The normally shining sun was covered by thick black clouds. It was sprinkling outside the high school, leaving the white-headed adventurer with nothing to do but wonder the building.

It had only been two weeks since she started sneaking in the building and she was starting to get good at it.

The schedule for the gate was simple – it closed at exactly 7:45 and wouldn't open until a few minutes before the school let out at 3:00 – and the teachers rarely patrolled the hallways, allowing her access to anywhere she wanted to go.

Her main problems were the PE teachers that seemed to wonder the halls when they were on break and Hisashi.

Today was going to be slightly different though. Kohta Hirano, the over-weight boy she had helped two weeks ago, usually skipped a class or two to hang out with her and show her around (even if he did go back to class after an hour or so), but today he was going to some place to get a passport and visa so he could go to America over the summer.

So she was left alone, wondering the halls, debating on whether or not to go play in the rain.

In truth, she probably should've gone back to her own school, claiming to wake up late or something, and go to her classes (something she rarely did now-a-days) but the high school was so big and she still had a lot to see of it.

She headed down the second floor hallway, heading for the open, bridge-like hallway that connected the second floor of the main high school to the second floor of the Management Building. Before she could reach it, however, a high school student, one she hadn't seen around the grounds, stepped out of the men's room.

His shoulder-length auburn hair was pushed behind one of his ears, showing a series of three or four piercings running along. His uniform jacket was open, showing a yellow shirt with the words "BAD LINE" printed on it in white.

"What are you looking at?" He barked, narrowing his brown eyes at her.

"Just a bug." She replied looking pointedly at him, instantly regretting it.

Last night, her father had twisted her ankle when he threw her, leaving her unable to walk right, let alone fight.

"Did you just call me a bug, you little brat?" He spat, looking pissed.

Damn. How was she supposed to get out of this one?

"What's wrong, boss?" Another guy said, coming out of the bathroom to join him.

Before she heard what he said, she shoved passed them, darting as soon as she was a few centimeters out of his reach.

"Come back here!" He shouted, chasing after her.

She cringed as her weight pressed down on her ankle each time it hit the tiled floors.

Curse her sharp tongue. Why didn't she ever learn to keep her mouth shut?

As she rounded a corner, hands reached out and wrapped around her waist. She was pulled against something warm and hard, fabric brushing her face - a shirt, maybe?

Her heart pounded in her chest.

Who in the world was holding her!?


She was cut off, a hand covering her mouth as the footsteps of the bullies passed by.

Everything was silent as the footsteps trailed off, their voices fading away.

The person holding her let out a relieved breath, uncovering her mouth, "Thank god." He breathed.

Her eyes widened as she looked up at Takashi, baffled, "What are you… but how did you…"

He looked down at her, smirking a little, "How'd I know you were here?" He finished for her, "I saw you walking the hallways." He answered, "As for your argument with Imamura, that was just by chance."

"T-Thanks for saving me." Yuki smiled sheepishly up at him, "I'm sorry to cause so much trouble."

"Don't worry about it." He said, releasing her with a shrug, "I was on my way to the rooftop anyway."

"The rooftop?" She asked, blinking, "You can go on the rooftop here?"

He laughed uneasily, "No, not really." He said, "But that doesn't mean we don't go up there."

"We?" She repeated, "We who?"

He looked around, "Come on. I guess I'll introduce you." He said when he noticed no one was around.

Yuki smiled, "Alright." She agreed, following him out onto the bridge-like hallway.

They entered the building and climbed about three sets of stairs before they come to a thick grey door with "No Students Are Permitted Beyond This Point" in bolded red letters. With a little bit of effort, he pushed the door open.

"Manda, manda!" Someone was strumming a guitar, belting out (what seemed like) random words, "Just like a poison eel, manda! Manda, manda, manda, mandaaaaaaa!"

Yuki peered over the side of Takashi, noticing a boy sitting on the ground Indian-style, a guitar in his hands. His blonde hair was done in an interesting fashion – the sides slicked down while the middle was spiked in a short Mohawk – while his black blazer was left open, showing a purple checkered polo underneath.

"Manda, manda, manda, manda, manda, manda, mandaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!" He continued bellowing.

Her hand covered her mouth and she laughed, interrupting another string of mandas.

The boy looked back at the two and tilted his head, "Oh, Komuro! Don't see you up here often during lessons."

