So this is that sixth chapter that I was talking about. Hope you enjoy it for what it is.
"Nee-chan! I'll be going off first!"
"Alright, just be safe okay!"
He gave her the usual thumbs up, and soon, the middle-schooler was already out of the door. He always did seem to be in a rush. And she guessed that it was to meet up with one of his girlfriends. What was her name? Ah, it was getting hard to keep track..
After she took one last glance towards the expanse of her apartment, making sure everything was spick and span, she made her way out the door with her schoolbag and umbrella in hand. She hurriedly fished the keys out of her pocket - albeit a little clumsily, what with her two hands already occupied - and locked the door.
Once she made her way down the stairwell, she raised her umbrella towards the sky, and with a simple click of a button, it burst open. And now, she began her journey to the one place she loathed the most - high school.
The pitter-patter of rain on her umbrella was therapeutic to her, and as she made her way down the streets towards the bus stop, she hummed to herself in quiet content. The past few days had been.. eventful, to say the least. The events from the weekend were still very much fresh in her mind, and a part of her still couldn't believe that it all actually happened.
A stray blush formed on her cheeks just thinking about the whole thing. The entire thing was still vivid. After they'd arrived back to her house from their night out in the festival, Nagi was almost close to throwing a hissy fit seeing her clothes soaked and wet from the rain.
'You could catch a cold, Nee-chan!' was what he lectured to the both of them. She could still picture the flushed look on Hodaka's face. But it was a good thing she was there to cool things down…
After a few minutes of lugging her feet reluctantly through the streets, she could finally see the bus stop in the far distance. Just a little more, and then she'd be able to catch a nap in the bus before she reached her school.
She continued on, but then she heard something coming from the distance. And if her ears were right, it was coming from behind her. It was muffled and faint, but it quickly became louder with each passing second. That sound.. she could almost make it out. It was someone calling out her name!
She gave in to her curiosity and turned around, seeing a figure approaching towards her direction from the far end of the street she'd been walking on. She squinted her eyes a little to get a better picture of the person coming her way. And once she did, it didn't take long for her to find out who it was.
He was waving his hand in the air that seemed to be carrying a bag of sorts, running towards her with his blue windbreaker and umbrella flapping about in the wind. Once he'd gotten closer to her, she noticed him very obviously panting like an exhausted puppy.
"Hodaka? What are you doing here?"
"I.." He took in a big breath of air before leaning downwards and resting his body on his knees, "I brought you some food from the convenience store. I went to your apartment, but you weren't there." His out-of-breath face took in another big pant of air before continuing, "So I figured you must've already been on your way to school.. and I found you here."
He let out a deep sigh before taking another big breath of fresh air. He lifted the plastic bag of food up to Hina's face as he tried his best to muster up a smile from his exhausted and flushed face. The years spent on that island had really drained his stamina..
"Aww, you shouldn't have..," she cooed as she took the bag from his hands. She took a peak and found a few onigiris and little sandwich cakes, the likes that they could only find in a Lawson or Family Mart.
"Wait, is this all for me?"
Hodaka stretched his arms and straightened his back as his lips curved into an awkward smile. "Yea.. kinda."
"I won't be able to eat all of this," she chuckled as she shook her head. "I hope you don't mind helping me out."
"Well, I did buy them.."
And just in time, she heard the roaring engine of the bus down the road.
"And I hope you don't mind accompanying me to school," she winked with a cute little smile.
An excited little laugh the confines of his big smile, "Of course not. I don't have much to do anyway."
They walked along into the bus under the shelter of Hodaka's umbrella, with their hands instinctively intertwining as usual while they did. The bus was empty, thankfully, and they sat at the double seats by the window.
Hina fished out an onigiri from the bag and unwrapped its plastic wrapping before taking a bite.
"Mm, not bad."
She lifted the half-eaten piece of the triangular-shaped rice ball up to Hodaka's face, gesturing him to take a bite. He happily did so, and let out a little satisfied moan.
They talked for awhile after, but soon, Hodaka realised that his responses were falling on deaf - well, more like sleepy - ears. He felt a weight pressing onto his shoulder, and he didn't need to guess who it was.
He watched her dozing off peacefully, and he wrapped an arm around her shoulders as he snuggled her up closer. He felt his eyes getting just a little heavier by the moment and-
"Hodaka, wake up!" He felt her hands nudging him and soon, her face was right in front of his. "We're here."
