Spoilers. For the last couple of episodes, cause this story takes place during that timeline. It focuses between Aki and Anzu of Another.
Disclaimers: I don't own Another, the series, the novels, the manga, or Aki and Anzu. The story's only rated T for vague violence, and vague hinted yuri goodness that I don't describe to you completely. So yeah. Enjoy.
No Matter What
The class trip wasn't something anyone in class was actually looking forward to. Not with all of the bad things that had taken place in such a short amount of time. How many students in their class were now listed as deceased already? It wasn't making anyone else feel any less easy, not even if part of this class trip was to pray at the shrine in hopes that it helped the curse lift, at least for the rest of their school year.
Two by two the students were given the rooms they'd be staying in while they were here. It was a nice place. A bit remote, quiet, nice…well it would be if the circumstances weren't so grim. The room door shut as a single exhale was heard in the silent room, before eyes opened and took in the appearance of the room itself. Aki Mitsui had to admit she felt relieved to know she was being put in a room with her closest friend instead of any of the others. Not that she held anything personal against them, but…with the recent events, the only person who made her feel comfortable despite the circumstances was her best friend, Anzu Kanaki.
After giving the room a look-over, Aki's gaze flickered to where Anzu stood. She had a hand resting on her hip as she looked around as well, surveying the place. The silence was a little bit unsettling, but the company made it better at least. It wasn't their first time in the room, after all, since there was before that dinner and Akazawa's little speech. But still, it was still surprising to think you were staying in a seemingly nice and peaceful place when something so horrible was going on in the background.
"What do you think?" Anzu suddenly said with her stare still cast upwards at the wall.
"About…what?" There hasn't been a lot of conversation since they got here.
"Aha, sorry. Um, well let's start with the place. The room, the building." She specified, like she was starting some strange chain conversation. What was the purpose of that? Aki shook off the confusion and thought about it.
"I guess it's kind of nice. But…I feel a little uncomfortable." Aki admitted, averting her eyes with a small frown. Anzu nodded, understanding completely.
"That's all right." She responded, turning and taking a seat on the bed. "I get it, everyone's on edge here." She said quietly. Aki watched her for a few seconds, and then walked over, sitting next to her with a downcast gaze.
"Do you really think…that any of this is anyone's fault? Like Akazawa-san said?" She asked, wondering about it. She'd placed blame on Mei Misaki for having broken the most important rule. It happened, sure, but…
"I don't know. Maybe the speech was kind of much though." She couldn't really say, she had no real idea. The two of them…seemed mostly preoccupied with each other. Probably for good reason though. What better distraction from what could otherwise end up depressing you, then this?
"What if…what if something happens while we're all here?" Aki asked, still frowning. It was a genuine worry. Anzu stared at her, feelings of sympathy about the situation leaving her without much an answer. There weren't a lot of things about Aki Anzu wasn't sure of though. She knew she wanted to keep Aki out of danger. A small shuffle of movement was heard as Anzu put her arm around Aki trying to be assuring.
"Hey, don't worry." Anzu said with a small smile as Aki turned her head to look at her. "I'll do everything I can to keep you safe. You know that, right?"
Reluctantly, Aki nodded. She knew that…she did, right? Anzu had a subtle frown as her arm pulled Aki closer. Aki rested her head against the girl's shoulder.
"I mean it, Aki."
"I know…" Aki grimaced, shaking her head. "I-I believe you, it's just…what if there's nothing we can do?"
Anzu bit her lower lip and looked away. None of them should have been thinking these kinds of heavy questions. What did any of them do to deserve suffering for the mistake of a class so many years ago? "Aki…" Anzu sighed, moving her other arm to pull Aki into more of a hug. She stroked Aki's hair, the room falling into silence as they sat there. She didn't want to see Aki scared like this. She wanted that about as much as she wanted to see Aki get hurt, which was to say, she'd rather die herself than see it. That didn't sound extreme at all to Anzu. It was just how she felt. She didn't care how others interpreted it, but Aki was someone precious to her, someone to keep safe no matter what. There was a deep-set care she held for the more timid girl, whether Aki was really the fragile looking girl she seemed or not.
Anzu separated Aki from herself and looked her in the eye. "Aki, listen." Anzu started, freeing one hand to gently caress her face, an act of comfort between them.
