It's hard being left behind… It's hard to be the one who stays.
~Audrey Niffenegger, The Time Traveler's Wife
As Shizu once again watched the last known footage of (Name) and Sora, Kyoko sighed from the chair a couple feet off to the side.
“It would have been so much better if it was just them eloping.”
“But it isn’t,” Shizu said tersely. “They didn’t elope, they just vanished into thin air.”
Thus far the search hadn’t gone anywhere. Various CCTV cameras have fleeting footage of the two, but they’re only together on the station when arriving and trying to leave the seaside town, and then nothing after they disappear. Phone calls to them still don’t connect, texts rebound, and the tracers on their phones are also out of the picture. Their families were informed, but while Sora’s doesn’t care enough to report him missing, (Name)’s parents have already filed a missing person report. Her face is up in the missing person’s database, and her parents are already printing up missing person flyers to hand out. Daiki’s men are pounding the streets and keeping an eye out while Digital Jack and Digital Jane have made a program to search CCTV cameras they can hack into in order to try to find (Name) that way.
Experiment 13 hasn’t come out of his future visions yet, which doesn’t bode well for the search.
Kyoko doesn’t say anything as Shizu rewinds and watches the footage again. With the way the two of them just disappear, none of them can think of any other alternative than that someone had used their Quirk to abduct them. They’re treating this like a kidnapping and Shizu and Daiki are burning resources like crazy trying to find them. Of course, poor Sora is a secondary objective, but Kyoko can’t exactly argue against that since they do depend heavily on (Name)’s Quirk.
When Shizu rewinds the footage for the umpteenth time, Kyoko decides to intervene. She drags Shizu away from the monitor and insists that she do something else. The footage never changes and watching it over and over again isn’t going to do much except drive them both up the wall. Besides, if Shizu wants to keep doing something about the ongoing search then she can certainly be more productive doing something else.
Kyoko regrets intervening as Shizu railroads her into going with her to the seaside town to do interviews with some of the gang’s own missing person flyers. Not that they’re advertising the missing leader of the Kami no Kage, rather that they’re friends searching for their missing friend.
Still, there is a silver lining to being dragged all the way out there. They learn of a clue:
Their friend was seen with a ‘suspicious’ man, blond, skinny and sickly looking.
Izuku is worried because none of his texts are getting through to her. When he goes downstairs to ask her parents if they’ve heard from her, he gets a grim look from her mom and an explanation at the door. He pales as she tells him that no one has seen or heard from her, not even her friends. That’s…
Isn’t that pretty much the worst case scenario?!
Just like they’ve feared, she’s finally been kidnapped!
He is fast to offer his services to aid the search for her in any way. Her mom is grateful and asks him to join her later in handing out flyers. He agrees and trudges back homeward. He breaks into a run and rushes home to his bedroom where he picks up his phone and tries to call her again. Breathless, he dashes back into the hall and towards the kitchen, loudly asking his mom if she’s heard from her. His mom is only just learning about the worrying absence and has to sit down. Worry crosses her face as she watches him try to call her and get upset when he can’t.
He drops his arm down and asks his mom, “Is she okay?”
(he sounds so small)
Sora officially hates the Nopefish. He doesn’t need any extra at the moment, and even if he did, there’s no way he’s going to eat something new and possibly poisonous without boss awake and ready to heal him. One of the damn things leapt out of the water and nearly nailed him in the face! All this for a single bucket of water. Plumbing was invented for a reason!
Grumbling, Sora kicked the fish back near the water’s edge and took his bucket, heading back to the inn. He hadn’t wanted to leave boss alone, but neither of them can exist without water. Fasting is easier to endure than dehydration, not that either are fun.
Damn it! Sora doesn’t know how to look after boss when she’s knocked out. They have staff for that, or Shizu in a pinch. Hell, they even have the option of taking her to a private health practice or a hospital!
…Had. Had the option.
Out here, all she has is him to rely on.
