evenly. She's right. From the sounds of her father, and how Kureto got off Scott free upon the event, even despite witnesses... 

"What do you suggest?"

You asked. She held herself straighter,

"I came to you because I know you have a good heart. You're smart and you're not as naive as Yuu. Most importantly, I trust you."

She turned to you earnestly, 

"I was hoping you could tell me."

Your thoughts whirred in your mind once again as you found your footfalls were aimless upon the grass, the pavement, the parking lot. You'd finally snapped back to reality when you noticed Shigure and Sayuri across the lot. Shigure's stony features barely shifted upon recognising you, she offered a nod in your direction when your gazes locked however. Sayuri turned to see you and offered a half-hearted smile. You bit your lip before walking over. There was an awkward air a moment as Sayuri tucked a stray lock of caramel hair behind her ear, hugging her yellow jumper to her chest with her spare arm. Until you cleared your throat to shake the tension, and uttered earnestly,

"Guren told me what you did to help."

You saw in the slight shift of their eyes that they knew you were referring to the Halloween Party.

"I know we aren't close, I just wanted to say thank you."

Shigure offered the ghost of a smile as you looked Sayuri dead in the eye,

"Thank you for getting the glass out of Guren's wound, he could have been much worse off without you."

Offering a smile that she reciprocated to your surprise. As your gaze returned to Shigure, a thought flashed in your mind, having remembered what had happened.

"Shigure, this might sound odd, but how many self defence techniques do you know?"

***

On your walk home that evening, It was as if your mind fought against any difficult thoughts, so you were comfortably numb. Until you’d walked passed the record’s store with a sharp stab to your heart. You sighed and walked on down the near deserted street. You were reaching the nearby bookstore when you’d heard a small yelp. Your eyes darted around the corner to see a small girl you thought you’d recognised. Her face was covered by a small hand, rose locks obstructing her face from view also as she wept in the alley between the bookstore and the antique store. She held an almost angelic quality as the setting sun created a halo upon the crown of her head from behind her. You approached carefully, with a soft voice,

“Hey, what’s wrong?”

As you rounded the corner you saw a broken doll on the concrete floor beside her and she wept into her hands harder.

“Hey, it’s ok, let me help you.”

You cooed as you knelt in front of the beautiful, sad little girl who you’d still failed to place. Her little hands peeled from her big, doe eyes and she sniffled, watching the shards of the doll's face as she said,

“They hurt her.”

You eyed the broken doll and said softly to the little girl,

“I’m sure we can fix that. But first, you need to tell me where we can find your parents.”

Suddenly, the little girl’s face had scrunched as she started weeping harder. You took a sharp breath and wondered if she was just like you. Suddenly she ran into your arms and you held her protectively,

“Shh, come on, it’s alright.”

Cradling her in a gentle embrace as if she were as delicate as bone china. The girl's skin was cold, you wondered how long she’d been here all alone. You eyed the police station and pulled away from the little girl to say,

“Can you tell me your name?”

“My name is Mirai.”

She sniffled as she finally looked at you through the tears. You nodded with a reassuring smile,

“What a pretty name.”

She allowed a small smile before you said,

“Mirai, we need to go to the Police station to get some help, ok?”

She nodded,

“Ok.”

You smiled,

“Ok, let’s go.”

You reached for her hand and she took it, her spare hand wiping tears away. You had crossed the way to reach the police station and walked in to see that pink haired punk, Kimizuki, tearing his hair out. His fists balled into his hair as he sat in defeat. That was when you remembered seeing him at the arcade with her some time ago.

“Shihou?”

Her little voice lilted, he visibly tensed still before his head whipped to where you both stood. He shot up and swept to you, immediately sweeping the girl into a tight embrace,

“Don’t ever do that to me again.”

He strained and she released your hand to wrap her small hands round his shoulders. You smiled at the tender moment. He rose, refusing to let go of her hand as his tired eyes met yours sincerely with furrowed brows,

“Where was she?”

You’d explained what had happened and he sighed before stating sincerely,

“Thank you. What’s your name?”

“(Y/N).”

He nodded with a deep frown, looking to his little sister before returning to look at you,

“I don’t know what I would have done if it wasn’t you to find her.”

His voice cracked and your heart stung for them both, sensing he’d been out there for hours without realising she was only across the road from the station. You nodded with a reassuring smile, before you said,

“Her doll, maybe you guys can choose a new one together?”

Offering a wink to Mirai, who smiled in awe. Kimizuki smiled to his little sister and it was a welcomed sight. He allowed a small smile to you,

“That sounds like a good idea.”

You’d waved them off, Mirai waving enthusiastically with her little thank yous and Kimizuki actually smiling in relief. You briefly turned to see the Police notice board had missing posters, but there wasn’t one of Mika. Your brows furrowed but brushed off the thought, they must have notice boards everywhere else, instead. Surely.

 ***

"I knew it."

Kureto sneered under the midnight sky. Seishiro straightened out his black denim jacket as he flit his gaze to the deserted dirt track,

"It's just what i saw, i don't know."

Seishiro shrugged before trying to light a cigarette, his own breath echoing that of the fumes in the crisp night. When the lighter sparked for the third time, Kureto scoffed before handing his brother a lighter. Seishiro's eyes widened a moment at Kureto's sly smirk before shaking his head and lighting his cigarette. He offered one to Kureto, but his hand raised,

"I'm good thanks - Dad's home tonight."

Seishiro choked as Kureto laughed darkly,

"Relax, i'm kidding."

Seishiro frowned as he took another drag. Kureto leant against his car, head lights casting a blinding light on Seishiro's khaki trousers and the dirt track. The light from behind him created Kureto as a silhouette.

"So what are we gonna do about him?"

Seishiro asked, blowing smoke onto the inky sky. Kureto's arched brow quirked even higher,

"Which 'him'?"

***

Tenri Hiiragi had been doused in electric blue, then blood red and back again as the police car's lights danced upon his stone features. Police Cheif Urd Geales had turned off the sirens and slid out of the car alongside his deputy, Krul Tepes. They moved brusquely, unfazed by the sensitive air.

"Mr. Hiiragi, you'd called?"