"No matter what happens, when it does if it does at all, I'll protect you. I always have before, and I'll keep doing it." She said quietly, studying that expression on Aki's face. She always had that look. Sort of melancholy, almost, and gentle. Anzu had always thought it was a face that didn't deserve any misfortune at all that fell upon it.
There were words that sort of hung in the air of the room. Now wasn't the time to say them though. That conversation was reserved for when they weren't distracted by something as heavy as a deadly curse. What could be done until then? Anzu leaned forward a little bit, still observing Aki's reactions. Aki flinched, confused but not frightened away. Briefly closing her eyes, Anzu just as briefly let her lips brush hers. Aki felt heat rise to her cheeks, very unused to that kind of show of affection. "A-Anzu?" Anzu stared at the embarrassed girl for a moment, before she grinned and giggled softly. She was just so cute when she got like that. Her hand brushed to the back of Aki's neck. She wanted to do that again, so what else would she do, but just that.
The thought of kissing Anzu had crossed Aki's mind before. But those were just small and brief embarrassing thoughts she usually stuck in the back of her mind. She never really thought something like that would…happen. But Anzu already took things into her own hands, lips pressed to Aki's in another kiss, lingering longer than the first one. Aki's face grew about three shades redder and she was pretty sure she could hear her heart beating right in her ears. There was some…out of place joy in Anzu's mind when Aki didn't pull away or reject her. Instead, she felt a hand grip her sleeve, and another on the front of her shirt, as well as the subtle feeling of her kiss being returned. Never mind the dreary air of the lodge, because around this point it just didn't matter anymore. She didn't mean it in a selfish way, but she just wished sometimes that nothing else could matter for a while except Aki. Couldn't she just do that now? Just for a little while, even, there was only her and Aki, and no one else. Repeatedly she kissed Aki, like all she could do was kiss those lips. Brushing Aki's hand off her sleeve gently, she slid her fingers up over Aki's palm and entwined their fingers. Anzu felt a light happy feeling in her chest. Aki for once felt her usually constant worry and panic fade some with Anzu's actions, though some of her nerves remained. But that might have been simply her unfamiliarity with it all. Regardless, with Anzu's hand in hers and all the sudden kisses she was being showered with right now, her bothersome worries actually washed away.
The hand behind Aki's neck moved, and gave her shoulder a small push. Her grip on Anzu's shirt slipped and a small surprised noise escaped the shy girl as her back was pushed to the mattress. A blush burned at her face and her ears, her head a bit confused about making sense out of anything right now. Anzu's mind was working on that faster than her own, after all. The next surprised squeak out of Aki was muffled by another kiss, this one more firm than the others and lingering. Aki wasn't sure if she was just not letting her properly try to respond or if she really just couldn't stop herself. Anzu stopped only to brush her lips over Aki's skin in a trail of kisses that led over her cheek, along her jaw and a couple of places on her neck. The blush on Aki's face only stayed. Anzu smiled a little bit and brushed the girl's hair aside some to place a soft kiss under Aki's ear. Aki flinched. What did she even do now? She felt like she should do something, but she just felt so many things, she wasn't sure if she could gather them fast enough to be able to do anything else other than lay here and just grow shades redder. Slowly she could feel Anzu's hand was moving to the bottom of her blouse and vest. "E-eh!" Aki failed to restrain the surprised sound from her mouth when Anzu rested her fingers underneath her blouse and onto her navel, causing her to flinch again.
"A-Anzu…" Aki spoke up quietly. It was apparent in her voice she was nearly a flustered nervous wreck at the moment. Anzu lifted her head and looked at her with subtle but heavy concern in her eyes.
"Ah—I'm sorry…I should probably stop, shouldn't I?"
Aki just continued to blush madly, her eyes averting to the side. "N-no…that's not…" Her words just trailed off. It wasn't really that. It was all just a lot at once for her. But there wasn't any part of it she particularly…disliked. God, that felt embarrassing just to admit in her own head! Her mouth twitched as she continued to look at the wall, not sure if she could really make herself look at Anzu right now. Anzu just smirked. Aki's behavior didn't really bother her, or upset her. It never did. She was just so adorable; it wasn't even possible to resist such a thing.
"Aki, come on, just tell me whatever's on your mind. Like you've always done." Anzu encouraged, removing her hand from Aki's abdomen and stroking her hair lovingly. She lightly kissed her head, staying close to Aki. "No rush, I'll stay put until you do." She assured.
