I Will Protect You

Disclaimer: I do not own YYH or any of its characters. This is simply for fun and am recieving no monetary benefits.

Keiko Yukimura walked across the parking lot of the noodle shop in which she worked. It was after hours, closing time and she was the last to leave, seeing as how she had been the one in charge of counting down the registers. Her high heels clicked on the concrete pavement as she crossed the deserted lot while she rummaged through her purse for her keys. This task took her full attention as the light from the security lamp did little to illuminate the small area.

She finally reached her car and continued her search for the keys. In doing so, she did not notice the second car parked a couple yards away, within the shadows where the light did not reach. Finally finding her keys, she slipped the appropriate one into the car door and turned it, releasing the latch so that she could climb inside. Leaving the door ajar so that she could use the interior light to find the ignition key, she never noticed the shadowy figure approaching her side of the car from the direction of the other car until it was too late.

The next thing she knew, something cold and metallic was pressed against her temple and a menacing, male voice spoke. "Move over and buckle up baby, cause we're going for a ride."

She gasped as her pulsed raced in fear. She had nothing to defend herself with, she realized in terror. How stupid of her to have left home without the mace she normally carried in her purse. But even if she had thought to bring it, it wouldn't have mattered. He had a gun to her head and she would most likely be dead before she could even find the small bottle amongst the clutter within her bag. Resigning to the fact that she was helpless, Keiko complied to the stranger's command.

Hastily moving over in the seat, she reached with shaking hands, seeking out the ends of the safety belt and proceeded to buckle it around her slim waist. After she heard the click indicating that it was latched securely, she looked hesitantly back over at the man apparently intent on kidnapping her.

Her eyes widened in shock as the interior light illuminated a somewhat familiar face. It was him! The guy who had been hassling her earlier in the restaurant. She had scoffed at his pathetic attempts at pick-up lines and had promptly told him where he could get off. He'd glared at her angrily and left immediately afterward, so she hadn't thought much more about the incident after that. Obviously she should not have written the big lug off so quickly.

"Ha, I see you remember me. Guess you shouldn't have been all high and mighty earlier, huh?" The guy smirked as he closed the door, casting them into shadow as the interior bulb went out.

Keiko watched him from the corner of her eye as the vehicle revved to a start. Her brown eyes widened suddenly after her gaze jumped to the forest on the edge of the lot. Something had just leapt through the dark trees, she was sure of it, a pale, ghostly figure.

He held down the clutch then switched the car into first gear, driving agonizingly slow in the direction of the exit, turning to her as a wicked grin spread across his ugly face. She gasped when she felt his hand come to rest on her knee. It squeezed slightly before crawlingl upwards to her inner thigh as a loud THUMP shook the vehicle. He stopped moving.

"What the hell was that?" His face turned up, staring at the depressed ceiling.

Keiko's startled scream filled the car as she scrunched down and over in her seat until she was huddled against the passenger side door. She looked up fearfully, seeing the double indentation above, as if someone had landed with their feet on top of the roof. Then the sound of ripping metal filled the car. She screamed yet again, her voice mixing with the horrible sound as well as the shouts of her assailant. With sudden force, the driver's side door was ripped from its hinges. Sparks flew as the door fell to the passing blacktop and skidded across the parking lot.

"What the fu - Argh!" The man's exclamation was cut off in a terror-filled cry as a creature's head filled the space where the car door had once been.

The canine-like animal's head loomed above his leg before biting into the soft flesh fluidly, then twisted its neck to drag the man out of the seat of the car. He panicked, caught in his own seatbelt while attempting to throw the beast off by thrashing his leg in harsh spasms. Resistance was futile. Its strength surpassed his own tenfold and beyond, and he resulted only in putting vast amounts of pressure on the pedal beneath his foot and causing the car to race berzerkly to the curb. The vehicle jumped over it, onto the grass.

Keiko's head was whipped forward violently toward the dashboard. The seatbelt was the only thing to deter the rest of her body from following as the car rammed into one of the trees, the impact bringing it to an abrupt halted. A steady cloud of steam wafted from beneath the hood of the car as a result of the crash. She could hardly hear the offender's screams above her own pulse drumming rapidly in her ears as he was torn from the car, the large animal playing with him with its paws. Letting out a yelp, she covered her head with her arms and brought her knees up to her chest as his screams stopped.

Hearing a snort, she was unable to resist as she lifted her head suddenly to see the creature stare back at her throught the passenger side window, amber eyes seeming to glow with hunger. All reasonable thought and feeling left her as its fierce gaze rested on her, their eyes locked, its breath collecting on the glass. The lump steadily growing in her throat was now unbearably huge, sucking all moisture out of her mouth as it gave another snort, and trotted off to the woods.

She saw it look back once, its golden eyes flashing brightly as its multiple tails lashed about its body wildly before disappearing into the darkness.

Shakily, Keiko unlatched herself from the strap which confined her to her seat. She moved over, positioning herself behind the steering wheel, her hands automatically gripping it tight enough to turn her knuckles white. Letting out a shuddering breath, she trained her eyes forward so as not to look at the crumpled body laying off to her left. She turned the key, intending on cranking the car and getting out of there fast. Her heart dropped as the engine continued to turn over but refused to roar to life.