He stumbled upwards, still a little bit doozy from his sudden awakening. How - when did he even-
He didn't have much time to think now that he was being tugged out of the bus. He took a good look around him, a little bit startled to see the bus filled to the max with people. How long had he been asleep?
As he stepped out of the bus, he continued to be tugged along until they finally reached their destination; the high school. The sight of it suddenly flipped a switch inside of him. The students roaming around, the uniforms - it was all making him remember his time back at the island. He shuddered to remember anymore of that time in his life..
"Well, I'll be going now," he heard Hina chime in. "Thanks for the food, and for accompanying me," she giggled.
"No problem. I guess I'll see you after school then?"
"Sure, just come by my apartment whenever you want," she winked.
She stepped closer to him, taking a few glances around her as she did so. Hodaka felt his eyebrows cocking into a slight look of confusion as she watched his girlfriend's suspicious glances towards the surroundings.
But one thing led to another, and before he knew it, Hina had taken him by the collar of his windbreaker and pulled him down for a short kiss on the lips. Too short, if he was being honest with himself.
"I'll see you later," she said as she parted her lips away from the fleeting kiss, leaving his lips aching in agony for more.
"Y-Yea," he stuttered with a little stunned look in his chestnut eyes. "I will.."
And just like that, she disappeared into the crowd of students, leaving him alone to stand there with stars in his eyes. He could never get used to that sensation..
"My my my. Very lovey-dovey today now aren't you, Morishima-kun?"
He could feel that starstruck look on his face sliding away as soon as he heard that all too familiar voice. He didn't dare to turn around and see who it was, but he gave in to the nagging curiosity inside him anyway and did just that.
His eyes darted all over the petite woman leaning her body against the handles of her iconic pink-white scooter. Her lips were wearing a very obvious sly smile, and those eyes of hers were harboring a cheeky deviousness within them.
His face was already a deep shade of red from the kiss just now, and the fact that she was there in front of him didn't help matters at all.
"H-How long have you been sitting there?!"
"Oh, not that long. But just enough to catch you smooching over there with Hina-chan," she giggled teasingly.
Would the teasing ever stop? His heart could only take so much before he'd collapse there and then, and any more and his face would look like the skin of a ripe tomato.
"It's been so long since I've last seen you Hodaka, and the first thing I see you do is making out with Hina-chan!" she laughed as that sly smile on her face grew wider, "I can't believe it!"
Hodaka let out an audible sigh, letting his cheeks flush like the surface of Mars as he beared with the teasing. "It's good to see you too, Natsumi-san."
"My my my, you've really grown, Hodaka. And from what I saw just now, you were a full head taller than Hina-chan," Natsumi chuckled as she rested her chin on her hands. "How old are you anyway? Eighteen? Nineteen?"
"Nineteen.." he replied as he stepped closer to the scooter.
"I heard you two went out on a date recently."
"Wha- H-How did you know? Did Nagi-senpai tell you that?" he questioned as he stepped back in surprise.
He hadn't expected her to burst out into a fit of laughter. "Of course not! It was Hina-chan! Who else do you think told me about it?"
"Wait.. Hina told you about the date?" He eyed the raven-haired lady in front of him with suspicious eyes.
"Yare yare.. I was the one who gave her the idea in the first place!" she said amidst her boisterous laughter. "But from what I've heard from her, it sure was some date!"
'Natsumi was the one who gave her the idea?' he wondered to himself. But more importantly, "How much did she tell you..?" he asked.
"Oh, just enough to know that it was pretty good." That devious smirk on her face had quickly given way to a little pout as she let out a dreary sigh. "Aah.. Hina-chan's so lucky to have someone like you. I wish I had a boyfriend to take me out on a date!" she sighed as she clasped her hands to the sky, praying to the Gods above to grace her with a soulmate.
Of course, she wasn't being totally serious, what with the playful tone she had in her voice. But a part of her still felt the painful truth behind her words..
"I'm sure you'll find someone eventually, Natsumi-san," Hodaka said with a pang of sympathy to his voice.
"I hope so," she sighed. "Anyway, do you have anywhere you want to go? I've got some time to kill before I need to clock in to work," she offered with her usual upbeat tone as she straightened up from the handle of her scooter and stretched her slender arms.
"Mmm.. now that I think about it..," he hummed in thought, "..there's one place I need to go to - if you don't mind."
