Disclaimer: Maid-sama and its characters is the sole property of Hiro Fujiwara.
Rating: T due to the sensitivity of its content and mild cursing.
Warning/Authoress' Note #1: The story's setting is based on the Japan Earthquake and Tsunami incident that occurred last March 11, 2011. I have written this story not to offend anyone but to merely send out a message of hope, sympathy, and love to all those who have been affected. If you find this topic too sensitive, I advise you reader to go back right now and not continue on reading.
Everything else in this story – characters, situation, dialogues, etc. – is purely fictional and any similarity it may have to real life is purely coincidental.
May all of you dear readers continue to pray for Japan and its brave people.
Never Give Up
by Marisol Gaddi
March 11, 2011
The day had started out like any other normal day.
"Baka Usui, you missed school again." Misaki grumbled but even through the phone Usui could imagine her blushing as she useless tried to not show how worried she was about him. A contented smile formed on Usui's lips. She cared about him… the thought still made his heart flutter even though months had passed since their date last Christmas day, the day when she told him "I like you."
"O-Oi! Are you still there?"
Usui chuckled. "Yup. I was momentarily taken aback by how much the Prez already misses me."
"Oh, don't worry. I think I like clingy-Ayuzawa."
A string of unintelligible words came from the other line. Usui chuckled again. "What are you doing now?"
She sighed. "The teacher let my class out early so I'm getting started on some student council paperwork. You know… the usual. The school year's about to end so, everybody here is stumped with things to do here and there… T-Thanks for calling up, by the way. I needed the breather."
"Anything for my cute girlfriend." Usui crooned.
Misaki huffed in embarrassment. "A-And it's also very considerate of you to let me know that you haven't returned to your mother planet yet. What have you been up to this whole week?"
Misaki's toned softened as she said, "You… were asked to go to England again, weren't you?"
"…Yeah. I just got home a few hours ago. Sorry I didn't get to tell you."
The couple stayed silent for a few seconds as the reality of the situation he was in sunk into them. Gerard Walker, heir to the Walker business empire and also Usui's half-brother, was recently diagnosed of having a terrible illness. With his disease, he had become incapable of handling the family business affairs and the illegitimate son, Usui, suddenly became… needed. Ever since the New Year passed, Usui had been flying to and fro England to manage parts of the company alongside his grandfather while the real heir tried to recuperate. The Walkers has been using Takumi Usui as their tool for the past two months now and the two couldn't even do anything about it as the Walkers had the upper hand.
Deciding to make things lighter between them again… "So, the Prez has been busy?"
"And I'm guessing she hasn't been taking care of herself properly like, say, eating lunch?"
Usui heard her clear her throat. "Er… I forgot to bring my bento today… and I didn't have time to grab something in the store too…"
The blonde just shook his head in exasperation. That was Misaki Ayuzawa for you.
Usui then spotted a supermarket up ahead and grinned as he thought of a plan. "Wait for me there. I'll take care of 'lunch'."
"Y-You're coming here?" she asked incredulously.
"I didn't put on my school uniform for nothing, Prez."
"Tch. A-Alright. H-Hurry up. I'm hungry already." Click.
Usui chuckled once more as he pocketed his phone on his coat. "Heh. As sly as ever… I missed you too."
"Good afternoon, sir! Would you like to use a shopping basket or a cart?"
"Hello, sir! Come try our new product…"
"Ah… it's delicious. I'll take one."
"Thank you very much, sir. Have a good day!"
Usui double-checked the contents of his basket. Assorted onigiri… potato chips… two bottles of green tea… a bar of chocolate for dessert… He was good to go.
He walked down the long aisle going towards the cashier.
The ground shook, and people in the grocery store jerked and wobbled along with it. Items from shelves came crashing down to the floor. The sirens wailed.
One voice stood out from the other screams and infant cries as terror gripped almost everyone into near-paralysis. "Earthquake!"
People all around him dropped and curled up on the floor as they braced themselves for the impact. Usui should have done the same yet only one thing – or rather, one person – came to mind. 'Misaki.'
"Look out!" someone yelled at him.
Then there was darkness.
March 12, 2011
Takumi Usui groaned as he stirred into wakefulness. Damn. His head hurt like hell. His hand reached up to rub the back of his head, to soothe it but oddly touched soft clothe instead of his tangled locks. Green eyes peeked through thick lashes and saw only white. Where was he?