Aki closed her eyes, head still turned from her. "I…I don't know w-what to do." She said in a barely audible voice. Do…about what? "I-this has n-never…" She grew uncomfortable again. Anzu stared at her, just blinking silently, before a small amused smile appeared.
"And what, you think I've done this before? Aki's the only person I've ever even considered." She shook her head. "But I don't want to do anything that you don't want me to."
It was a comforting thing to hear, but honestly it wasn't the issue Aki had on her mind. She moved her hand in her embarrassment and covered her face. "I-It's not that…" Why was she so nervous? It was Anzu…she liked her, didn't she? Well that was it. Anzu was confident, nice, beautiful…Aki didn't want to screw anything up, or make anything worse.
Anzu tilted her head, and then let out a small sigh. "It's so hard to tell what you're thinking sometimes, you know?" She said. She poked at Aki's hand and guided it away from her face. "Come on now. Take a look at me, please?" Anzu asked softly. Re-opening her eyes, Aki shyly looked at Anzu. A hand brushed Aki's face, thumb brushing a short line down Aki's cheek. She was being honest; she'd never do anything to hurt the precious girl underneath her, whether it was emotional or physical hurt.
Without a hand or elbow to hold her up, the space between Anzu and Aki was virtually gone, and Aki felt the nervous feelings flare back when Anzu's free hand slipped back under her blouse and rested against her side. Should she stop Anzu again? She didn't really want to. She didn't mean to the first time. Anzu's nose brushed against her neck before she kissed it. Aki's blush grew more vivid again. The kiss on her neck gave her goose bumps. Was it a bad thing to say that she liked it? Anzu was pretty sure if anything happened tonight, she'd at least have enough time to spend with Aki here. Her hand moved down from Aki's face and pulled at the red bow on her uniform, pulling it loose and then letting her fingers slide down to the buttons of the school vest. Aki wasn't rejecting her at all, Anzu realized. She felt something in her chest, in herself, lift with relief at that. It wasn't just a distraction from the Calamity they wanted anymore. Though that's what they were getting now. They had comfort in each other, and feelings that were long overdue to be made clear, maybe. Probably, but that was a conversation for another time. Most of the things that needed to be said were being expressed already. They weren't going to be having any full conversations for a little while anyway.
Compared to the alone time they had with each other earlier, anyone would have preferred to just stay that way instead of face what was going on now. What was happening anymore? Sugiura had suddenly been heard over the PA system of the lodge—most of the students weren't even aware the building had intercoms—and started explaining how Mei Misaki was the dead extra of the classroom, and how to stop the Calamity. To kill the extra. At the same time, the way she sounded when she yelled…something was really wrong. Caught up in the chaos that ensued afterwards, Aki and Anzu both found themselves with Ogura, who seemed ill-intent on intercepting Mei and Kouichi. Was that a knife! God, what was going on?
"I'll avenge my brother!" Ogura screamed, pointing the blade at the pair running right for the corner that the group of girls occupied. Aki moved aside as Ogura was forced backwards by a strike from Kouichi that threw her into Anzu and knocked them both down, letting them get away safely.
"A-Anzu!" Aki finally said, after Ogura had pushed herself off the floor and went after them. Anzu grimaced, but took Aki's outstretched hand as she stood up. "I don't like this…we should get out of here." She said. No arguments there. The fire from downstairs was already spreading badly, and she could feel the vibrations in the floor from nearby explosions. Aki frowned, looking down the hallway.
"I said no matter what, didn't I? Don't worry." Anzu said to her, putting her arm around her shoulders. She…she did. Aki nodded, and they both started down the hallway together. They couldn't run. As much as she wanted to, the building was too unstable. The floor could come apart underneath them for all they knew. It was hard to use senses for anything. Not with the air filled with the smell of smoke, smoke and fire in their vision, and the sound of the explosions and fire around them distracting from anything else. Anzu kept as tight a grip on her own calm demeanor as she did on Aki's opposite shoulder. She needed to get them both out of here, and that was all. She said she would keep Aki out of harm's way, and meant every word of it. She meant everything she said and did for Aki. Her promises, her smallest gestures, and even the risky jump they'd taken earlier, alone in their room together.
