Chapter edited 7/11/16

This is a continuation to my old fic 'Teach Me, Senpai'. It takes place after the last side-story I did for it, 'Mending Arguments'.

Fran became bored easily, Bel had learnt over their months together. It wasn't as simple as sitting the younger male down and playing a few video games with him to keep him occupied; he required constant stimulation or else he fell into a funny mood where he would close himself off and not let anyone come near him. Bel had discovered the simplest way to keep his boyfriend busy was to get him out of the house for a while each day where he could distract himself with whatever he saw fit instead of being forced to stay inside with limited activities.

Bel was quick to pick up the signs that he would again have to send Fran outside; it always started with the boy sitting on the couch, with his knees drawn up to his chest as he stared blankly around him. If the blond was quick enough to respond, a small tap on the shoulder should be enough to snap him out of it – if he were left alone for too long, it would be harder to bring him back to reality.

"Froggy?" Bel reached out, careful not to use too much pressure as he tapped a frail shoulder. He didn't move when his lover flinched and instead waited for Fran to look at him before he asked, "Froggy, are you alright?"

Fran blinked a few times before he nodded. As he stared at his boyfriend, Bel was easily able to make out the confusion prominent in those emerald eyes he loved so much. "Yes, senpai..."

The blond glanced back towards the kitchen, wary of leaving his soup on the stove unsupervised; the last thing he wanted was to start a fire, but that would be just his luck... "Are you sure? Do you want to go for a walk?"

The smaller male was still for a few seconds before he nodded again. He slowly lifted himself off the couch in a manner that looked to be very dazed. "Okay..."

Bel went back to the kitchen so he could turn the stove off and move the pot onto a cool broiler. He then made his way into the dining room where he knew he would find his young lover grabbing the dog leash from the cupboard against the far wall; Fran would never leave the house by himself – hell, he wouldn't even go the mailbox without Bel or Mamoru with him.

The older male followed Fran to the sliding glass door and then into the backyard. He didn't speak until his lover had gotten the dog by his side and clipped the leash onto its purple collar; he was rather concerned by how lost Fran seemed to be, and he couldn't help but wonder if sending him off on his own was a good idea – but what else could he do? He was trying to make their lunch when he himself didn't have any energy for getting out of bed, much less go for a walk.

"Where are you going to go today, Froggy?" Bel was always careful to make sure he knew what Fran was planning; if something happened, he wanted to be able to get there as fast as he could, after all.

Fran shrugged. "Maybe down to the river, senpai... Mamoru can have a swim while we're there..."

"Alright, Froggy; just be careful, alright?" Bel closed the distance between them so that he could kiss his lover on the forehead. "How long will you be?"

Fran blinked, as if he hadn't thought that far ahead. He continued to speak in a dazed manner, and though it was very concerning for Bel, he didn't say anything about it; Fran already knew how much he worried the blond at times. "...Dunno... Maybe an hour or two..."

Bel sighed; he knew Fran wasn't in the most coherent headspace right now, so he had to make sure all bases were covered before he let the younger out of his sight; if something ever happened to Fran, he didn't know what he'd do. "Okay. Do you have your phone on you?"

"Yeah." Fran pulled away as the older male reached out to touch him and then diverted his gaze to the ground. He didn't look at the expression of pain on his boyfriend's face; he knew how much Bel hated it when he pulled away like this, but he couldn't help it; the idea of touch was too distressing for him right now. "...I'll be back soon, senpai..."

"Be safe." Bel stood where he was so he could watch Fran move to the side gate in order to leave the property.

Sometimes, Fran really worried the blond.

~~XX~~

The aforementioned river wasn't far from Fran's home; it was a ten-minute walk, and Mamoru always made the silence bearable when it would have otherwise drove the boy mad. He was thankful every day that Bel had gotten him the dog, and even more grateful the blond how allowed him to keep it despite Bel's own issues; without that dog, Fran didn't think he would have been able to leave the house at all if Bel weren't there with him to help him.

Fran always came down to the river, sometimes with Bel and sometimes without. It was somewhere quiet for him where he could be by himself and think about things without the stress of having to deal with other people. He always went off the cement walking path and down into the bush, treading through dirt so that he could make his way down to the riverbed. Not many people strayed off the path, so it was rare that he was bothered by anyone else down here.

