A/N: shiiiit guys I'm so sorry I took a slight detour from the Higu/Umi fandom and fanfiction in general. Lifes a bitch but I'm finally starting to get back into the groove of things. Sorry to disappoint but my fics and updates are still going to be scarce. I also have no idea how many Higu fics Ill be writing. My current obsession is South Park and when I have a new obsession I find it hard to concentrate on much of anything else

anyway enjoy this long awaited chapter. and to the anon threatening to give up on me, I'm very sorry for testing your patience.

Keiichi collapsed onto his futon; his whole body felt like it was on fire. It felt like he had been constructed entirely out of lead and the idea of moving no longer seemed plausible. His face seemed to radiate heat as he lifted his own arm and draped it across his forehead in order to wipe away the beads of sweat that had formed. He was falling fast into the realm of unconscious and he hadn't the willpower or strength to fight it back. Satoshi sat down beside him, his eyes unsure of what to do. He gently raised Keiichi's arm from his face and laid it at rest at his side.

"You're going to be alright..." The blonde's voice was soothing and Keiichi believed him. His body felt spent and exhausted, all semblance of energy totally dissipated. His condition was sliding downhill and fast. Satoshi continued to utter words of comfort as he lifted himself to a standing position.

"I'll be right back." He told the other, unsure if he was even listening anymore. Satoshi exited the room, his pace quickening the faster he descended down the stairs. His ankle still ached from the previous abuse it had taken, but he was able to ignore it. Keiichi needed him, and he was eager to prove his worth. Upon hitting the ground, he took a sharp turn and headed straight towards the bathroom. He grabbed a wash rag off the towel rack and dampened it under the cool faucet water. His mind was racing. In fact, ever since leaving the Clinic behind he found that his thoughts had been constantly swamped. He turned the faucet to off and took off for the stairs. He climbed them two and a time, his ankle almost giving out half way up. He carried on, stumbling for only a second. He threw Keiichi's room door aside as he struggled to catch his breath. A life of laying in a hospital futon hadn't done much for Satoshi physically. He stumbled into the room albeit clumsily, but Keiichi didn't notice. Upon closer examination, Satoshi realized the other had already fallen asleep. Satoshi stood there with a wet rag in his hands for a few seconds, looking about in a frazzled manner. He felt anxiety rise within him as he was unable to decide what to do. When Keiichi stirred seconds later, he was extremely relieved.

"Sorry...I dozed off..." Keiichi mumbled through the haze of sleep. Satoshi sat on the edge of the futon, a small smile occupying his face.

"You're fine... I went downstairs and got this rag... I was hoping it would bring your fever down..."

"Go for it, lay it on me."

Satoshi wiped Keiichi's face down gingerly before laying the wash cloth across his forehead. The cool sensation comforted Keiichi's burning head. He groaned as he struggled to close his eyes without them feeling like they were on fire.

"Do you want anything?" Satoshi asked, his voice full of concern. Keiichi let out a breathy sigh and shook his head no ever so slightly. "Want to go back to sleep?"

Satoshi took the open silence as a yes. He slid off the futon into a sitting position, his back resting against it.

"I'll be right here if you need anything." He assured the other, who's breathing gave away he was sleeping already. Satoshi looked over his shoulder at the sleeping brunette and sighed.

"I hope he gets well soon...He's fever seems really high..."

The blonde reached over to the book he'd been reading and picked back up on it. He was close to being finished and was eager to have the ending revealed to him. Keiichi had said it was good, and Satoshi expected nothing less. He soon found him engrossed in a world of words that was so much unlike his own. A life filled with crime, redemption, love, hate, and betrayal. Satoshi found himself thankful his life wasn't this exciting. He paused and set the book against his knees and sighed.

"What life...I don't remember...anything..." He could feel his good mood failing him, everything inside of him falling apart. He shook his head willing the thoughts away. He wasn't hopeless anymore. With Keiichi's help he could overcome this hell. He could remember.

This in mind, he picked the book back up and read until he turned the last page. He felt numb as he set the book on the ground next to him. Keiichi was right about the plot twists. They had all almost been a challenge to wrap his mind around. He would definitely be reading that book again someday. For now though, he brought himself to his feet and checked on Keiichi, who was sleeping soundly. He walked over to Keiichi's cluttered book shelf and picked another novel. It looked a bit longer than the one he had just finished but that wasn't a problem. Satoshi felt like he would be spending a lot of time up here, and reading gave him something to do. It occupied his mind which was in desperate need of distractions.

He took his seat against Keiichi's futon once more and opened it up to page one.

He was five chapters into the book when he began to feel uneasy. The stressful atmosphere of the book had led him feeling anxious himself. It had grown darker outside and Satoshi was sure night would be upon them soon. Night felt so constricting and suffocating, and Satoshi couldn't fathom as to why. The voices grew louder at night, which was a definite factor. In darkness, he could not see, which troubled him greatly. The darkness made him feel alone. The blonde set the book down, closing it. He wasn't in the mood to read anymore.

He sat up and directed his gaze towards the window in Keiichi's room. The drapes were opened just enough that he was able to see out of them. The sky was a pink and orange mixture that would soon be drained of all its luster and replaced with a dark, malevolent splotch that Satoshi wanted nothing to do with. He hugged his knees to his chest, wishing that Keiichi was well enough to offer him comfort. Glancing over at him, he knew the brunette had no intention of awaking anytime soon. Sighing, Satoshi turned back to the window.