"What kind of song was that, Morita?" Takashi asked with a chuckle, sitting down next to him.

"It was…" He blinked, his green eyes trailing to Yuki, who had taken her seat on the other side of Takashi, "Who's she? New student?"

"Yuki." Takashi answered, sending her a brief glance, "She's… uh… just visiting today. Trying to decide what high school she wants to go to and what not."

Yuki gave Takashi a look of approval. The lie came out so quick, but was completely believable. She didn't think Takashi could lie, let alone lie convincingly, so she was slightly impressed.

"Hey there!" The guy, Morita, grinned, "I'm Morita."

"Nice to meet you." She said, returning the smile.

"Will I be seeing you around our Takashi a lot?" He asked, adding a hint of mischief in his grin.

She looked up at Takashi for the answer. Was he going to tell Hisashi about her sneaking in or would he keep it between the two of them? Even if he didn't tell, would he let her come with him again to this "secret meeting" place?

"Probably." Takashi answered nonchalantly, not giving into Morita's perverted undertone, "She has a habit of getting in trouble, so maybe it'll keep her out of it."

She shot him a dry look.

She didn't always get into trouble! Just… more often than most people.

Morita laughed, "And you think hanging out with us is going to lower her risk? You do know that we're supposed to be in class right now, right?"

"I wasn't talking about trouble with the teachers." Takashi said, giving her a reproachful glance, "I'm talking about trouble that involves her mouth and Imamura."

Morita cringed, "I see. So she's one of those girls?"

Yuki blinked, shooting the blonde a glare.

She was sitting right there!

"More or less." Takashi answered absently, "Without the know-it-all personality and I'm-better-than-you attitude."

"Aww." Morita whined comically, "I like the ones with the know-it-all personalities."

She rolled her eyes.

He smiled, bending over his guitar to reach out his hand, "Nice to have you on board, Yuki. Don't be a stranger, got it?"

She returned his smile with a warm one of her own and shook his hand, "I won't."

Middle of the Street, Tokonosu City; Fujimi, Japan; Z-Day+2 3:21 pm

I breathe in rapidly, trying to keep down as Takashi and I lean against a brick wall, him peering over the corner.

"Damn it." He says, "This place too."

"I don't think we're going to be able to make it to Second Chrome like this." I say, watching him as his eyes meet mine.

"Let's go back the way we came." He suggests, getting up from the wall and heading towards the river, "We didn't see any of them on the way here."

I nod and follow after him, our pace picking up to a slow run.

"We're not going to get far on foot." Takashi says ahead of me, "So we need to look for a bike or something with the keys still in it."

"What about a Yamaya shop?" I ask, glancing around, "I thought we passed one on the way up here."

"That's it!" He says, taking a left.

We head down a narrow ally and emerge onto a blood stained road, few cars surrounding us. Down the road a little ways on my left is a Yamaya shop, motorcycles outlining the front. The cost is clear, no zombie in sight, so we run towards the shop, trying to keep out breathing as soft as possible.

The inside looks rather boring to me, but Takashi looks determined and a little lighter, happy to have something to drive. Besides the motorcycles and four-wheelers, there're shelves and racks full of leathered clothing and wet suits. Dummies are lined up against the glass showcase, dressed in biker outfits that look more uncomfortable than what I'm wearing – which is saying something, considering the jean shorts that are showing too much for my comfort (damn you Shizuka!).

I run my fingers along the leather jacket, eyes drifting to a poster of an overly-buff man leaning into to kiss a gorgeous hour-glass figured girl, their lips barely touching.

"Is this supposed to be date, Takashi?" I ask jokingly. The idea seemed absurd before the outbreak of zombies; now, it's impossible.

He turns to me with a questioning glance and I point to the poster. His eyes widen and he chuckles, red tinting his cheeks, "You wish, Yuk."

I stop entirely at the sound of my nickname from his mouth, staring at him with surprise.

He's never ever called me Yuk before. Ever.

He clears his throat, whirling around to the door he was facing before I have time to say anything. His hand tightens on his gun as he turns the knob, ready to take out anything that's inside. I do as he does, holding my crowbar in the air. Quickly, he pulls it open, inspecting the inside.

He lets out a low whistle, "Come and check this out Yuki."

I tilt my head and walk into the room, eyes widening at the Argo Avenger 700, "Nice." I say, nodding in approval.