Deputy Tepes had spoken. Urd's serious eyes had somehow narrowed further upon seeing Tenri's stance. He seethed,

"We have a problem."

Chapter Text

"Guren."

She whispered. Her tantalising voice echoed within the walls of his heart as she sighed his name again in the distance. The girl reached out her pristine fingertips to caress his cheeks, but he flinched as if her skin had burned to the touch.

"Please."

She uttered in a hushed lilt. He found his eyes were closed, his face taut into a grimace. 

"I can't keep doing this with you, Mahiru."

Guren insisted in a faltering voice, wanting nothing more than to lean into her touch. He frowned as he said,

"I won't keep having this same fight."

In a more resolute tone, finally opening his lavender eyes to face her entrancing amber orbs, smiling back at him with a voice of velvet,

"We're not fighting. I promise I won't bring it up again -"

"But it's still how you feel."

She began to shake her head slowly, her smile widening as she caressed his cheekbones,

"I was wrong. I can see that. Can we just -"

As if she were a mirage, Mahiru had faded as though she were lilac ink dispersed in water. Guren's eyes widened as he tried to catch the smoke for a fleeting moment, before gasping awake as if he were drowning. Guren panted heavily, doused in sweat as he shot up from his bed sheets. He could have sworn he was just standing in his hallway, reliving the last time he - he winced with a low, strained growl. He ran a hand through his sweat congealed hair, her eyes quickly flashing in his mind. He held his face in his hands for a moment with a deep sigh, trying to calm his breathing. He thought the dreams had finally stopped. He lolled his head back as his eyes found a photo. It was a photo on his side of the bed that he didn't recall leaving there. He frowned deeply as he plucked the photo in his hand, it was the photo of him with his friends. The last photo with Mahiru that he and his friends had.

"What's it doing here?"

He wondered aloud in the vast silence, before thinking for a wild moment,

"(Y/n)?"

He questioned as he rose from his bed groggily, remembering how he'd come home to find his place after having left you here. Did she see this? He wondered as he scrutinised the photo with another sigh. He tried to ignore the trembling feeling in his stomach as he pushed his thoughts away.

***

"Again."

Shigure ordered in an almost bored tone, as she rose stiffly in her lithe and surprisingly bright spandex. You huffed as you held your stomach and stumbled to your feet in the tracksuit you hadn't worn for two years. Her steely eyes behind her stoney expression were unwavering as she claimed,

"Come on, last one and then we're done until Saturday."

You nodded, still trying to catch your breath upon this dirt track after school was out. You didn't want anybody to see you practising self defence for many reasons, and so Shigure suggested the dirt track you stood upon now in the soft afternoon light. 

"When do we get to start some more actual attack stuff?"

Her expression barely changed, except for her brow. You alleviated,

"I know i'm not in Jedi training but today's been mostly cardio."

"You didn't come to me just for self defence. You wanted to be stronger."

You bit your lip, she was right after all.

"And so that's why we worked a lot of cardio today."

You nodded infinitesimally.

"Thank you, Shigure. This really means a lot."

She smiled at your earnest tone. You don't recall having seen her smile, so the sight had caused your lips to curl into one yourself. Suddenly, your eyes flit to two people walking across the dirt track about thirty feet away. Shigure frowned and followed your gaze to the sight. Your jaw fell slack as you realised you'd recognise that flippant, arrogant walk anywhere.

"Guren?"

You'd blurted unintentionally, one figure turned around, clad in torn denim and flannel as he smirked back. Your heart leapt to your throat and choked you as you saw who the other figure was. It was Kureto, only he was in khaki trousers and... his hair was different. Though the same seaweed colour, it was cropped differently... and he seemed almost smaller. The two had sauntered over and you tried to swallow the golf ball sized lump in your throat.

"Hey Peach, Shigure. Don't stop on our account."

Guren offered you an elevator glance and you huffed a breath, folding your arms. Your retort got caught on your lips as you saw who you'd initially assumed to be Kureto was smiling quietly from beside Guren. Guren had noticed your frown as he had gestured between you,

"Seishiro, Peach - Peach -"

"That's not my name."

You glared at Guren's smirk before you offered a thin smile to Seishiro,

"I'm (y/n)."

Seishiro offered a taut smile with a nod. You turned to Guren,

"What are you doing here?"

"Homework."

He smiled and you fought the urge to roll your eyes, as if i would ever get a straight answer from him.

"Well, nice to meet you Seishiro - but we need to -"

You stated coolly before gesturing behind you. Guren smirked impishly,

"If you wanted to take me somewhere all you had to do was ask."

You scoffed, trying to smile nicely though it turned into a grimace. Guren stated,

"Don't smile unless you want to, it's ugly."

"Gee, thanks."

You shook your head. What's his game? you wondered. Is it because we have an audience? You gave Seishiro a cursory glance before turning to Shigure,

"Let's go."

You turned away from Guren's smirk, failing to notice Shigure's apparent unease before she turned away behind you. You hollered,

"Good luck with your homework."

"See you at school."

He'd waved to your back emphatically before turning to Seishiro to walk away, leaving Seishiro more curious now than he'd ever been. Not just of the relationship you shared with Guren, but of you. 

***

“Friday, November 18th, 1983 –“

Ferid dated the chalk board before continuing.

“Today in (R/S), you’ll get your mid-term papers back –“

Mr. Bathory enunciated as he wandered around the class, dishing out the return of papers to the various students as he monologued,

“And I hope your results will drive you not to slack over next week’s half week –“

A series of groans emanated from the class, Ferid shot dirty looks before smiling,

“I hope no one was expecting all week off for Thanksgiving.”

Shinya held his chin in his hand with half lidded eyes and a dull tone,

“Well actually, I was, it’s my birthday next Tuesday but hopefully I’ll have better luck next year – oh wait, this is my senior year.”

You stifled a snigger at him amongst other classmates who’d heard him as Bathory continued,

“Needless to say, your practise for the end of the semester will be harder…”

You’d zoned out as you’d spotted Goshi’s horror-stricken eyes scanning over his paper. His eyes flit to yours and you mouthed, ‘You ok?’ he offered a shaky smile and nod before tying back his mullet into a ponytail and writing vigorously in a notebook. You had no idea he took school seriously… at least now he does. The class drawled by for the most part, your scores were almost perfect even despite everything, but it made you smile that your grades haven’t slipped. You’d left with Mito as she bumped into your side,

“Seeing as we don’t get Tuesday off, wanna hang out with us this Saturday to celebrate Shinya’s birthday?”