He can protect her. That’s what his Quirk is for, and he’s not a bad fighter. He’s killed with his own hands before, so if that’s necessary, he can do it and not be squeamish about it. But take care of her when she’s going to be unconscious for days?
Sora is pretty much up shit creek without a paddle and she’s laying at the bottom of their drifting canoe.
Moving his feet faster so she was alone for less time, Sora hoped that she wouldn’t pee or go number two, but that might be asking for the moon. Frustrated, he opened and inhaled to scream at the sky.
And ended up choking on a thick snowflake.
Pissed, Sora arrived back at the inn and kicked the door shut behind him. It’s a good thing that snowflakes melt, otherwise he might have died out there. What a way to go that would have been. He could just picture his obituary, penned by Kyoko: This idiot was killed by a snowflake. The gene pool thanks him for getting out.
He snorted, slightly amused.
Heading back into the kitchen area, he breathed a sigh of relief to find boss just the way he’d left her. Setting the bucket down near the stove so it wouldn’t freeze, he noted with satisfaction that the room was still warm. They still had some tables and chairs to burn, but Sora would prefer to stretch that out as long as possible. He might go scavenge for other furniture after she wakes up again, but that won’t be for at least a day.
He dearly hopes that it doesn’t stretch past two. He’s slept for two days in a row himself on occasion, and while he felt tired after waking up, he’s never peed himself. He’s hoping the same sort of rule applies here. He’d never really asked what happened during this so-called recovery period as it didn’t seem as though it would be information he’d need, but that’s come back to bite him in the ass, hasn’t it?
Sighing and feeling the weight of the world on his shoulders, he pulled out his personal phone and turned it on.
He deserves a song or two to fill the silence and distract him for a little while.
Waiting for boss to wake up was… not something he’d like to go through again.
For one thing, without her, he didn’t have anyone to talk to. At some point into the first day he’d started talking to her even though she couldn’t answer. He did this because without water or scavenging duty, there wasn’t anything else to do. He didn’t like the silence, the lack of traffic and human noise, so he started talking to her out of a mix of boredom and paranoia. At first he talked about the man she’d gone to meet and cursed him to hell and back because if it wasn’t for him then neither he or she would have been out there in the first place and thus neither of them would have ended up wherever ‘here’ is. After that, he alternated between silence and telling her stories about how he and Daiki had grown up.
Due to him being paranoid about his surroundings and leaving her for any length of time, he moved the ‘toilet’ downstairs and into a far corner in the common room. He tried to make his bucket of water last without dehydrating himself and used snow to wash his hands.
There were no signs of the goblins coming back, which was a small mercy at least. The last thing he needed was to try defending an unconscious woman. She was at her weakest like that. The goblins would actually be able to, to assault her and she wouldn’t be any wiser until after she’d woken up. That’s not something he wants happening to her, ever.
As the only one awake to watch for dangers, Sora takes his sleep in short naps. Sometimes he rests in the chair he dragged in, and other times he rests on the floor near her, between her and the doorway to the common room. Sleeping in this place isn’t comfortable, and he has to keep the fire lit otherwise they’ll freeze to death.
Nothing funny about that obituary.
Five times he pulled out his personal phone to play some music, to hear anything besides the sound of the fire and the howl of the wind outside. The battery life dropped down to forty-three percent, but it had been worth it to have his paranoia ease.
Waiting for dawn each day was the worst, and also when he was most likely to whip out his personal phone. Days were bad, but at least there was light. Nights were even worse because it was so dark, and every dawn seemed to never want to come. Even though boss was right there with him, he’d felt all alone.
He nearly hugged her when her eyes opened sometime on the third day, but instead he had to help her to the ‘toilet’ because she was unsteady on her feet.
Honestly, he was just glad he didn’t have to deal with changing her pants and underwear, because what would he even replace them with? Not to mention how awkward it’d be to clean her.