"Great!" She beamed as she clapped her hands together in delight. "This'll be a good time for me to catch up with Hina-chan's new boyfriend." Her heavy emphasis on that particular word wasn't lost on his ears.
She patted the seat of her little scooter. "Hop on!"
Hodaka let out a sigh, realising what he was getting himself into. He guessed it was better to catch a free ride with Natsumi-san and bear her teasing and questions than go through public transport. He sat himself snugly on the back of her scooter, placing his hands on the sides as he gripped on for dear life once he remembered the crazy ride he had the last time he was on this thing.
"Hey, you've graduated right? How was going back to high school like?" he heard Natsumi ask as he saw her putting on her helmet.
He could feel a sigh escaping his nostrils. This was gonna be one looong ride..
The next day, Hina found herself a little surprised to find the very person she'd been hoping to see right at her front door. And just like yesterday, he had a bag of snacks from Family Mart in his hand.
He'd learnt his lesson from yesterday and came much earlier to greet Hina at her apartment, saving him from the sprint he'd have to endure if he were a few minutes late. They walked to the bus stop with linked arms under their shared umbrella, and just like yesterday, he accompanied her to her high school to drop her off.
Each day, she'd find him waiting out there at her front door like a puppy longing for its owner. And each day, they chatted and strolled to the bus stop while snacking on whatever tidbits and snacks Hodaka could get his hands on before making the trip to her school.
And sometimes - well, most of the time - they found Natsumi tagging along with them. And as expected, she'd throw around the occasional tease that would send both of their faces blushing like ripe tomatoes.
This had become a tradition of sorts between them, and each school morning, she could expect to see a very familiar face waiting for her just outside her apartment. And each morning, she'd start the day off seeing his happy, loving smile. It seemed like a small gesture, accompanying her to high school every morning. But whether or not he knew, something like this meant the world to her..
Beep Beep Beep Beep~
She opened her heavy eyelids, wiping off the sticky gunk that had formed on them during her deep sleep while another hand pressed the alarm clock by her bedside to a stop.
Mornings.. she dreaded them. But at least she had something to look forward to; him. She rose up from her bed, going into the bathroom and getting the usual things out of the way; brushing her teeth, taking a bath and putting on her uniform. As usual, she sleepily greeted her little brother and ate a quick breakfast with him. And right after that, he was off, and she was off as well.
But something was off today. And it was immediately obvious from the start. She stared out at the corridor stretching out from her front door.
He wasn't there.
Perhaps he was just late, was what she thought. And so she waited a few minutes, letting time tick by ever so agonizingly. And yet, he still hadn't appeared.
But she didn't have the luxury of waiting for him all morning, and so she began to make her way down the stairs and towards the bus stop. She'd hoped to see him by the side of the street, yet he wasn't there either.
'I bet he's still sleeping,' she chuckled to herself. It wouldn't be much of a surprise if he did.
She took a glance at her phone, seeing the time displayed on her screen. If he was asleep, then the least she could do was repay the favour. She had enough time anyway.
The twintail-haired girl made a detour, and instead of heading towards the bus stop, she made her way to the nearest Lawson. She bought the stuff that they'd usually share on their trips to her school, and with a plastic bag full of food, she made her way to the next destination; Hodaka's apartment.
The apartment complex in front of her was instantly familiar. She climbed the staircases leading up to his floor, and headed down the corridor towards his apartment. The feeling of the entire place washed her with a calming sense of familiarity. Sometimes, instead of spending time back at her place, they'd just hang out here, with Nagi tagging along once in a while.
She finally reached the front door. She lifted her hand up to knock on the wooden frame.
"Hodaka! It's me, Hina!"
And after a few knocks, she waited.
With a little impatience growing inside her, she knocked again, hoping to get a response.
"Hodaka, it's me! Hina! Are you in there?"
But just like last time, there was nothing. Not even a single sound save for the usual pitter-patter of rain.
'Weird' she thought to herself. 'But maybe he's just in a deep sleep or something.'
She didn't have much time to wait for him to answer. Instead, she hung the plastic bag on the door knob, and once he'd woken up, he would be able to take it.
"I bought you some snacks from Lawson! I'm gonna hang them on the door knob, okay?" She didn't know why she'd even bothered to mention that. If he really was asleep, it wasn't like he was going to hear her anyway..
But after that, she made a dash to the nearest bus stop and within minutes, she was already on her way to school.
