Too Young

Chapter the Fourth

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Hikari was pacing back and forth in her room. She was nearly panicking and trying to keep under control.

It wasn't working well.

A week. She was almost a week late. She had waited six agonizing days for her period to start, and now she wasn't sure she would get it at all.

Hikari stopped walking and put her hand on her stomach. She imagined something growing within her. But she couldn't be pregnant, she was only fifteen. She was still a child herself, there was no way she could have one of her own. The idea made her sick, sad, and terrified.

A knock on the door caused the girl to jump. "Come in," she called, voice shaking slightly.

"Just saying goodnight, 'Kar. I'll probably be gone before you get up tomorrow so I'll see you after practice."

"Yeah, okay. Goodnight," she responded in an intentionally uninterested voice.

Taichi's fingers lingered on the doorknob. He opened his mouth to speak, but his brows crinkled and he closed it. He wanted to ask how she was doing, to tell her that he was available if she wanted to talk. He wanted to tell her that he wasn't convinced that after her week of rebellion things had just gone back to normal. Something was up, and he wanted her to confide in him.

But Taichi knew it was pointless. Hikari was never one to share her problems with others. She didn't want to be a burden, or something stupid like that. He didn't understand it, but he knew he couldn't fight it until she was ready to come to him.

"'Kar?"

Hikari's head snapped back up to him. She seemed to have forgotten he was there. "Hmm?"

"I love you, you know that?"

"Yeah, I know," she said. A small, unwelcome smile found its way to her lips. "I love you too."

She watched Taichi close the door behind him and fresh panic set in. What would Taichi think of her if she were pregnant? Would he blame her? Would he blame himself? She wished that she had left the library earlier that night, maybe that would have prevented all this from happening. Or if she'd gone home a different way. Or maybe nothing bad would have happened if she had worked on her math homework before her history homework. Or maybe…

Hikari grabbed her head with her hands and doubled over. She couldn't continue thinking this way. It didn't matter what could have happened; the only thing that mattered was what did happen. She left the library, walked down the Avenue to get home, and woke up in a deserted alleyway not far from there the next morning with her clothes sloppily put together and bruises covering her body.

Sitting at the edge of her bed, Hikari let her face drop into her hands and began to cry silently. She was not even willing to try to remember the details—any details—about that night, just knowing what had happened to her was more than enough to face. But now there might be undeniable proof growing inside of her.

At fifteen she was supposed to be worried about acne and gossip and if a boy liked her. The prospect of having a baby shouldn't even enter her mind. But try as she might, she could think of nothing else.

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A Saturday night sitting at home alone was unusual for Yamato. Saturday night often found him at Taichi's or with his band mates hanging out, having a good time. Seldom did he spend it in the empty apartment he barely considered home.

He could have gone out. Ryouki, Yutaka, and Akira had gone to a bar and of course he had been invited. But Yamato did not want to see any more of Ryouki than he needed to, especially after he and Sora had kissed.

That was the real reason he had stayed in that night. He was brooding. All week his mind had been focused on what had happened in Sora's room. He played it over and over in his mind, every time scolding himself for even being there. If he had only rejected her invitation they never would have kissed. He wouldn't have to think about how much he missed kissing her.

"Damn it," he muttered aloud, finally setting aside his guitar, which had been resting unused on his lap for the better part of an hour. He stood and stretched, taking his time while watching the snow fall past his window, quick and heavy.

There was a hard knock on the door. Yamato flinched, surprised by the sound. He glanced at his phone. It was after two in the morning. Who would be here this late?

Yamato walked out of his room and through the kitchen to the door. He was going to send off whoever was rude enough to bother him at this hour, so he could go back to his room and sulk in peace.

He forced the door open, ready to give a few choice words to his visitor, but immediately froze.

Hikari stood outside his apartment, soaking wet from the snow, hand raised to knock again. She dropped it slowly, watching his face as it softened at the sight of her.

"Hikari? What are you doing here?"

She stared at him with wide eyes. She looked lost, afraid even. "I, uh…I don't know. I don't know what I was thinking. I'm sorry. I shouldn't have come. I'm sorry."

Hikari turned to leave but Yamato reached out and grabbed her hand. He could feel that her whole body was shaking from the cold and noticed that she didn't even have a coat on. He pulled gently on her arm and she followed him silently into the apartment.

Yamato led her to his room before letting go of her. She did not follow him in, but stood in the doorway as he rummaged around in his closet. After a couple minutes he returned to her, t-shirt, sweater, and boxers in his hands. "I couldn't find any shorts," he explained, nodding back at the pile of clothes on the closet floor. "But everything's clean," he added, hoping for a smile.

Hikari did not acknowledge his attempt at humor. She took the clothes from his hands. "Thanks," she whispered, turning from him and entering the bathroom.

Yamato waited patiently for her. When she emerged he took her soaking wet clothes from her and threw them into the dryer.

"Okay, Hikari," he said after they had walked into the living room and sat down on the worn out grey couch. "What's up?" he asked calmly, trying not to sound as concerned as he was, in case it scared her off.

She pulled her legs up onto the couch and hugged them to her body. "I'm sorry if I woke you," she whispered into her knees.

"It's fine, I was still up."

"I didn't know where else to go."

Yamato waited for her to continue, but she seemed to become focused on the empty glass resting on the coffee table. "Hikari?"

She turned to look at him and Yamato could see that she was crying. "I don't know what to do," she said, her voice quivering.