Before all hell broke loose, the Argo Avenger was thee vehicle to have. Not only could it navigate on land like a truck, but it was also supposed to be able to drive in the water like a boat, only more efficient. The going rate for one was well over $30,000.

It has the body of a regular, greyish green four-wheeler. The front seat, however, is long and black, connecting the driver's seat to the passenger's seat. There are no backseats; instead, the back is like the back of a truck: open and deep for equipment and other things. There're also black poles spouting from the side of it up, like a golf cart or jeep, probably meant for siding and a roof if the owner wants one.

"Go get stuff you think we'll need." Takashi says, looking at me, "I'll get the keys and we'll go."

I nod and head back out, grabbing a hiking backpack. I pull several clothes from the shelves (absolutely no leather) and some water bottles, stuffing them in the bag.

Surprisingly, I find myself smiling a little.

I'm enjoying myself.

Why? How can I be enjoying this? Takashi and I are stranded from the rest of the group; how is this enjoyable?

Because Takashi and I are working together.

I cringe at my own thoughts, mentally yelling at myself for even thinking like that.

The world's ending for God's sake! And Takashi's only a friend, dammit! Get a hold of yourself, Yuki, and grow up! Now's definitely not the time to act like a giggling girl!

I huff, officially peeved, as I hear an engine roar to life. Takashi and the Argo Avenger speed in front of the glass showcase and I stare completely dumbfounded. At the sight of the undead heading our way, however, I snap out of it and run out of the building, jumping into the back as Takashi speeds off.

"How did you get out?" I ask.

"There was a garage in the back of the room." He explains, "I just took it out that way."

"Nice." I say approvingly.

"Glad you approve." He mocks, smirking slightly as he takes a sharp right.

We run into a horde of Them making their ways to us, obviously attracted by the sound of the handy – but extremely loud – Argo Avenger.

"Please tell me you have a plan." I say, leaning down to squint at the undead looking at us with dead hunger in their lifeless eyes.

"I do, but it might get messy." He says, hitting the gas, "Hold on tight!"

I do as he says and grip the metal poles above my head with my left hand, the other gripping the back of Takashi's seat.

Takashi steers the Avenger towards a flight of stairs in between two blood-stained guardrails and we go flying down them, causing me to lift in the air for a second before I hit my butt on the floor of the trunk, groaning. Quickly (and more skillfully than I expect he can), he yanks the wheel to the right, steering us along the river bank before slamming on the brakes.

We check behind us and watch as several undead students stumble down the hill, crashing to the grassy terrain with a painful thud. However, they almost immediately get up, seemingly undeterred by the fall.

"Damn." I mutter, "I thought it'd at least slow them down."

"So the fall isn't going to matter, eh?" Takashi mumbles thoughtfully. "If that's the case…"

He steps on the gas again, speeding ahead of the group surrounding us.

"What are you doing, Takashi?" I ask, looking at him.

"This thing's amphibious." He says.

I blink, momentarily confused, "Amphibious?" I repeat dumbly.

My eyes widen as comprehension hits, but it's already too late. Takashi steers to the left and he lift into the water, splashing it all in the trunk. I lose my footing and fall backwards just as a small wave drenches me head to toe.

"Shit." Takashi says, turning around quickly, "Sorry, Yuki. Are you alrigh-"

He stops, eyes widening as he looks at me.

The black fishnet is drooping quite a bit, the baby blue shirt clinging to my chest for dear life. My black bra is definitely seeable; practically glowing through the blue shirt screaming "Look at me, look at me" (damn Shizuka!). My hair is sticking to my face, which is irritating, and water is dripping from the soaked, short shorts down to my water-filled vans.

"Gah! I hate you, Takashi." I grumble playfully, trying unsuccessfully to ring out the blue shirt and ignore Takashi's intense stare all at the same time, "This is the second time you've gotten me wet in the past two days."

He gulps and tries to clear his throat, "Uh… yeah. I mean, yes! I-I mean, I'm sorry."

I look up and see his face is red, which automatically causes my face to heat up too and I cross my arms (conveniently covering up my exposed chest in the process), looking away, "I am a girl too, you know." Even if you don't see me as one.

"R-Right." He mumbles, turning around and clearing his throat again, "Sorry, Yuki."

