4 more short drabbles featuring Black and Gekikara, Yuki and Paru, Renairin, and Kojiyuu
8 (Innocence), 44 (Two Roads), 84 (Out Cold), 99 (Solitude)
The house was silent when Black returned from her shift, which normally would have put her at ease after such an annoying day, but considering that Shibuya had texted her saying that she had an emergency and she’d gotten Gekikara to watch the baby — Black really didn’t know what to expect. (Did anyone really when it came to that psycho?)
But of all the scenarios that had played in her head as she all but sprinted from the store to her house, Black could not have imagined the one she walked in on. The room was a mess, toys scattered everywhere - most of them broken - with pencils and half-scribbled drawings covering the floor like a second carpet. Black sighed in relief when she assured herself of a lack of blood and then snorted when she finally found Gekikara and her son.
In the middle of the floor, flat on her back atop some papers and a crushed box of crackers, was Gekikara and lying peacefully on her chest was the baby. Both of them were fast asleep, covered in Gekikara’s jacket.
Black shook her head. “Kids,” she muttered out of the corner of her smile.
44. Two roads
Her instructions had been to groom Paru, to treat her as she had done Mayu, but Yuki knew that Akimoto-sensei hadn’t meant that literally. There was no way anyone could treat someone in the exact same way as someone else. But Yuki had learned a thing or two about how to deal with people and one of the simplest things was to treat everyone equally - and give them equal chance.
So when she saw Paru looking a little lost on the fringes of the group, Yuki took her wrist and led her back in, grabbed an extra drink to share with the younger girl, thought up questions and stories that involved her during events where they were scheduled together. (After all, no one travelled this river alone…)
Two roads converged in a yellow wood and I, I shared the road with a passer-by, and that has made all the difference
84. Out Cold
A pair of slightly younger members pass her in the hall with silent nods, the air cold as their sights align and separate. Rena returns the nod and tries for warmth in her smile - she doesn’t know if she achieves it because they’re gone before the exchange can be properly completed. (It’s all business anyway… right?)
Rena purses her lips and continues on her way, relieved to find the dressing room empty - she corrects herself when her eyes spot a figure curled up at the table. She feels something chip away at the cold that had settled in her and she moves towards the source eagerly. Airi is asleep, pen in hand, cheek resting on the other, her sheet of lyrics covered in equal parts directions and doodles. Rena contents herself with watching, feeling herself warm as her eyes run freely over the curves of Airi’s face, even more gentle in sleep.
A crease appears on Airi’s forehead, then a shiver through her body, and Rena finally notices the goosebumps on Airi’s skin. She frowns and quickly finds her bag, pulling out a small blanket. She carefully settles it on Airi’s shoulders, pausing when Airi begins to stir as she tucks the edges around Airi’s neck. Rena places a soft hand against Airi’s head, lightly smoothing the dark hair and Airi quiets, her breathing falling back into a deeper pattern.
The soft call of her name jolts Rena straight. At the doorway is the pair that had passed her earlier but their eyes were softer, instead of sharp icebergs Rena feared colliding with, they were snowflakes falling on her form - she wasn’t sure why, but she felt embarrassment heat her cheeks. The girls mime something about the staff needing her and she nods in understanding. She watches them leave but she lets her hand linger for a moment, loath to leave Airi’s warmth.
But then Rena hears the murmur of her own name again. Rena’s heart stutters and then continues in double-time as she stares at the sleeping face, the slightly parted lips that had formed her name now curved into a smile. Rena’s helpless to stop the rush of heat that starts from her face and floods into her heart. She leans down and brushes her lips against Airi’s cheek, aligning her heart with hers with the promise of a proper exchange soon.
Yuko stares into the emptiness, the ceramic bowl shining silently as she eats a meal for one loud enough for two. She remembers how Haruna’s hands used to cup the bowl, how her chopsticks would tap against the sides when it was empty, prompting Yuko to offer more rice.
But today, there was no offering.
*See this post for photo reference