“Sure.”

You agreed with a bright smile as she beamed,

“Great!”

"Oh wait, when?"

Mito's eyes met the ceiling in thought as she hugged her notebook to her loose, bright orange t-shirt before she answered,

"Not sure, it'll probably be in the evening."

"Oh that's great, I'm meeting Shigure in the afternoon."

Mito's curiosity had flared but knowing her, she'd find out before long. You smiled shyly,

"She's teaching me self defence."

"Badass!"

Mito encouraged with a bright smile and light punch to your bicep, making you chuckle. Your smile held on Mito for a moment as you were reminded of Akane. She laughed,

"What?"

"Nothing,"

You started, smile in place,

"You just remind me of someone."

Mito's smile grew tender. Guren and Shinya left the class shortly after, Guren appeared bored and Shinya tried to stifle a smile as Goshi followed out with a pained expression.

“What’s up with you guys?”

Mito crunched her nose, Guren smirked infinitesimally and Shinya explained,

“I managed to talk Bathory into letting Goshi out of a detention – “

You both gaped as you asked,

“What? How?”

“What happened?”

Mito added sceptically and Goshi rubbed the back of his neck as the other two boys barely stifled their smiles,

“I said see you next Tuesday… but I didn’t mean it like –“

“I know what it stands for.”

Mito claimed with a barely stifled smirk before muttering,

“You idiot.”

Before being called over by Sayuri, Shigure standing by with her usual stony-faced expression and demeanour. Sayuri offered you a half-hearted smile that seemed coerced, before the girls left. Your lips had thinned at her expression, she usually smiled so brightly to everyone. Don't be ridiculous, you sound paranoid, you berated yourself. As you turned back to the boys, you'd failed to notice Police Cheif Urd Geales alongside his deputy moving to enter the classroom. Shinya smiled,

“See you Saturday.”

Before leaving swiftly and Guren popped a cigarette between his lips, slicking back his raven locks,

“You comin’?”

He asked Goshi with a flick of his head, Goshi scratched his head a moment and you decided to pipe up,

“Actually, can I talk to you for a minute?”

Looking at Goshi, who seemed bemused and Guren was looking to the floor as he fished for a lighter, somehow stating cohesively,

“Sure, Peach, but make it quick, I wanna smoke –“

“Uhm, I was actually talking to Goshi.”

You bit down on your smile as his lavender eyes met yours with furrowed brows, Goshi blurted a chuckle and Guren eyed between the two of you before raising his brows with a shrug,

“Ok, see ya’at the bleachers.”

He stated brusquely before sweeping off. You smiled to Goshi’s shifting eyes to reassure him as Guren looked back at the two of you with a deep-set frown before adjusting his collar with a flick and stalking outside. Goshi seemed reluctant as he scratched at his dirty blonde goatee, looking off to the side. You’d never seen him like this, he was usually the great big brute with a heart of gold and high tendencies for idiocy. Not many knew about the heart of gold though. You smiled,

“You looked worried about your paper, I was wondering if you wanted some help with the class?”

You offered, his eyes finally met yours hopefully as he beamed,

“Really?”

Your smile brightened,

“Yea, really. I can tutor you if you want.”

He sighed a huff of relief with a slight nervous laughter,

“Man, that would be – awesome. ‘You sure?”

You nodded with a laugh as you nudged him with your elbow,

“Yup, now come on, I wouldn’t want you to miss your cigarette date.”

He smirked as he walked beside you down the hall with a hopeful smile,

“This might sound weird… but do you… do you mind not telling anyone? About this?”

He uttered and your smile grew soft,

“Of course, I don’t mind, but it’s nothing to be ashamed of.”

He nodded bashfully and you’d caught sight of Mitsuba, Shinoa and Yoichi outside,

“Alright, just let me know Saturday when you’re free and want to start, ok?”

You stated hurriedly as you gripped his arm before whisking off outside after he responded a chirpy ‘Ok!’ and watched you leave with a smile. As You’d gone to meet them outside, you’d missed Yuu watching you from afar again, his bright green eyes sad as his heart was in devastated palpitations. Your eyes caught sight of another cork board with a missing’s persons poster of Mika. The edges were dogeared, the paper an off-white and withered and it hung by one pin. You stopped in your tracks a moment, realising just how distracted you’d been lately that you had thought of him less and less the longer he’d been missing. The longer you’d had to become accustomed to your life here. As if it were all some bad dream that you'd forced down into yourself to forget. And you hated yourself for it.

***

Guren made cups of coffee for himself and Yuu as he asked from the dingy little kitchenette,

“What does Shindo want?”

“Water’s fine.”

Yuu said tiredly, running a hand through his mop of jet black hair. Guren nodded,

“He still won’t eat anything?”

Guren turned, leaning against the counter as Yuu nodded. Dark circles protruded from his eyes, making Guren’s narrow. Yuu recalled distantly,

“He’ll eat about a golf ball size of plain white rice but he’s refused nearly everything.”

Guren huffed as he rubbed the back of his neck, offering a glance at the Blonde who sat quietly under a blanket. He was still shaking, he had moments of flinching at nothing. What’s wrong with him? He thought. Guren levelled,

“Look, kid, I promised I’d be somewhere tonight but if you need –“

“I know, it’s fine.”

Yuu stated with a shake of his head. Guren offered one last glance towards where Mika sat, staring at his hands or the floor and then one at Yuu before nodding, reluctantly sweeping out to get to his apartment in time for Shinya to pull up and pick him up. He slid into the car and Shinya frowned at his tense frame,

"Is something wrong? Is Yuu alright?"

Guren's frown fixed upon the road ahead under the moonlit sky, he chose to say nothing. In the silence that followed, Shinya allowed a sigh. Realising he wouldn't get an answer, he decided to drive on.

