A/N: Throw rocks at me; I know I'm horrible.
"Mrs. Ishiyama…?" Ulrich widened his dark chocolate eyes, the rain flattening his ruffled hair.
"Oh! I'm sorry!" A middle-aged Asian woman profusely apologized. "I thought you were someone dangerous, lurking around in the woods like that!"
Ulrich smiled. "That's okay."
"… What are you doing here?" The Japanese woman held out her large, onigiri-patterned umbrella out to cover the tall boy, and realization struck her face. "Oh! Are you.. Ol..rick? You brought Yumi to the hospital! Arigato daimas!"
"Ulrich, ma'am. And it was no problem, really." He fixed his hair, brushing away the strands of chestnut hair in front of his eyes. "You must be.. Mrs. Ishiyama, right?" The woman nodded, her expression neutral.
"What are you doing here in the cold, Mrs. Ishiyama?" Ulrich questioned, puzzled.
She smiled sadly. "Taking a walk to clear my mind, but silently praying my daughter will show up. She's always been one to make a statement, no matter what the cost. She's a silly girl. When she was around 9 or 10, she accused my husband and me for spending more time with Hiroki, and ran away into our backyard and didn't come out." She shook her head at the memory, a chuckle escaping.
Ulrich grinned. "She was always the rebellious type.."
Mrs. Ishiyama cocked her head at him, smiled softly, then asked, "What are you doing out in the rain, dear? You're not wearing a proper raincoat or carrying an umbrella! You'll catch cold!"
Ulrich blushed, "I'm looking for Yumi…" He straightened himself, and then promptly changed the subject. "You seemed rather upset on the phone before, Mrs. Ishiyama. Are you feeling better now?"
The older woman heaved a sigh. "I suppose so. I decided that feeling anxious wouldn't help. Hiroki is still in the hospital in a coma, and my daughter is in hiding, or even worse, dead." Her eyes welled up, her tears blending in with the pelting rain, "There's nothing I can do. My two children; my only children—gone."
Ulrich remained silent for a few more minutes, then spoke up, "It's okay," he whispered, his voice swirling and evaporating into the loudness of the rain pounding upon them. "Yumi knows you're worried. She knows we'll find her."
Mrs. Ishiyama took a deep breath, then exhaled, a tiny smile on her lips. "Thank you, Ulrich. But I'm sure Yumi wouldn't want us to get hurt. The police will find her. Go home before you get sick, dear."
"Would you like a ride home?" Ulrich offered.
"It's quite all right," Mrs. Ishiyama smiled, before walking away with her large umbrella shielding herself from the rain. Ulrich opened the door to his car, and stepped inside. Watching her from the window, he silently waited until she had walked around the corner. He sprang out of the car, his eyes full of fire.
"Yumi… I'm going to find you.."
Mrs. Ishiyama peered behind her shoulder wordlessly, in time to see the chocolate-haired boy jump out of his car, and run towards the woods, peering into the branches, hoping to catch sight of a certain Japanese girl.
She smiled softly.
Young love, ne?
Yumi lolled her head to the side, trying to ignore the gnawing hunger in her stomach. It's only been… oh, one day? Maybe one and a half day?
She tried to console herself. "I still have about 6 days left until I completely die off."
She laughed cynically to herself, before pushing herself up to stand. Her long legs wobbled, but she stood, nonetheless.
Through the forest she walked, leaving a puddle of blood with each step she took. Light footsteps swiftly changed to pounding feet that raced through the forest. Branch by branch flew past her head, cut her face. Limb by limb, she whimpered to herself as a twig cut even deeper into her wound, but she kept on running, the wind whispering that she was almost at the end.
She listened to the wind, and continued trekking through the woods at breakneck pace. Yumi tripped on a root on the ground, and stumbled out of the dead forest, her throat scratchy and thirsty as she cried out.
Her red eyes bore many wild tears, and she didn't even remember what she was doing in this forest in the first place. Why did she run away?
Oh dear Lord in Heaven..
She just wanted to come home.
Ulrich scanned the road and breathed out a cloud of cold air, and he watched the little cloud evaporate into the bleak sky.
He stared ahead, into a big patch of woods, and yelled hoarsely, "YUMI!!!"
Ulrich cocked his head, and followed the sounds cautiously. "Yumi?"
He snapped his head to the right to find a tall, willowy girl, bruised, scratched, and red with tears. But he had never seen anything more beautiful. This was what she really was beneath everything. Underneath her headstrong cover, was a frail girl that just wanted her voice heard.
He gazed at her passionately, as she stared back at him with wary, hurt eyes.
Her knees buckled together, and she attempted to keep on standing. "I'm so weak. I'm so weak." She whispered, her words traveling to his ears softly. "I don't… I'm so stupid, I..."
"Yumi, stop. Don't speak. Please. I'm here." Ulrich delicately held her in his arms, his eyes closing, and his words breaking.
"Please…" her soft melodic flow of words dispersed into the wind,
"Don't let me go."
A/N: Sorry, I rushed the last part. But hey, it can't go on forever. Well it can, but that's depressing. -jenn
Thank you for reading faithfully! And happy holidays!