Everything falls silent as we sit in the Avenger, bobbing in the water. The zombies on the other end slowly get tired of waiting for us and some even retreat back.

Takashi leans back and lets out a sigh.

"You really shouldn't get tired so easily." I say, leaning against the neck of the passenger seat, "It's no fun if you don't have the energy to go on."

"W-What?" He stammers, looking at me with red staining his cheeks.

I roll my eyes, "Honestly, Takashi. Get your mind out of the gutter. I meant fighting. Yeesh."

"Oh… right." He leans back again, mumbling, "Sorry."

I chuckle and climb into the passenger seat, "So where're we going, anyway?"

He nods ahead of us and I look over at the random island of dirt in the middle of the huge lake, also known as the "Sandbar" by the neighborhood kids (which includes Takashi, Tagaki, and I).

"Nice thinking." I say, impressed.

He shrugs, "When I was a kid, mom used to tell me not to play here because the current was too strong and the water was unpredictable. I figured it could work out to our advantage."

I nod in agreement as the Avenger perches itself onto the small island, going only a few feet from the water before stopping so Takashi can climb out. I simply turn to him, legs dangling off of the edge of the seat and out of the door. The breeze is giving me goosebumps and I want to avoid any wind I can.

"It's nice to have a break." I mumble.

"Yeah." He agrees, "Let's take turns on lookout. I'll go first, so you can just relax, Yu-"

I shiver noticeable, teeth chattering.

Takashi glances at me.

"S-Sorry." I stammer, trying to hug some sort of warmth back in my body, "Y-You w-w-were saying?"

He walks over and my eyes widen as he puts his forehead to mine, a look of disapproving crossing his face, "You're freezing, Yuki." He says, almost scolding, "Why didn't you say something earlier?"

"I'm f-fine." I mumble, "Just a b-bit nippy outside, is all."

He rolls his eyes, "No wonder Hisashi was always worried about you." He mutters, digging through the big backpack of stuff I had gathered earlier, "You don't worry about yourself nearly enough." He tosses me a black tank-top and shrugs off his jacket, handing it to me as well, "Here. Put this on." He orders, "I'll turn around."

I manage to snicker, though it's slightly thrown off by my chattering teeth, "Trying to sneak a peek, Takashi?"

He flicks my forehead, stunning me, "Just change."

"Aww? Is Takashi worried about me?" A thirteen-year-old Yuki taunted, a light smirk on her face, "Well don't be. I'm fine, Takashi. You know me." Which, actually wasn't technically true. They'd barely known each other for three months and this was only their third or fourth time hanging out alone without Hisashi or Rei with them, but still, the two had some form of underlining understanding of each other.

Even if this understanding wasn't completely and entirely void of secrets – on both sides. Because, despite what Takashi thought, Yuki wasn't upset that a gang of kids had attacked her with their harsh words. She was upset because worthless and disgusting was actually what she was, even her parents knew it, and she was afraid that Takashi or Rei or even Hisashi would figure it out too, something she didn't think she could live through.

Takashi rolled his eyes, something flashing in them, and flicked the snickering middle-schoolers forehead before he could stop himself. Her eyes widened and she stared at him as the familiar indifferent look consumed his face, "I don't care either way." He said nonchalantly, "But moping around isn't like you, so cheer up and do something stupid or something."

My eyes widen before I smile warmly, "Ok. Thank you."

His eyes widen too and he clears his throat, turning around with a light dust of red on his face, "Yeah. Anytime."

I strip out of the half-shirt and fishnet, taking off the bra as well (reluctantly, I might add), and slip on the black tank top, grateful to have Takashi's jacket to cover up the scars on my wrist, which are now more pronounced thanks to the cold water.

"Okay." I announce, shuffling around in his jacket, "You can look now."

He turns around and blinks.

"What?" I ask absently, working on the buttons of his blazer.

"N-Nothing." He stammers.

I shrug, trying to ignore the heat flitting through my body at his gaze.

"Hey, Yuki, can I ask you something?" He says, looking me in the eyes this time.

I blink innocently, tilting my head, "Sure. What's up?"

"Have you ever had a boyfriend before?" He asks.

I straighten up, blinking a few more times before looking at my thighs, "That came out of nowhere." I mumble, swinging my legs a little.

"I'm just trying to make conversation." He says quickly, rubbing the back of his head, "I mean, we've been friends for almost two years now and I've never heard anything about you having a boyfriend. Someone like you… a crush at least?"