 ***

You wrapped a blanket around your shoulders as another tear rolled down your cheek. You weren’t sure you would make Shinya’s birthday thing tonight. Most kids your age were cruising around to anywhere or watching a movie together, having a great Saturday night. You intended to later, you supposed, but for right now? Right now, you were crying. Your chest tightened as your throat elicited a restricted whimper, barely the strength to stand as you curled into a fetal position on your small sofa.

Alone. The dim, blanched light of the moon as your sole light source. All these thoughts whirred in your mind. Thoughts of justice for Yayoi. For yourself. How would I get it? With that photographic evidence that Shinoa had captured?

Why is Yuu still avoiding me? Even when you had tried to approach him, he somehow wouldn’t see and would rush somewhere else. You would have always made up by now. Was he truly that angry with me, still?

And why does Mito still look guilty when we start talking? - No, it isn't when we talk idly... I notice it when the topic is sensitive. So what is it exactly?

All these questions gave you a headache as you finally allowed them a voice, trying to face each problem instead of glossing over it with seeing friends and partying and school. No more hiding, you ordered internally as you sat yourself up, bracing yourself by holding onto the edge of the little sofa the orphanage director had given you when you'd left.

You couldn’t understand the type of look Guren received from some of the high schoolers. Why were people so... afraid of him?  The only people that didn't shudder at the sight of him were his friends or the Hiiragis. Why did you feel like you knew him better than anyone, even though you didn’t even know he was a varsity letterman until someone had told you? You allowed a hefty sigh, trying to calm yourself.

Then you remembered Mika. One of your best friends… missing, forgotten by most or assumed dead by others. Presumed sighting but not found. Even you had begun to glaze over the real reasons as to why you were here. His very existence in your memories have already begun fading alongside hopes of finding him. You were forcing your memories of him back into existence with every tear squeezed out of your eyes.

The first tear falls, his smile. The second rolls down your cheek, his laugh. What did it sound like?

“You’re playing dungeons and Dragons again?”

You laughed at Yuu’s blush that crept upon his features as you asked them, some foster kids had all met up with you in the basement of the orphanage to play. Akane at your side as you spot the boys playing the game. Mika’s beautiful smile found yours,

“It’s fun! You should try it –“

“She should stick to nail polish like other girls.”

Yuu grumbled, his embarrassed flush having reached the tips of his ears. Mika was quick to interject brightly,

“She should do what she wants. Now lighten up, Yuu!”

You smiled as Mika stole a glance at you before returning his attention back to the other boys and the game.

“This game looks stupid.”

A boy piped, your frown turned to him to interject, only Mika smiled,

“This game enables you to practise strategy, and enhances teamwork skills – but if you don’t want to play then, by all means.”

You allowed a small chuckle at his sardonic wit as he’d gestured towards the door with his beaming smile.

He was always so clever, you thought with a broken smile that had just begun to scar and fade into your features. The sudden blaring of your doorbell caused you to jolt out of your seat and your hand flew to your chest for a moment to breathe as it sounded again. You sighed in defeat as you swiped at your tears in the hopes that whomever it was would leave quickly. You peeled the door open with care, only to gape in surprise at who was at your door.

 

 

*** BONUS SCENE ***

(This scene takes place between the dirt track scene and the classroom scene)

 

Guren eyed you with furrowed brows as you laughed with Mito, your class lining the halls, waiting for Ferid to arrive to start (R/S). As he scrutinised your smile, he thought back to when you had stayed at his home. What did she see? He thought to himself, folding his arms as he bent his knee to prop himself against the wall. What does she know?

"Guren?"

He snapped out of his reverie to see Sayuri stood before him, smiling sweetly as she hugged her yellow sweater to her chest. The action made the swell of her cleavage more prominent from underneath her v-neck. His gaze flit to hers in question as she said,

"Can we talk for a sec? I'd like to ask something"

He gave a dubious elevator glance before nodding with a sweep of his arms as if to say, 'ask away.' A slight blush crept on her features before she flit her gaze a moment and he fought the urge to frown as he waited, a slight tremor in his stomach as he guessed what she might be wanting to ask.

"I just wanted to ask if you wanted to maybe go to Fat Tony's sometime? I heard it's pretty good and just out of town."

She tucked a stray caramel lock of hair behind her ear as she smiled as brightly as the sun. He allowed a small, genuine smile in return as she fumbled,

"I mean, it doesn't have to be anything - I just... I know it might not be the best time -"

As her eyes met the floor, Mahiru flashed in his mind again from the nightmare he'd had. With a short sharp stab to his chest, he lightly tapped Sayuri's chin for her bemused gaze to meet his before resting his palm on her shoulder. She gasped at the action and he utilised her stunned silence to claim,

"Thank you, but I can't."

Her doe eyes didn't seem disappointed, only resigned. He let go of her shoulder as he noticed class mates were filing into the classroom and he smiled with a flick of his head to her to come inside with him. She allowed a resigned smile in return as they entered the class, her eyes falling upon you before noticing the way Guren's eyes changed when he saw you.

Chapter Text

You peeled the door open with care, only to gape in surprise at who was at your door. His eyes were on the package nestled in his arms as he read the label in a bored voice,

“Delivery for a -?”

His eyes narrowed as he met your bemused gaze,

“(L/N)?”

He asked with what sounded like disgusted surprise, you offered a thin-lipped smile,

“Hey, Kimizuki.”

As you wrapped your cardigan around you. His pink frown deepened as he observed your form for a moment, the evidence of your plight crusting to your cheeks. He asked sceptically,

“’You ok?”

“Yea, I’m fine.”

You smiled with an almost inaudible sniffle; your voice was even unconvincing in your own ears though. He swallowed as he nodded slowly in response. You cut the growing awkward tension by asking,

“Sorry, did you have something for me?”

He fumbled a moment as he brought the package closer to his face to read the label fully this time,

“Uhh - for a Mr. Kagiyama…”

Kimizuki scoffed an irate smile as he rolled his eyes,

“Ahh shit.”

He muttered, making you laugh softly, ignoring the hoarse quality of your voice,

“Unfortunately, he doesn’t live here.”

“Yea, no kidding.”

To your surprise, he cracked a small smile, before finishing,

“Sorry, some dumbass gave me the wrong address.”

He rubbed the bridge of his nose a moment after glancing along the stretch of the road. You wondered why he was out delivering so late, and on a Saturday night.