! Anzu stopped walking. Her back. There was this single feeling of something striking her in the middle of her back, before a wave of pain just swept through her entire body. Aki gasped as Anzu coughed out, spotting the blood that left her mouth. W-what…
Control of her limbs failed her as she felt her legs give, hitting her knees onto the floor below her before falling forward. Aki wasn't even aware she'd been holding her breath the entire time, until the shock of what had happened, and seeing the knife stuck in Anzu's back, finally let her move. She ended up backing into the wall though, instead of running away like she wanted to. She watched as the killer reached calmly for the handle of the knife, and pulled it rather carelessly out of Anzu's back. Anzu was still alive though, barely. She groaned as the knife left her, but she couldn't do much else other than that. She could hear Aki's terrified scream. She wasn't sure what hurt more. Her injury which was now sapping her life from her, and fast, or hearing Aki scream like that and no longer being able to help her.
"A-Aki…run…" Anzu said with struggle, feeling her life fading. The pain was stopping, and she couldn't really feel the wound on her back anymore. But she couldn't really feel anything anymore. She couldn't even speak anymore. Dammit. Dammit! I…I'm so sorry Aki…I couldn't…keep my promise. The pain of her emotions still lingered though. She felt life leave her last extended breath, realizing she failed to protect the one girl that she loved the most.
No…no…Aki didn't stop to look and see if he was following, and if so how close behind. Why was he doing this! I-it made no sense! And…Anzu, she was…Aki closed her eyes for a moment, running blindly around the corner as she pushed her body to keep running. Between panic, fear, and the flashes of seeing Anzu dying like that, she wasn't even sure how she was still able to run, much less function much at all.
Anzu…She was only avoiding running into the fire because of the heat she could feel coming off of them. It was just resulting her literally having to push herself away from the walls as she nearly ran into them though, her momentum shoving her every which way. Anzu! She could barely feel tears escaping, dropping to the floor as she ran blindly. What happened to before, when they were so happy together in their room? In fact, what happened to before they even entered class 3, when all they had to worry about was being late to meet each other somewhere? What had any of them done to deserve what was happening now? Why? Why would you take it all away from me now? W-why…would you take Anzu away?
Why? She spotted a figure she was running towards, and found herself running right for Kouichi. What was he doing roaming the burning building still? For a moment her face was buried in his chest. She barely really knew him as a person, much less as a classmate, but when he shouted her name in recognition, it was the closest thing to help she had.
"Mitsui! What's wrong!" Aki pulled herself away from him, face desperate in expression.
"He-" She didn't get to finish. Her expression became pained as something drove itself into the back of her fragile neck, a flash of pain in her body that faded just as quick, oddly. Tears fell from her dying eyes, and her life fled her body about at the same time she'd fallen back and hit the floor, a knife in her neck.
Like that, her life had been taken from her. Just like that, their life went from seemingly fine when by themselves, to wrenched away amongst the fire and chaos.
"Mn…" Slowly. Her upper body hurt some. But it was a fleeting pain, and she opened her eyes. "Hm?" Aki frowned, bringing the back of her hand to her face as she tried to regain some of her senses. She felt so strange. What happened? She pushed herself into a sitting position and looked around. There was nothing but white around her really. Where was she?
The pain of a knife, stabbed in the neck, the brief flash of pain and her last memories before everything just…stopped. Aki's eyes widened a little bit as she clasped her hands over her mouth to muffle the gasp that escaped. She couldn't be…but she could. She moved a hand to the back of her neck, but there was no wound there. I'm…d-dead. Was that normally such a hard concept to grasp? It could be, for the dead victim. She didn't want to believe it at all. She couldn't be, could she? She leaned forward, hands on the…floor? Her shoulders trembled faintly, her right hand rising to cover her mouth as she let out a small and strained whimper. Tears began to blur her vision as her reality gripped her. It really was over. Now what? She stayed here, by herself? If there was one thing she didn't want, it was being alone here. She shut her eyes, choking out a brief sob through her hand, lowering her head more. "…A-Anzu…" It was all gone.
"Hey." A hand rested gently on the crying girl's shoulder. The trembles cut off abruptly. Aki opened her eyes, a small gasp at the familiar voice, and the familiar wisp of light brown hair.
"Anzu! I-is that…really you?"
Anzu glanced at her for a moment, but she then looked down, a sad smile on her face. "As far as I know." She stood up and offered a hand to Aki, pulling the girl up to her feet as well.