"Someone like me…" I repeat, "Should I be offended?"

"What? No!" He says quickly, waving his hands in front of him in denial, "I just meant, you know, looking the way you do…"

I know he means it as a compliment – in the only way Takashi knows how to compliment someone – but his question has my mind reeling.

Again. This is the umpteenth time Takashi has asked me something personal. It's unnerving. Don't get me wrong, it's a good sign that's interested about me, but now? After all of this time? Sure Hisashi is dead (which is still hard to believe) and yes, the world is being attacked by flesh-eating people who don't seem to be dead or alive, but still.

"Yes." I mumble finally. "Of course I've had a crush before."

"I see…" He says, voice trailing off.

"And no." I answer, "It wasn't Hisashi."

"I never-"

"It's obvious that's who you were thinking." I say, looking at him, "You're easy to read, Takashi."

He sighs, defeated, "I know."

I smile reassuringly, "It's not a bad thing."

"So you say." He mutters.

I chuckle and everything seems to fade into silence.

After a few minutes tick by, I glance over at the bank, noticing the lack of zombie presence on the sun-set lit coast.

"It looks like most of Them are gone." I say.

Takashi follows my gaze and nods, "You're right. Let's get going before something happens."

"We are we going to go?" I wonder out loud as he jumps in the driver's seat. "The sun's already setting and who knows how bad'll be at night?"

"There aren't many options around here." He says, starting up the Avenger, "Any place you have in mind?"

I bite my lip, "There's one." I say, "But neither of us is going to like it."

He looks at me, studying me for a minute before recognition hits his eyes, "Hisashi's." He breathes, sitting back in his seat as he looks at the steering wheel.

I nod, looking down at my lap, "It's the closest I can think of and the only place I know where the spare key is hidden."

Takashi's silent as he mulls it over. He looks over at me, "Can you handle it?" He asks seriously.

I take a deep breath and nod with determination, "I can." My voice is more convinced than the churning in my stomach, though.

"Then let's go." He says, cranking on the Avenger and heading off of the Sandbar.

Instead of the wading in the water, Takashi speeds out, getting us to shore and over the steps in no time flat. We crash into a few undead and as we clear the distance, more and more show up.

"Damn." I hiss, "At this rate, this thing will lead them right to us. And trust me, Hisashi's house isn't known for it's security."

"I hear ya." He says, taking a sharp left, "I guess we'll just have to get rid of them then."

I raise an eyebrow and pay attention to the road he's driving.

He makes a sharp right and we speed into the park where Hisashi and I first met. Suddenly, the wheels disconnect with the ground and there's a crash of water… and I'm soaked again.

"Argh." I growl, sending Takashi a look as water drips down my cheeks, "Do you enjoy getting me wet or something?"

"Just hand me the rope in the bag." He says, holding out his hand expectantly.

"Bossy." I mutter, which he simply chuckles at, as I rummage through the black back and pull out a fairly thick white climbing rope, handing it to him.

He goes to work quickly, tying one end of the rope to one of the black poles and the other loosely around the fountain head, giving it enough space to whirl around with the Avenger. Then, he grabs some tape and tapes the gas pedal to the floor, just to keep it from stopping.

"Lure them in with the noise." I say, "Way to go Takashi."

"Don't sound so surprised." He says, "And get ready to jump. They're about to crowd this entire fountain."

I nod and stand up. As soon as a space without many undead heading towards it comes up, we leap for it, rolling on the ground and standing up quickly.

"If we head through the east exit, it should lead us to Hisashi's house." He states, watching me for some sort of reaction. When he doesn't see any panic on my face, he continues, "And a few miles farther is the back of the Takagi's estate."

"Okay." I answer, tying my hair back, "Let's hurry up and get this over with."

"Right." He agrees, "Because of the noise, I don't want to use the gun, so we're going to have to do this hands-on."

"Alright." I agree, picking up a missing cane from the stoned grown.

"Go." He clips.

With a powerful swing, I knock an old zombie in the jaw, splattering the ground. Takashi swings at one coming at my side and we bolt down the path, doing our best to keep our footsteps as silent as we rush through the park.

"Sort of nostalgic, isn't it?" I question, getting another in the groin.

"You want to talk about the past at a time-" He hits one in the temple, "-like this?"