Despite all the rest you’ve had, you feel tired and irritable. At least you’d managed to regain enough of your balance that you could banish Sora back to the kitchen and tell him to cover his ears while you did your business. Washing your hands and face with snow wasn’t fun, but it certainly helped wake you up.
Breakfast was the apple Sora should have eaten during the two-and-maybe-a-half days you were out. Instead the idiot’s been living on tuna and even he admits that it’s getting old. With the ‘runes’, the food isn’t spoiling, but even eating your favorite thing all time makes it lose appeal.
Heading out into the day, you note the heavy grey clouds overhead and how today isn’t as cold as the last time you remember being outside. Walking behind Sora, the two of you head for the stream. No fish launches itself at Sora as he fills the bucket, nor is he attacked when his back is turned. He brings the bucket over and sets it in the snow near your feet before returning to the shore. You’re a safe distance away while Sora stands there waving his limbs, trying to get the attention of the fish.
It takes a while, but one eventually does burst out of the stream and attempt to knock Sora down. It crashes into his shield and he’s quick to grab it, lifting it and then slamming it down in an attempt to knock it out. You move quickly and get your hands on the fish as Sora pinned it down with his foot. It’s still conscious and trying to fight, so you fully knock it out and preserve its body functions to keep it fresh.
Having achieved your objectives, you both head back to the inn, though to be fair to Sora who’s dragging the smelly fish, you carry the bucket of water.
As if to mock you both, halfway back to the inn, a heavy rain falls from the sky, but it takes you both a couple seconds before you realize what it is.
“Do you hear that?”
You screech as rain sneaks up on you both from behind, and you’re both so gob smacked that you stand there for almost half a minute before Sora groans, lifts an arm and yells at the sky.
“What the fuck?”
Trudging back to the inn, Sora asks his Quirk why it didn’t do anything about the rain even though it’s so heavy, or at least, you think that’s what he’s yelling. It’s a little hard to tell, but you are mostly certain that’s what he’s saying. Both of you were now holding your burdens with one hand as Sora had taken one of yours in his, but it’s not unmanageable. You think he did it so that neither of you get lost, and you don’t have to energy to protest.
You are both cold and soaked by the time you return to the inn. Dripping water everywhere and not giving a damn, Sora ditches the fish on a random table and you do the same with the water from the stream which now has rain water mixed in it. The common room is cold, but neither of you are keen to get your sleeping area wet, so after confirming that your phones have all survived mostly dry, you put them down and start stripping in the common room in order to wring water from your clothes.
You help each other since it’s an easier task with two pairs of hands, and when the time comes, neither of you say anything about the fact that you are both down to your underwear. You chant a mantra in your head, saying it’s no different from a bikini, completely clueless to the fact that Sora is doing his best not to look at you while reminding himself that you are practically Daiki’s sister and also that this is totally no different from swimwear.
Neither of you are particular successful at convincing yourselves, but you are both pathetically grateful that neither of you bring it up, not even as a joke.
Eventually, Sora retreats to the kitchen twice, first to get their phones somewhere warm, and secondly to try to hang up at least one layer of clothing to dry in the kitchen while you turn your attention to the Nopefish. Wrinkling your nose in distaste, you touch it again and get rid of the slime and unusable material, once again flinging it onto the floor to clean up later. Sora returns soon enough and the two of you try to figure out what to make.
There’s still a bit of tuna left, so you only make a smaller slab of it. Both of you liked the mandarin orange, so you make two more, as well as four apples. Cucumbers are a simple vegetable, so you made one, and daikon are simple too, but you don’t have enough material to make a whole one. In the end, this Nopefish is turned into a bit more of Bluefin tuna, two mandarin oranges, four apples, one cucumber and a thick slice of daikon.
Sora stares at the small pile of food before turning his head to you.
(he nearly makes a joke proposal before mentally backpedaling)
“Boss, I love you, but you just woke up. Please don’t overextend yourself so soon.”
You want to protest but he might be right. You don’t like being out any more than any of your friends do.
