A low growl rose from Kurumi’s chest as she paced back and forth- the atmosphere of the room heavy with the weight of her frustration, and really? Miki couldn’t blame her.
It was Them again, the lost souls outside the safety of the college's walls. The corpses moaning, groaning, and trampling down any and all living things in their paths had once again claimed another life. A dog, a scruffy stray that had been wandering the length of the fence, had finally fallen prey to the clawing, gnawing less-than-humanoids. Miki could recall the countless times Kurumi had tried to get the poor boy to come home with them during their patrols, baiting him with bits of jerky, a ball, anything- but nothing had worked and this morning they’d found him littered with bite marks and foaming at the mouth.
Kurumi was alright with putting him out of his misery. She’d been doing it for a while- so long now that it seemed that was her duty to their little group, their pack- she was the tall, sturdy fighter. The blood on her hands affected her less and less each day, and Kurumi couldn’t tell whether that was a good thing or not. Now, though, it spurred her on- throwing her into a fit of rage she struggled to keep under wraps, aggressive pheromones flooding the air around her, as if a dam had finally broken. It reminded her Toramaru, and the tan colored dogs own terrible fate in Miki’s arms that day at the school. It made her angry, made her irrational… made her afraid. She couldn’t even keep a dog safe. How was she supposed to protect the people she loved? Yuri, Yuki, Miki- her precious pack mates, and the girl who kept her side warm at night, with whispered promises of a better life passing between them.
And of course, Miki knew. She knew even before the scent of violence radiated from Kurumi’s skin. Everyone from the school living club had learned to read their resident Alpha quite well- but Miki was always the one to talk to her, the one to handle it. Which was why she was here now, to soothe the anxiety creeping up Kurumi’s nape before she got into a fight with someone (namely Aki, the other resident alpha with a fuse as short as Kurumis when it really came down to it). Right now she sat on the floor, her back to the wall, as she watched with a careful gaze as Kurumi snapped at the sound of birds outside. When she was in this state, it was perhaps those very feathered creatures that pisses her off the most. If only they had wings… then nobody would be able to hurt them.
“Senpai, your fussing is making my nose burn.” Miki huffed, her face scrunching up ever so slightly just to prove her point. The scent of aggression hovering around Kurumi’s body wasn’t necessarily a bad scent (on the contrary- sometimes, when in the right situations, it was rather good- so good that Miki’s thighs would clench together), but right now, it put her on edge. She didn’t mean for her voice to sound so… pointed, but it was the truth.
Kurumi growled again, this time in Miki’s direction, eyes narrowed and fists curled tight.
“I’m not fussing.”
Miki turned the page in her book, not raising her gaze to meet her.
“You are too. I know you’re upset- I am too- but you’re making everybody anxious and it isn’t helping anyone.”
That was right- everybody was anxious. Especially Yuki, who was extra sensitive to these sorts of things.
“Says you- you don’t look very affected to me.” Kurumi huffed, turning to go back to her pacing. She knew, deep down, that it wasn’t a true statement- Miki was always affected. Always watching. Always feeling. How she dealt with it was different from the others, and she knew that. It was hard to accept, though, when faced with her own emotions. She wishes she could hide her worry behind a book. “All you’ve done since we got back is sit there and read.”
Miki finally looked up, an accusatory glint in her eyes.
“And all you’ve done is stew in your anger and snap at people to go away like a testy pup .”
Kurumi’s huff in reply didn’t help her case.
“Well maybe I feel like we’re all missing the big picture-”
Miki snapped her book shut with her right hand, pushing off the wall with her other to stand up and brush off her skirt, a slightly frustrated (yet still composed, as always) expression on her face.
“And what might that be, Kurumi?” The blonde stated sourly “What’s the big revelation you’ve cooked up in that head of yours?”
Usually, Miki was more patient- logical, level headed- but Kurumi’s tenseness was starting to get to her, the edge to her words growing ever more apparent. She could feel it in the palms of her hands, gripping the little novel in her grasp tighter. Too many of their fights started this way.
The dark-haired alpha stepped closer to her, glaring down at the omega with a scrunched nose and a fiery gaze, jabbing a finger into her sternum like a pushy knife.
“That dog? It’s just the beginning. We’ve been struggling enough these past few years to keep ourselves safe. If those monsters are finally going after animals like that… if they’re hunting them like they hunt us, it means they’re winning. And what do you think’s gonna happen when all the animals run out? Gods, not only will we be down a food source- They will be taking more drastic measures to get to us- that’s the only explanation- the law of nature.”
Miki didn’t like the way Kurumi’s breath hit her face. On any other day, under any other circumstances, she’d find it a little exciting (though she’d never admit that). Now, it reminded her of the scent of panic spreading around the room like wildfire as Kurumi’s voice sounded more and more stressed with every word.
“What do creatures do when their supplies run out? They adapt- just like us. Sure, they can’t climb walls, open doors, or get in now- but what’s the future going to be like? How can we know for sure what’s going to happen?!”