"How long will I be able to hide here...how long until I can remember..." He muttered to himself, eyes now directed at his bare feet. They ached from all the running they'd been put through in the past days. He wiggled his toes as his thoughts consumed him. Darkness...he hated it. Even Keiichi's room had grown significantly dimmer, or maybe it was his imagination. Satoshi had problems distinguishing.

Darkness...brought on the dreams. Dreams he did not want to trifle with. Dreams he were afraid would unlock a dark truth he had repressed and continued to do so, for the sake of his own sanity.

He rocked in place until he rolled onto his back, letting his body splay out on Keiichi's floor. The room seemed to spin as he kept his eyes on the ceiling above. The thoughts were intoxifying; he was a dizzy delusional mess.

"You have nothing to worry about here Satoshi..."

"We'll take good care of you."

"Sleep...sleep...you'll wake up when you're well."

"You're not well Satoshi."


The blonde sat up abruptly, his heart quite possibly beating a hole through his chest. His body had broken out in a cold sweat, the voices still ringing in his head as he realized he was engulfed in complete darkness. He felt around with stiff, restricted movements. He felt safer when his hand brushed against the covers of Keiichi's futon. He pulled himself up onto Keiichi's futon, careful to not bump into the other. His eyes had adjusted to the dark room just enough to make out the resting body of Keiichi. He climbed next to the sleeping other and relaxed when their skin was barely touching. Satoshi let his head rest on the pillow, facing the brunette. His eyelids were lowered as a feeling of regret and guilt consumed him.

"I'm a wreck...the longer I'm here the more I realize it..." He whispered to the sleeping other. "I'm so sorry...I got you involved...I was so desperate to escape...But I didn't know what was in store after I left..."

Satoshi stayed there, wide awake. His eyes were still on the ceiling above, only this time the world was at a standstill. Time seemed to stop in this moment, going on infinite. The voices were quieter now, much to his relief. He was scared to sleep because that meant dreams. Dreams meant things he didn't want to see. He hadn't realized how hard his fingers were gripping the sheets until they started to ache. He released them and moved his stiff fingers with a sigh. It was going to be a long night.

Kyosuke Irie paced around his clinic, a cup of lukewarm coffee in his shaking hand. He was wired and hadn't slept in what felt like days. He began to wonder if it really had been days; he concluded that even if it had been days, there were only more sleepless days and nights to come. The clinic was deathly silent at this time of night, and Irie was beginning to wonder if he was the only one still awake in Hinamizawa. His hands continued to tremble, unsure if it was from the temperature or the caffeine that coursed through his veins. He was sure this was his eighth cup of coffee that night alone, give or take a cup or two.

He paced to the window overlooking the town and gazed out across the fields and shrines. It was beautiful, lit up by the eerie moonlight above. He sighed. It's no wonder his escapee wanted out so badly. A free spirited bird in the confinements of a cage did not last long, this Irie knew. It was cruel to keep a soul captive, but if the ignorant birdie knew not what the outside world held, weren't it more of a sin to release it?

Especially if that birdie was not well enough to fend for itself. There was a thing in existence known as natural selection and it was something Irie did not wish to find his birdie. He had to bring him back, safe and sound. He owed him, and his sister, that much at least.

Irie turned away from the moonlight and set his cup of coffee on his cluttered desks. Files and medical reports were tossed every which way in no fashion whatsoever. Irie let his hand graze over the contents, his eyes only seeing certain words.


"Extreme psychosis."

"Paranoia and delusions."


"Houjou Satoshi."


Irie couldn't bear to see the report any longer; any reminders of the loss were not welcome. Irie could feel the effects of sleep deprivation catching up to him as he raised a hand to pinch the bridge of his nose. He could feel a headache coming on, and the stress was not helping in the slightest.

"Don't worry, I'm sure he'll turn up safe and sound. We'll have him back in no time." Takano had told him earlier that day, offering other words of meaningless comfort shortly after. Irie hadn't been listening, his thoughts elsewhere. He had called Inspector Ooishi not long after Takano went home for the day, hoping good news would welcome his eager ears. All he received were harsh words of reality and the fact that no clues involving Satoshi's whereabouts had turned up yet were extremely unsettling.

"What if Satoko finds him..."

Irie found that to be one of his biggest concerns. He hated to think of how excited she would be, the happiness she would feel, were he to show up. Then the crude disappointment of being forgotten, of her brother far from a sound state of mind. The idea made Irie near sick, or maybe that was just his empty stomach requesting he lay off the coffee.

There was a slight chance that seeing his younger sister would jog his memory, but Irie found that idea also unsettling. There was a great chance he would remember too much, and that was not something he wanted Satoko to witness. Remembering could be the unraveling of her big brother, and Irie did not want her to see beloved Nii-Nii falling to pieces that would be beyond repair. Irie rubbed his temples, willing his headache to leave. He needed to think. Irie grabbed his coat and almost considered going out and looking himself. The police, maybe they didn't know what they were doing. If Irie could only think like Satoshi, maybe, just maybe he would find his location. Weak knees and a spinning mind resulted in Irie landing on the floor, all logical signs telling him to wait. He sighed, groaning at his shaky body. He pulled himself to his feet and forced himself into a medical bed around the hall. He spent many sleepless nights in this bed and would spend many more. He shut his eyes, his head pounding. He knew it was a fruitless attempt at peace, but he felt no other option at this moment. He drifted off to a troubled sleep hours later.

A/N: And that takes care of that little update. Things will be picking up soon I'm sure. Thanks to all who have stuck with me in my hiatus and I hope to not take this long again.