"We are in the park that I shoved you into the fountain." I say, avoiding an undead's advance and hitting it in the back of the head, shoving it's face into the concrete.

"Yeah, but then it wasn't covered in Them trying to eat us." He smashes another into the concrete, cracking it's head open.

"Good point." I capture one against the brick wall.

As we get farther away, I notice that it's working. Instead of focusing on us and following, most of the zombies are focusing in the fountains direction, barely giving us a glance.

We take a shortcut through a small patch of woods, avoiding branches and dried leaves to keep from making noise. As soon as we emerge, Hisashi's apartment complex is right in front of us. Quickly, we head up the grated metal steps and rush into the door.

Immediately, I collapse onto the dark blue couch, breathing heavily. Takashi closes the door quietly, flipping the lock, and turns around, eyes widening.

"What a mess." He says.

I open my eyes and look around.

The beige carpet is covered in Hisashi's clothes and leftovers from the other night's all-nighter. Pop cans and small, 99 cents bags of chips and cookies scattered all over the glass coffee table in front of me. The TV stand against the wall next to the door isn't even spared of the mess, one of my bras draped over it.

I squeal and jump up, snatching it and shoving it down my shirt.

Takashi chuckles, "Did Yuki Hatsune just squeal like a girl?"

"Shut up." I mutter, feeling my face heat up.

"Go get cleaned up." He smirks, turning around, "I'll work on blocking the door."

"Do you need any help?" I ask.

"I've got it." He assures me, "Just go take a shower or something."

"Alright. If you say so~"

I head through a short, thin hallway, opening the first door on the left to a blue-tiled, off-white-walled bathroom and step inside, closing the door behind me and stripping out of the sweat blazer, tank top, and shorts.

The hot water heats my sore body at a scorching temperature, relaxing my coiled muscles. It's only then that I realize how tight I've been since we were separated from the group. My muscles feel as if they've been flexed forever, ready to fight if the time came.

I savor the feeling, taking time to scrub off the blood and dirt stains caked all over my pale skin with some unknown two-in-one shampoo that Hisashi has on the ledge above the shower head.

When I'm done, I push the knob down, shutting off the water, and step out into the steam. Quickly, I rummage through the cabinet under the porcelain sink and pull out a big, purple towel, wrapping it snuggly around me. The air outside is freezing and I rush across the hallway to my room, desperate for warm clothes.

My room is worse than the living room. Dirty clothes are scattered through the entire place, a pile in the corner (give me a break! I've been too busy fighting zombie to worry about laundry day!). Pop cans are covering my end table, surrounding my alarm clock and a big, half empty bag of Doritos is leaning against one of the end table's legs. My twin-sized bed's comforter is bundled on the floor with a long body pillow leaning against the end of the bed from where I stayed up two nights ago.

Mentally thanking God that Takashi isn't in here with me, I scoop up a pair of fuzzy Sword Art Online pajama pants lying on my bed and a matching, grey long-sleeve with a print of Kirito on it and slip them on.

When I get back to the living room, Takashi is leaning against the couch, his head back against a cushion. Across from him is the barricade of wooden chairs and dining table propped against the door.

"Nice." I compliment, sitting down next to him, "I didn't even hear a squeak."

"Thanks." He says, lifting his head up and looking up at me, "Did you enjoy your shower?"

"Yes." I answer, smiling, "The hot water felt amazing. Sorry you had to do all the work."

He shoots me a look, "Yeah right."

I laugh, "You can go take one if you want to. There might still be some hot water left."

"Nah, that's alright." He answers easily, leaning his head back against the cushion, "I'll wait a little bit."

Silence falls around us and I lift my knees under my chin, wrapping my arms around my legs and closing my eyes.

"Yuki… I've been wondering something." Takashi mumbles.

"You've been wondering a lot lately." I return, not smiling.

I can't see him, but I'm sure he rolled his eyes, "Does living with Hisashi have anything to do with your father?"

My eyes shoot open and I look at him, going completely still as my nails unconsciously dig into my legs.

"Any time someone mentions your family, you get completely rigid and you start stuttering and stumbling over your words, which isn't like you." He notes, looking into my eyes, "You said the scar on your thigh was from your father. Were there more?"

Bile builds up in my throat and my grip around my legs tighten, my heart pounding in my ears.