Kurumi seemed as if she were speaking to herself now, her volume rising with the quickness of her heartbeat.
“Kurumi..” Miki whined, creeping back against the wall against, arms kept rigidly close to her body. Gloved hands threaded through Kurumi’s bangs, her eyes shooting off to the side, downcast. She grit her teeth and fought the urge to anxiously tap her foot. She looked ready to snap.
“Sure, maybe the undead can’t adapt- maybe that’s something only living things can do- but could we really put it past them? We have to be ready for every possible situation, and I’ll be damned if I let an army of walking fucking corpses keep me from doing my one job- from keeping you guys safe- I can’t let it happen, I’m your alpha for stars sake and if I can’t protect you then what the hell am I good for?!”
Miki flinched at the bitterness in Kurumi’s tone, the way disgust and terror dripped from her lips like the ooze that came from the mouths of the infected. She cursed herself for how stereotypical this was- how her body wanted to lock up at the nervous energy Kurumi put out, her inner omega begging her to make it stop and rollover. She could see everything Kurumi described flash before her eyes like a bad movie, and yeah, it terrified her. The thought of their little sliver of safety melting away into nothing? It made her sick. Made her want to run with her tail between her legs and hide. Of course she’d thought about things like this before- but the way Kurumi said it made her skin crawl, and that look in Kurumi’s eyes… it reminded her of when she first got bit, back at the high school.
“Kurumi please-” Miki wanted to cry, but she didn’t, trying to hide the quiver in her whisper. “You’re scaring me.”
For a few moments, there was a heavy pause as the both of them caught their breath- Kurumi trying to control how aggressive her lungs were about getting air after her ranting and raving, Miki doing her best to keep her breathing steady after having held it for so long. Kurumi blinked away the anxiety clouding her vision, focusing on the form of the shorter ‘on edge’ girl before her. ‘You’re scaring me’...
“I’m… I’m sorry.” Kurumi’s voice cracked, knuckles going white as she fisted her own shirt collar. “I-I… I got carried away-”
“Don’t you think I’m worried sick over this too?” Miki cut in, shutting her eyes tightly, a tremble in her voice. “That I’m just as scared as you? I stared at a dent in the courtyard wall for thirty minutes yesterday absentmindedly pondering all the different ways one little slip up could kill us all?!”
Kurumi winced, turning her head slightly so’s not to meet Miki’s watery gaze directly.
“Every day I watch you run out there with your stupid shovel and your idiotic death wish and beg every driving force out there that today isn’t the day I have to put you down.” The omega sobbed, pulling at her school uniforms tie so it tightened around her neck. She hated doing this. “I know it’s getting worse. I know more and more are passing through this part of the city. I know that things are only going to get harder and harder- so don’t you dare stand there and act like you’re the only one who's completely terrified.”
“No! No, you- you shut up and listen!”
Kurumi did as she was told, the wrath of her omega coming down upon her as her blonde counterpart wiped the wet streaks from her cheek. It was like a knife to the heart. Gods, why did she have to make her cry…
“You haven’t been coming back until dark lately, and do you know what I do? I wait up for you, checking the north-facing windows- just waiting to see Aki drag you back with a sheet over your head so that we don’t have to witness the carnage. You’re so worried about protecting us, but you’re a blind fool when it comes to yourself- You really wanna know what’d happen to me if you got hurt?”
Kurumi knew better than to answer.
Miki reached out for Kurumi’s tie this time, yanking her closer as her eyebrows tilted upwards, sounding more heartbroken than she ever did before.
Kurumi wrapped her arms around the small of her back and pulled her close, hand holding her head tightly, messing up how neatly Miki had had it brushed.
“I’m sorry.” She whispered, nuzzling Miki’s temple and gracefully accepting the rough, tortured way the smaller girl fisted her clothing in her upset rage. “I know, I know you're scared… I’m just… I’m scared too-”
Miki softened a bit, more tears dripping down her face at the Kurumi’s fearful tone, the alpha gripping her tighter.
“I’m a big scared idiot who doesn’t want you to have to do any of this surviving crap. I want to curl up with you in my bed and never let you or anybody else leave my sight- I want you to be able to sleep at night without nightmares plaguing every moment of every dream- I want all that so bad and I… I can’t give it to you…”
She seemed so defeated, so weak in the voice- and so very, very tired.
“What kind of alpha would I be if I couldn’t do at least that?”
Miki pulled back enough to bump her forehead against Kurumi’s, the whites of her eyes tinged with red, waves of a need for comfort flooding her senses.
“The only kinds of alpha I’m interested in are the alive ones.” She replied quietly. “You don’t have to be strong for us all the time. Don’t have to be strong for me. We’re all in this together, you know?”
“Yeah…” Kurumi sighed, leaning in to press her face to the crook of Miki’s neck, praying that she didn’t mind how suggestively intimate the action was. Miki smelled like everything good in this world, everything she wanted to protect and more. That and vanilla.
Kurumi never thought she’d ever die for someone before.
“We’re all in this together.”