“If it helps, I’m pretty sure he’s just down there – at number 10.”

Kimizuki met your gaze with lifted brows for a dumb moment,

“Thanks, see ya ‘round.”

He offered a half smile before turning to leave.

“No problem.”

You replied with a small wave, before shutting your front door firmly. You sighed as you leaned against the door, before shaking your head and moving to make some hot cocoa. Inexplicably, Guren sprang to mind. You realised the last time you drank hot cocoa was at his place. How did he manage to get a place like that? Let alone keep it. You scoffed at yourself, I’m going to drive myself crazy if I keep digging into everything. You sat on your little sofa quietly, blowing on the rich liquid as you thought about that girl in the photo, who looked like Shinoa…whom you'd assumed to be the infamous Mahiru. The rich cocoa swirled with your thoughts on her, I have to know... You were ripped from your thoughts when you heard another knock at your door. Your brows knit as you placed down your cocoa and answered. Your voice raised an octave in surprise,

“Kimizuki? What are you -?”

“I saw you were pretty upset earlier and, well, you helped me out with my sister. Big time. So, I figured – you could use somebody to talk to.”

He claimed with a softness behind his usual edge. You offered a small smile despite being stunned to silence.

“Ok, thanks.”

You stood aside to let him in. His lips thinned with a curt nod as he swept passed you to enter your little apartment that the orphanage director scraped together for you. Kimizuki sat on the little sofa, hands clasped with his elbows on his knees as he twitched slightly. You perched on the edge of the neat sofa next to him, wrapping your hands around your cocoa.

“Can I get you anything?”

“No, I’m good, thanks.”

You gave a nod as he surveyed his surroundings, you’d almost felt an embarrassed flush crawl to your cheeks. You realised you’d never actually had anybody around before and you bit your lip at the following silence. It was almost getting painful until you'd broken the silence to ask,

“How’s Mirai?”

You asked. Kimizuki’s smile seemed more genuine as he answered,

“She’s great, thanks.”

He rubbed the back of his neck as he claimed,

“She uh… wants to see you.”

Eliciting a chuckle from you both as you asked if that were truly the case, to which he confirmed with a hum of assent.

“Where is she now, whilst you’re out?”

His demeanour changed quite suddenly, his frame tensed with a wince as if you’d physically burned him.

“Our neighbours, the Hiiragi’s are looking after her.”

He said carefully. You digested the information, sensing his discomfort,

“And you don’t like that?”

He scoffed,

“What choice do I have?”

You pursed your lips in the silence that followed as his leg twitched again before he admitted,

“I only agreed because of Shinoa.”

“So you know Shinoa?”

“What was it that was upsetting you, earlier?”

He’d asked quickly, interjecting as he half turned to face you. Almost taken aback, you gape in thought for a moment before looking to the peeling walls and starting in a quiet voice as not to disturb the air,

“Oh, lots of things,”

Offering a small laugh as if in denial before finally admitting yourself,

“I feel like my friends are all hiding things from me, and I’m supposed to see them for Shinya’s birthday tonight. But the worst thing? I’m starting to forget what brought me here to this town. Yuu and Mika.”

You allowed a sardonic smile his way as he listened intently. You began to whisper as if you were admitting to a great sin,

“Yuu won’t talk to me. I don’t see Mika’s face when I close my eyes. I don’t stop to touch his face on the poster every time I pass by.”

You inhaled sharply, realising just how much you'd let off your chest, before finishing in a croak,

“I hardly think of him. And I hate myself for it.”

Your head pounded with the effort to fight the wave of emotion that threatened to consume you. Your head hung low in the palpable silence, Kimizuki measured your words before matching your hushed tone, albeit stoically,

“It’s ok to still live your life. I'm sure he’d want that for you, anyway. Not for you to torture yourself over something you have no control over.”

You met his sincere gaze, searching for any feign. He just smiled before flourishing,

 “As for your friends – sounds like Yuu's hiding something. He’s such an open book. There’s no wonder why he isn’t talking to you.”

In that moment, you wondered – Did he know Yuu despite their rivalry? His words cut you off from your train of thought,

“With the Ichinose club? – There is a lot of dark history there.”

You involuntarily leaned in closer as your curiosity piqued,

“Like what?”

I knew there was something, you thought ardently. Kimizuki shook his head,

“It wouldn’t be right for me to say. I don’t know everything about it, anyway.”

You absorbed every word like a sponge, nodding slowly. Kimizuki levelled with your eyes for a serious moment, compelling your gaze to fix on him as he stated,

“You’re a good person, (Y/N). Don’t get yourself caught up into everybody else’s shit, ok?”

You frowned deeply, but nodded in assent,

“Ok… thanks, Kimizuki.”

He nodded with that tentative half smile, before rising,

“Anyways, I better get going if I wanna get Mirai to bed at a decent time.”

“Sure – “

“I think you should go. To that birthday thing, I mean.”

He interjected, you contemplated the notion as he finished,

“It might be fun.“

You allowed a half smile, as he turned to leave. You rose,

“Kimizuki?”

“Yea?”

He turned his head to face you. You held your cardigan in place with folded arms as you said,

“If you want, I could babysit Mirai when you need to work?”

His jaw fell slack in surprise,

“You would?”

That disgusted surprise resurfacing, making you suppress a laugh,

“It really wouldn’t be any trouble, I’d like to see her too.”

He shook his head with a dubious laugh,

“I can’t do that –“

“Kimizuki, I mean it. It’s not a trouble, I’d like to.”

You affirmed, a surprised smile spread across his features before he asked,

“How much do you want? I can’t pay a lot –“

“Forget it. It’s what friends do, alright?”

He was stunned to silence for a solid thirty seconds at your words, playing with his hands,

“If you’re sure.”

You gave a nod with a hum of assent. Kimizuki shook his head with a dumbfounded smile,

“You’re alright, (L/N).”

You laughed,

“Did you think I’d be worse?”

He raised a brow,

“Some smart, stuffy chick from Sanguinem? – much worse.”

“Some asshole, skater kid that goes after my best friend?”

You laughed in unison as he claimed,

“Touché.”