"You brought it up." I whisper, trying to swallow the lump in my throat, "So you can't judge me."

"I would never-"

"We'll see." I mutter, looking down at my bare feet.

"My dad, in case you didn't know, was head of the Tokonosu Clinic. He was very well-liked, but it was by all of the wrong people, like Mr. Shido's father. Of course, with his high status, there's always a dirty little secret." I gulp, tightening my grip around my legs even more, "He had a problem with drugs, particularly prescription pills, and drinking – oh how he loved his alcohol – and as he got more and more wasted, he also became angry. Angry and violent."

"He didn't…" Takashi mumbles.

I nod meekly, burying my face into my knees, "When he lost the clinic, it only got worse. He'd go on these rampages so violent, the entire house would be a complete mess. But then he realized that beating on people made him feel much better than just destroying the house. And who better to beat on than his own daughter?" Takashi just stares at me, so I take it to mean to go on, "It all cooled down when he found out the famous Souichiro Takagi's daughter went to the high school that was right next to my middle school."

"He wanted you to befriend Takagi?" He asks.

I nod, "The thought was that if Saya and I were friends, Souichiro may take note of my father and help him out. It was stupid and selfish, but that's what he thought and if it kept me from getting hit, I was all for it."

"So how did you end up living with Hisashi?" Takashi asks, looking at me.

"Hisashi had known about the abuse since I was eight when he first met me and made a deal that he wouldn't tell anyone if I agreed to learn Martial Arts with him. Around the time I was thirteen, though, things were starting to get out of control. My father was never sober and I was getting hit for simply breathing. When Hisashi found out, he offered to let me move in with him and after a couple of months, I ended up agreeing with the promise that no one would know about it."

It's eerily silent as Takashi mulls over the information and I can feel my nails break open skin.

"Why didn't you want anyone to know?" He asks, straightening himself up and meeting my gaze, "Why didn't you want Rei and I to know?"

"Because I was ashamed." I mumble, feeling the burning sensation prick my eyes, "I ran away. I left my mom there alone with him. I left her there to get hit in my place."

"You left your mom…?"

This is it. He'd hate me. He'd see just how cowardly and idiotic I am and hate me. After all, how could someone leave their own mother in the dust like that? Only someone who's truly disgusting and pathetic.

He let out a breath and I brace myself as he wraps his arms around me.

Wait… what?

I blink, "Takashi…?"

"You're such an idiot." He mutters, arms tightening, "A complete and utter idiot. Your mom abandoned you first. Where was she when you were getting beaten?"

"In her room, usually. If he was hitting me, that meant she was free…" I pull away, looking at his face, "You still don't hate me?"

"Geez, what's with you? How many times do I have to say that I'd never hate you for something that isn't your fault?" His body engulfs me, pulling me out of my ball and hugging me with more force, "You're such an idiot."

I return the hug, wrapping my arms around his ribs and burying my face in his shoulder just as the hot tears build up.

He pulls away slightly to brush away the tears and my face quickly heats up, red staining them. He leans down, his eyes never leaving mine, and I stare back at him, watching his brown eyes darken.

I can feel my heart thumping in my chest, threatening to break out, and I mentally beg that it stops.

He leans in closer and I can feel his hot breath brush against my mouth. On instinct, I close my eyes, waiting.

Takashi brushes his lips against mine lightly, testing the waters, before pressing them together more firmly, his arms pulling me against him when he realizes that I'm not going to pull away. I groan as I feel every hard line of him against me and something inside of me kicks in, causing me to snake my arms around his neck, returning the kiss.

He groans into my mouth and leans into me.

My back hits the carpeted floor and Takashi towers above me, his hands propped up on either side of my head, both of us breathing loudly.

It's like magnets. I grab his shirt in my fist and he leans down at the same time, capturing my lips with his again. They're so warm and moist, I have to keep myself from kissing him to hard, but he's not having any of that. Softly, but with plenty of demand, he bites down on my bottom lip. I groan and open my mouth, allowing his tongue to penetrate and explore as it wants.

We pull away at the sound of moans outside the door, Takashi and I both looking over at the door in one movement, breathing heavily.

"They must be wandering down the stairs from the building." I whisper, looking up at him, his palms still propping him up.

He nods and looks down at me, inspecting my face. His eyes darken noticeable as they pass over my swollen lips, "We should get some sleep." He says, but doesn't make a move to get up.