In dismay, she allowed her head to fall forward, resting her forehead on the steering wheel briefly as she tried to collect her thoughts. Okay, someone had just attempted to kidnap and rape her, only to be stopped by some wild creature. With a gasp, Keiko's head shot up to look around quickly. The creature was still gone. It had not returned to kill her, despite the fact that it had easy access to her and she had no way of escaping. A wave of relief broke on her, only to be replaced by anxiety.

'What do I do now?' She thought to herself, searching her surroundings for options.

"Shuichi!" She gasped, the idea dawning on her. Jumping to her feet, she grabbed her purse and made a quick break for the street. Even in the dimly lit parking lot she could see the headlights race by, as if they had minds of their own. It seemed a pool of reckless abandon.

Striding across the asphault, she felt the eerie presence of something lurking... Almost protecting her. A pair of eyes watching her from afar, a threat to all who neared. She stopped in her pace, a chill spiking up and down her spine as her gaze shot to the forest for a mere second, then turned back immediately. Not wanting to have to see what was almost certainly waiting for her, she lifted a hand to sheild her eyes from the trees.

It took an eternity to reach the end of the haunted place. Stepping into the open, she was greeted by cold wet blades of grass. The early morning dew was already beginning to collect on the ground as she realized she had lost her shoe in the chaos she had just partaken in. Staring back at her old car, Keiko decided that she could live without it. Whatever was back there could take it.

Racing through the night, Keiko's heart seemed to lighten as she saw the familiar street in which her best friend, Shuichi Minamino, lived. She quickly made her way to his house, her heart practically leaping from her chest as her breathing sped up. She couldn't keep her mind from wandering to random scenes in every horror movie she had ever watched in which the heroine, on the brink of reaching safety, is snatched up from behind by the grotesque monster and devoured. With a desperate burst of speed, Keiko flung herself at the front door to the Minamino residence, pounding on the it frantically for her friend to "open up and let her in".

Keiko continued to pound on the door, not caring if neighbors heard her or not, her only thought to get to her friend. With each passing second, the tension grew more and more intense as no one came to the door. Keiko could feel her chest constrict in terror as the flitting thought that nobody was home passed through it.

'No,' She thought. 'He's gotta be there... He's gotta be!'

With a renewed vigor, she continued her assault on the door. The panicked beating of her heart pounding in time with each rap of her fist on the polished wood. A soft rustling in the nearby hedge caused her entire body to freeze. Her balled fist paused in its descent as her brown eyes widened slightly.

'What was that?!'

Her overactive imagination quickly kicked in, supplying her with multiple answers, each more disturbingly frightening than the last.

"Oh, God!" She exclaimed as, from the edge of her peripheral vision, she spied something long and silver disappearing around the shadowed corner.

Her pounding resumed with both fists now. A renewed vigor filled her, leaving no room for sensible coherency, which had all but left her since fleeing the parking lot. Her only thought was to Get. Inside. and so she continued nonstop until she was suddenly bathed in the porch's luminescent light. But she didn't stop. Someone was there, inside the house, acknowledging her presence at the front door and so, because of this, she dared not stop. Her entire body was pressed to the door, her fists flailing wildly...

And then it was gone.

The supporting surface disappeared from beneath her as it was pulled open, leaving her to hang almost comically in her leaning position before she fell helplessly over the threshold...

...directly into a pair of warm, waiting arms.

Keiko looked up slowly; her brown gaze rising hesitantly to meet with the warm, comforting emerald green eyes of Shuichi. His gentle smile... his riotously, long crimson hair... Never in her life had she been so glad to see him than at that moment. Everything about him, every single thing, was reassuring and comforting, especially his arms that gently held her.

"Keiko? Goodness, you're trembling. Are you alright...?"

Unable to speak, Keiko trembled with mixed relief and remnants of fright as she shook her head frantically. No. She most definitely was not alright.

Shuichi lifted his gaze from the clearly distressed woman in his arms to take a cursory glance around his yard through the front door. All looked as it should be and so he reached out and gave the door a slight push, causing it to swing back and met the facing with a soft click. Gathering her back up in both arms, the red head led his friend across the room, drawing her down onto the plush cushions of the couch.

He figured that it would be meaningless to ask 'what happened' and 'what the hell...' It just seemed tactless, so Shuichi simply continued to rub her shoulders soothingly, at first nervous, but forcing himself to calm. Gradually, Keiko's body stilled its shaking, relaxing in a way that it practically melded against his. Shuichi closed his eyes momentarily, relishing the feel of holding her soft body so close to his own. He smiled softly as, hesitantly, her arms encircled his waist and squeezed. He could still smell the blood on her sweater, her hands, her skin. But the acrid scent of fear was starting to fade. One hand still tracing light patterns on her back, Shuichi turned the other hand to stroke her neck, then cheek. One finger felt tears. Knowing she needed the extra assurance, he lowered his head so that his lips were a hair's breath from her ear.

"Don't cry, Keiko. I will protect you."

Shuichi's silken voice filled her ears, coaxing her into a deep sense of security. She was safe here, with him, and so allowed herself to sink into his embrace even more. A soft sigh escaping her as she felt him nuzzle her hair. She closed her eyes, reveling in the safety of his presence, comforted and feeling secure in the arms of her friend, completely unaware that instead of emerald green, eyes of molten gold peered out through her curtain of auburn hair.

Owari