The sight of a white tarp draped over the corpse of his best friend was a sight that would forever haunt him. Pale gray hair stained a deep red stuck out in sticky clumps from the edge of the tarp, giving Shouta an idea of how bad underneath must be. His hands felt clammy, cold and shaky as he clutched cracked and bloodstained goggles to his chest. Rain pelted down on him, soaking him to the bone, but Shouta couldn’t find it in himself to care. All he could do was stare as they started to prepare a body bag, heart thudding in his chest as they started to lift the blood soaked tarp.
A hand suddenly appeared on his shoulder and Shouta suddenly found himself pressed against rain slicked leather, breathing in the familiar scent of coffee and hairspray. Hizashi. A hand kept his face pressed firmly into his friend’s shoulder and the other arm wrapped around him in a tight, almost suffocating hug. He couldn’t help the distressed sounding noise he let out as he tried to lift his head back up, but Hizashi’s hold of strong and firm and Shouta felt like he was made of jelly.
“You don’t wanna see,” Hizashi said in a horse sounding whisper. Shouta could feel Hizashi bow his head and press his face into Shouta’s wet hair and repeating, his voice cracking this time, “Y-you don’t w-wanna see.”
With that Shouta’s knees gave out and Hizashi was quick to remove the hand from his head to join the other one around Shouta’s waist to keep him steady. He clung to Hizashi with the hand that wasn’t holding Oboro’s goggles in a death grip to his chest, and a loud sob forced its way past his lips. He could feel the blond shoulders shake as he tried to bite back his own shallow sobbing, muffling it in Shouta’s hair as they simply clung to each other as if their lives depended on it.
“W-why?” Shouta croaked out, beating lightly on Hizashi’s chest with his free hand, “Why?! Wh-why him!?”
“I d-don’t know,” Hizashi replied shakily, “I don’t kn-know, Sho…”
With that Shouta let out an anguished scream into his friend’s shoulder as they both finally dropped to their knees on the ground. This felt like some twisted nightmare.
It wasn’t a nightmare. It was real. It was all too real.
Shouta laid in bed, curled in a ball on his side and hiding under his blankets like he was a child again. The usual sounds of his parents fighting reduced to distant background noise as that day played again, and again, and again in his head on repeat. Could he have done anything different? Shouta didn’t know, but he knows whatever he could of done he should have done.
He let out a frustrated sounding noise from the back of his throat and buried his fingers in his own hair. He gave a harsh tug, enough to cause a stinging level of pain. He licked at chapped lips, before going back to gnawing on his lower lip. He gave another tug and another and when he pulled back his hand several black hairs were in his hands.
Shouta let out a shaky breath, hastily dusting the hairs off his hands. He heard a distant crash and the distinct sound of glass breaking, and Shouta threw his hands over his ears. His eyes squeezed shut and a whimper passed his lips as their screaming hit a crescendo. He couldn’t even properly mourn in this fucking household, could he?
Shakily, he reached out from the safe haven of his blankets and blindly grabbed for his phone on the bedside table. He yanked it quickly off the charging cable and brought it to his face. He winced and was quick to turn down the brightness after putting in his password. He had to choke back a sob at his current background. It was a selfie that Hizashi took all of them using Shouta’s phone...him, Hizashi and...and Oboro. Smiling, happy and alive Oboro.
“Damn it,” Shouta whispered, scrubbing away the tears starting to blur his vision. He was quick to pull up Hizashi’s contact and then press the phone shakily to his ear.
“Please pick up,” Shouta whispered faintly as he listened to the soft ringing in his ear, trying to focus on that rather than the shouting the reverberated throughout his house.
“‘Ello…?” A familiar voice slurred into the other end, and Shouta let out a shaky sigh of relief.
“Z-Zashi,” Shouta mumbled, cupping his hand over his mouth and the receiver to try to muffle his own voice, even though a part of him was sure that his parents were so absorbed in their fight that they wouldn’t care that he was up right now.
“Sho!” Hizashi sudden sounded wide awake, and Shouta heard the shuffling of sheets and imagined the other boy had sat up in bed, “Are you alright?”
Shouta was quiet for a long moment before his whispered hoarsely, “N-no...I...I can’t stop th-thinking about O-Oboro.” His bottom lip wobbled and he had to squeeze his eyes shut to keep the tears from coming again. God, he can’t even say his name without falling apart.
“Oh…,” Hizashi said softly on the other end, pausing a moment before continuing, “I...I can’t either. I...I only fell asleep about an hour ago I think.”
“S-sorry I woke you,” The dark haired boy stuttered out, shifting more towards the wall he was facing toward on his bed.
“No, no! It’s fine, Sho, really,” The blond soothed, voice low and gentle in a way that smoothed over Shouta’s frayed and fragile nerves and made him relax slightly.
Shouta swallowed thickly and nodded, even though his friend couldn’t see it.
“If...if you say so.”
“Yeah...so...Sho,” Hizashi began, and Shouta could hear him shifting again, “Let’s talk for awhile. Might help you sleep.”
“If you don’t mind,” Was the faint reply as Shouta settled against his pillow, curled up on his side under his shield of blankets, cradling the phone to his ear.
From there Shouta just listened to Hizashi talk. It was something soothing and familiar, and Shouta could almost forget. He would occasionally let out soft hums so Hizashi would know he was still listening, and got lost in the meaningless topics that the blond rambled about in his ear. Eventually his eyelids had gotten heavier and he found himself having a hard time keeping his eyes open. He wasn’t sure when, but eventually Shouta found himself nodding off, grip loosening on the phone and his soft breaths being the only thing to be heard on his end.