A smiling face of a middle-aged woman then materialized in his blurred field of vision. "Oh, young man, you're finally awake."
"… Where am I?" His body ached as he sat up but was finally able to survey the room wholly.
"You're in the hospital, dear." And what he saw confirmed her statement. He looked back at her and found her wearing a beige scrub suit. She was a nurse. "A huge can of milk fell smack on your head when the quake hit the city yesterday. Thank goodness it didn't crack open. You were in the supermarket, do you remember?"
"Vaguely." Usui said truthfully. His throbbing head was making his memory shady. What was he doing in the supermarket, again?
The woman looked solemnly at him. "You we're very lucky compared to the others. There was this one woman who had a vase fall down on her head too but she wasn't as fortunate as you. She needed some stitching. And this one person had a stroke… and…"
"What do you mean? What happened?"
"There was a magnitude 9 earthquake in the Tohoku region yesterday that had also triggered a tsunami. It was just so terrifying… It was so strong that it even reached here. Everything was so chaotic yesterday. Fire broke out in some parts of the city and last I heard the roof of one school collapsed…"
Then everything else the woman said from then on was heard by deaf ears as one word, just one word, triggered the flooding back of Usui's memories of yesterday. School. He remembered clearly being inside the chaotic store when the earth shook, getting hit in the head…
Usui's eyes went wide; his mouth hung loose.
"…I heard the roof of one school collapsed…"
Was she okay?
"Is something the matter, dear? Your uniform and your other belongings are by the table in case you look for them." Usui followed the direction she was pointing at and zeroed in on his cell phone. He immediately grabbed the device and speed dialed Misaki's phone.
He nearly threw the phone against the wall in utter frustration.
"The lines have been bad, fluctuating since the incident too, young man." An awkward silence filled the air and the talkative nurse, instead, took the board hanging at the front of his bed. "If it's any consolation, your vitals look good."
The woman sighed as Usui remained quiet. So much for a break. "I'll just call the doctor in charge of you so stay put, alright?"
Of course, he wouldn't. He had, in fact, already planned his escape.
Usui pulled out the sole tube attached at the top of his hand at the same time the door to the hospital room shut close. He seized the rest of his things and his folded clothes on the table and proceeded to exit the very same door.
Usui got out of the busy hospital in a breeze though his heart was heavy with the sad stories murmured by the people in the halls. His anxiety grew by the minute as he envisioned Misaki in each terrible situation his mind could conjure.
Trapped alone inside the student council room… Caught in the middle of a fire… Lying lifeless on the ground… He shook his head off the awful thoughts.
His bandage-less head still throbbed but he couldn't care less about himself right now. He was going to find Misaki today, alive and unharmed.
Parts of the city's subway system was still closed due to the strong aftershocks that still rocked the ground every now and then and so Usui, head still throbbing, arrived on foot at the Ayuzawa household two hours longer than the usual half an hour. However, what he saw… could it still really be called a home? The modest Ayuzawa house that once stood proudly sandwiched amongst slightly-better-looking residences laid now half in shambles, half in ashes. Ironically, the gate he once fixed last month was the only one left standing and it had been the sole indication that the spot indeed was where the Ayuzawa house situated.
The quake had taken a horrible toll in this community. It not only had destroyed most of the small buildings there but had also caused fire to erupt as the gas pipes underneath broke, igniting and swallowing the same structures in flames. If he were someone who didn't frequent this place, he wouldn't even have realized that homes were once built here. But he did frequent this place because it wasn't just any other place. This place was Ayuzawa's – his Ayuzawa's – home.
And it wasn't there anymore. Only the remainders of broken wood, scraps of metal, and scattered gravel all covered in soot that had piled up to form a small hill to what once originally stood there. Gone was the memory-filled home.
In a short distance he heard someone crying and shouting someone's name – probably a name of a love one that got trapped in the chaotic mess.
His heart ached; his dark green eyes moistened… what if Misaki had also been at home when all had happened? Would he be helplessly calling her name too, hoping to hear her answer but knowing full well that the chances were slim? Hell, he would scream his self hoarse however small the chances were that she would answer back.