She sat by the window seat, just like she always did. But this time, without him, it just didn't feel right. She'd usually feel his warmth beside her, and occasionally his hand to feed a sandwich or onigiri to her mouth. But today, there was none of that.
As she got off the bus, she made her way down the street to her high school. Her enthusiasm, if there even was any by this point, was at an all time low. But after school, maybe he'd show up and all would be fine..
"Eh, Hina-chan? Where's Hodaka?"
Hina turned to look at the source of that familiar voice, seeing Natsumi on her scooter with a curious look on her face.
"Did you two have a fight or something?"
"Wha- What?! No! Nothing like that.." she stammered. "What makes you think that we're fighting?"
"I just thought you looked less happier than usual. You'd normally be wearing a smile right now at this time of the morning," Natsumi said as she let out an apologetic little laugh. "So if you two aren't fighting, then where is Hodaka-kun?"
Hina let out an audible sigh that made Natsumi's eyebrows cock on one side. "He's.. not here. He didn't follow me to school today. He didn't even show up by my apartment like he usually does.." she sighed an even heavier sigh. "I guess he just overslept today.."
"Mmm.. now that I think about it. That probably makes sense. He has been working hard trying to find a part-time job these days," Natsumi reasoned as she scratched her imaginary beard in thought. "Ah, give him some time to rest. I'm sure he'll be back to see you once he's gotten that well-deserved sleep he needs." She gave Hina a wink of reassurance.
"I hope he does.." she sighed yet again. Her eyes glanced at the time displayed on her phone, snapping her out of her droning.
"Anyway, I've got to get going now. Tell Suga-san I said hi!" She dashed off to class. God only knew how late she was now..
"See ya, Hina-chan! And I will!" Natsumi waved back at the twintail-haired girl. "That reminds me.."
"Huh, what's this?"
The middle-aged man stared grumpily at the phone currently being shoved into his face as he let out a lazy sigh. He could barely make out whatever it was on the screen, what with it being shoved so closely to his two eyeballs. He didn't need something like this distracting him from his work..
"C'mon Kei-chan, take a look!" the raven-haired lady said in a sing-song voice.
"What the heck is this?" he grumbled as he eventually gave in to the lady's insistence.
He readjusted his spectacles as he took a closer look, squinting his eyes a little to make things clearer. It took a few seconds until the image in front of him finally cleared up - and once he'd made out what it was, he almost spat out the imaginary coffee in his mouth.
"Natsumi, what is this?"
The phone in her hand displayed an image of a particularly.. inappropriate image, so to speak. It was an image of Hodaka with his back facing the camera, and behind him was Hina, her hand gripping the collar of his windbreaker and their faces in extremely close proximity - it didn't take a genius, much less someone like Suga, to figure out what those two were doing.
"Oh, you know what it is, Kei-chan," she replied with a sly little smirk on her lips as she wiggled her eyebrows up and down.
"Of course I know what it is, but why? Heck- when did you take this?" he sighed as he rubbed the bridge of his nose. "You know what, don't even answer that. I have work to do and I can't have you distracting me.."
Suga went back to typing away on his laptop as if nothing had even happened. Although, his face looked a lot more creased than it was before his cheeky niece had shown him the photo.
"Aww, c'mon Kei-chan.. Aren't you happy that your favourite boy's finally gotten together with Hina-chan?" she said as she circled around his chair.
"He's not my favourite boy," Suga grumbled under his breath. "And why would I be happy? Those two have been a thing since what, three years ago? And it's not like it's his first kiss or anything.." he bleated on.
"Oh?" Now her curiosity had been piqued. "How do you know that? Did he tell you something about it?," Natsumi asked curiously as she plopped herself onto the seat right beside her uncle's table before resting her chin on the cold wooden surface.
"Of course he did," he snorted. "But I'm not going to be telling you about any of that. Now get back to work please.." the middle-aged man sighed again as he made shooing motions with his hand.
"Hmph.. you're no fun Kei-chan..," Natsumi huffed in defeat. But still, she remained there in silence as she watched her uncle typing away ever so vigorously on his laptop, earning her an expectant and annoyed look from him.
"Kei-chan.. I'm kinda worried about Hodaka.."
He let out a curious hum at the sudden statement, enough to make him pause his continuous typing for a split second. "And why is that?"
"He's been working so hard trying to find a part-time job lately. And I can't even count the number of times I've helped take him to all these places.." she sighed.
The man sat upright as he crossed his arms with his eyebrows creasing into an accusatory look. "Ah! So that's why you've been coming in to work so late these days!"
