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Runaway Love

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Himei didn’t like her new baby sister.

She knew that it wasn’t Eri’s fault, that her dads just wanted to give the little girl a ‘normal’ childhood. Well, as normal as it could be, given the circumstances. But lately, that translated to devoting every waking moment’s worth of attention to her—even Shinsou didn’t seem to have time for her anymore! And it wasn’t fair. Himei was there first. Himei was supposed to be the baby.

Currently, the little girl sat in her bedroom, her English homework sprawled out on the bed in front of her. She couldn’t make heads or tails of it, but her Daddy was too busy helping Eri learn her colors to be bothered. How difficult was it to say, ‘hey, that circle is pink’ or ‘that triangle over there is blue’? Meanwhile, Himei was supposed to be highlighting the prepositional phrase in the ten example sentences. What the hell was a prepositional phrase? Himei certainly didn’t know. She supposed that she could ask her Papa, but he would likely be just as stumped as she was and send her off to go ask her Daddy. And Shinsou…

She scowled. Shinsou was supposed to be going with her to the arcade today. He’d been promising to take her for weeks if she got a B or higher on her next math test. She’d gotten a 93. It was an achievement which typically warranted a place of honor on the refrigerator, but her spot had gotten usurped by Eri, who’d drawn a picture of the entire family as cats. And now, instead of getting ready to head to the arcade, Shinsou was at the mall with his boyfriend picking out yet another present for Eri—as if the girl didn’t have enough stuff—and Himei was stuck in her room, staring blankly at homework she didn’t understand, utterly miserable.

There was a knock on her door. Knowing that she didn’t necessarily have to give her father permission to enter, she continued to try and figure out the assignment in front of her and, sure enough, Hizashi burst in, an exuberant smile on his face as he announced himself. Himei looked up just in time to see Eri tottle in uncertainly behind him—the little girl was not typically allowed to go into Himei’s bedroom, and she was looking around in wide-eyed wonder, everything inside so new. She clutched Hizashi’s leg, partially hiding herself away behind his hulking frame. Himei rolled her eyes and went back to her assignment.

“It’s time for dinner, little listener!” Hizashi boomed. Himei flinched, the volume just a hair too high to be comfortable. “Your Papa made yakitori! And he only set the kitchen on fire once, so the food should be halfway edible this time!”

Himei furrowed her brows, “I thought we were gonna have miso soup with pork for dinner?” It was Friday, which meant it was her turn to pick what they had for dinner and she’d been craving miso soup for weeks. It just so happened that they finally had the ingredients to make it.

“I know, [darling] but Eri doesn’t like pork. Instead of taking the time to make her something separate, your Papa thought it would be more logical to make yakitori, since everyone likes chicken.” Hizashi said, his voice frustratingly bright.

“I’m not hungry.” Himei said, hurriedly ducking her head to hide the tears budding in the corners of her eyes. Because of course something else of hers would get usurped because of freaking Eri.

Her stomach grumbled defiantly, causing Hizashi to laugh. “What’s with the stubborn attitude, huh? You love yakitori!” Crossing the distance between them, he ruffled her hair affectionately, laughing even louder when she tried to bat his hands away. “You have ten minutes, okay?”

Himei didn’t answer, just glared at the two as they made their exit, closing the door softly behind them. It was only then that she allowed the first tears to fall. Eri was taking everything from her, even something mundane as a choice in dinner, just by virtue of being Eri and it wasn’t fair. Sniffling, she got down off of her bed, her assignments falling and scattering all over the floor. Instead of cleaning them up, she made a beeline for the door, venturing further down the hall until she reached Shinsou’s bedroom. The door, as expected, was unlocked. Making her way inside, she made her way over to his closet and grabbed one of his blissfully soft hoodies.

Shinsou had recently presented as an alpha, and his scent always made her feel so safe. She struggled to slip the hoodie over her head, her tears making it rather difficult to see, but soon the soft, warm cloth enveloped her like a hug. The lavender material fell over her like a dress, with the pockets landing somewhere around her knees and the sleeves extending out well beyond her little hands. Pulling the hood up over her head, she proceeded to climb into the closet, now thoroughly surrounded by Shinsou’s scent, and sulk. Because that is the decidedly mature thing to do in this situation. Talking about her feelings is decidedly off the table for the time being.

She must’ve dozed off, because the next thing she heard was her Papa’s irritated voice saying, “Himei, you’re being incredibly rude. Everyone’s food has gone cold thanks to how long you’ve made them wait.” Himei flinched, but didn’t move.

“I-I’m not hungry!” She said once more, silently cursing the way her voice trembled.

Shouta was silent for a long while, before biting back, “You better not be lying to me, kid. Because if you don’t come and eat in the next five minutes, you’re not going to eat for the rest of the night. Do you understand me?”

Himei burrowed deeper into Shinsou’s sweatshirt, mewling softly. She didn’t respond.

“I asked you a question, Himei. I expect you to answer me.” She knew that her Papa wasn’t intending to be cruel, that she had been rude in making them all wait, even if they’d changed the meal without consulting her just to suit Eri’s palate.

Just thinking about Eri made the anger rise inside of her again, and she blurted without thinking, “I’d rather starve than eat with that charity case!” The house creaked ominously, the magnitude of her Quirk causing one of Shinsou’s windows to shatter. There was no chance they didn’t hear that downstairs.

She’d known she’d gone too far long before the hot, spicy scent of anger wafted through the cutaways in Shinsou’s closet door. But instead of responding like she thought he might, of yelling at her or scolding her or anything, really, he just…walked away. And somehow, that just made everything feel so much worse. Her dads didn’t need her anymore, now that they had their precious Eri. She wasn’t even worth the effort it took to punish her. She choked back a sob, wishing, not for the first time, that things would go back to the way that they’d been before Eri, or even Shinsou, had shown up in their lives.

They didn’t need her anymore.

They wouldn’t miss her if she was gone. Not when they had Shinsou, and Eri, and…

Would they even notice if she left? Probably not. Definitely not in time to stop her, at any rate.

Mind made up, she scrambled to her feet and scurried back down the hall to her bedroom. She grabbed only the essentials, including her Present Mic plushie, her favorite water bottle (with the ensign for Mic’s radio show emblazoned on the side of it), and a couple of granola bars. She stuffed all of this into her backpack. Slipping the bag onto her shoulders, she climbed onto her bed and opened the window—it was chilly outside, and she was glad she’d decided not to return Shinsou’s hoodie after all. Looking back at her room one last time, her eyes fell on the picture sitting on her dresser.

It was of her, her Daddy and her Papa, and her grandmas on her third birthday. Her Papa looked just as tired as always, but he was smiling, nuzzling her little face against his stubbly chin. Her chubby little hands were tangled in his hair. Her Daddy was behind her, holding her tight and smiling so, so bright, while her grandmas cooed and played with her little baby toes. They were so happy. When was the last time that they’d smiled at her like that? She couldn’t remember. But it certainly had to have been before Eri came into the picture.

Her parents didn’t care about her anymore. They were too busy dealing with Eri to see just how much she needed them, too.

It was with that thought that she let go of the windowsill, allowing herself to plummet to the ground. A cold shock chased through her bones when her sneakers hit the pavement with a soft smack, but she did not let this phase her, hitting the ground running and disappearing off into the night.