Chapter Fifteen: Plan B
Misaki raced over to the cockpit, and his eyes widened in horror and disbelief as he saw the smoldering flames of their island. It looked like a war zone, the barracks blown to splinters and the surrounding forests still ripe with tongues of flame.
The teen began to pant heavily as he looked at the destruction, and Nowaki immediately sat him down in the co-pilot's chair before he hyperventilated himself. But it didn't ease Misaki's panic. Their only safe place had been annihilated. Where would they go? Was the FMA tracking them? Did they know where they were at this very instant?
"Calm down kid," Hiroki said gruffly as he steered the plane north.
"B—But…what are we going to do?" Misaki trembled.
"Akihiko isn't an idiot. He was right when he said they were going to bomb islands, but since we weren't there when they hit it, they have no proof that was our specific location. Nowaki, go do an inventory of this plane and see what kind of survival gear we've got."
The giant nodded and headed to the far end of the plane, opening all the compartments and inspecting the supplies. Misaki thought about getting up and finding somewhere else to sit so Delta could focus on flying, but found himself far too emotionally exhausted to move.
Why? Why was all of this happening? Would they ever be able to escape from this nightmare? Would they ever be safe?
The teen blinked back tears and took one last glance out the window, eyeing the charred island before slipping off into a troubled slumber.
Some time later, Beta finished the inventory and came back up to the cockpit, where he looked upon Misaki with pity.
"Poor boy," He sighed. "He's far too young to have to bear this kind of pain."
Rather than offering a scoffing retort, Hiroki merely looked at his partner and spoke.
"Did you finish?"
"Yes, and be sure to thank fate that Miyagi knew about this plane. It's fully equipped with enough water, food, and supplies to last us for eight weeks."
"Do we have any spare fuel?"
Hiroki breathed a sigh of relief and really did thank fate. This plane was their only means of transportation now, and fuel was vital if they didn't want to be sitting ducks.
"I'll have to wait until we've landed to check the lower compartments though," Nowaki added.
"Fine." Hiroki said, putting a new set of coordinates into the control system.
"Hiro-san, are we heading to the secondary base?"
"Eventually," He replied. "I want to wait at least a couple days before we go there, just in case they are tracking us. Once Miyagi's back on his feet he should be able to tell us if we're being followed."
Nowaki nodded in agreement, a quiet smile lighting up his somber expression. Alpha had made a smart decision when he'd put Hiro-san in charge. But as they continued to fly, the giant noticed a grimace forming on Delta's face.
"Hiro-san, what's wrong?"
The fourth sighed, far too exhausted to use his usual tactic of denial to get away from Nowaki's emotional probing.
"Why didn't Akihiko tell me he had such a dangerous allergy?" Hiroki grumbled, his grip tightening. "We could've taken extra precautions for Christ's sake! If that idiot had died, he would've left me with two brats and a blind guy to take care of. What the hell kind of leader does that to his own fucking friend?!" Nowaki's lip twitched and he set a hand on Hiroki's shoulder.
"Maybe he didn't want to burden you any more Hiro-san."
"Please, he's been burdening me my entire life. Why should now be any different?"
"Everything is different Hiro-san, and Alpha knows that more than anyone. I can't speak for him, but I can say that it feels like everyone here is getting close to their breaking point. And it would only be harder on us if he told us about his condition."
"But that's what teams are for Nowaki," Hiroki said, a tremor creeping into his voice. "That's what friends are supposed to be for. Supporting each other no matter what, and he blatantly lied to my face when I could have helped him."
Hiroki lowered his head in rage and shame, biting down on his lip to stop it from trembling.
"Akihiko's always been such a dingbat," He muttered. "Stupid idiot. Moron. Dumbass. If he weren't unconscious I'd go postal on him!"
But Hiroki's declarations of anger were cut off as a low sob crept up in his chest. He carefully masked it as a cough, but Nowaki wasn't that easy to fool. The giant came up behind his pilot's chair and wrapped his arms around Hiroki's shoulders, pressing his lips into his partner's sienna hair.
"No—Nowaki, not now," Hiroki weakly protested, his hands trembling as he tried to steer the plane.
"It's okay Hiro-san," Nowaki breathed. "Everyone else is asleep. You don't have to hold back now."
"I'm fine…" Hiroki said, making his last unconvincing remark. He quickly pushed the button for the autopilot as his eyes began to blur with moisture.
"You know Nowaki," He murmured. "You were…very brave today…when you told off Korovin."
"So were you, Hiro-san," Nowaki said, hugging his partner tighter as he felt him quiver.
The fourth hung his head and silently wept while Nowaki embraced him. All through the rest of the afternoon and into twilight, the two of them didn't exchange a single word, for the warmth of each other's presence was enough.
Misaki was jarred from his sleep as the wheels of the plane touched the ground, slowly braking the machine from its long flight. He glanced over to the captain's chair and to his amazement, found Alpha landing the plane.
"A—Alpha!" He gaped, struggling to find words of relief. "Are you okay? You probably shouldn't be flying with your injuries."
Akihiko turned and gave him a small smile.
"Not to worry. I'm a tough cookie. It'll take more than a little gas to put me down. Besides, it looked as though those two needed a bit of rest." He said, indicating a cot where Hiroki and Nowaki were snoozing.
"Can you stand?" Alpha asked as the plane finally slowed to a halt.
"Go wake the others, we need to unload supplies."
"Where are we? On another island?"
"No, on the mainland. We're at the base of the Nako mountains. It'll be hard for them to search for us here, though it looks as though we were followed at all. Nice job, by the way. Completing the mission despite its…rather dire circumstance."
"Well," Misaki stuttered. "It—it was more of an accident really."
"Still, you've proved you have the power to stop time. With training, you may learn to do it at will. But for now, let's set up camp."
Misaki nodded and went over to wake everyone, even while his eyes still glanced back towards the cockpit. His inwards felt more mixed up than ever. He was so relieved that Alpha was okay, and yet…this was the man responsible for his brother's death. Misaki knew he should hate Alpha, but at the moment there was a greater threat draining all his anger.
It was this life they were leading, and Misaki didn't know how much longer he could hold off the darkness creeping up on him.
Hello readers, and thank you for your patience with my rather sparse updates. In the spirit of creativity, you may choose from the following list of reasons (excuses) as to why I haven't updates in a month
A. Spring quarter of school started
B. Writer's Block
C. Laziness (pretty much the same thing as B.)
D. Betrayal Knows My Name vol. 5 was finally released on Amazon (and left us at a freaking bloody cliffhanger! AUGH!)
E. My pets ate my story notes.
WishIwereanime, TheGrandJester, Artemis Fortune, aokochan17, JoanIncarnate, KiyameHikari-chan, kasugami-chan, Kuronokiseki, 33, seshomaru94, Keira Kinover-Mar, Maroontiger- you guys are freaking awesome. I love all of you. Thank you so much for your faithful reviews! :) Squee!
And finally, I would like to add that this chapter is dedicated to my darling cyber seme Don't Preach for special reasons. Your reviews make this bird squee more than anything else! A thousand kisses to you!
Next chapter we shall see just how strong Misaki really is...Stay tuned.