When Shouta woke up it was noon and his phone was next to his head on the pillow. The mid-afternoon light filtering in from the window stung his eyes and made him groan. The house was quiet and only then Shouta allowed himself to relax, settling into his pillows and blindly grabbing at his phone as he rubbed the sleep out of his eyes. There was a single text alert on his phone.
Hizashi: goodnight Sho :)
Shouta’s lips reluctantly twitched into a tiny smile and he slowly typed out a reply.
Shouta: Thank you for talking to me last night.
Hizashi’s reply was quick.
Hizashi: good morning sleeping beauty!
Hizashi: and any time Sho!!
Shouta let out a small snort and let his smile grow a little more, through his heart ached in his chest. Oboro called him sleeping beauty sometimes too. It was an inside joke between the three of them, but Oboro was more inclined to call him dumb things like “Energy Saver-chan”, while Hizashi was more partial toward the aforementioned “Sleeping Beauty” and “Sleeping Prince of Relaxation”. All of them were horrible nicknames, but Shouta liked them...though you would never catch him telling them that.
The two of them texted for a while, and Shouta only got up from bed when the need to use the bathroom became too much for him to ignore. Maybe...just maybe, with Hizashi there everything would be okay.
Hizashi had come home that night after making sure Shouta got home alright feeling numb...numb and angry . He wanted to scream. He wanted to cry. He wanted to just simply break something . This wasn’t fair! Oboro didn’t deserve to die! His lips curled back into a snarl as he practically ripped the front door open and made a beeline for his bed room, ignoring anything his guardians tried to say to him. He didn’t care!
A scream was on the tip of his tongue as he slammed his bedroom door closed, and practically threw himself onto his bed. He wanted to scream so bad. Scream and shout about the unfairness of it all. The injustice! The shitty, shitty adults and the fact they let a bunch of kids do their dirty work. But Hizashi couldn’t scream. He wasn’t allowed to scream...so...he did the only thing he could think of and hit.
He straddled a pillow between his knees and reared back his fist, eyes flashing behind cracked sunglasses and brought it down on the pillow, lips drawn back in a snarl. Each time he brought his fist down a different image came to mind.
The officer who had the gull to congratulate Shouta on defeating the villain. Shouta , who was borderline catatonic, staring off into nothing and clutch a pair of broken goggles to his chest like a lifeline.
The paramedics who waved them off with little more than a once over.
Nemuri, who’s main concern seemed to be the goddamn rain rather than the fact their friend was dead.
His Purple Highness, who should of been the one protecting Shouta and Oboro rather than the other way around.
Sensoji, who was just a general dick and even made a snide remark to Shouta about “getting his fifteen minutes of fame” after Hizashi finally managed to get him away from the scene. Hizashi actually did punch him before gathering his remaining best friend and leaving. That felt damn good .
By the time Hizashi was done he found himself breathing heavily and shaking slightly, tears dripping down his cheeks as he choked back the sobs that threatened to rise in the back of his throat. He gripped the pillow that he had been punching in his arms and buried his face in it, releasing his muffled sobs into the fabric of the pillow case and staining it with his tears.
This was a nightmare.
Hizashi wasn’t sure when he was finally able to get to sleep, but he woke up to the sound of his phone vibrating obnoxiously next to his head and the dumb realization that he slept with his hearing aids in again. With a groan Hizashi reached out and grabbed the offending device with every intention of just chucking it across the room before the caller ID caught his eye...Shouta.
“‘Ello...?” Hizashi asked, voice still slurred by sleep as he sat up slightly on his elbows.
“Z-Zashi,” Shouta’s voice sounded hushed and shaky, and Hizashi could faintly hear the sound of two other voices practically screaming in the background. That woke him right up, and Hizashi found himself sitting fully up, and throwing his legs over the edge of the bed with the full intention to be up and moving if Shouta gave the word.
“Sho!” Hizashi said, voice picking up an octave or two as he reached to grab one of his discarded boots from the floor, “Are you alright?”
Shouta was quiet for a long moment and Hizashi was almost tempted to ask again when a horse whisper filled his ear, “N-no...I...I can’t stop th-thinking about O-Oboro.”
“Oh…,” Hizashi bit his lip after that before softly continuing, “I...I can’t either. I...I only fell asleep about an hour ago I think.” He glanced at the clock and shifted to settle himself back onto the bed...yeah, and hour give or take.
“S-sorry I woke you,” Shouta stuttered, and Hizashi could hear him shuffling around on the other end.
“No, no! It’s fine, Sho, really,” The blond soothed, making a small gesture with his hand unseeable to the other boy.
He heard Shouta swallow audibly on the other end and imaged Shouta maybe nodded.
“If...if you say so.”
“Yeah...so...Sho,” Hizashi began, shifting back to recline back on his pillows more, getting comfortable, “Let’s talk for awhile. Might help you sleep.”
“If you don’t mind,” Shouta said faintly, and Hizashi smiled despite himself.
“I’ll never mind when it comes to you, Sho,” The voice user mumbled before he launched into a random topic. He listened to Shouta’s small hums of acknowledgement become more and more sleepy sounding and eventually taper off into soft breathing into the receiver.
Hizashi stayed on the line for a while, listening to Shouta’s breathing and the occasional sleepy mumble. It was nice to listen to that...it was nice to have confirmation at this distance that Shouta was alive and breathing. Hizashi let out a shaky breath and eventually forced himself to hang up and slump down in bed, throwing an arm over his eyes.
Like he said earlier...this was a nightmare. He lifted his arm and glanced down at the phone still clutched in his other hand. This was a nightmare, but he wasn’t alone...he had Shouta. He clutched the phone tighter to his chest and closed his eyes as he let out a shaky breath. At least he still had Shouta.