I sigh in open disappointment, "You're right. We can make our way up to Takagi's in the morning."

He chuckles and, after hovering above me for a few moments, pushes himself up, leaning against the couch, "Where do you want to sleep? Your room? I don't mind sleeping on the couch."

"Can't we both sleep in here?" I ask.

He looks at me with surprise, "Do you want to sleep in here with me?"

"W-Well, I mean, we need to be close to an exit if something happens and I'd feel safer in here with someone else rather than by myself." Rambling. I'm definitely rambling.

He blinks before laughing, "Yeah. We can both sleep in here."

I smile, ignoring the tangle of emotions in my head, and end up laughing too.

We end up falling asleep with Takashi propped against the couch and me leaning against his shoulder. Instead of some undead clawing at the door or a blood curdling scream, I wake up to the bright sun shining through a crack in the blinds.

Takashi is nowhere to be seen and the barricade he had made earlier is now gone, only the thin door protecting us from the outside.

"Takashi?" I call out groggily, standing up.

He steps out of the bathroom, running a towel through his hair, "Morning."

"Morning." I stretch out my arms, "What time is it?"

"A little past noon." He informs me.

My eyes widen, "Why didn't you wake me up?"

He shrugs easily, "I figured you hadn't gotten enough sleep for the past couple of days, so I let you sleep in."

I blush and run a hand through my hair. Well, he's right about that…

He steps into the living room and I lean against the wall, ignoring images from last night.

"So what happened to the barricade?" I ask, distracting myself as my eyes glance over at the bare door.

"I moved it when I got up." He answers, bringing out two pieces of toast, "I thought we could leave as soon as you got up so we can get there. Takagi's Estate is only about ten minutes away from here by foot, so the sooner we get there, the better."

He holds out a piece of plain toast and I grab it, thanking him, "Then do you wanna start leaving now? I'd much rather move around in my pajamas."

"Yeah. We'll leave as soon as we finish eating."

It doesn't take us long to eat and before we know it, we're already out on the streets, heading up the empty back roads.

"Gotta plan?" I ask as we head towards a small horde.

"Just one." He answers, taking one done, "Push through!"

"Got it." I clip one on the forehead, rushing past them.

Takashi's right. After taking care of the small horde, we trudge through bushes and forests, avoiding the rest of the undead wondering the streets, and arrive at the back gate to the Takagi's Estate.

"Finally." I say, breathing heavily.

Takashi wraps an arm around my waist and I automatically lean into him, "Tired?" He asks with amusement.

"Hush." I grumble.

"Onii-chan! Onee-chan!" Alice comes running towards us just as the massive iron gates open up to let us in.

Almost immediately he unlaces his arm and holds them out for Alice, who jumps into him with surprising force.

"I'm so glad you're back!" She cried into Takashi's shoulder.

"She's been worried sick." Kohta says, smiling with relief at us, "We all have."

"Thanks." I smile, "I'm sorry we worried you all."

Looking back, I knew I shouldn't have been as happy as I was. We were in the middle of a war between the living dead and the new selves we were becoming. Takashi had kissed me, but that didn't mean everything was going to be okay.

It was the calm before the storm.

Ahh~ That took forever to write. Sorry guys for the delay! Thanks to some harsh words and a nasty remarks, I wasn't able to find the spark I needed to write this chapter, but nonetheless, here it is! I kind of forced myself to write this chapter for you guys (which is why it might sound rushed in some parts) because you guys seemed to really like it.

Anywhoo. Some little information and FAQ:

1.) What does onee-chan and onii-chan mean and how do you pronounce it?

Onee-(oh-neh)-chan and Onii-(oh-knee)-chan

Onee-chan is something like big sister and Onii-chan is something like big brother(:

2.) If Yuki's father abused her, what about her mother? I doubt the other spouse would just sit by while their child is being abused.

You'd be surprised. There are thousands of cases where the other spouse knew of the abuse and did nothing about it - whether it be out of fear or neglect is still up for debate. It's actually quite common among abuse cases.

3.) Were you abused?

No. I'm not abused. I've had friends who've been saved from abusive homes, but I, myself, am not abused.

That's it for now! Feel free to PM (Private Message) me questions and I'll be happy to answer them (as long as they don't give away the remaining plot line). Hope to hear from you guys! Review and tell me what you think :DD