She studied Anzu's face for a moment. Her own expression fell a little bit melancholy as she frowned. "What is it?"
"I'm…sorry." Anzu finally said quietly, narrowing her eyes as she turned her head away from Aki. She couldn't look at her. Not after what had happened. Aki was here too. That meant that after she ran away, she still died. That meant nothing could keep her alive. That meant…"I didn't keep my promise."
Aki slowly shook her head. What? She reached for Anzu reluctantly, but the other girl, for once, seemed to flinch away. "I said I'd keep you safe, that I'd be there to make sure no one hurt you. Now look where we are."
Anzu shook her head again, her hand to her own chest as she tried to think of what to say. Anzu was usually the one who thought of what to say. This awful role reversal felt…no, Aki had to do something. Make her thoughts clear. She was dead. There was nothing they could do about that, because they were both in the same boat. But what Anzu was saying…
"Don't say that." Aki said finally, reaching out and grabbing Anzu's sleeve so she wouldn't try to move away again. "No, d-don't say that." She repeated, pulling herself towards Anzu and wrapping her arms around the taller girl, face buried against Anzu's neck. If Anzu had any comments about the tears she could feel against her neck, she didn't say them out loud. She stared at the ground, not immediately reacting to Aki's embrace.
"Anzu…I-I don't care." Aki started. She didn't pull away, she was speaking into Anzu's neck, not wanting to pull from the closeness to her. "This is hard. It r-really is. O-our families are going to be…sad, and we're going to be sad. W-we're going to have to move on, even if we w-wished we were still alive and…able to spend time with the classmates we've left behind." Aki's embrace tightened a little bit.
"But…I-I can cope. If you're with me."
"Aki…but-" Aki put her hand on Anzu's shoulder and pulled herself onto her toes, reaching up to kiss Anzu and interrupt her. It wasn't any different. It wasn't like it meant less. It wasn't like they couldn't feel the same affection in their kisses because they weren't among the living anymore. They could almost feel like they were still alive for a second. Aki stopped, and Anzu placed her hand on the back of Aki's head and returned her embrace some. Aki sniffed, calming down a bit more.
"Y-you did everything you could. I never thought anything different. You…you didn't break any promises. You kept them all, right u-until the end. A-Anzu, I don't feel anything less about you." It felt strange, being the one saying these supportive things instead of Anzu. Anzu needed it, didn't she? Reassurance that she'd done nothing wrong, because she hadn't. Not in Aki's eyes anyhow, and that was all that mattered.
Anzu bit her bottom lip, shutting her eyes for a moment and kissing Aki's forehead. "I just wanted to keep you safe. I've wanted that since we first met. I hated it…knowing your fear while I was dying. It hurt more than the knife."
Aki's mind drifted. Yeah, she remembered that…but the fear, it was for so many reasons. She was scared, but she was also frightened knowing that Anzu was gone. Like her chances at saying the things in her mind since their time in their lodge room had been shattered, and the prospects of being able to ever be near her again. As strange as it was, even though life no longer embraced them in its warm arms, Aki's spirits felt lifted at knowing she could join Anzu in the afterlife.
"I won't leave you again." Anzu said finally, softly.
Aki felt a few last tears shedding from the corners of her eyes. "Anzu…I love you." She hadn't gotten a chance to say it before. It'd been sitting in her mind before. It'd been screaming in her head in the room. It was a kind of twisted point, that she wouldn't be able to actually say it until after death.
Anzu felt a little bit of surprise. Not so much about hearing her say it, more that…well, she'd always felt like she'd be the first to confess that kind of thing. She smiled, chuckling faintly. "Aki beat me to the punch. I love that so much. I love you so much." She'd keep her promises still. She had no reason to stop now.
Aki lowered her arms as Anzu stepped back, and grasped her hand, giving it a small tug. "Come on. Maybe we can go find the others." She suggested. Aki smiled, and nodded, following Anzu. Following her to wherever this place led them. They'd follow each other anywhere, no matter what.
Hurr. Um, I hope that was good. The ending got so corny I can't even explain why. This story actually came out completely different from what I intended, and I have no idea if it's any good or not.
I totally propose the idea of Aki and Anzu being added to the character list on this site. Just saying.
In case you for some reason don't know, the guy handling the knife that took out Aki and Anzu was Kazami. Didn't you watch the show? What are you doing here?
Anyway, read and review, and um...thanks. o 3o