"Want to play fetch?" Fran picked up a stick and waved it in the air for the puppy to see. He felt his mind start to clear as Mamoru barked and wagged his tail happily before bowing down on his front paws and jumping around excitedly. "Alright, then... Fetch, Mamoru."

Fran tossed the stick into the water and watched as his pet jumped in to get it. He braced himself once the animal had come back onto land, having never liked getting wet whenever the dog shook himself dry; Mamoru was long-haired, and it seemed he always picked up more water than one would think possible.

"Mamoru..." Fran sighed as he wiped the droplets from his face, but he couldn't stay annoyed; the joyful way the animal bounded around was enough to rid him of all negative emotion he had felt briefly. "Again?"

Mamoru panted in excitement as he waited for the stick to be tossed again. He dived straight back into the water once it was thrown so he could search for where it had landed. The boy sat down on the dirt as he waited for his pet to come back. He picked at the small patch of grass beside him absentmindedly while he listened to the birds chirping away in the trees above them; this was why he liked this place so much; it was just so soothing for him, and he was glad Bel had shown it to him when he had first moved in.

But alas, the peaceful atmosphere was broken by the sound of footsteps coming down the trail. Fran turned around to look, expecting it to just be another bushwalker, so he was surprised when someone dressed far too fancily for this kind of terrain approached him; what kind of person dressed in a business-like manner just to walk through a bush?

Fran got to his feet to put distance between them, and he stopped only when he felt shallow water beneath his feet. In his usual flat tone, he asked, "Can I help you?"

"Yes, you can." The man smiled as he brushed dirt off the black slacks he wore. "I'm looking for someone, actually. Maybe you know of him?"

Fran blinked, remaining silent. He heard Mamoru's approach, and when he turned around, he found the dog swimming back to shore with the stick in his mouth. "…"

"See, he went missing quite a few years ago, but I heard he's in this general area." The man's dark eyes shone brightly as they regarded Fran, but once he noticed the wet dog bringing the stick over to him, they narrowed in what Fran knew instantly was disgust. "He was... Get away from me, you stupid mutt!"

Fran's eyes widened as he watched the stranger punch his dog in the head. A gasp of horror escaped him, and he tensed at the pup's yelp. He didn't blame Mamoru for dropping the stick and putting his tail between his legs; the poor thing was just scared, and that was evident by the way he ran past the man and away from Fran before he stopped and watched them warily in case the newcomer tried to chase him.

It was rare for Fran to feel anger, but after seeing the way his sweet dog was frightened because of someone else, he couldn't help but raise his voice. "Don't hit my dog! Leave me alone!"

Fran stumbled backwards as the other suddenly lunged at him without warning, knocking him into the water where his phone fell out of his pocket into the river. There was nothing he could do about that, though; he was too busy trying to fight off the man who had grabbed him in an attempt to drag him out of the water.

"Get off me!" Fran shouted. He was scared, but he was doing his best to hide it; he didn't want the other to know how badly this whole thing was affecting him after he had worked so hard to recover from his childhood. "Get off!"

The struggling stopped for a few seconds once loud barking filled the air. The German shepherd was snarling as he ran at the two so he could bite the man's arm and try to get it off his owner.

"Stupid thing!" The stranger reached out and grabbed the stick Mamoru had dropped previously. He whacked it down on the animal's head hard enough for blood to start falling to the ground, but it wasn't until the seventh whack did Mamoru finally let go, with yelps once again sounding. "Fucking mongrel!"

Fran, who had been trapped beneath the other, brought a hand to his mouth as he watched a revolver being pulled from those expensive pants and aimed at his dog. He felt tears slide down his cheeks at the deafening bang, unable to stomach hearing the agonised keens of his pet as Mamoru staggered away with blood trailing behind him.

The boy was silent as the revolver was turned to him next. His tears slid down his cheeks and onto the surface of the water beneath him, and for the first time in what must have been forever, he was paralysed by fear.

"Finally found you again... Fran..." A twisted smirk crossed the man's face as he raised the revolver and brought it down hard against the boy's head.

Fran whimpered at a sudden explosion of pain in his mind. He was conscious of the blood that dribbled down his face for just a few brief moments, and then the world went black.