Saturday, 26 December 2015

Chapter four (segment five), 2016, October, Yukio

With the dance over and most of the school empty of students Yukio did a last round to their club room. It had to be a quick one as he'd left Kyoko waiting by the gates.

Karaoke bars all around Himekaizen were filling up with celebrating students, and both Ryu and Noriko promised to organise the club's outing this evening.

He and Kyoko had other plans though.

They failed to pressure Principal Nakagawa into disclosing which hospital Urufu had been sent to, but Rie-sempai was easier to convince, and she soon buckled under the verbal assault from Ryu and Noriko. Maybe he had helped a little himself when he gave her puppy eyes to the best of his ability. Good enough to have Kyoko frown at him at least.

Yukio opened the doors to their club room, went inside and retrieved the cellphone he'd left recharging there. With his phone in his pocket he quickly ran down the stairs, switched to loafers and sprinted across the gravel in the darkness until he saw Kyoko's shadow under the lamplight by the gates.

“Hi,” Yukio said and waved to her.

She waved back, and with a step her dark silhouette broke loose from the gate post and he could see her features when the street light gained access to her face.

She's beautiful, and she's all mine. Surprised at his own possessiveness Yukio wiped the thin smile that had begun to spread over his face.

“Shall we?” he asked.

“Uhum. Tell the guys in Haven?”

Yukio thought about it. “Why not. It's on the way anyway.” Urufu would growl at him if he learned Yukio hadn't dropped a last 'good work' and 'I love working with you guys' before the evening ended.

Thinking of Urufu washed away the last remnants of his smile from earlier.

“Good,” Kyoko said. “Do we tell them?”

Yukio didn't need her to specify what they would tell or not tell. Neither of them had any business dropping by the Haven café and continuing towards the station. That was in the opposite direction from their homes.

“We have to. Not all of it and not all of it the truth.” The thought of lying to the club members didn't sit too well with him.

“Call it an accident?”

He looked at Kyoko. Her suggestion sounded more callous than anything he had expected.

For a while he bit on his lower lip as he listened to the sounds of their footsteps and the occasional car passing.

“Yukio?” Kyoko said when he didn't answer.

He tugged his blazer tighter around himself and silently cursed his stupidity for not bringing a coat. “Yeah, accident sounds good,” he finally said. Accident was probably as good a lie as any other.

“Without Noriko we can't call it a mishap,” Kyoko added.

A mishap. Yeah, that would be Noriko. “Think he'll make it?” Yukio asked the night.

“He has to,” Kyoko answered. “Kuri-chan will break if he doesn't.” She fell silent but he could see her lips moving again. “As will you, and I don't want that,” she murmured.

Yukio suspected he wasn't meant to have heard that and refrained from commenting. “Yeah, he'll be fine,” he said instead. “It's Urufu we're talking about.”


“He's indestructible. All that training just to avoid tripping over his own feet. Guy sure knows how to take a fall. Trust me on this one.” Yukio knew he was rambling, but spewing words was better than handling the silence.

“Our kiddie siblings,” Kyoko agreed and showed him two rows of grinning teeth.

Yukio silently thanked her for playing along. He kept up his rambling, but from how Kyoko answered his hand with her own fingers he understood she knew the real questions that were tumbling around in his head.

All too soon they arrived at the Haven café, and Yukio opened the door to the tinkling of the bell. A few heads turned in his direction and a couple of arms waved for him to enter.

“Soz, guys, we have to go,” Yukio shouted at no one in particular.

“Visiting Urufu?”

A, yeah, they know he's hurt. “Yeah, gotta see what happened to him,” Yukio said. He waved at James behind the counter.

“Happened to him?”

OK, not all of them know. “He had an accident. That's why he left during the afternoon. We're on our way to visit him.” And if you buy that you've got bean paste for brains.

“At this time in the...”

“Sure, give him my regards.” The last interrupting words came from Hiroyuki-kun who didn't look fooled at all.

Yukio nodded a silent 'thank you' to him and left the café with Kyoko. Guess not many people go visiting hospitals late evenings. He'd thank Hiroyuki-kun properly later for covering up his mistake.

“Think anyone believed us?” Kyoko asked.

Yukio stared up at the lamplights ahead and nodded. “Half of them I guess. Doesn't matter. As long as they don't try to tag along it's fine.”

Kyoko nodded. He could see in her face how she imagined what would happen if a dozen of them suddenly showed up at the hospital at this hour.

The temperature continued dropping and when they arrived at the station Yukio sighed in relief at coming indoors even if only for a while.

They would have to change trains once and after that it was a matter of either walking for twenty minutes or waiting for a bus. Given the hour Yukio suspected walking.

“You fine with this?” he asked Kyoko. They wouldn't be allowed to see Urufu, but Kuri sat waiting at the hospital as well, and Yukio didn't know in what shape she was.

“Yes, I'll be fine. If anything she needs me right now.”

I always forget she's as close to Kuri as I'm to Urufu. “OK, let's do this then,” he said and led her to the platform.

Kyoko held onto his hand, and he could see her hair flying when they ran down the stairs. The next train would arrive in mere minutes.

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