Usui wasn't always the optimistic type and neither was he ever emotional but… Misaki had changed a lot of things in his life and they were all good, excellent, perfect.
She made him whole.
She made him happy.
She made him smile.
She made him worry.
She made him love. She made him live.
And he couldn't take letting go of her… at least, not just yet. Yes, leaving her was something he knew was inevitable because Gerard wasn't going to get well and he wanted to keep her safe and happy; her being with him wasn't going to fulfill that want no matter how hard both of them fought for it. But no, not right now when his gut told him that Misaki was alright and was in need of him (or was it the other way around?); not when his heart was telling him to never give up.
As Usui continued his search, time became a blur. In fact, everything was a blur to him. Noon passed and he didn't even pay heed to the hunger pangs.
The next destination after the Ayuzawa's house was Seika High. When he arrived there, he found it, for the first time since he had stepped foot into its compound, eerily quiet. If it was any other normal day and if Misaki was here, she would have relished in the male-dominated school's solitude. An old man approached Usui and introduced himself as the school custodian.
"School's not open today, boy." The man said as he eyed the other's uniform. "And I doubt it will be for a couple of more days next week. If you haven't heard, this building's a little old so a few walls and ceiling came down."
"Were there anyone injured?"
"Unfortunately." He said with a shake of his head. "They were brought to the hospital immediately after the quake stopped."
"Do you know which hospital? Was the student council president among them?"
The old man patted his shoulder as he replied. "Sorry, son. I don't really know the specific details."
Having no success in finding Misaki in the two most possible places she could be, Usui resolutely started searching in every hospitals and police stations in a nearby radius from the school.
There were aftershocks after aftershocks after aftershocks that occurred throughout the day. Some were strong; some were mild but still felt. Usui was wise enough to not repeat the same mistake and took cover when the earth shook again. He wouldn't be able to find Misaki unconscious.
Usui faced the last hospital he knew in the vicinity of Seika. Eight hospitals, eleven police stations, and six evacuation centers later and there was still no sign of Misaki. He was growing weary and frustrated; his head was still aching and so was his stomach. He brought his coat closer to his body as a chilly wind blew, took a deep breath and entered the hospital.
The hospital was as busy as the other ones he had visited, tending to the ones who got sick and injured when the quake occurred. Like he had been routinely doing, Usui first approached the concierge and asked if there was a patient with the name Misaki Ayuzawa currently confined.
"Please take a seat for a moment, sir. I'll just double-check our records." But the blonde remained standing by the concierge, deep in his thoughts, hoping that the lady behind the desk would say 'yes'. He just wanted to see Misaki again whatever awful state she was currently in, touch her, and hear her say his name.
His head immediately turned towards the direction he heard his name and stared into familiar eyes.
The boy was teary-eyed as he approached him. "I-I-It's so nice to see you safe, Usui-kun!"
"Hn. You, too." Usui said with a nod, and then added without a second thought: "Yukimura, have you seen Ayuzawa?"
Yukimura flushed and twined his fingers nervously. "E-Eh? Uhm… No. S-Sorry. Everybody in school was asked to evacuate immediately after the shaking stopped and I've been looking after my grandmother here since."
Usui stared blankly at him, self-destructing in silence.
"Excuse me, sir?" The concierge called. Usui faced the lady, already looking grim as he guessed what she was about to tell him. "I'm sorry but we do not have that name in our database. Perhaps you'd like to check out our message board by the exit hall and see if who you're looking for left you a note there."
"Alright. Thank you." Usui murmured as he turned to leave.
"Uhm… I-I guess I'll keep an eye out for Miss President, too. Take care, Usui-kun!" Yukimura called out to the retreating figure, both confused and worried, but Usui didn't even hear him or perhaps didn't even remember talking to him as he thought: where else was he gonna look for her, now? Maid Latte? Hospitals located further from the school? What happened to Misaki? Why couldn't he find her?
He walked mindlessly down the hall, failing to apologize to a nurse he bumped into, when something in the corner of his eyes caught his attention and made him halt abruptly.
It was her.
Misaki Ayuzawa stood before him with her back facing him, tensely holding a white safety helmet on her left hand as she perused the message-filled walled. She was still, like him, wearing her school uniform that was now completely disheveled. Her shoulders visibly drooped as she thoroughly scanned each piece of paper for the nth time and bore fruit to no success in her search.