Offering an amused grin before he swept towards your front door,

“Ok, I really gotta go now.”

“Sure, sure, see you!”

He scrambled out the door and gave a smile,

“‘Later.”

As he started down the street with a jog. You smiled to yourself as you watched him leave for a moment, things are never what they seem, are they?

***

Shinya cleared his throat as he swept out of his car, trying to ease the silence that pervaded the air. As Guren climbed out, Shinya turned to him from over the glossy, cherry roof.

“Guren.”

Lavender met steel as Guren met his gaze with a dismissive,

“Yea?”

Shinya’s ashen brows knit together,

“You’re not required to tell me –“

He cut himself off with a sigh and taut lips, Guren smirked,

“Relax, Shinya. It’s all good, ok?”

His arrogant swerve around the car defined that he wanted to leave the conversation there. However, it was never easy to hide from Shinya. Though Guren had smirked as he spoke, Shinya saw that it didn’t touch the depth of his eyes. With a small sigh, he’d wondered when his best friend had stopped talking to him. Shinya locked his car before stalking up the pathway to his house. Guren waited by the door, hands in pockets. Shinya unlocked the door and stopped dead in his tracks, causing Guren to almost slam into his back.

Guren was seconds from voicing a sarcastic remark when he’d seen why Shinya had stopped. Kureto was in the hallway in a grey suit, adjusting his tie in the mirror and Tenri swept through the corridor to help him. Shinya was wordless at the scene, Guren’s brows had furrowed until Kureto finally half turned his head, as if he’d no idea that the door was wide open beside him,

“Oh Shinya, you’re back.”

As if he didn’t live there. Tenri flit a glance to Shinya but said nothing as he’d smoothed down Kureto’s suit in their reflection. Shinya tried to mask feeling like a rabbit in headlights.

“What’s going on?”

Shinya asked and Tenri dusted down Kureto’s shoulders from any possible imperfection as he spoke,

“We are meeting a JIDA scout to explore Kureto’s options.”

Shinya swallowed a lump as his chest fell slightly.

“Just Ichinose tonight then, is it?”

Tenri asked with an air of boredom as he moved to straighten his own suit jacket, almost matching Kureto. Guren rolled his eyes from the threshold. Shinya didn’t have a chance to answer as Tenri suddenly looked Guren dead in the eye, with his spine tingling stare,

“I don’t mind if you make a mess, just make sure you clean it up.”

Stating emphatically. Guren deadpanned, his prime poker face plastered across his features. Shinya seemed to be the only person to recognise that, and he wondered why Tenri would say such a thing specifically to Guren. Tenri would never stand for mess. Ever. Could there be a double meaning? Shinya wondered.

“Don’t worry, Dad. Shinya knows all about cleaning other people’s messes.”

Kureto smiled with a hint of malice before he moved to pat Shinya’s shoulder,

“Isn’t that right, brother?”

Shinya shuddered at the term, yet he saw Kureto staring him down quite deliberately. Kureto added in a low voice,

“Some things are better left buried, you might not like what you find.”

Almost inaudible. Shinya’s eyes widened infinitesimally as he searched Kureto’s Amber slits. Kureto tightened his grip on Shinya’s shoulder,

“Curiosity killed the cat.”

“But satisfaction brought it back.”

Shinya flourished with a sly smile, Kureto’s brows knit together in a puzzled frown making Guren smirk.

“Kureto. Time to leave.”

Tenri’s booming voice shook Kureto from his reverie and he released Shinya’s shoulder. Tenri swept passed them all as he readied his prized Porsche 911 SC Cabriolet. Kureto smirked darkly as he saw Guren,

“Hey Ichinose, beat anyone up today?”

“Not yet.”

Guren stated casually. Kureto levelled with Guren as he gestured to the inky sky from the front lawn,

“Well the night is young, there’s still time to – well, serve time.”

Guren shook his head with a smile,

“Come on jock-strap, you can do better than that.”

Kureto grit his teeth as Tenri hollered for him to hurry up, Kureto’s eyes flashed to his father with a shiver before regaining his composure enough to say,

“How’s (y/n)? I can't wait to see her again."

With an almost savouring hum as he shook his head, 

"Send her my best.”

He finished with a malevolent smirk. Guren's knuckles whitened as he clenched his fist at his words. Kureto stalked away arrogantly with a triumphant smirk as Guren burned his eyes through the back of his skull. When Kureto slid into the car and out of sight, his father gripped at his shirt collar,

“What was that, Kureto?”

Kureto’s eyes flashed with fear before his father let him go, smoothing out his collar,

“I was just –“

“I know what you were trying to do. You’re not exactly subtle.”

Kureto huffed in relief and folded his arms a moment as Tenri pulled away. Tenri cut through the silence with his booming voice,

“If you’re going to threaten someone, do it like you mean it - otherwise you’re all talk. You don’t want to be a coward, do you?”

“No.”

“What was that?”

“No, sir.”

“I thought not.”

Tenri focused on the wheel as Kureto looked out the window, mind racing with the trees as they flew passed. Shinya remained still at the door with Guren. Guren growled lowly before stalking inside. Shinya hoped the others would arrive soon.

***

Yuu sighed a hefty sigh, the dark circles protruding from under his eyes having worsened. He couldn't recall the last time he'd slept for longer than two hours. Mika had screamed out again, Yuu made an effort to try to calm him from his night terrors, but he felt he was stuck in a hellish loop.

I can’t do this alone, He held his face in his hands and wept, locking his jaw as he tore at his sweat congealed hair. Mika’s breathing had quickened and became laboured, causing Yuu to rub his puffy eyes and run to him.

“Mika! What is it? What’s wrong?”

Mika’s wild eyes couldn’t respond as his breaths became feverish and he grunted, trying to swallow a scream as his skin was drenched in perspiration. Yuu tried holding him down but flinched – Mika’s skin was flaming to touch. Mika was almost convulsing and Yuu was horrified,

“What can I do?”

He asked with a broken whimper, feeling his sore arms pull back in resolution. Mika bit down on his cries, fighting the convulsions with everything he had left, determination prominent in his watery eyes. Until finally his twitching had stopped. Mika swallowed a golf ball sized lump as he uttered in a rasped voice,

“I’m sorry.”