"Hmph, I had a good reason for that. And I was only a few minutes late.." Natsumi said as a pout formed on her lips. "But still, I hope he's okay.."
Suga kept silent for awhile, his temple creasing in thought for a moment. But it was fleeting, and before long, he was already beginning to type away on his laptop again. "Ah, I'm sure he's fine. He's gone through worse.."
Natsumi sighed as she plopped her head back down onto the table, "I just hope so.."
Hina stared longingly at the entrance of her high school. Her blue eyes looked off into the distance, waiting in vain for him to suddenly pop out from around the corner to greet her like usual. But instead, all she was greeted with was no one. Her schoolmates made their way past her, and soon, she walked along the flow of exiting students.
Perhaps he must've been busy today. That was all she could really think of. It wasn't like him to disappear like this out of the blue.. save for the time after that 'incident'. But there had to be a reasonable explanation for all of this, was what Hina thought as she made her way to the bus stop.
Were they.. fighting? She shook her head, immediately shooing away those thoughts out of her mind. There was no way they were fighting - she'd know dammit! Heck, she remembered him acting like usual just yesterday..
Hmm… There had to be something else.. Maybe.. Maybe he was busy finding a job? Yea.. and maybe he was just a little too occupied today of all days..
She continued her train of thought as she got onto the bus, pressing her head into the window as she continued to ponder about her boyfriend's odd absence. Once the bus had stopped at her destination, an idea sprung up in her mind.
'Maybe I'll just go visit his apartment for awhile and see how he's doing,' she thought. And maybe she would even be able to berate him for leaving her feeling lonely for the day, she snickered to herself.
Before long, she'd finally arrived at the footsteps of his apartment complex. She made her way up the stairways as her hand reached into one of the pockets lining her blazer. Her fingers felt the coldness of a metal object, and she knew what it was. She took hold of it, pulling it out of her pocket.
It was a key; a key to his apartment, and attached to it was a tiny teru teru bozu doll as a keychain - Hodaka's handiwork of course. He'd given it to her during one of their many evenings at his quaint little apartment. 'My apartment is your apartment' was what he told her, or something along those lines. He sure had a lot of trust in her to give her the key to his own home..
Once she made her way up the stairs, she walked down the corridor leading to his apartment. Dèja vu.. she was just here this morning, and here she was back again.
But something seemed a little off.. As she came closer to his apartment, the alarms in her head were already ringing throughout her ears.
The plastic bag from this morning.. it was still there hanging on his door handle..
She inched her way closer, gasping as she realised that not a single thing had been touched or disturbed in the bag. The onigiris, the sandwiches - they were all still there in pristine condition.
This wasn't like him.. There was no way that for all this time, he hadn't stepped a single foot out of his apartment. How many hours had it even been? She took a glance at the time displayed on her phone.
9 hours.. For 9 hours this bag had been sitting here untouched by his door handle. Something was definitely wrong.
Hina tried her best to dispel the horrible thoughts and worst case scenarios beginning to flood her mind. She knew that it was just her paranoia starting to act up. But still..
She threw the chaos of thoughts aside, quickly deciding to shove the key in her hands into the keyhole. She was going to get to the bottom of this, and she hoped that whatever it was, Hodaka was okay..
As the door clicked, she gently pushed it open. She was greeted by an eerie darkness that seemed to spill out from the room. It was almost pitch black, save for a stray ray of light coming from the other end of the room.
Inside, her mind chanted again and again like a mantra, 'Please be okay, please be okay, please be okay..'
"Hello? Hodaka? It's me, Hina!" She was answered with only a heart-plunging silence. "Hodaka, are you-"
As you can see, this is where I left off. If it's any consolation, the story would've continued with Hina finding Hodaka lying down, groaning on the floor. From the title of this chapter, you can guess what happened to him..
Either way, the seventh chapter was supposed to be this heartfelt and fluffy story about Hina taking care of Hodaka with Natsumi and Suga happening to stumble by Hodaka's house once they'd gotten a call from Hina telling them he was sick. Yea, I know, not the most intriguing of chapters but it was meant to be something relaxing (for me).. hehe. I honestly don't know if I would've even continued the story after this chapter, but I had a lot of one-shots in mind and well, none of it ever saw the light of day.
Anyway, enough of my rambling. I hope you've enjoyed this chapter. I guess this really is the end.
Sayonara my friends.