"Ayu–" The rest of her name got stuck in his throat as he watched her turn to leave only to sway backwards. The initial surprise of finding her replaced itself with panic as he watched her fall. Swiftly, Usui swooped towards her, just barely catching her, making both of them fall down. Misaki felt cold and lifeless in his arms but knew that she was still alive as her chest heaved with each breath that she took and as her heart thumped furiously against the hand that rested atop it. What had she been doing to herself in the past twenty-four hours to make her as weak as this? He embraced her cold body and willed for his own body heat to envelop hers.
He looked down to her shut dark-rimmed eyes. "Ayuzawa, wake up." He gently coaxed, keeping the panic at bay. When she made no sign of hearing him, he kissed the crown of her head tenderly and prayed. Four heartbeats later, familiar golden brown orbs fluttered open. Usui sighed in relief.
"U-Usui?" Misaki's voice cracked but the shock of seeing him was eminent despite that.
"I've been looking everywhere for you."
Both stared deeply into each other's eyes. "Y-Y-You're here. Y-You're okay!" Misaki exclaimed as she attempted to sit up despite her tiredness.
"Don't move for a while." Usui slightly commanded as she tried to move away from his lap. "Do you even know how worried I was about you?"
Misaki tried to move once more. "Let go off me!"
Confused and slightly pained, Usui reluctantly let her this time around and Misaki scrambled away from him. The two sat facing each other with both their heads tilted to the linoleum floor.
Was she mad at him?
Or had he been the only one who desperately wanted to find her?
Usui felt absolutely pathetic.
Of course Misaki still had her family to think about first.
How could he have been selfish?
"Where's your family?" Usui was surprised to hear the words flow smoothly from his mouth.
"Mom's helping out at the hospital she works in… Su… Suzuna… I-I haven't seen her since all these happened… I've been looking for her too…" Misaki answered lifelessly.
Hope and sheer will. They were the only two things that he had the whole day yet still he had found her. Now, he was going to pass it onto her. "We're gonna find her, Ayuzawa. Alive. We're going to get through this together this time. You're not alone."
There was no response and Usui sighed. "But we need to take care of you first. It's dark already. Let's look for Suzuna tomorrow."
"Ayuzawa, please look at me." Usui pleaded.
Usui bewilderedly looked up to the source of the sound. "A-Ayuzawa, are you crying?"
His hand reached out to tilt her chin up only to be beaten by Misaki who snapped her head back straight. Tears streaked her flushed cheeks as she said, "I've been looking everywhere for you too, idiot…" and Misaki flung her arms and wrapped it tightly on Usui's neck. "I've never been so happy to see you, you stupid perverted outer space alien."
There on the hospital floor, with his girlfriend clinging tightly on his neck, where people stared both funnily and contentedly at them as they passed by, did Usui's exhaustion on the whole day's search finally weighed down on him in its full force. He fell back along with Misaki atop him, breathing heavily with his eyes closed.
"U-Usui! What's wrong?" Misaki probed anxiously while tears streamed down from her eyes.
Without warning, "Pfft… ha-ha-ha!" Usui suddenly burst out laughing and Misaki jumped up in surprise. Never had she heard him laugh as freely and loudly like this… and for some completely unknown reason.
"Are you okay?" Misaki asked again, slightly annoyed.
Usui laughed a bit more before cupping Misaki's cheek in one hand and pulling her face down for a kiss. "I love you so much, Misaki Ayuzawa."
"Eh? Y-You too, baka Usui."
And this was why he never gave up in his search in the first place.
Authoress' Notes #2:
Hi there! Thank you very much for reading this oneshot! Again, I hope I didn't offend anyone and if I did, I really am sorry.
It's been a while since I last written anything so this was really a challenge to do especially since I had to research about the actual event to make the story more realistic. I guess I should apologize if I made any factual mistakes. -.-
Oh! I'd like to make a shout out to my dear friends who read this fic before I posted it here. You guys know who you are! ;D Thank you for the encouragement and the support~
Well, I don't know what to say anymore. XD
Have an awesome day~
April 2, 2011
P.S.: Oh, yeah! This story was also loosely based on the "Message of Hope" artwork done by Hiro Fujiwara herself. It's very beautiful! I left a link on my profile (found below).