You’re sorry? Yuu thought, horrified as he thought on what he should do, he fumbled as he scanned Mika’s feeble form and sallow skin,

“Uh… check the wound first – good idea.”

Yuu told himself. Mika tried to pull his arm away with wild eyes, only he didn’t have the strength to. Yuu wondered why he was so afraid of him, until he'd seen what Mika tried so desperately to hide. Yuu unveiled Mika’s congealed gauze to see nothing. As if there were not even an abrasion of the skin, or a bruise - let alone what looked like a gunshot wound upon his desperate arrival. Yuu’s birght emerald orbs met Mika’s Azure ones, that seemed resigned and sad all at once. Yuu felt winded as he searched for answers in the silence. Mika's breaths were deep as he fought a grimace, and Yuu whispered,

“What happened to you?”

***

Shinoa answered the door in a hot pink body con and lilac hair in big, voluminous curls,

“Oh Shinoa? Hey.”

Your eyes flit down to meet her height as she gave that permanently mischievous smile.

“(Y/N). The others are just about to order take out, hurry if you want in.”

You smiled a nod before passing her as she left. As the door closed, the muffled voices of the others grew quiet as you surveyed the empty hallway and a flash of Kureto’s eyes came to mind with a flinch, remembering your last time here. You’d only realised you hadn’t moved when Shinya met you at the door,

“(Y/N)! Thank you for coming.”

His usual lidded smile fell short at your unease. He said evenly,

“He’s not here.”

With a kind of sorrow that made his ice blue eyes appear glassy. You tried an even breath as your shoulders relaxed rigidity, trying a genuinely bright smile,

“Happy Birthday, Shinya.”

Before giving him a short embrace that he reciprocated after a dumb moment, with his signature smile. You were about to step into the kitchen when his gentle hand upon your shoulder had prompted you to stop to look at him. Having your attention, he stated,

“I don’t want you to feel unsafe here.”

With sincere eyes, holding a promise that you knew he was about to offer before he’d spoken,

“If you want to leave at any point, say the word.”

Making your lips curl slightly. I don’t want to be a burden; this is supposed to be his birthday after all. You smiled brightly and thanked him profusely as you met with the others. You stepped through to their lavish living room attached to the kitchen with a deep breath, when you saw the smiling faces of your friends, it was easier to forget why you would possibly want to leave.

“Look who finally decided to show.”

Goshi chuckled from the couch as he hopped up to greet you,

“How’s it goin’?”

He asked with a chirpy lilt, you beamed a smile,

“Good! You?”

As you talked, the others eyed you curiously. Mito threw a bemused scoff towards Guren, who was watching you both intently as the others lost interest.

“Have you decided when’s a good time for you?”

You said with a low voice, trying to keep the tutoring under wraps. He gave a nod,

“Oh yea – After school on a Thursday the library’s pretty quiet.”

He said, trying to match your tone, his booming voice was hard to stifle. You peeked around the room but didn’t notice Mito’s lips parted into the shape of an ‘O’.

“Great!”

You hushed a whisper before turning to the room,

“So, let’s get this party started!”

With a jovial voice, making Guren chuckle before smirking to you. You smiled back, but his gaze flit to the floor. Sayuri stood up from the couch with resignation,

“Have we decided what we wanna eat?”

You turned to her and she tried a smile that you made an effort to return.

“Question is, do we play strip poker before or after we eat?”

Goshi teased in a put on velvet voice, causing Sayuri to gape and Mito to chuckle,

“You're such a perv.”

Making him chortle along with her.

“Would you like a drink, (y/n)?”

Shinya asked, holding up beers. You’d all decided on sushi and you found yourself surprised at how Shigure almost ate more than Goshi, despite being a third of his size. The evening was rather pleasant and you were grateful Kimizuki had convinced you to go. What you couldn’t fathom however, was why Guren didn’t say one word to you. You chewed on your lip as you caught his gaze every once in a while, but he was acting… off.

“Oh crap, I said I’d be home half an hour ago – sorry Shinya, happy birthday!”

Sayuri had realised and waved aimlessly to the room before reminding Shinya where she put his present – Oh shit! I didn’t get him a gift… You argued that you’d think of something soon. Shigure had driven home with Sayuri and Mito pulled you aside to go to the bathroom.

“Why do girls always travel in packs to the crapper?”

Goshi scrunched his face as he asked in jest, you stifled a chuckle as Mito rolled her eyes,

“So we can bitch about you guys.”

Making you giggle alongside her as Goshi’s face fell slightly. You’d both ran up the stairs leaving Goshi speechless before he turned to Guren and Shinya,

“You don’t think they’re actually doing that, right?”

“They’re probably making out.”

Guren said flippantly, but Goshi’s smile widened,

“Awesome.”

As he moved to follow you both to find out, Guren stopped him with his palm to his chest,

“Joking.”

“Right, 'course.”

Goshi shook himself from his grip with a disappointed nod. In the bathroom, Mito was checking her gloss with a slight sigh as she waited for you to come out of the toilet. You desperately tried to calm your breathing, not understanding why being there had sent your limbs quivering and your heart in frantic palpitations. You swiped beads of perspiration from your forehead with the back of your palm, remembering why. You closed your eyes with a deep breath, he's not here. I'm safe. When you were both at the sink with the mirror which was now fixed, you'd recovered a brave face and remembered something else. You asked,

“Does Sayuri like me?”

Mito hummed in question as you repeated yourself with a small voice,

“I get the feeling that she doesn’t.”

“What? Why wouldn’t she? She just doesn’t know you.”

You nodded,

“You’re probably right.”

As you checked your reflection until she spun to you, asking bluntly,

“Why didn’t you tell me you were seeing Goshi?”

Your eyes flashed to hers as you stuttered,

“W-what?!”

“I mean, we’re friends, right? Good friends – I just don’t know why you kept it a secret from me!”

She rambled, though she seemed excited, there was a twinge of sadness in her eyes.

“Not telling everyone, I get but – Oh! Oh my God… is it because you’re just sleeping together?!”

“Oh my God – no!”

You whined, trying to force the image from your mind.

“I won’t tell anyone, he is great in bed.”

“WHAT?!”