"What happened? Whatever it is, I'll help you. But you have to talk to me."

Hikari took hold of a lock of black hair and began to play with it. She was trying to find the words, trying to find the courage to say them. "Will you go somewhere with me?" she said finally.

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They waited until Hikari's jeans had dried before setting out into the cold. The snow had let up but Yamato insisted she wear a hoodie over the shirt and sweater she had already put on. They walked in silence most of the way; Hikari leading the way against the wind, Yamato only a step behind. He had asked her where they were going, but she only looked at him, as if she expected him to read her mind.

Finally Hikari came to a stop. Yamato looked around but the only thing nearby that was open was a twenty-four hour convenience store. He couldn't imagine what she wanted him to go with her here for.

She started walking again and Yamato followed her into the store. She glanced around incessantly as she made her way down the aisle. Yamato looked around uncomfortably. He was surrounded by feminine products, condoms, pregnancy tests, and those medicines for yeast infections. (He wasn't sure what those were, and he didn't want to know.)

Yamato almost walked into Hikari who had stopped abruptly. "Uh, Hikari, do we have to stop in this aisle?" he asked anxious. The tampons were on his right, the pregnancy tests on his left. It was all around uncomfortable.

"Yamato," she said staring at the shelf.

"Yeah?" He didn't get it. He watched her stare intently at the shelf and it slowly hit him. "Hika, you don't need one of those or something, right? Right?"

She reached into the hoodie pocket and pulled out her wallet. "Yamato, I can't buy it. I'm too scared. I…"

Yamato realized what she was asking and sighed deeply. "Alright, okay, I can do it. Let's just hurry." He grabbed a test off the shelf as if it might be diseased, and Hikari handed over her wallet.

They walked quickly to the register, Yamato now leading. Hikari kept her eyes on the ground. They were greeted by an overly friendly sales clerk named Kiki who despite her wide smile, could not hide the fact that she was judging the two of them quite harshly.

"Hikari," Yamato began, as they exited the convenience store. He looked down at her, not knowing what to say. He wasn't sure how to feel. He was angry, but he didn't know at whom. He was afraid for her, for what it would mean if that test were positive.

He didn't know what he was supposed to do. This was Taichi's little sister standing next to him. This wasn't something he could make better. She was only Takeru's age.

Oh no. What if it was Takeru's baby?

Suddenly Yamato's anger had found an outlet. Takeru, that irresponsible prick. What was he thinking touching Hikari?

Hikari must have seen the anger on his face because her eyes grew wide and she bit her bottom lip. "Please don't hate me," she pled.

"Hikari, no, I don't hate you!" He stared into her eyes, seeing her struggle not to start crying again. It would be his fault if fresh tears fell down her porcelain skin. He didn't want to make her cry, to make her hurt worse than she already was. He reacted without thinking, wrapping his arms around her and pulling her against his chest.

Her body went rigid at first but then she grabbed onto the sides of his jacket and collapsed into him. Yamato patted her head lightly, shushing into her hair in an effort to keep the tears back. They stood like that for a long while, until Yamato remembered that they were standing in the frigid air at an ungodly hour.

"Let's get you home."

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Yamato walked Hikari home with one arm around her. It felt right, like he could at least do something, even if it was only to help shield her from the cold. They entered the apartment as quietly as possible. Luckily for both of them Taichi could sleep through anything.

"You should take it now," Yamato advised as he handed her the plastic bag. "Ah, ah, no arguments," he chided when she opened her mouth to protest.

"Will you stay here?"

"Yeah, I'll stay here."

They sat cross-legged outside the bathroom door waiting for the test to register.

"'Kari," Yamato began awkwardly, "do you want to talk about it?"

Hikari turned her head slowly towards him. It looked as though he had asked a question she had never even considered.

Her silence did not satisfy Yamato. There were too many things running through his mind to accept nothing as an answer. "Is it Takeru's?"

"What? No! It's not…his."

A relieved sigh escaped from within Yamato's chest. "Then who—?"

"It's been fifteen minutes."

Hikari made no effort to move so Yamato clamored back up and got the test himself. It was the moment of truth. He looked down and saw a small blue plus sign clearly visible on the stick. Yamato dropped it and reached manically for the box. Maybe a plus sign really meant negative. It was just some sick joke meant to confuse the person, it had to be.

"I am, aren't I?"

Yamato dropped the box too. He looked at Hikari, watched her stand apprehensively with one arm across her stomach and the other raised so that her fingers covered her mouth. She didn't need him to answer; the look on his face said it all. She was pregnant.

Yamato caught Hikari as she sank to the floor, unable to stand. "It's going to be okay," he promised, wiping the tears that were falling incessantly. He held her, rocking her gently, waiting for her to catch her breath. "Hikari, I need you to tell me who the father is."

"I don't…want to…talk about it," she sobbed.

"I know, I know. But please, you need to tell me."

"You'll tell Taichi."

"I won't. Cross my heart."

"…I don't know."

"You can trust me."

"No." She paused to hiccup. "I mean I don't know."

"You don't know? You mean you don't know who he is? Are there options?" He couldn't believe it. He couldn't picture Hikari as a promiscuous girl. Or as a girl who wouldn't bother to get a guy's name before going to bed with him.

She shook her head. "I was…I was…" She inhaled deeply. It was the moment of truth. Now or never. She had to admit to it once and for all. "I was raped."