“Fine. But dude, I’m starving. Let’s eat.”
After deciding to eat, you abandon Sora to bring the food because you are freezing. Standing in the cold common room while wet was not a good idea. Fleeing to the stove you get as close to it as you can without burning yourself. It doesn’t seem to help much, but it is infinitely preferable to having no fire.
Outside, the winter rain continues to fall and you find yourself wondering if you should give Sora a hard head the next time he had to go out there. Rain on snow made a slippery surface, right? You don’t want him to slip and crack his head open, because then you’d have to go out there and risk slipping and injuring yourself.
Hopping in place, you didn’t look in Sora’s direction as he returned with the food. Carefully, he placed when he could in the rune cupboard before coming over and handing you a cut of tuna. Raw fish when it wasn’t properly presented sushi isn’t your favorite, but it’s still full of things your body needs, so you eat it without much complaint.
Sora leave and comes back with another chair and the two of you sit. He gets the cold chair and you wince in sympathy when he hisses upon sitting. He settles soon enough, and the two of you stare at the stove while you hope he isn’t looking at you.
The two of you are practically naked and alone. Your mind is going places you don’t want it to go, and you blame a combination of Kyoko and daytime television. After all, while you do count on Sora, you’re not interested in him in a physical way. Cursing the rain, you sulk and wish you were home. At home you could take a warm bath after getting caught in an unexpected rainfall, not to mention have your clothes washed by machine, and even dried in a machine depending on where you were at the time. More importantly, you could be in your own company, or in female company at least.
Stupid rain. Stupid winter. Stupid place!
Stupid Yagi, and stupid you too.
The tension slowly but surely seeps from Sora the longer they’re both quiet. This is good. This is still awkward, but at least neither of them are making it worse. Hopefully this is the only time this kind of situation will happen. He doubts she enjoys it any more than he does.
It’s not that he’s never thought about it at least once, it’s just that he really doesn’t want to know what happens if she loses control of her Quirk during sex. Would she warp her partner? Accidentally kill him? Melt him into biological paste?
He wonders sometimes, but doesn’t actually want to find out, especially if it’s him as the hypothetical partner in any of those scenarios.
Noooo, thank you.
It’s a nightmare waiting for your clothes to dry, and you haven’t even brought in your winter clothing yet. Your jackets and other stuff are probably frozen solid in the common room by now. And this rain hasn’t let up yet either.
Neither of you talks much, and you do stand a couple times with your backs to each other, but you are almost pathetically grateful when both you and Sora finally agree that your shirt is dry enough to put back on. Sora’s isn’t, but somehow you wearing a cover makes the situation much more tolerable for both of you. It’s still a little awkward for you since Sora is in his boxers, but you firmly keep your eyes above the waist.
A lot of time has passed, so you agree to eat something else, this time choosing to slice the daikon ‘steak’ in half. Eating it raw isn’t exciting, but it feels good to eat a proper vegetable. Sora wishes they had a better knife for cutting things. You could have had daikon noodles, or had them diced. A good knife would go far in cooking, really. Again, neither of you knows how to cook much of anything, but having a knife is better than not having one.
Sighing, you stop nibbling at your daikon and stare up at the ceiling. You know it does no good to wish you were home or that someone would come find you, so you don’t say that. Instead you agree with Sora that a knife would be good.
(it doesn’t cross your mind to be wary of a knife-wielding Sora because you equate him first with safety, though this thought doesn’t come to you until much later and even then you don’t voice it)
You finally register something and turn to him, surprised.
He’s not looking at you as he shrugs. “I had carrots noodles once. Carrot, daikon, same thing, yeah?”
You pouted. “Well damn. Now I want to try both.”
He chuckled. “Let’s try making it sometime then, yeah?”
You nodded. “Yeah. I’d like that.”
Feeling more comfortable, you both relaxed and quietly enjoyed the rest of the daikon.
When in doubt, ingest carbs.
~Rachel Cohn, Dash & Lily's Book of Dares