Mito’s eyes widened slightly as a faint dusting of blush crawled upon her cheeks and she gave a nervous laugh. Your jaw fell slack as you processed what she’d said, until she changed subject,

“I’m just surprised, I thought you liked Guren.”

You were blushing furiously, feeling inexplicably ashamed. Your words fumbled on your lips as she stated,

“Anyway, we should get back to the others.”

She skipped out of the bathroom and you nearly growled a sigh,

“Well this is just great.”

You said sardonically to the air, catching yourself in the mirror.

“SHIT!”

“WHAT?!”

Your hand flew to your chest as you sourced the voice, you saw Seishiro in the same state as he let his hand fall with a nervous chuckle that you gingerly reciprocated.

“I didn’t think anybody would be up here, sorry.”

Seishiro claimed in a husky voice, shirtless in track pants. You forced your mouth shut at the sight of the shirtless wonder. He casually moved beside you as he started brushing his teeth. You couldn’t seem to make your limbs move as you swallowed a lump before unintentionally blurting,

“What are you doing here? Early night?”

Who asks that to someone they've met once? Despite yourself, he smiled before rinsing out his mouth,

“Busy morning tomorrow.”

You nodded idly as you moved to leave.

“You?”

He’d asked, causing you to stop and turn to see him washing his face and dabbing it dry as he awaited your answer.

“Uhh… I used the bathroom?”

You answered dubiously, making him smile, stifling a laugh,

“I know.”

You nodded slowly, realising what he was asking, and you tucked a stray lock of (h/c) hair behind your ear with a self-deprecating laugh,

“Shinya’s birthday.”

“Right.”

He smiled, the longer you looked at Seishiro, the less he looked like Kureto. Your tight chest seemed to have a weight lifted off of it as his smile seemed tender, maybe he wasn’t another Kureto.

“Well, have fun.”

He stated with a half-smile before excusing himself to get passed you. You added,

“Thanks, we’ll try to keep it down.”

Making his lips curve more as he shook his head,

“Don’t worry about it.”

Before leaving. You breathed deeply before shaking yourself to move back downstairs.

“What took you so long? I had to wrestle Goshi into not eating your sushi.”

Mito claimed brightly, chopsticks in the air. You shrugged,

“I was talking to Seishiro.”

As you dug into your food, Mito’s eyes glassed over as her wrist fell slack. Guren sighed at her action, running a slick hand through his raven locks. You’d looked up and noticed Guren wasn’t even looking at you now. What’s wrong with him? Mito turned to Guren,

“So what did you say to Sayuri?”

She’d asked in a curious lilt. Your ears perked, curiosity piquing. You’d noticed Guren sent what appeared to be either an exasperated glance to Mito or a warning one. He hesitated in the brief silence as the others ate their food before he answered to the floor,

“I said no.”

You looked between them a moment, Mito nodded slowly as if trying to understand and Goshi pulled an awkward face. You frowned, Shinya’s facial expression had not changed.

“What’s this?”

You asked idly to Mito, not noticing Guren tense slightly. Mito turned to you casually waving her chopsticks in gesture,

“Sayuri asked Guren out on a date.”

“Oh.”

You tried to lilt in surprise to mask the weight upon your chest, hoping the flush of your cheeks wasn’t visibly evident. The silence that followed was deafening, you couldn’t seem to look up from your food, playing with it slightly. You coerced yourself to smile to Goshi,

“This sushi was a great call, by the way.”

With a bright smile to which he reciprocated with an enthusiastic hum of approval. You’d missed Guren’s eyes trailing your reactions. Shinya flit his gaze idly to you when you’d said this, his chewing slowed as he sensed the awkward air. The silence felt like it lasted forever, until Goshi offered Mito a drive home,

“Just me?”

She asked, flitting side ways glances to you. Your cheeks burned as Goshi shot you a questioning glance, you hid your face in your hands for a moment until they’d finally left. In the following silence, you’d realised you’d forgotten to ask anything about Mahiru and chastised yourself. Guren was perched atop the counter when Shinya claimed,

“If you’ll excuse me a moment.”

Without an explanation, both you and Guren watched him leave up the stairs, poised and graceful as ever. You offered a small smile to Guren, looking straight to your hands before waiting for anything else from him. In the silence, he seemed to decide something. Guren recalled how Mito just told them you thought Sayuri didn’t like you, when you were still in the bathroom. He wanted to try to alleviate that,

“Listen, about Sayuri –“

“I think you should go. On the date.”

His brow creased as you furthered,

“It could be fun - good. Good for you… to. Go.”

You tried to be playful but stammered. You tried to brighten your smile as you tucked a stray lock of hair behind your ear along with a nervous chuckle. His brows furrowed more deeply, as he held his shoulders back. He took a solid minuet trying to understand why your smile was different, but before he could say anything, Shinya had come back down and stood on the stairs to say,

“I’m sorry, (Y/N) but my family are due back soon, perhaps you’d like to go home?”

You turned to him with a nod, looking to Guren one more time whose violet eyes seemed torn. He’d hopped off the counter top and walked up the stairs to Shinya as they walked to his room.

“Bye.”

You said almost to yourself in a dull voice as they walked off distractedly.

 

***

Tenri loosened his tie with calloused fingers and a disgruntled,

"Anything from Bathory?"

As he sat his burly frame atop the corner of Chief Geales' desk, as if he'd owned it. The Chief measured him with his usual poker face, before stating curtly,

"He hasn't seen the boy."

Tenri furrowed his thick, ashen lilac brows in the silence that followed. Tenri's low voice sent uncomfortable shivers through the spine of many, the threat to his voice imminent,

"We can't declare a boy legally dead if it gets out that he's back, Urd."

"How do we know for sure that he didn't just 'skip town', Tenri."

Chief Geales challenged, as Tenri twisted his torso to face him with a quirked brow, Urd was unmoving. Tenri rose to his full height off of the desk and fumed lowly,

"You're a cop. Think about it. He's a kid. He's scared. Where would you go first?"

Chief Geales parted his lips as he believed he'd reached the same conclusion as Tenri simultaneously, whose Amber slits lit up. Tenri placed his palms firmly to the desk,

"I'm certain that I have a lead."